It’s A Miracle
Dr.Crapo: I’m a sixty-two year old woman. During my thirties, I started losing teeth because of decay and breakdown; by age forty-one, I had only my front teeth left. I had an underbite (lower front teeth in front of the upper front teeth) and I could not chew well. After a frustrating try with partial dentures, I had my teeth out and got full dentures. For a while things went well. I had a good bite and for the first time in my life I didn’t feel like I had to jut my jaw forward to chew my food. I liked the look of my lower jaw – strong but not “pouty”. Over time the bone in my lower jaw diminished. I had several relines that helped for a year or two each time. At fifty-five I had a new set of dentures made because I started to see my lower jaw jut forward giving me an underbite. Within months the new denture started doing the same thing. Long story short, I’ve tried three more sets of dentures, all with the same result. I’m also losing facial support and looking older than my age. I am not an unattractive woman, but this terrible problem causes me to go through contortions just to keep my lower denture in when eating or speaking. Can’t I ever have a nice smile without the protruding jaw? Is there a type of denture that will do that for me? This is really bothering at me.
Answer: I have seen this happen six or seven times. A lower denture is made and within months to several years, a normal bite relationship becomes an underbite.
Nine months ago a very attractive “sixty something” woman came in to ask about a lower denture because she had very little jaw bone left and her denture couldn’t be stabilized to work at all. She had a natural underbite, so her lower jaw was prominent and she showed sagginess in her lower face.
I told her that we could place implants in such a way as to fasten teeth in the correct position (upper front teeth over and in front of the lower front teeth) and correct the aging look as well. She proceeded with treatment and yesterday I saw her for a follow-up visit. When she was seated I asked, “What do you think?” She said “I didn’t believe you when you told me you could put my teeth right and correct my saggy look. I wanted to believe it, but I had tried so many times, and I was told I’d lost so much of my jawbone that implants wouldn’t work. I was in despair, but now, I can’t believe how good they feel, how good they look, and the way my face has been rejuvenated – I no longer have a protruding jaw. For the first time in my life, I feel normal. It’s a miracle.”
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