I have to replace all my teeth and my dentist wants me to get dentures. I asked him if I can get dental implants instead, but he said because I previously had gum disease that is not possible. Is there any way around this? I really feel too young for dentures. I’m only 42 years old.
I am sorry you are having to go through this at your age. Before I answer your question I have one of my own. You said you previously had gum disease. Does that mean you have already undergone treatment and no longer have periodontal disease? If that is the case and you are otherwise in good general health then there really should not be a reason you could not have dental implants. If you currently have gum disease, you will need to deal with that first.
It is possible you will need to have some bone grafting done, depending on how much bone structure you lost during your period of gum disease. That can be done outpatient.
Dental implants are an advanced procedure and it really requires that a dentist has post-doctoral training. Often, when a dentist is telling a patient that they can’t have a procedure it is because they are not comfortable doing that procedure. Don’t pressure your dentist to do it, though. There are way too many dental implant horror stories from patients who had the procedure done by dentists without the necessary additional training.
Look for a dentist who has training at one of the following institutions:
- The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies
- Dawson Academy
- The Kois Center
Why Dental Implants Are Important
When your teeth are removed, your body immediately begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use those resources in other places in your body that may need them more. It does this because you no longer have any teeth roots there so there is no need for the bone to support the teeth. While an efficient way to manage your body’s resources, it has the unfortunate side effect of shrinking your jawbone. After around ten years, it will become difficult for you to keep your dentures in. Shortly after that, it will be impossible. This is known in dental circles as facial collapse.
At your young age, this would be devastating. Having dental implants placed causes your body to recognize there are still “roots” there for your teeth. Because of that it will leave your jawbone intact.
When you are talking about removing all of your teeth, it is common practice to get implant-supported dentures, also called implant overdentures. This uses between four to six dental implants and then anchors your dentures to them. That amount of dental implants will both secure your dentures and provide the protection you need from facial collapse.
One other word of caution. Make sure your dentist has the cosmetic skills to provide you with beautiful dentures. Look at their smile gallery to see what type of work they do.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.