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Will Dentures Change My Face Shape?

After a year of treatment, my periodontist controlled advanced gum disease. My dentist recommends complete dentures because I have lost so many teeth that saving the few remaining teeth would not be healthy for me. I am concerned about having lost so much jawbone already. I know that my bone will shrink even more. I am worried about dentures and how they will change my face shape. What can I expect? Thank you. Penny from Fayetteville, NC

 

Penny,

Thank you for your question. We understand your concerns about how complete dentures will affect your face shape.

Will Dentures Change Your Face Shape?

When you wear complete dentures, and all your natural teeth are missing, bone shrinkage occurs. A lack of bone to support your facial muscles can affect your face shape. Additionally, dentures rest on your jawbone and make the bone shrink faster. An article published by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry states that missing teeth cause the jawbone to shrink twenty-five percent in the first three months and up to fifty percent in the first six months.

How Can You Prevent Facial Changes with Dentures?

You can prevent facial changes with dentures by supporting them with dental implants. Implants are artificial tooth roots that stimulate the bone and help prevent shrinkage. Implant dentures can help you avoid premature shrinkage and facial sagging that makes you look older.

Will You Need Bone Grafting?

If gum disease affects your jawbone and causes deterioration, you may lack enough bone volume to support implants. During a consultation for implant overdentures, a dentist will take a 3-D CT scan to reveal your bone volume and oral anatomy. The dentist may recommend bone grafting before implant placement. When a patient requires extractions, it may be best to follow them with bone grafting and implant placement immediately.
Implant overdenture - snap-on denture with the denture hovering above the implants
Schedule a consultation with a dentist with advanced implant and cosmetic dentistry training. You will get high-quality implants and natural-looking custom dentures.

 

Moline, Illinois cosmetic dentist, Dr. Thomas Goebel, sponsors this post.

 

 

My Dentist Says that an Implant Denture Won’t Work for Me

I have lost all but three of my lower teeth and agree with my dentist that it’s time for a complete denture. I asked about an implant denture, but my dentist said that implants will be too risky for me because I have diabetes and my bone level is low. I read online that if your diabetes is under control, you can qualify for implants. Why would my dentist say that I do not qualify without any proof? Thank you. Gabe from Amityville, NY

Gabe,

Thank you for your question.

Dr. Goebel would need to review your medical history, examine your oral tissue, and take a 3-D CT scan to measure your bone volume to determine whether you are a candidate for an implant overdenture, or a fixed denture.

Do Diabetes and Bone Shrinkage Disqualify You from Dental Implants?

Implant overdenture with four implant screws hovering above the denture
Four dental implant screws secure this overdenture

Diabetes and bone shrinkage do not automatically disqualify you from getting dental implants. People with diabetes heal slower, so it may take longer for your jawbone to integrate with your dental implants. If you need bone grafting, the procedure will precede dental implant placement. Your implant dentist or an oral surgeon will give you detailed instructions for oral hygiene and promoting healing after your procedures.

The Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences published a 2021 article on a study of forty-six dental implant patients. Results show that patients with good glycemic control had similar implant survival rates at patients without diabetes. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes had a higher rate of implant failure.

Other factors that may impair healing and dental implant longevity include:

  • Inconsistent oral health habits
  • Tobacco use
  • Osteoporosis
  • History of gum disease

Request a Consultation

If you would like to know whether you qualify for dental implants, request a consultation with a restoring dentist, an oral surgeon, or a periodontist. After reviewing your medical history, completing an exam, and taking digital x-rays, they will explain whether you are a candidate for implants and discuss your options for implant overdentures.

Moline, Illinois dentist, Dr. Thomas Goebel, sponsors this post.

The Implants in My Overdenture Keep Breaking

Three of the six dental implants I received in June 2020 have broken. When the first one broke, my dentist said that few things last like they used to. After removing the first broken implant, I had to wait a while to replace it. Since that time, two more have broken. When I agreed to implants for a fixed denture, I thought that I would get better results than having a removable denture. But this is so disappointing and time-consuming that I believe that getting implant dentures was a mistake. How common are broken implants? Is it too late to switch back to a removable denture? Thank you. Doug from Akron, Ohio

Doug,

Thank you for your question. It is unusual for dental implants to break. We recommend getting a second opinion from a dentist with advanced training in implants. Dr. Goebel would need to examine your implants and take a 3-D CT scan to identify the source of the problem. But we will discuss potential causes of the problem.

What Causes Dental Implants to Break?

Dental implants may break if the implant fixtures are inferior, or the implants or replacement teeth are not in the optimal position. Also, if you lack enough bone volume to place the implants, they may weaken and break.

