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The Best of Both Worlds

Question:

Dr. Crapo: I’m seventy-four. I have an upper denture that works just fine. I have five remaining lower teeth that are in bad shape and a molar that seems okay. I’ve been wearing a partial for many years but I know I’ve got to do something because my lower front teeth are decaying and getting loose. I’ve thought about crowns but the doctor said the teeth were too far gone. He said I need a denture or some implants with a denture. He told me I’d need two implants and then he could do the denture that would be held in by snapping it onto the tops of the implants. I hate to lose my teeth because I don’t know what that kind of denture will feel like. I know a lower denture is not for me, as I have friends and they only have trouble with theirs. I was talking with a friend and she said she got implants and the teeth were put in right away and they stay there. She is very happy but she said her solution was more expensive than the snap in type I’ve heard about. I’m also a bit leery of having a denture floating around while the implants are healing. I’ve heard it can take as long as six months to get the denture that snaps in, which means soup for six months – not too appealing. Isn’t there a more convenient way?


Answer:

The type of “snap in denture” you describe, is still currently done. Many years ago, I did several of these but you’re right, after the surgery healing wasn’t pleasant and eating with the denture was almost impossible. On top of that, this type still permits small seeds under the denture, which can be painful when one bites down. This type keeps the denture in but does not completely immobilize it, so lifting on the backend where the molars sit, can occur (this allows food particles under the dentures).

The best for healing, comfort and function I have found, is to place four or five implants and secure teeth by fastening them to the implants with tiny but extremely strong titanium screws. Healing occurs more quickly because there’s not a denture that is putting pressure on the gums that are trying to heal. After complete “gum” healing (usually one to three weeks), the teeth are still fixed and no shifting can occur as opposed to a denture which can. You can also eat with almost the same force as our own teeth, whereas a denture’s efficiency is reduced to 10% of your natural dentition.

The last obvious advantage is that if you choose a snap denture after complete boney healing around the implants, you can. Or if you’d like to stay with the firmly attached titanium screw-fixed-plan, you can choose that option.


If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.


Based on actual patient cases.


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