Do I visit the dentist or surgeon first for dentures?


I have a serious fear of the dentist and have dealt with this ever since I was a kid. Now I am 50 years old and most of my teeth are missing or broken. I have decided to get dentures. Do I need to see the general dentist first or the oral surgeon to remove my remaining teeth?

I have to admit that I’m extremely embarrassed by the state of my dental health. It has kept me from social engagements and other activities. I’m ready to have my teeth fixed so I can get on with my life.

– Paul from Michigan


There are many dentists out there that can take care of all your needs, including the remaining tooth extractions, the oral surgery, as well as the new dentures. As far as the surgery required before dentures can be placed, it is not complicated. Give the dentist a call and simply ask them their normal procedure for dentures and don’t give them any idea of your preference. If you find a dentist that can take care of the surgery, it is very likely they are experienced in doing dentures.

Since you also mentioned how you deal with dental fear, it would be an added bonus to find a dentist that offers sedation dentistry.

You may have the impression that there is a lot of coordination with both the oral surgeon and the dentist, but that is largely for an appliance like an immediate denture. For this treatment, the denture is placed the same day your teeth are removed. Many patients like this because you won’t have any time pass where you are without teeth. Even if this is not what you decide is right for you, general dentists usually give denture patients a better, more comfortable fit compared to surgeons.

There is nothing wrong with going to an oral surgeon to have your teeth removed if that is your preference. Just be sure you see the general dentist first so all of the steps are coordinated with your best interests in mind.

I hope this information was helpful in answering your questions.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related posts: missing all teeth

All I can afford is dentures.

I am fed up with my teeth and am at the point where I feel like dentures is my only option. My teeth are cracking and they are literally crumbling. When I was pregnant with my first child over 14 years ago now, I vomited every single day at least once a day for the entire nine months. This was the same during the birth of my last child nearly eight years ago.

My teeth are in terrible shape. I had to have a tooth extracted the other day because it cracked into pieces while I was doing something so simple, blowing up an inflatable toy. Several of my teeth are worn down to the gums and one of my crowns has fallen out. I think I have several cavities too. I only have $1,000 available every plan year with my current dental insurance and I don’t qualify for loans or additional financial assistance. Dentures appear to be my only option because I can’t afford anything else. I was given an estimate of $1400 for upper dentures and give a cost of 4 times that for root canals, crowns, or bridges.

– Laura in Iowa


It sounds as if you are on a tight budget which means complete dentures or partial dentures may be your only option, depending on how bad your teeth are. You need to be aware of some problems that may be in store for you with dentures. Many denture patients feel that they are very uncomfortable and they greatly reduce your chewing efficiency. Another big concern is a condition called facial collapse. What happens with this condition is that when you don’t have teeth left, your body doesn’t think your jawbone is required to support those teeth, so it resorbs the minerals to be used in other areas of the body. This means that your jawbone will shrink. And over time, about 20 years down the road, it may shrink so much so that you may not even be able to wear a denture.

Lower tooth loss is more serious than loosing your upper teeth and the upper denture allows for more adjusting than the lower because it is help in place with a suction. This process makes it more stable than the lower which is secured by your tongue and cheeks while it rests on your lower jaw. So in the long-term, keeping as many of your natural teeth as possible is best to avoid facial collapse. Patients are generally more satisfied with uppers versus lowers.

I know you have made it clear that your finances are largely dictating your situation, but dental implants are a much more permanent solution that prevent facial collapse.Or maybe mini implants could be an option. They are much smaller than standard fixtures, the surgery is much simpler, and they are much more affordable.

I’m sorry to hear you are in such a tough spot and I hope that you find an empathetic dentist that can present all of your options to you.

Good luck.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Hylan Dental Care.

One of the teeth holding my bridge in has to be extracted

I have a gold bridge. One tooth has to be pulled. Can the bridge be cut from the remaining tooth of will the bridge have to come off that tooth also?
– Jim from Texas

Some complete bridges can be cut and the offending tooth extracted, and the cut part smoothed off and they will work fine. But most of the time I would expect that wouldn’t work.¬†You would have to ask your dentist for specific information on that as it pertains to your case. To be sure you get excellent care, If you don’t have full trust in your dentist, you may need to get a second opinion about It.

Whether your dental bridge can be cut and survive depends on how many teeth are being used to anchor the teeth and the stress that is already placed on those teeth by the teeth in the other arch. For example, if it’s a four-unit bridge, such that it covers three teeth and the fourth tooth is a false tooth, you could easily get by supporting the false teeth with two teeth instead of three, in most cases.

However, if it’s a three-tooth bridge replacing one missing tooth between two healthy ones, it’s hard to do that right. If you remove one of the teeth, you then have a cantilever bridge. A cantilever structure is one that is supported on one side only, as opposed to a traditional bridge on both sides with one or two teeth in between. If you take out the support on one side of the bridge, it likely won’t hold up and will end up destroying the other good tooth. But if the good remaining tooth is large enough and sturdy enough, it could maybe work.

This is one of the advantages of dental implants. If you replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, and later there is some problem with one of the adjacent teeth, you can just treat that single tooth. But if that tooth is part of a bridge, the treatment gets more complicated, and you may need an entirely new bridge.

This blog is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Dr. Brad Hylan.