1. Inferior Dental Implant Fixtures

Cheap dental implants can help a dentist save money. If an overseas manufacturer makes the implants, a dentist can purchase them for a few dollars, compared with high-quality, regulated implants from the U.S. that can cost hundreds of dollars each. Cheap parts break. Broken dental implants should be a warning signal to a dentist to change their supplier.

Continued use of low-quality implants reflects a lack of concern about your oral health. If your dentist replaces the broken dental implants and uses the same cheap fixtures, they will likely break again.

2. Poor Implant Placement

Diagram of a lower implant overdenture screwing onto dental implants
Implant overdenture

A dentist must place implants precisely for them to integrate with your bone and last. Just like tooth roots, implants must be strong enough to withstand the forces of biting, chewing, and grinding when you eat. An implant can only withstand the pressure if a dentist places it precisely. Skilled dentists use 3-D technology to make a digital model of your mouth and a surgical guide for precise placement.

Inadequate diagnostic studies or lack of diligence during implant surgery can cause a dentist to place implants precisely. Even a durable implant in the wrong location can loosen or get infected.

3. Position of Replacement Teeth

When replacement teeth are not in the optimal position, they put extra stress and pressure on your dental implants. After repeated pressure, your implants may weaken and break.

4. Lack of Jawbone Volume

Your jawbone is the foundation of dental implants. If a dentist places your implants in shallow bone, they can weaken and break. A 3-D CT scan is essential for planning where to locate implants for maximum support. A trained dentist will recommend bone grafting before implant placement if you lack bone volume.

No doubt, your dentist has taken shortcuts. Please do not let this dentist replace any more of your implants. Although your dentist may have saved money, you are paying the penalty with broken implants compromising your oral health. Start searching for a skilled dentist with a good reputation and good record of success. Look for dentists with extensive post-graduate training in implantology. A dentist with advanced implant training can help you avoid switching back to a removable denture.

 

Moline, Illinois dentist, Dr. Thomas Goebel, sponsors this post.

My New Dentures Are So Uncomfortable

Woman portraying concern over uncomfortable dentures and replacing them with overdenturesIn late December of last year, I received new dentures and they are so uncomfortable. The cost made me almost sure that they would be beautiful. And after being reassured by my dentist that they would be beyond my expectations, I had no doubts. But reality has hit, and I am almost in tears. The dentures are so very uncomfortable, and they look fake.

When I look in the mirror at my smile, I’m embarrassed. At this point, there is no way that I can afford to replace my teeth with implants, but I am so very unhappy that I must do something about it. I’ve been doing some research, and I read about overdentures. How much do they cost? And what supports them? – Eileen C., Florida

Eileen –

Thank you for your question.

You have two significant concerns with your dentures. They are uncomfortable, and they don’t look natural. An artistic cosmetic dentist can help. It is possible to get natural-looking dentures that complement your facial features. A cosmetic dentist will listen to your preferences and design dentures that match them.

How Are Overdentures Supported?

Dental implants support an overdenture. You will need at least two implants to keep your denture in place. The process works like this:

  • An implant dentist will make a small opening to insert implants on both sides of your jawbone.
  • The dentist will have a lab to make your custom denture. And grooves in the base of the denture will attach to the implants.
  • After about four months of healing, your dentist will secure the denture to the implants.

How Much Do Implant Overdentures Cost?

The cost of implant dentures depends on the options you choose. Factors that affect your cost include:

  • Type of implants you receive (mini vs. standard) $1,000 – $3,000 per implant
  • Number of implants you receive
  • Bone grafting, if needed: $600 – $2,000
  • Quality of your denture: $700 to $3,000

Other fees include the surgical procedure, supplies, and any treatment needed to improve your oral health and prepare you for implant dentures.

How Long Do Implant Overdentures Last?

The implants for implant overdentures can last decades—even a lifetime. But you will need to replace the denture that the implants support. A high-quality denture lasts five to ten years. Implant overdentures will feel more like your natural teeth than removable dentures. And your ability to chew with them will improve. Even if you decide to stick with the removable dentures, look for an advanced cosmetic dentist who will ensure they are comfortable and beautiful.

Dr. Thomas J. Goebel, a family dentist in Moline, Illinois, sponsors this post. Dr. Goebel works closely with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery.

 

Should my new overdentures hurt?

My dentist told me to expect some pain after getting implant overdentures, but it has been almost a week, and I am still in pain. I paid $36,000 for pain and now feel like I made a mistake. I had no teeth at all, but now I have a mouth full of teeth that hurt. Should I feel like this? Thank you. Les from Fort Wayne, IN

Les,

Thank you for your question.

