I have had dentures for some 15 years now and recently decided I was ready for a new set. When I went in and discussed it with my dentist, she asked about my current set and I told her I was pretty uncomfortable and I didn’t like how they looked. She told me I could go with a new set of dentures, but she also mentioned getting implants. She said they could do a half one, or a partial implant, I think she called it. They would look more like real teeth, be more secure, and more comfortable, but they are more expensive. When I mentioned it to my son, he made it sound like the dentist is just trying to take advantage of “an old lady.” Are these partial implants not good for someone like me?
Barbara, Lawrence, Kansas
It’s not surprising that your dentures are uncomfortable, especially if you have had your current set for some time. Unfortunately, when there are no teeth in your jaw, the body thinks there is no need for the minerals in the jawbone there and the minerals are absorbed elsewhere in the body. When this happens, the jaw shrinks and changes. This leads to discomfort in the dentures.
Why partial implants?
Your dentist may have suggested partial implants as a viable way to maintain some of the minerals in your jawbone. When there are implants, the body treats them just like roots from real teeth and the minerals, and the shape of your jaw, are maintained. These implants help keep the dentures in their place. When you don’t have to worry about your dentures slipping and they are more comfortable, you naturally tend to smile more.
It is true that partial implants cost more than a replacement set of dentures. It requires the placement of a few root forms to anchor the dentures, but it is considerably less than a full set of implants.
If your dentist suggested a partial implant, she must have thought you would be a good candidate. Implants aren’t the best option for everyone, but your dentist will discuss all the health considerations before proceeding. She wants your procedure to be successful just as much as you do.
A second opinion can always be obtained if it would put your son’s mind at ease.
This post is sponsored by Dr. Ryan Perry of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.