What do you do if your dentures no longer stay in? I’ve had my dentures for 23 years. The ridge they are usually on is no longer there. Is there anything I can do to keep them in?
Dear Mary Anne,
You are dealing with the fallout from facial collapse. When your teeth were removed, your body began to resorb the minerals in your body as a means of being as efficient as possible with its resources. It recognized you no longer have teeth roots in your jaw. The jawbone is there to retain and stabilize the roots. Without the roots, your body thinks, “Hey! Those minerals would be really helpful at another part of your body that still needs it.”
While great for body efficiency, it puts you in a horrible position. You no longer have enough jawbone left to keep your dentures in. This is known in dental circles as facial collapse. When that happens, it makes it impossible for you to have a normal functioning life. The good news is, there is a solution.
The first thing you’ll need to do is have some bone grafting done. This is an outpatient surgical procedure that can use either natural or synthetic bone. Once that is healed, you have two choices.
After Bone Grafting
From there, you can either get new dentures made with your shiny new ridge for your jawbone and go about your merry way. Just be aware that the whole cycle of bone resorption will start again. Eventually, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to keep your dentures in and you’ll need bone grafting again.
A second option is to have dental implants placed for implant-supported dentures. The most important benefit to this is the implants signal to your brain that you still have “teeth” there and they will leave the minerals from your jawbone intact. This protects you from facial collapse.
Another benefit is your dentures will be completely secure. You will not have to worry about them slipping. You also will find your chewing capacity increases significantly. Even the best fitting dentures reduce your chewing capacity by at least 50%. Dental implants help you get your chompers back. You will once again be able to eat whatever you want to.
Know upfront that dental implants require surgery and will cost more than just replacing your dentures.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.