How else can you replace teeth besides dentures?

My dad got dentures in his early forties. I have only known him with dentures, but I know they are really uncomfortable for him right now. He can’t eat his favorite berries because he’s always worried about seeds getting stuck. He can’t eat apples right off his trees because it hurts. I really want to find another solution for my dad. My youngest sister is now out of the house and I think they might have a little money to fix his teeth. My dad thinks a new set of dentures is all he can do. Does he have any other options?

Leslie, Washington

Dear Leslie,

You are kind to think of helping your dad with his teeth. Let’s talk about his options.

He can just get a new set of dentures. You didn’t mention how long he has had the set of dentures he currently is using, but there is so much the right dentist can do with dentures to make an amazing smile. Cosmetic dentists can help your dad get the look he wants with a comfortable fit. They will probably be more realistic, better colored and less bulky than his last set. Dentists use many more artistic elements than in years past. You would just want to verify the work of the dentist with dentures before choosing this option.

The one thing that many people are not aware of is that when the jaw bone isn’t supporting teeth, the body thinks the minerals in the bone aren’t needed anymore. The body then reabsorbs the minerals. Bone loss in the jaw can change the way you look, causing a collapse. This is one of the reasons why dentures start to fit differently or uncomfortably after time.

That loss of bone is the reason why getting dental implants isn’t always an option when switching from dentures. Dental implants are false teeth that are placed over roots forms that are surgically anchored into the jaw bone. If there isn’t enough jaw bone to support the roots, the implants will fail.

Another option that combines dentures and implants are implant-supported dentures or overdentures. This is a good option for those who are replacing many missing teeth, especially for those already with dentures. It is less expensive than full implants, as well. With overdentures, you have a few dental implants surgically placed and the dentures snap onto the implants. These implants halt the loss of minerals from the bone and also add stability and strength to the dentures. If there is bone loss, a bone graft procedure can be done to help build the bone back up. This will allow for the implants to be placed.

The best place to start is with a reputable cosmetic dentist. He or she can evaluate your father’s general and dental health to see if he is a good candidate for dental implants or overdentures if he is interested in that option. He could also help create a new set of dentures that your father would be happy to wear. Either way, that’s a good place to start the process.

This post is sponsored by Sedalia Dental in Ohio.