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Dental implants, any advice please?


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#1 suze932

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:06 AM

Does anyone have experience with dental implants please? I have Limited Systemic Sclerosis and Sjogrens. Due to Sjogrens and associated (?) gum disease I have lost/had extracted several teeth in a short space of time. Implants (together with their astronomical cost) have been suggested but with a caveat that there is a high bone failure rate due to Sjogrens.

Before embarking on dental improvement to enable me to chew my food better and especially as I may lose further teeth, does anyone have any experience of Sjogrens and tooth loss and how do they manage with eating! Not an enticing prospect to look forward to!! Thanks.

#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:53 AM

Hi Suze,

I have a lot of tooth loss. I wear a partial, which I had specially made without tooth rest hooks (because one pulled out an adjacent loose tooth).

At first I just used denture adhesive to keep them in, but now I don't even need to use that; somehow they just stay in place. I can still eat anything I want (steaks, corn on the cob, whatever) except chewing gum, which mercilessly sticks to material they use to make partials. If you have lost just a few teeth, you might be able to have a bridge, which wasn't an option in my case as my tooth loss started from the back and worked it's way forward, on both sides.

I remember that when I got my first partial (many years ago), my dentist told me to always take out my partial before eating (oh, what a treat for my family and friends in restaurants, eh?!) but I have simply ignored that. In the first place, it would look ridiculous and certainly defeat the whole purpose of partials for me, as I would only be able to chew with a few teeth. And besides, there's no reason to take them out for eating, that I've been able to notice, anyway, because they feel and act like real teeth, after you get used to them.

Another dandy feature of partials is that if/when you lose additional teeth, they just add new teeth to the partial. Partials are also at least one fourth the price of implants. They also have single tooth replacements, I think my dentist called them "flips".

Do whatever you and your dentist decide is best in your particular circumstances. But don't feel that implants are absolutely the only option for you. Some of us are very happy with low tech and low cost fixes.

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Shelley Ensz
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#3 judyt

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 02:16 PM

Hello Suze,

This is something I know a little bit about as do lots of others. I started on my tooth replacement journey in 1999 which was several years prior to the diagnosis of CREST and Sjogrens and Primary Biliary Cirrhosis and, and, and!!!!!!!!!

I have had Scleroderma for very many years and I know I started to have Sjogrens symptoms in the 1980's so it is not surprising that by 1999 I was saying to the dentist that I think I need false teeth. Fortunately the first time I went to her I was wearing my 'cool' jeans and a 'trendy' top and although I was already 55 she decided I was much too 'young'! to wear a denture and she would rather try to resurrect what she could. Thank goodness for that opinion because I now know that a dry mouth not only causes gum disease but also makes it very difficult to hold a denture in place.

After many, many, many visits and many, many dollars I now have something like 19 crowns 2 or 3 bridges and 2 implants. I can't actually remember (don't want to really) the exact number!!!!

When it came to the implants about 4 years ago we already knew about all my autoimmune problems, as well as osteoporosis for which I am taking a supplement, the dentist pointed out the potential problems involving bone loss and with bone healing, but we decided to go ahead anyway and if difficulties arose we would just go back a step and take them out. As it turned out I had no trouble at all except with bleeding. I have anticardiolipin syndrome which is a clotting disorder for which the treatment is daily aspirin - consequently I bleed profusely with any injury or minor surgery.

Anyway we dealt with that and in the meantime I am very very happy to have as many teeth as I have and I can eat whatever I want to.

Prior to the implants I did have a partial plate but that was not at all successful so I gave up on it which is why we decided on the implant route.

Good luck with your enquiries.
Judyt

#4 Joelf

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:01 PM

Hi Suze,

From the other members' observations, it does sound as if perhaps a partial might be an option for you. My mother (aged 91 next month) has had one for literally years and like Shelley she can eat almost anything she likes with it, (barring toffees and the like.) I think you do need to have a pretty good bone base for implants to be successful; a friend of mine has had implants which are great for her but 1) she doesn't have Scleroderma and 2) they were eye wateringly expensive!!

My teeth aren't wonderful; when I was young they tended to fill teeth at the slightest provocation, so I have every tooth either filled or crowned and when I told my dentist that I have to take alendronic acid tablets to prevent osteoporosis she did a double take and recoiled in horror; apparently this can affect the bone healing after tooth extraction, so even if I was in a position to afford implants, she didn't think they would be successful. She has suggested a bridge in the future should I need it and I suppose (as I don't thankfully suffer with Sjogrens) as a last resort I'd have to wear dentures (It reminds me of that ancient old joke "Your teeth are like stars.......they come out at night!!".....very corny, I know, but I couldn't resist it!! ;) :rolleyes: :lol: )

I do hope that you can get something sorted out satisfactorily.

Kind regards,

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#5 judyt

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:13 PM

That's the one Jo - Alendronic Acid for Osteoporosis!!! As usual for me, I defied the norm and sailed through the implants with no problems. Doesn't seem to matter with me what the issue is I will defy the norm!!!!!!!!!!!

Judyt

#6 suze932

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:34 AM

Hi,

Thanks so much for your supportive advice. It confirmed what I had already supposed as, even if I was to win the lottery (to be able to afford the implants!!!), the risk of failure due to Sjogrens and associated gum disease has made up my mind to go the route of partials, subject to a second opinion, possibly re-referred to the Eastman Dental Hospital in London. (The clinic I was referred to was obviously 'cosmetic' and implant oriented and although coming out with a Hollywood smile would have been nice, being able to chew is my first priority.)

I previously had a partial with a bridge attached by claws. Unfortunately these claws loosened the opposing teeth, onto which it was attached, causing loosening and the recent extractions!

I really appreciate the feedback, especially as my only other option was becoming toothless! Looking on the bright side it may have come in handy at Hallowe'en! Hey ho, never boring with Sclero is it??

Thank you and a great forum! :emoticons-group-hug:

Sue

#7 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:30 AM

Hello Sue

It's such a great forum because people like yourself post on in, people prepared to share their story, people who have retained their humour despite the best efforts of scleroderma.

Take care.
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#8 suze932

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 04:08 AM

It's so true. Since I have had the latest extractions, and before, my front teeth have started to 'gap and spread' in an alarming way and I am very aware of this. Sjogrens, in spite of frequent visits to the hygienist, and due to lack of saliva leaves my tooth enamel stained, so I have definitely lost confidence in my appearance. When I think of how I used to be suited and booted for work, until two years ago, I feel a bit like a bag lady! However, all the comments and suggestions, always supportive, from the forum, keep me going forward and in the great scheme of things, 'how important is it?' I shall persevere with my dental treatment, whatever it brings - the blender won't be needed yet! Keep posting and kind regards, Sue