Q: As a teenager and young adult I had a terrible time with my teeth - fillings every six months then root canals then extractions then bridges. At thirty-five I’d had enough so I decided to have my teeth out and get dentures. Once they settled in I was a happy camper. No more decay and no more sensitive teeth. However, as time went by I needed two implants to hold in my lower denture. That seemed to work ok but then I found I had to have relines every year or the denture would seem loose or my jaw would shift and I’d have to have my bite adjusted. It was like I was back where I started, only this time it was jaw pain and gums that were constantly sore because the dentures seemed to move or my jaw moved and the gums were constantly being beat up. The implants seemed to keep my denture from sliding around but my gums are wearing away or something because my denturist is constantly relining my denture to make it tighter. After a reline my gums are ok but after a couple of months I get the sores again. I can’t eat what I want!
The other thing is the peg or ball that sits on top of the implants gets loose. The dentist was charging a ton to tighten it up till one day he couldn’t find his tightening tool so he used a pair of needle nose plyers. Because of the expense, I decided to do the tightening myself. I know this is bad, but what do I do?
A: When implants became a viable replacement for teeth many implant instructors talked about placing two implants in the lower jaw where dentures were not stable. One implant was placed where the eye tooth once was on each side. The denture had an attachment on its underside to match a ball attachment coming out from the implant. In the beginning magnets and O rings were used to ensure the denture was held down. This helped to reduce major shifting of the denture.
The problem was that movement was still happening. Sticky foods lifted the back ends of the denture. The gums were still taking stressful forces. Relines were still necessary. Sore gums were still a problem.
Each year I see several of these exact problems. The best solution is to place two or three more implants and create teeth that are only supported by implants. This way you get a denture that is properly secured permanently. No more gum sores or pinching, no more moving of the denture, and finally support for muscles and joints. It really is that good.