I am a little concerned with my dentist’s plan to fix my mouth. I struggled with drugs and alcohol when I was in my teens and twenties. My teeth are trashed because of it. I have since turned my life around, but my mouth is a constant reminder of what I put my body through. I finally have the means to fix my teeth, but my dentist just wants to pull all my teeth at the next visit and replace them with dentures. If that’s what I have to do, I will do it, but I wondered if I have any better options?
Dean, St. Louis
Congratulations on your life changes! While it is great that you have the ability to get a healthy mouth, your dentist’s plan isn’t ideal.
If all your teeth are pulled, especially at your age, your jawbone is going to shrink. When there are no teeth in the jawbone, the minerals are pulled from that bone and reabsorbed into the body. Your jawbone will just continue to shrink and your face will eventually become deformed.
The dentures that your dentist will fit you with now will work for the time being, but because of the loss of the jawbone, any dentures later won’t fit comfortably and may affect eating and your looks. It will continue to shrink, the older you get. It will eventually lead to finding a dentist who can complete complicated, and more expensive, bone grafts to try to salvage your jawbone to be able to eat normally.
If there are any of your teeth that can be salvaged, keep them. It is worth it to work with what you have to save them, if only to preserve the integrity of your jawbone.
If it truly is the case that none of your teeth are able to be saved, dental implants that are grafted into your jawbone will serve the same purpose in preserving your jawbone. You don’t have to have every tooth replaced with implants. That could be pricey. Some implants would still prevent the jawbone from shrinking.
We would definitely recommend getting a second opinion. If nothing else, getting all your teeth pulled in one appointment is a little extreme. There is a great amount of novocain needed to complete the extractions, not to mention the trauma to the mouth.
This post is sponsored by Angel Dental Care of Garfield Heights, Ohio.