I just turned 80 years old. I have lived a long and full life, but there are definite downsides to getting old. Namely, my teeth have started to decay, and I have quite a nasty case of gum disease. The other day, some of my teeth just fell out! They had been loose for a little while, but I did not think they were in danger of falling out! My daughter thinks I should look into getting dentures, but I’m not sure if things are dire enough for that. Do I need a full denture, or can I get a partial one? Are dentures my only option, or can I consider dental implants? Is a bridge or something similar an option? Part of why I want to keep my natural teeth as long as possible is to save money on dental costs.
Ayato, from Kings County, Washington
Judging from your description, you have quite an advanced case of periodontal disease. Due to this, it is likely you have a large amount of decay on all your teeth. A bridge would not be possible since it seems like you have no solid teeth remaining. A dental implant or denture would place less stress on the surrounding teeth left in your jaw.
Dental implants are always preferable to dentures when it comes to replacing missing teeth. However, you may not have enough bone left in your jaw in order to get dental implants placed. You may need a bone graft prior to getting dental implants, and you may have lost too much bone in your jaw to even consider one. A trustworthy, quality cosmetic dentist would assess you prior to surgery, instead of jumping right into surgery and risking the bone implant or dental implant failing.
Given the current state of your mouth, it is likely you would need a full-mouth restoration, which could cost you over ten thousand dollars. To save your remaining teeth, you could opt for a removable partial denture to cover the missing teeth. If you do not want to wait for more teeth to fall out, you can opt for extractions on the teeth most in need of it, and replaced by a removable full or partial denture.
The biggest risk of getting dentures over dental implants is the side effect of bone resorption. Bone resorption can lead to facial collapse, which is aesthetically unpleasant. However, resorption happens slowly over ten years or so, so it would be a larger worry if you were a younger patient opting for dentures. In your case, getting dentures would improve your oral health and prolong the use of your teeth. If you’re worried about aesthetics, you can seek a high quality denture from a cosmetic dentist or a dentist skilled in making aesthetically-pleasing dentures.
This blog post is brought to you by Colorado Springs affordable dental implant and aesthetic denture provider, Dr. Joseph Rota, of Rota Advanced Dental.