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Julian Chen
Julian Chen, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 568
Experience:  Practicing General Dentist since 2002
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I have severe bone loss and have been wearing dentures for

Customer Question

I have severe bone loss and have been wearing dentures for about 15 years. At this point the lower left is the worst. The gum has split and the denture fits into a pocket. My dentures are very worn. I have neglected this because of many bad experiences at the denist. I have had bone loss since I was 14. I am 58 now. I don't know where to start or what type of denist to go to. I do not want to just go to a regular denist and have them refer me. I want to know who to call who will be able to do the work or tell me the options. I live in St. Paul MN
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Julian Chen replied 7 years ago.

I'm certain that you've encounter some "incompetent dentists" along the way but it wouldn't surprise me if you've came across a few skilled ones as well. Whether you've given them a chance is a whole different matter.

As you noted, you've been wearing dentures for 15 years and you started experiencing bone loss as early as 14 years of age. The major concern now is whether you even have enough jaw bone left to support any future dentures. That would depend a lot upon whether in the past 15 years, if you've been back to your dentist (or last dentist) every 2-3 years to evaluate and possibly reline those dentures to make sure they're fitting as well as they could/should. Ill-fitting dentures tend to accelerate bone loss, which obviously makes future replacements even more difficult to fabricate.

I'm going to go on the assumption that there is severe damage and loss of bone. And it is doubtful that any competent dentist, or in the case of a specialist, Prosthodontist, will be able to make you another set of dentures that you'll find stable and functionally acceptable. The question now comes down to what are you desires for your mouth, teeth, and your smile?

Unfortunately, you'll need to go see one more general dentist to make the proper prosthodontist referral. If you rather not deal with private practice, then you can also contact the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, located in Minneapolis.

Contact admissions and see if you can become a patient of the dental school. Many years back when I was in school, it was easier to get to the specialty program via a referral given from a general dentist in private practice. That way, you can skip a fair amount of paperwork at the undergraduate level and go straight to seeing the people that you need to see, which are the dental students in the Grad Prosthodontics program. These individuals are already dentists. They're simply there for additional training to specialize in full mouth reconstructions and rehabilitations. If you're looking for the best restorative dentist of complex cases, "Prosthodontists" will be the ones to contact. Dental school fees are generally cheaper than private practices as well.

If you rather bypass a general dentist in private practice, you can try to look up "Prosthodontist" in the phone book. You could also go to this website below:

That leads to the dental society for Saint Paul, MN. Hopefully a friendly receptionist will be able to provide you with a list of Prosthodontists practicing in the area for you to seek care. Again, generally, specialists require that you've been referred to them by a general dentist. However, it's possible that some of them will overlook that fact and agree to do a consultation with you without a referral.

Best of luck to you.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Nothing I did not know. I was looking more for what the Prosthodontists could do for me. What are the possibilities. What does it involve?
Expert:  Julian Chen replied 6 years ago.

The possibilities are dependant upon your specific situation. And without a clinical examination and your most current Panoramic X-rays, as well as a cone-beam CT scan to determine the amount of bone you have left in your jaws, I could sit here and list out pages of information, most of which may not even matter to you due to your existing condition.

But realistically, what you ask can easily be answered by a prosthodontist during a comprehensive exam and consultation. It would be easier than fishing for answers on the internet. If after the examination, you have additional, more specific questions that you cannot ask the prosthodontist, and you'd like 2nd opinions, then some of us here might be able to provide more in depth info.

So respectfully, XXXXX XXXXX proceed to opt out of answering this question as it seems you've already looked up the need to see a prosthodontist yourself and I've provided nothing new or useful to you. Ultimately, you just need to make that phone call and get examined/evaluated.

Best of luck to you.