Q: Dr. Crapo: Twenty years ago I decided I’d had it with my teeth. I just didn’t have anything but decay. I’d get things fixed and six months later more decay. I decided that with a denture my problems would be solved. After healing on my upper, the denture felt pretty good. I managed to hang onto my lower front teeth and two teeth behind my lower eyeteeth on both sides. I had a lower partial made and it seemed to work okay. For the first two or three years, I wore my upper denture all the time and it really stayed in place. I think at about year three I saw a dentist and he said I should be taking my upper denture out every night. He said I had some red swollen areas in the roof of my mouth and I needed to let the gums and palate rest at night. It was tough because when I put in my denture in the morning it didn’t suck into place very well. It’d take several hours before I’d get that tight secure feeling that it was going to stay. A year went by and it began to feel loose, so the dentist relined it. He also said I was losing bone and my palate wasn’t really able to give me a lot of suction because it was losing shape as the bone where my teeth once were, was dissolving away. This was quite frightening because I was losing that secure feeling of my denture staying in. Now I use powders and other liners to keep my teeth in but it is still a very big problem. Over the years, I’ve also lost the back teeth on the lower, so I’ve just got my lower six front teeth. When I try to bite into anything now, it pops my denture loose. I’ve been told that most of my bone is gone so I can’t have implants. It’s very worrisome and I find I’m dwelling on my problem throughout the day. Is this my fate?
A: Your dilemma is more common than you think. Many denture wearers are forced to keep their teeth in with denture adhesives of one kind or another.
In most cases however, this can be nicely handled with bone grafting in the sinus. It is an everyday thing to see bone grafting in the sinus provide good bone and great stability for implants. In over twenty years I have seen grafting in the sinus provide excellent bone for implant placement without complications of any magnitude.
Each individual is unique but the techniques and materials are readily available to those who provide this service so that the resulting reconstructions are beautiful and long lasting.