Dr.Crapo: Three years ago I met with my dentist to discuss a problem that I believe happened because of misjudgment by a previous dentist. My upper teeth were not great, but they were fixable. The cost of fixing them was significant and at first, I was stunned. The amount set me on my heels so to speak and I had a hard time working through it. When my dentist at the time, saw my difficulty, he suggested a cheaper route to extract my teeth and go with an upper denture. The price difference was so significant that I saw it as an opportunity and took it. Immediately after the extraction and installation of the denture, I was in trouble – it wouldn’t stay in. After several months and no improvement, I saw my present dentist who ultimately referred me to an oral surgeon. He explained that my palate (the roof of my mouth) was completely flat and could not produce the proper suction to keep my denture in. He told me a proper shaped palate could be constructed surgically and with implants I’d have “my teeth back”. A piece of my hip bone was taken and the upper ridges where my teeth had been, were rebuilt. Four months later implants were put into the new bone. Last week (a year and a half later) the implants have fallen out and the hip bone is gone, leaving me with a worse situation than before. What happened? Where do I go from here? I look like Prune Face from Dick Tracy. My upper lip looks like dried fruit and I can’t keep my teeth in with any amount of denture glue.
I am sorry to hear of your situation with its mental and physical challenges. Grafts from the hip (the iliac crest of bone), grafts of rib bone or any other graft that is put on top of bone in the mouth have mixed success. The most common reasons they fail are because the bone graft is not totally stable (solid and immovable during healing) and the blood supply to the graft is not adequate. Your graft relied on blood from the bone it was sitting on and the gum that was sewn back over top of it.
Contrast that to a bone graft placed in a tooth socket, where it is completely surrounded by bone and blood supply, or a graft placed in the sinus where it too is surrounded by bone and blood supply. Though hard to hear, grafting bone in your sinuses will give you the bone you need for implants to support your teeth. It was not the implants that failed, it was the bone graft that failed. As the graft went away, the implants fell out.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.
Based on actual patient cases.