For a great majority of patients who wear dentures, the quality of their life suffers to some degree. The fear of loose dentures falling out at a social function, not being able to enjoy foods you used to and not to mention putting your teeth in a glass jar at night can affect your health and self-esteem. Lower dentures especially can be hard to wear and only restore about 10% of normal function. An upper denture covers the palate and even though it usually fits better, it affects your taste and your ability to feel temperature. Even a set of dentures that fits well and that the patient can wear will only restore maybe 30% of normal function (some patients may have a set that fit well but due to things like dry mouth from medication or a strong gag reflex still cannot wear them).
For those patients who have a few teeth left we used to be of the mindset that we need to hold onto and preserve every tooth for as long as possible and we put large span fixed bridges on what few teeth they had left, states Dr. Camacho. This poses problems such as cleaning the teeth that anchor the bridges and since these teeth are usually not in the best of shape due to gum problems this can lead to periodontal (gum) abscesses. Another problem is that the weakened teeth just simply cannot bear the load of these bridges, they continue to lose bone and they will eventually fail. If one of the teeth fails then the patient has the added expense of root canals, if it can be saved, or I have to cut off sections of the bridge to save it which poses a whole new set of problems. Another downside is that since these remaining teeth are usually periodontally involved the body is continually fighting infection and we know that recent research has now linked gum disease to other serious diseases like heart disease. Periodontal disease that has progressed to the point where the teeth are loose cannot be cured but only “maintained” and with the added stress of being harder to clean and trying to bear the load of the teeth they are replacing they really do not have a good long term prognosis.
There have not been many options until recently. Here at Cosmetic Dentistry of San Antonio we are excited to be teamed up with one of the city’s top oral surgeons and an award winning lab to offer a new and proven successful, dental implant technique called All-On-Four that utilizes fixed bridges . This new technique can take as little as 3 appointments and restore function to 90%! And no more taking your teeth in and out! This is new hope for those who do not want to or cannot wear traditional dentures. This is so much healthier and the implants act like natural teeth in that they preserve the remaining bone so the long term prognosis is excellent. It is truly giving a patient their life back. Even if you were previously told you were not a good candidate or thought the process was too involved there is a good chance that this new technique is right for you.
The first step is schedule a consultation so a complete evaluation can be done. Don’t put off what could improve your life dramatically. Give us a call today at