It is normal to feel pain and discomfort after implant overdenture placement.

The implant overdenture process has several phases. Surgically placed dental implants affect your jawbone and gum tissue. Your body’s response to the surgery is inflammation and pain.

Do Implant Overdentures Hurt?

Diagram of a lower implant overdenture screwing onto dental implants
Implant overdenture

Implant overdenture surgery does not hurt because your implant dentist or oral surgeon numbs your gums and administers sedation to help you relax. What can you expect after surgery?

Implant Overdenture Recovery

Every patient’s case and pain tolerance differs, but in general, your recovery will be progressive.

  • Day of oral surgery – As you return home to recover, your pain medication will keep you comfortable. But surgically placed dental implants affect your jawbone and gum tissue. Your body’s response to the surgery is inflammation and pain. And you may experience mild bleeding around the surgical sites.
  • Two to three days – After oral surgery, swelling peaks in two to three days. You can place cold packs on your face to minimize the swelling for the first 36 hours. Afterward, apply moist heat for relief. And take pain medication on time as your oral surgeon directed to prevent pain from escalating.
  • Four to seven days – Soreness and tenderness will gradually improve.
  • One to three weeks – It takes time to adjust to wearing an immediate denture in your mouth. But over the next few weeks, you will adapt to speaking and eating with implant-supported dentures.
  • Four to six months – Your implants and jawbone should fuse and heal entirely within this time frame.

When Should You Be Concerned?

If pain, swelling, or bleeding after implant overdenture surgery increase or get worse after the healing timeline, notify your oral surgeon. Also, if you have symptoms that your surgeon did not discuss with you, call the office to ensure

 

Dr. Thomas J. Goebel, a family dentist in Moline, Illinois, sponsors this post. Dr. Goebel works closely with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery.

 

Can I get dental implants with advanced gum disease?

I have advanced gum disease and lost 10 teeth. I fear that I am going to need all my teeth pulled and replaced with dentures or something else. Although I neglected my health, the thought of wearing dentures is unsettling. I’m 52 years old and have an active life. I read about dental implants. With advanced gum disease, is it possible to get implants instead of dentures? Thank you. Danielle from Chicago.

Danielle,

Thank you for your question.

Dental implants are the most effective solution for replacing missing teeth. Removable complete dentures are better than having all your teeth missing, but your chewing efficiency will reduce by at least 50%. Dentures move and slip around, making it difficult to chew well.

As you may have read, dental implants are placed in your jawbone to anchor individual teeth or a denture. Implants have several advantages:

  • Help you chew and eat normally
  • Preserve your jawbone and prevent shrinkage
  • Prevent a denture from shifting around in your mouth

Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Implant overdenture - snap-on denture with the denture hovering above the implants
A snap-on denture is an implant overdenture with just two implants

If you are in good physical and oral health, you may be a good candidate for dental implants. Your history of advanced gum disease may increase the risk of unsuccessful implant surgery. And if you’ve already had jawbone loss, an implant dentist or oral surgeon will need to graft bone to anchor the implants.

Schedule a consultation with a skilled implant dentist. But you will need an exam and a 3-D CT scan for the dentist to examine your bone structure and oral anatomy. The dentist will also assess your health history. Afterward, the dentist will explain your treatment options.

Dr. Thomas J. Goebel, a family dentist in Moline, IL, sponsors this post. Dr. Goebel works closely with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery.

Is it too late for implant dentures, and how long will they last?

If I have worn dentures for more than ten years, is it too late for implant dentures? My dentures are wearing out, and I think they will only last a few more months. It has been hard to get them to stay in place, too. So although implant dentures cost a lot, I’ve been considering them within the past two weeks. My only hesitation is not knowing how long they will last. I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on implant dentures if I need to replace them in a few years. Thank you. Craig from Iowa

Craig,

Thank you for your inquiry.

We will answer both your questions separately: Is it too late for implant dentures? And how long will they last?

Is It Too Late for Implant Dentures?

Even if you have worn dentures for many years, it is not too late for implant dentures. But the longer you wear dentures, the more likely it is to need bone grafting before you get implants. Here’s why:

Wearing dentures for years

Tooth roots stimulate the jawbone and keep it intact. But when all your teeth are missing, the jawbone shrinks. And your body uses the minerals from it elsewhere. As a result, many long-time denture wearers experience bone shrinkage, which causes their facial muscles to sag.

