Securely in Place

Implant-supported denture restores function.

Insook Emmett says it was embarrassing when her upper denture wouldn’t stay in place.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Insook can now bite into a cookie
without worrying about her denture.

“I would be in a conversation, and I could feel it starting to come loose,” Insook reveals. “I never wanted to smile because I was afraid the denture would fall out.”
Insook also had a lower denture that fit so poorly that she rarely put it in.
“The bottom denture caused me so much pain,” Insook recalls. “I couldn’t stand to have it in, which also contributed to me not being able to eat anything hard or chewy, like ribs or steak. I had to eat softer foods. That became boring and tedious. I was using a lot of adhesive to keep them in place, and it wasn’t working.”
Aside from her inability to chew properly, Insook had growing concerns about her appearance.
“I’m sixty-one, but I looked like I was much older,” she laments. “My face was sagging, and it looked like I had no facial structure at all because there were no teeth.”
An eyeglass wearer, Insook says she couldn’t manage to keep her glasses perched on her face.
“My glasses slid off my face all the time,” she shares. “I had no bone structure, and my face was sunken in. It was really a bad situation.”
Insook continued on this course for several years before she had the financial means to make a change.
“Once I had the finances to take care of it, I started doing some online research, and that led me to Dr. Patel at Palm Coast Family Dentistry.”

Creating a Solid Plan

“When Insook first came into the office, her main concern was her upper denture that would not stay in place making it hard for her to talk,” informs Jayraj J. Patel, DMD. “It lacked the proper support and made her look older. Also, her bottom denture fit so poorly that is caused her pain and moved a lot, making it difficult to eat and get proper nutrition.
“While these were legitimate concerns, the immediate issue, in reality, was securing the upper denture so that she can function and continue running her business properly as that involved her talking on the phone a lot.”
When planning Insook’s reconstruction plan, Dr. Patel says his focus was on function, aesthetics, fit and comfort.
“I recommended creating a traditional upper denture to get things started so that she would look good and feel better about herself. It would also give her the ability to talk and smile better. A bottom denture would later help her chew properly,” he comments. “I would address her remaining concerns by fabricating a prosthesis with implants for the bottom jaw.”
Dentures often replace natural teeth that have been lost due to tooth decay, gum disease or injury. In most cases, upper dentures fit securely because the palate enables the creation of sufficient suction to hold the appliance in place.
“We needed to start with the upper arch, and made a complete upper denture that stays in place much better than the one she had,” Dr. Patel describes.

Secure Smile and Function

“We fabricated a new upper denture for Insook based on her preference for the teeth to stay in place and for it to provide proper lip and cheek support,” Dr. Patel describes.
Stock photo from her bottom jaw Dr. Patel suggested an implant-retained overdenture.
Unlike conventional dentures, implant-retained overdentures use a medical-grade titanium implant that integrates to living bone. This process, called osseointegration, helps preserve the jaw bone – slowing or even stopping the bone resorption (shrinkage) that is common in many patients. In contrast, conventional dentures can actually accelerate bone loss due to constant force on the gums during chewing.
“Insook already had bone, which is why her face was sinking in, thereby creating an older look,” Dr. Patel educates. “Lower dentures are often more difficult to keep stable. This is because there is no palate in the bottom jaw, due to the location of the tongue, and less suction is produced. Securing a lower denture with dental implants is the most effective way to stabilize it.”
Dr. Patel recommended bone grafting to replace what had been lost, along with placement of four implants to secure Insook’s lower overdenture.
“She did not have adequate bone along the bottom jaw to place the implants, so we had to grow new bone,” Dr. Patel states. “Luckily for Insook, we were able to perform the surgeries to graft the areas of inadequate bone along with placing the implants in a single appointment.”
When secured by implants, dentures don’t rock or move; they stay in place when wearers speak and eat comfortably.
Dr. Patel explains that an implant retained and supported prosthesis provides a number of benefits.
“Dentures with dental implants are superior to their traditional counterparts,” observes Dr. Patel. “An implant-supported or retained denture can be snapped into place for a secure fit, eliminating discomfort and the need for denture adhesives. Dental implants are the best thing next to natural teeth and they provide the most secure solution for missing teeth.
“Patients do not want to feel like they have dentures; they want to feel like they have their own teeth, and an implant retained or supported overdenture that stays in place is one of the treatment options that helps give them that feeling,” Dr. Patel continues.
After the four implants and bone graft surgery was complete, Insook wore a temporary lower denture for a few months while waiting for everything to heal. Then, her implant retained lower overdenture was fabricated.
“Not only does she no longer worry about the denture moving when she eats, her speech and appearance has improved,” Dr. Patel relays. “She no longer feels pain while talking or eating. Her transformation has been truly amazing. I am very pleased with how things worked out for her.”

Anything on the Menu

Insook’s future plans include placing implants in her upper jaw to better secure her top denture.
“That is my plan in the future,” Insook confirms. “I didn’t want to go through more surgery so soon after having the bottom implants placed, but that is a definite plan in the near future.”
Insook is thrilled with her implant-retained overdenture and says she not only looks better, but has been able to go back to eating her favorite foods, which has improved her quality of life.
“I can eat steak now and go to restaurants and order anything on the menu and not worry,” she raves. “I am very grateful to Dr. Patel. He is an absolute expert at what he does, and I recommend him to anyone.
“You have to be happy with the reflection in the mirror, and I wasn’t happy before,” Insook admits. “Now, I absolutely love my implant overdenture, and I don’t look like an old lady anymore, either!”

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    • Palm Coast Family Dentistry

      At Palm Coast Family Dentistry, their goal is to provide best possible care to patients in a stress free environment in which patients have the opportunity to communicate with the entire dental team regarding their concerns about oral heal... Read More

    • Jayraj J. Patel, DMD

      Jayraj J. Patel, DMD, has been practicing general dentistry in the Central Florida region since graduating from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. His goal is to deliver comprehensive, compassionate care to his patients in a c... Read More