Last August, I found a dentist who does palateless dentures. He took some x-rays, reviewed my medical records, and said I could get the denture. I was excited because I have worn dentures for 20 years. I was very nervous because I had never had any oral surgery before last September when the dentist did four implants. I was under IV sedation, so the surgery went better than expected. Everything seemed to go okay until mid-January, when I felt something shift in my mouth. I returned to the dentist before my next scheduled appointment. He said that the denture might be loose, and he will check the implants next week. I am terrified of what the dentist might find and that I might lose all the implants. I don’t know if my anxiety will let me start all over again. Now, my trust level is down. What are some reasons that my palateless denture might be loose? – Thanks so much. Giada from Florida
Thank you for your question. Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your denture and take a 3-D cone beam CT scan to identify the problem. But will explain some possible causes of your loose palateless dentures. But first, we will explain how a palateless denture works for any of our readers who are not familiar with it.
What Is a Palateless Denture?
A palateless is shaped like an arch and has no upper plate that touches the roof of your mouth. A palateless implant denture snaps or screws onto dental implants. Dental implants are tiny screws that an implant dentist places in your jawbone. Two to six implants can keep your denture in place. After about four months of healing, your dentist will attach the final denture to the implants.
Palateless implant denture vs. traditional implant denture
- Traditional denture – A traditional denture has a palate that touches the roof of your mouth. Suction from the top of your mouth keeps the denture in place. Many denture wearers find it uncomfortable. Some also say that it distorts the taste of food.
- Palateless implant denture – Dental implants embedded in your jawbone can support a palateless denture. You will have a more comfortable experience wearing dentures that do not cup the roof of your mouth.
Why Is Your Palateless Denture Loose?
If your palateless implant denture is loose, perhaps the denture is not secured to the implants. Or, your implants and jawbone may not have fused. An examination and 3-D CT scan will provide the answer.
- Denture not secured to the implants – If your palateless denture is loose, your dentist must determine the cause. Perhaps the denture base is misaligned with the implants. Or, maybe the connection between your denture and implants is unstable.
- Jawbone and dental implant did not fuse – When your jawbone and implant do not fuse, the cause could be the location of the implants, inflammation around the implants, poor-quality implants, or other factors.
Get a Second Opinion Right Away
We recommend getting a second opinion right away. The American Society of Implant and Reconstructive dentistry cautions that if the implant connection is loose, it can have these effects:
- Alter your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth meet when you close your mouth)
- Damage the implants
- Cause bone loss
You mentioned that your dentist took some x-rays, but you did not say a 3-D cone beam CT scan. Did your implant dentist complete that scan? Search for an implant dentist with credentials (not membership only) from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists or the American Dental Implant Association. Schedule an appointment for a second opinion. You will need a comprehensive exam and a 3-D CT scan at some point.
Your anxiety is understandable, but an implant dentist will recommend sedation options to keep you relaxed while getting the care you need. We wish you a healthy resolution for your loose palateless denture.
Dr. Steven Brooksher of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sponsors this post. Dr. Brooker is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.