A Lasting Smile Implanted
She complained that she had bad teeth her entire life. Regardless of how often she brushed, flossed, and even went to the dentist on regular occasion – nothing seemed to work. She simply had “bad teeth.” This led to oral appliances to replace missing teeth to at least give the look of a full smile. However, there were major issues with the denture appliances – sore gums, lost chewing functionality, constant discomfort to name a few. Some decisions needed to be made because the dentures were not getting the job done. What types of options did she have? Was there something better we could do to get rid of the always unpleasant dentures? Would she be open to dental implants?
The Problem with Removable Dentures
Her chewing functionality was gone. The missing teeth created an unstable chewing pattern by not fully utilizing all of her teeth. Her lower teeth had had such a dramatic decline that she was destined for dentures. It is very hard for some people to bite, chew, taste and swallow with dentures. The maximum biting force that a normal patient can utilize to bite is around 15% of the normal biting force if the patient had their natural teeth. To further that, dentures do not prevent bone loss, which creates long-term issues with basic mouth functionality. We had to create a solution that overcame all of these obstacles, but most importantly we wanted to create as close to permanent of a smile as possible.
She knew she was on the pathway to dentures. Several of her family members had taken that option and that was something she was not interested in any capacity. The constant hassle of removal, cleaning, the uncomfortable wear and tear on the gums. The discomfort of appliances was such an issue that her friends would recommend taking the appliance out on a longer term basis, which was again not an option. Not having a full set of teeth made her terribly insecure and simply having missing teeth was just not an option. In fact, she actually slept with the appliances in because it gave her a feeling of having real teeth in her mouth. The physical absence of teeth led to a very negative self perception of her smile.
Implant Retained Dentures as a Solution
We determined, together, that her best option was implant retained dentures. Once her goals were set, 4 surgical grade titanium posts were placed into the jawbone.. The dental implants anchored the lower jaw to provide a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth, which were added afterwards to complete this procedure.
Minimal Treatment Pain
The initial process of tooth removal was not unbearable or terribly painful. A minimal amount of pain medication was needed but she always had more if she needed to quell the pain. The team was very transparent in what to expect. That followed with a comforting staff continually checking on her overall state helped immensely. The minor amount of pain for the few days after extraction was something she was prepared for. She knew what the end result would be so that helped her on the treatment journey.
How Do the New Teeth Look?
The aesthetics are fantastic. There were a few final adjustments for long term functionality and comfort. She reminded us multiple times how the entire Reflections’ team was so incredibly responsive for any adjustment to the implant retained dentures and that made a huge difference. The focus was on my care and my comfort and not the other way around. The staff made her feel incredibly comfortable throughout the entire treatment process.
Living Life with a new Smile
She felt like she had brand new teeth. Teeth that you do not have to remove, teeth that are comfortable and restored full functionality to the mouth. Her responsibility was to keep them clean with brushing, water pick and overall hygiene. As long as she remained faithful in cleaning, then she would have no more serious dental issues. Removable dentures were a nightmare with all of the upkeep and lack of functionality.
She now gets compliments that she has the most beautiful teeth all of the time. People notice her smile and it makes her feel like a million dollars. People have no idea that she has implant retained dentures. They only notice her beautiful smile. What a dramatic change.
Advanced Dental Implant Dentistry
Dental implants have been Dr. Schmidt’s special interest since dental school, where he was one of only five students accepted into the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program at the University of Oklahoma. His level of training and industry leading knowledge, has empowered his patients to change the way they approach their long term dental health. We offer the full breadth of dental services at Reflections Dental Care in Oklahoma City. Call 405-563-7097 to set up a consultation or visit www.reflectionsdentalcare.com for more information. Lance R. Schmidt D.D.S. is the owner/proprietor of Reflections Dental Care. Follow us on Twitter.