I have worn upper and lower removable dentures since 1998. Is it too late for an implant denture even if I have bone shrinkage? Thank you. Teri
Teri – Thank you for your inquiry. Regardless of how long you have been wearing dentures, you can still receive implant dentures. But we will explain some factors that may affect your treatment plan.
Is It Too Late for an Implant Denture?
You can get an implant denture even if you have worn removable dentures for decades. But the condition of your jawbone can affect your treatment plan.
Long-term denture wearing
Tooth roots stimulate and preserve jawbone, so when all your teeth are missing, your body uses the minerals from your jawbone and uses them elsewhere. Your jawbone will begin to shrink, and within ten to fifteen years without bone support, your facial muscles will sag. It will become challenging and uncomfortable to wear a denture.
Dental implants and bone shrinkage
An implant dentist embeds dental implants in your jawbone for support. But if your bone volume is low due to shrinkage, dental implants will not be stable. Before you receive implants, your dentist or surgeon must build up the bone or use a technique that does not require grafting if you are eligible for it.
Bone grafting for dental implants
Options for bone grafting for dental implants include harvesting bone from your body, possibly from your hip. Artificial and sterilized bone products are also available. Your implant dentist or surgeon will explain your options.
An implant overdenture is another name for an implant denture. The denture base snaps, clips, or screws onto dental implants. If you receive a traditional overdenture and have bone loss, you will need a graft before implant placement.
All-on-4 uses four to six dental implants and places them at angles so that more of the implant root is in contact with the bone to increase resistance to displacement. This technique can eliminate the need for bone grafting.
Look for a dentist who is experienced in dental implant restoration or implant placement and restoration. Dentists who restore implants only work with an oral surgeon or periodontist to place your implants.
Dr. Brian LeSage, a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, sponsors this post.