After 25 years of poor oral care, I have finally been able to see a dentist consistently. I have advanced gum disease, and my dentist recommends dentures. I have lost seven teeth from gum disease, and my dentist thinks she will need to extract several more. But I want dental implants. I know I have bone shrinkage, but I want implants even if my dentist cannot be the one to finish my case. Should I get a second opinion? Thank you. Lyle from OK
Thank you for your question.
Dental implants effectively replace missing teeth because they imitate tooth structure from the root up. So, with implants, you can eat normally. And the artificial tooth roots stimulate your jawbone.
But removable dentures are not stable, reducing chewing efficiency by at least 50 percent. Without substitute tooth roots, your jawbone will further shrink, and eventually, you will not be able to keep a denture in your mouth. Additionally, your shrunken jawbone will cause your face to sag prematurely.
Can You Get Implants Instead of Dentures After Gum Disease?
If you have good health and can receive routine dental care, you may qualify for implants. But an implant dentist or specialist must take a 3-D scan to determine how much damage the periodontal disease has caused to your gum tissue and bone. After getting gum disease under control, you may need bone grafting to help your body build enough healthy bone to support your dental implants.
Although your dentist recommends dentures, getting a second opinion from a skilled implant dentist or specialist will help determine your options. If you require tooth removal and dentures, implant overdentures may be an option instead of removable dentures. Four to six dental implants can keep your denture stable and feel more like natural teeth than removable dentures that lift, slip, or slide around.
Best wishes for getting a healthier, long-lasting smile.
Dr. David Finley, a Monroe, Louisiana dentist and Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, sponsors this post. Read about Dr. Finley’s commitment to providing patients with some of the best dental care in Monroe.