I haven’t had dental insurance for decades. So, it was few and far between that I actually went to the dentist. Unfortunately, I am paying for it now. I have advanced periodontal disease. It’s so bad that I have been losing several teeth. Right now, I am missing eight teeth but I’m sure there will be more. Also, my gum line is very low.
I finally have dental insurance and I want to get something done to improve my situation. Are dentures my only hope? Or is it possible for someone like me to get dental implants?
-Shirley in Texas
Dental implants are the best choice to replace missing teeth. They are a permanent solution that not only looks like your natural teeth, but they function just like them too. Implant posts are surgically implanted into the jawbone to support a crown which is placed directly onto the post.
Dentures are a fully removable appliance and many denture patients are quite unhappy with them. They reduce your chewing efficiency by at least 50% and they are associated with many other problems. Patients complain of them moving and slipping around, which can cause sores that are very uncomfortable. Also, it is important to realize that when you are missing teeth, bone loss will occur. What is happening is that the body doesn’t think that it needs to support the teeth any longer so the minerals are resorbed to be used elsewhere in the body. The condition that results is called facial collapse. After 10 years or more of wearing dentures, facial collapse can become so bad that there is little bone left to support the denture. In many cases the denture won’t even stay in any longer. Also, individuals with facial collapse appear much older than they are.
Dental implants prevent bone loss because the implant post will act like a tooth root and stimulate the body to keep supporting it. It serves as a substitute and prevents the resorption that would otherwise take place. You need to be in good overall health in order to be a dental implants candidate. Also, if you have advanced periodontal disease that could make it difficult to support them. If you have already experienced bone loss than you may need to have bone grafts done so the implants can be supported.
It is also very important to find the best implant dentist in your area. Not every dentist has the high level of skill and training required for successful results. Also, implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty area within the field of dentistry. This means that any dentist can claim to be an implant dentist, which makes it difficult for the patient. So, be sure to research their credentials and see what kind of training and continuing education they have done, as well as ask about similar cases to yours. Many reputable implant dentists will provide a complimentary consultation. So, it would be in your best interest to get multiple opinions. Whatever you do, don’t price shop for dental implants. Sadly, many dentists will cut corners by using substandard materials.
Thank you for your question. Hopefully, this information is helpful as you embark on your journey of replacing your missing teeth.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.