Q: Dr. Crapo: I know I’m in trouble with my teeth. My upper front teeth are so loose I can’t get a good fix on my food because when I bite down, they move forward. I went to a denturist because I know that I’m going to have to have a denture, which I’ve been putting off. He said I could have an upper denture but said I’d have to get my dentist to pull the teeth out so that the denture he made could be put in. I went to make arrangements with a dentist, who said I might have difficulty with a denture because the roof of my mouth wouldn’t provide good suction. He also said that it looked like my upper jaw was smaller than my lower jaw, so I’d probably hit so much on my front teeth that the dentures would pop out. He said that was one of the reasons my own teeth got loose, because I was always hitting them first, then sliding backward on my back teeth.
I don’t know if I’m describing this right but I’m really nervous about getting an upper denture and it coming out in public. The dentist said I might need dental implants to hold it in and he would refer me to someone who could help him with the whole process. I really don’t know how all this works. I think I need more information before I start. I’ve lost all my back teeth, so I don’t have anything but my front teeth to chew with, but if a denture is always coming out, I’ll still be in trouble won’t I?
A: Your dentist has been quite observant. It’s better to know what the challenges are before starting any job. It sounds like you will need substantial anchorage to make upper teeth work. It’s important to know that something can be done that will allow you to not only chew your food, but speak, smile and interact socially with confidence.
Planning includes getting the right kind of x-rays to assess the bone quality and quantity. Knowing how your jaws function in relationship to each other is also vital. Once these things are clear in your dentist’s mind, he can outline several plans.
With adequate bone and proper dental implant placement, you could have teeth that are beautiful and rock solid on the first day of treatment. This technique is about 10 years old and is one of the fastest growing answers to problems like yours.
At this appointment, he can outline other treatment plans that you can then think about and then decide which is best for you. We have seen many patients with problems similar to yours that would be happy to give you their experience with dental implants and their new teeth.