Dental implants need support

Jawbone support dental implants. An implant is like an anchor that supports your denture. Without a solid foundation, dental implants will fail. So if you have low jawbone volume, a dentist will need to build it up with bone grafting before placing dental implants.

Implant overdenture - snap-on denture with the denture hovering above the implants
Two implant keep a snap-on denture in place

One technique, All-on-4 dental implants, angles the implants during placement to add stability and prevent the need for bone grafting.

How Long Do Implant Overdentures Last?

The answer to how long implant overdentures last includes two factors: the implants that a dentist places in your jawbone and the dentures attached to them.

Dental implants – According to the American Academy of Implant dentistry, when you receive dental implants from a dentist with advanced implant training, they can last a lifetime. But periodically, your dentures will need to be replaced.

Denture – A well-made denture that your dentist attaches to the implant can last ten to fifteen years.

What Are the Advantages of an Implant Denture?

Other than longevity, an implant denture has other advantages:

  • Stabilizes your denture
  • Improves your chewing efficiency
  • Makes it easier to speak with dentures
  • Stimulates jawbone and prevents facial sagging
  • Minimizes embarrassment due to dentures that click, pop, slip, or fall out
  • Helps dentures look and feel more like your own teeth.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are thinking about getting implant dentures, schedule consultations with at least two skilled dentists. Look for dentists with advanced implantology training or who refer patients to an oral surgeon or specialist for implant placement.

Dr. Thomas J. Goebel, a family dentist in Moline, IL, sponsors this post. Dr. Goebel works closely with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery.

 

Should I get my remaining teeth pulled and get dentures?

I want your opinion on getting my final two upper teeth pulled and getting dentures now. I have been wearing partial dentures for years. And they are so uncomfortable. My partial dentures are old, and it is time to either replace them or pull my front teeth and get dentures. My front teeth are healthy, and I have seen two dentists who are not helpful with my decision. They tell me it is my choice. I understand that. I have read many websites that say it is best to keep your natural teeth, but I only have two. What is healthiest for me? Thank you. Gerald B. from Kentucky

Gerald,

Thank you for your inquiry. We cannot give you an accurate diagnosis unless Dr. Goebel examines your teeth and reviews your x-rays. Although we will not advise you, we will provide you with dental principles to consider.

Saving Natural Teeth

Usually, it is best to save natural teeth. Except for dental implants, tooth replacement options have several disadvantages compared to natural teeth:

  • Do not function as well
  • Are not as comfortable
  • Do not stimulate the jawbone

Exceptions to Saving Natural Teeth

When few healthy natural teeth remain, functions like biting and chewing put excessive stress on the teeth. When most of your upper teeth are missing, and the remaining teeth are chewing against your

Full Upper Denture vs. Partial Dentures

Suction from the roof of your mouth keeps a complete upper denture in place. It is more comfortable than partial dentures and stays in place better than a lower denture, which rests you’re your gums and relies on gravity and your cheek muscles to remain in place.

Bone Loss from Missing Teeth

Tooth roots stimulate the jawbone, so when your teeth are missing, your body takes the minerals from the bone and uses them elsewhere. And with 10 to 20 years, your jawbone shrinks significantly, causing facial sagging.

  • Lower denture – It will be challenging to keep a lower denture in place on the bony ridge of your shrunken jawbone.
  • Upper denture – Your body only saves the bone in the area where you still have teeth. But even with significant bone loss, suction from the root of your mouth will continue to help keep an upper denture in place. When you chew with a well-made upper denture, the force from your bottom teeth against the upper denture is gentler than chewing with two natural teeth.

Treatment Options

Implant overdenture - snap-on denture with the denture hovering above the implants
A snap-on denture is an implant overdenture with just two implants

Although Dr. Goebel has completed your oral exam and checked your x-rays, below are two treatment options that can give you the healthiest results:

  • Complete removable dentures – Your dentist can extract your few remaining upper teeth and fit you for a removable upper denture. It will look, function, and feel better than partial dentures. It will also improve your ability to chew.
  • Implant overdenture – An implant-supported full or partial denture is the most expensive option. But dental implants, embedded in your jawbone would support your denture. If you have significant jawbone shrinkage, grafting may be required to anchor the implants.

Either option will be healthy for your lower teeth and prevent extreme stress on upper natural teeth. If either dentist you saw offers dental implants, check the bios on their website to see if they have post-graduate training in implantology. If not, we encourage you to find a skilled implant dentist, schedule a consultation, and discuss your options.

 

Dr. Thomas J. Goebel, a family dentist in Moline, IL, sponsors this post. Dr. Goebel works closely with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery.