Minnie needed help. She had been wearing dentures for years, but now they didn’t fit right.
They were uncomfortable. They wouldn’t stay in place, and they made it difficult to eat almost anything.
She hoped that she might be able to get implant dentures instead, so she made an appointment to visit 1st In Smiles. She knew Dr. Barfield, had taken a lot of continuing education in implant dentistry.
She felt confident that if anyone could help her get back on track, it was the staff at that dentist office in Plano, TX.
The Problem With Traditional Dentures
During her initial visit, Minnie wanted to understand why her dentures no longer fit.
The staff explained that when she lost most of her teeth and had the rest removed, she also lost the roots of her teeth. This is where the problems began.
Minnie learned that roots not only serve as anchors that keep healthy teeth in place. They also helped keep her jaw healthy and strong.
When she had her teeth, her roots would push into her jawbone when she ate. This caused a reaction in her jaw that spurred it to make new tissue to replace the older tissue.
Without her teeth, she didn’t have anything in her jaw to encourage this new growth. As a result, she has gradually been losing bone mass all the time that she has worn her dentures.
That loss of bone mass changed the shape of her jawbone, and that has affected how her dentures fit in her mouth. Those changes are why she no longer feels comfortable going out to eat with her friends. It’s also made her hesitant to speak too much since she doesn’t want to feel embarrassed if her “teeth” fall out.
Dental implants replace missing roots of teeth. Like roots, dental implants provides stimulation to the jawbone to encourage new bone growth. This won’t regrow bone mass that has already been lost, but it will help to sustain the bone that she has left.
The Bad News
There is a catch, however. She needs a minimum amount of bone mass in order to place implants in her jaw. Without it, implants may not be secure enough to be stable.
When the doctor looked at Minnie’s jaw, he informed her that her jaw would not be able to support traditional implants.
However, there was a way to rebuild the missing bone. They could perform a bone graft.
This would be done by transplanting bone into Minnie’s mouth.
As she healed from this procedure, the old bone would grow together with the transplanted bone to expand her mass.
Later, they would be able to place her dental implants, and after she healed from that procedure, they should be able to give her the implant-supported dentures that she was seeking.
The sound of having multiple procedures did not appeal to Minnie. She wondered aloud if there might be a simpler way to achieve her goal
The Good News
Fortunately for Minnie, there is another option for a patient in her situation. She could get mini implants instead.
As the name suggests, mini implants are smaller than traditional implants. Specifically, they have a smaller diameter. This means they can be placed into many jaws that have lost too much mass for standard dental implants.
With mini implants, Minnie will not need to worry about having a bone graft, then healing from that procedure, before getting her implants.
Instead, she can have her mini implants placed and get her implant-supported dentures sooner.
Mini implants can do pretty much everything that their larger counterparts can do. They can support dental crowns to replace single lost teeth. They can be used to support dental bridges, and a series of mini implants can be used to secure a set of dentures.
Minnie feels more confident than ever. With her mini-implants to support her dentures, she has been able to eat foods that she hasn’t eaten in years.
She no longer worries about her dentures slipping out of position when she speaks, and she is back to being the life of the party when she and her friends get together.
Could Going Small Work For You?
Our Minnie is not a real patient, but the issues described in her story are very real for many people who visit our Plano dentist office.
If you have been discouraged from getting implant-supported dentures due to lost bone mass in your jaw, we welcome you to ask us about mini implants. If we can help you at 1st In Smiles, then that’s when we want to do.