I’ve never been able to afford good anything and that included my dental work. When I lost my teeth, I could only get dentures. It was humiliating but it was all I could do. Now it is twelve years later and I have just come into a lot of money. I mean a LOT. I have always hated these dentures. Is it too late for me to get dental implants?
First, congratulations on your windfall! It says a lot that the first thing you are trying to do with your money is to invest in your health. Now to answer your question. Technically, it is never too late to get dental implants. But, (isn’t there always a but?) the length of time you’ve been wearing dentures will mean that you may need an additional procedure before proceeding.
When your teeth were removed, your body began a process of resorption. Recognizing you no longer have teeth, your body begins to take the minerals that were in your jawbone supporting your teeth to use elsewhere in your body. This is in order to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resources. Somewhere between ten and fifteen years, depending on the speed of the resorption, you may no longer have enough bone to support your dentures. This process is called facial collapse in dental ciricles (pictured left). In addition to the problems it causes with your dentures, it will age your appearance by decades.
In order to retain your new dental implants, you will need that bone back. The good news is there is a procedure that can help you get that structure back, known as bone grafting. Once you’ve done that, after a period of healing, you will be ready to get those implants!
The important thing for you is to find a dentist with post-doctoral training in dental implants. It is an advanced procedure and you don’t want just any dentist. Then, once the dental implants have had time to integrate with your bone, your dentist can anchor a new set of dentures to them. These are known as implant overdentures. Unlike the dentures you’ve had for the last decade, these will be completely secure. You will find your quality of life goes up significantly, including your ability to eat. Even the best fitting removable dentures will reduce your chewing capacity by 50%. That will no longer be true.
I want to mention one other consideration. Dentures can be beautiful, but you will need an expert cosmetic dentist to do that. After you make a list of qualified dentists with dental implant training, I would consider looking at their ability to provide beautiful results. The best cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited, so I’d start there.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.