I am 45 years old and losing my teeth. Part of it is my own fault and part isn’t. My parents never took me to the dentist growing up. I tried going as an adult, but there was so much work my dentist needed to be done I couldn’t afford all of it. Not to mention how excruciatingly painful each visit was. I’m trying to decide do I need to see an oral surgeon to have my teeth removed or can a dentist do that himself?
I’m sorry you are facing this. I know it is discouraging. There are a lot of patients in your position who grew up without the dental care they needed. As far as who can do the extractions, I would see a dentist who can do both the extraction surgery and the dentures. That cuts down on communication problems. It’s not a difficult procedure and many dentists are experienced in doing the surgery themselves.
There are a few things I want to address to help with this situation. First, is the pain you’ve always experienced at the dentist. When you have a dentist who doesn’t seem concerned about the pain the patient is in, it leads to dental anxiety. This has a two-fold negative problem. First, is it keeps patients away from the dentist, which means they are no longer getting the oral health care they need. Second, anxiety in the dental chair will cause the numbing medicine to burn off prematurely, which in turn makes the appointment more painful. It becomes a vicious cycle. The solution to this is to see a dentist who offers sleep dentistry, also called oral conscious sedation.
This is a simple pill you’ll take before your appointment. Once it kicks in, you will be completely relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. Most people sleep through the appointment altogether.
Dentures Versus Dental Implants
You are awfully young to need complete dentures. While there is nothing to be done about that now, I want to make sure you have all the information. Our bodies are remarkably well-designed and efficient. When your teeth are removed, your body will recognize that. In an effort to use its resources wisely, it will begin to resorb the minerals in your jawbone thinking you no longer need them to retain teeth roots. While true, this has the unfortunate side-effect of shrinking your jawbone as a result. Eventually, there won’t be enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. This is known as facial collapse.
There is a way to prevent this. You can have implant-supported dentures placed. These use between four to six dental implants which are placed into your jawbone. Having implants signals to your brain that you still have teeth, which means it will leave your jawbone intact. After a period of healing which also gives time for the bone to integrate with the implants, your dentist will anchor your dentures to the implants. This not only saves your jawbone, but completely secures your dentures. There will be no loss of chewing capacity and no slipping or falling out; all of which are an issue with removable dentures.
It is more expensive but worth looking into at your young age.
This blog is brought to you by Huntsville Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree.