Dear Dr. Crapo: I’m ninety years old and in reasonable health. I have a full denture on the top that has a couple of snaps near the front. It is doing just fine. My problem is the bottom. I’ve had lots of work done down there, but on my last inspection the dentist said I had some very loose teeth and the five remaining teeth wouldn’t last – in fact they wouldn’t survive the year and would have to come out. He said I’d have to get implants and a denture for the bottom. I’ve got a partial denture that hooks onto those five teeth. He said that in looking at my X-rays I had two broken teeth. He said the only reason they were still in my mouth was because the crowns had been connected to each other and they were literally hanging on by the skin in my mouth. I don’t have pain and nothing seems wrong to me except the partial doesn’t seem as strong when I bite down. He also said I’d need implants because lower dentures don’t stay in very well. He did say I had good bone amounts so I wouldn’t have any trouble getting them put in. He said it would take four or five months to get fixed up with new implants and a denture that would snap into place. I don’t hear as well as I used to so I’m still a bit confused as to how to proceed and what all is involved.
Your situation is common. I’m seeing more healthy eighty and ninety-year-olds in great need of well-functioning teeth. You have a least three options when implants are involved.
The least expensive option is adequate for those who can stand inconvenience for four to six months. In your case, the five teeth are removed, then two or three implants placed. A healing period of three months is necessary before the denture is fitted to the implants. The denture still rides on your gums, but the implants hold the denture and keep it from coming out of your mouth.
The second involves four or five implants that hold a titanium bar. This also has a snap system, but the denture rests on the bar, not on your gums, so you won’t be bothered if food gets under the bar. This takes three to five months to deliver. In both these cases, you will have to do your best with a temporary denture as you wait for healing.
The third, and by far the best, option is the placement of four or five implants and a bridge fixed to them the same day. You can use your teeth immediately – there’s no waiting. Though I have described this system many times before, it is still not well known, but this technology is a god send.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.