I’m in a disastrous pickle. First, I am just 40 years old. I’ve lost one tooth, which has a dental implant. Because of a calcium deficiency, my dentist said I have to extract all my teeth and get dentures. I’ve spent two days crying. Someone told me my face will shrink and make me look like a grandma. I can’t afford a full set of dental implants. Would something like an all-on-four keep me from looking so old? I think I could do four implants if I sold my car. I’m a single mom and my kids aren’t even in kindergarten yet. I don’t want to be the ugly mom.
The first thing I want you to do is to get a second opinion about your teeth. A calcium deficiency is not an adequate reason for your teeth to need to be removed. Though some dentists try to blame it for decay, there is no causal link, especially at your age. What a calcium deficiency will do is lead to cramps, nerve problems, and osteoporosis. Dentists that use this as an excuse are usually the ones who don’t like to invest a lot of work in saving teeth. It’s easier for them to just extract your teeth. It is always better to save as many natural teeth as possible.
If it turns out that your teeth can’t be saved, there are solutions. What your friend who mentioned your face shrinking was talking about is known as facial collapse in dental circles. This happens because when your teeth are extracted your body recognizes that and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere in your body where your body realizes they will be more useful. The unfortunate side effect of this is that it shrinks your jawbone. After about ten or so years, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures.
While it is true that it does age you significantly, the bigger issue is that you will no longer be able to eat properly. Because your dentures will no longer stay in, it will be almost impossible for you to eat solid food. You’ll be relegated to a liquid diet. Dental implants prevent this because the prosthetic implant serves as a tooth root, which signals to your body that you need to keep the minerals in your jawbone intact.
The Solution to Facial Collapse
All-on-Four Dental Implants are a good solution for people who have some minor bone loss. Because your teeth will just have been extracted, then you won’t really have any bone loss and this procedure would not be useful to you. The good news is if you do lose all your teeth (and I’m not convinced that is necessary) then four implants will be all you need to protect your jaw from facial collapse.
You can get four dental implants and then have a denture secured to them. This is called implant overdentures and will be a great solution. Just make certain you get a dentist who has post-doctoral training in dental implants. I don’t think the dentist you currently have is the one to go with.
Your first step is to get a second opinion on your teeth.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.