End of The Line?
Q: When I was eight years old my upper two front teeth were knocked out. That was over seventy years ago. During my youth and young adult years I wore a partial denture. It was always in and out - always fussy.
Finally, I got an upper denture in my mid-forties and that’s what I’ve got now. Over the years, I have had several upper dentures that have worked fairly well though I’ve had to get relines on them from time to time. In the past two years, it’s been a real nuisance. I’ve had x-rays and been told that I’ve lost so much bone that the ridge holding my denture has become floppy, as in no bone left holding the gums stable and supportive. It’s a really become a hardship trying to eat anything that requires chewing. In all ways I’m healthy, no allergies and no medications so I’m wondering if there’s a solution. If I don’t have bone to hold the denture in I don’t have bone for implants I guess.
It feels like the end of the line for me. I’ve got great lower teeth with crowns that are beautiful and healthy but upstairs - NADA! I’ve got “gas in the tank” but this is holding me back. This upper denture is the pits. Please suggest something!
A:When teeth are lost in the upper jaw at an early age and lower natural teeth or implanted teeth function against the upper denture, bone may be lost in dramatic fashion, especially in the front where the six front teeth once functioned. You are not alone in this dilemma and there are solutions. The solutions involve bone grafting of which there are several types but the best for your situation is bone grafted in the sinuses. At first blush, many may think this very risky but in fact these surgeries have great success. Trying to put bone back where only little or no bone exists in the front is far riskier and far less successful. The surgery is demanding and results not highly predictable. In your case, grafting the sinuses will allow good stable bone in five months time. At that point, implants three or four on each side will provide great anchorage for bridgework to be made. Your front teeth will be permanently bridged with support from the implants on both sides. Your front teeth will be completely rock solid stable. The palate will be as free as before you lost your teeth. You’ll be able to chew without worry or concern and you will be able to clean your upper bridgework like your beautiful lower teeth.