My husband went to the dentist to get some information on dental implants. He’s had dentures for a while but hates them. The dentist said he could only have the all-on-four procedure. We’re were hoping for the more traditional procedure. Should we get a second opinion?
Yes, I recommend you get a second opinion. I am always especially leary of dentists who only offer one option. There are always options. If he said you can only get an all-on-4 procedure because of a lack of jawbone structure, that’s not your only option. With the all-on-four position, they angle the implants so “technically” it doesn’t require as much bone.
Howeever, you can get traditional implants if you have have bone grafting done first. This is an outpatient procedure which can take your own bone from another part of your body to graft into your jawbone. Or, you can get porcine or synthetic bone to graft there. This enables you to have enough bone structure to retain traditional dental implants.
If you are replacing all your teeth, you will get between four to six dental implants and then secure a denture to them. Obviously, the more dental implants you have, the more secure everything will be.
Having more dental implants also helps prevent you from any further jawbone loss, leading to facial collapse.
Why Your Husband’s Jawbone Shrank
When your husband’s teeth were removed, his body recognized that and, in an effort to be efficient, began resorbing the minerals in his jawbone to use elsewhere throughout his body where it perceived they’d be more useful. This has the effect of slowly disintegrating his jawbone. After a period of time, there won’t be enough jawbone left in his body to even retain his dentures. This is known as facial collapse.
The solution to this problem is to place dental implants into his jaw after you’ve built the structure back up with the bone grafting procedure. The implants serve as prosthetic tooth roots and signal to the body he still has teeth there, which prevents any loss of minerals.
Whichever dentist you end up using for your procedure, it is important, if the dentist doesn’t do both the surgery and the restoration, that they communicate with the surgeon before the surgery about the placement. This will prevent the surgery from just jumping forward and placing the implants in the wrong spots. There are many dental implant horror stories that resulted from this.
Best of luck to you.
This blog is brought to you by Atlanta Periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey.