I’m concerned because I am wearing dentures with little bone structure, and I’m not sure how much longer I can keep going like this. Although I am only 66 years old, this is my 20th year wearing dentures. I will not be able to keep a denture in my mouth soon. Chewing with dentures is not like chewing with your teeth. The bottom denture already lifts every time I eat. A coworker told me about implants, but I cannot afford implants. Is there a type of denture my dentist may not know about that would fit me better? Thank you. Kent from RI
Thank you for your question. We understand that wearing dentures can be challenging. And when you are losing jawbone volume, your concerns increase. We will discuss the best approach to resolving the issue.
Wearing Dentures without Much Bone Structure
If you wear dentures but do not have much jawbone structure left, eventually, you will not be able to keep a denture in your mouth. Getting new dentures is not the answer.
Why new dentures are not the answer
Your jawbone will continue to shrink when all your teeth are missing. Tooth roots stimulate the bone and prevent shrinkage. The denture base will rest on your gums and make shrinkage worse. Each new denture will continue to loosen.
Building Up Your Bone for Wearing Dentures
Your dentures need a firm foundation, and the only way to support them is to rebuild the bone with grafting. After an implant dentist or an oral surgeon grafts bone tissue, your body will grow more tissue to support replacement teeth.
Supporting Your Denture with Dental Implants
After bone grafting, you will wait for the grafts to heal so the bone builds up again. According to the American Academy of Osseointegration, bone grafts can take up to six months to heal. After a healing period, you will be ready for a new denture. But this time, a dentist will recommend supporting your upper and lower dentures with dental implants. Otherwise, your issue with keeping a denture in will recur.
How Many Implants Will You Need for a Denture?
Four to six implants improve denture stability. But as few as two implants can support a denture and prevent it from rubbing on your gums and wearing on your jawbone. Also, implants stimulate the jawbone around them and minimize shrinkage.
Are You Wearing Dentures with No Bone Structure?
If you wear dentures with no bone structure, it is best to request a consultation with a highly experienced implant dentist. It seems that your current dentist has not mentioned implant dentures as an option for you. So, find a skilled implant dentist on your own.
Search online for dentists with advanced training in dental implants to request a consultation for implant dentures. Ask the dentist about phasing your treatment or low-interest financing options if you need to pay for care over time.
Dr. Ryan Perry, a Baton Rouge implant dentist, sponsors this post.