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Oral Cancer

Genetic Jaw Bone Degeneration

10/05/2007

Question:

My daughter has been diagnosed with a degenerating jaw bone resulting in the gradual loss of all her teeth. Currently her gums have receded almost to root tips in many instances. She`s been told her jaw at age 38 is that of a 70-80 yr.old. She has perfect teeth, no decay in her life! We`re devasted. If teeth all fall out, there will be no bone for dentures. Bone looks web-like in x-ray, said to be genetic. What hope has she? They are uninsured and if a total jaw implant to support dentures were available the cost would be astronomical and beyond her reach. Are there grant-supported medical facilities to help severe cases like hers? I understand this is textbook rare, most dentists, even specialists, can go a career without seeing this. We are distraught over what looms for her. Help!

Answer:

It is difficult for me to discuss this without seeing a radiograph of the patient. Most patients have adequate bone for implants even after the loss of the bone supporting the teeth. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any grants or studies currently that would pay for implant supported dentures at the College. However, what I would suggest would be an upper denture and the use of perhaps 2 lower implants to support a lower denture. This would significantly reduce the cost and would be a good alternative until she could save for an upper and lower implant supported bridge.

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Response by:

Meade C van Putten, DDS, MS Meade C van Putten, DDS, MS
Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University