I’m only 60 yrs old and I can’t keep my denture in.

Sadly, my teeth have always been terrible. In fact, I’ve had a dentures since I was in my thirties. Now that I’m 60 years old, I can’t even keep my denture in with the strongest adhesive I can find. I was told that my bony ridge is pretty much gone and that if things progress I will likely not even be able to keep a denture in at all. This sounds so scary. Do I have any options?

– Geno in Texas

Geno,

What you have described is a really hard situation. What has happened gradually over the years is that your body didn’t think that the jawbone was needed anymore so it has resorbed the bone to use the minerals in other areas of the body. This is a debilitating condition called facial collapse. And the truth of the matter is that thirty years ago, it is likely you had no idea this was even a possibility for you at 60.

It sounds like you need bone grafting in order to build the healthy bone back up. But this is a very complex surgery so you need to make sure the dentist you work with is very advanced. In some cases, based on what you have described, there may be many dentists that won’t even attempt it. So the first step will be to find out if you are a bone grafting candidate.

If you are able to find the right dentist for the surgery, you have options when it comes to replacing your teeth. When you are missing all your teeth the treatment options can be very expensive, so what you select may come down to your budget and what kind of quality of life you want to deal with. The most economical option is a removable denture that is placed on the new jawbone. But remember, the same resorption of the bone will start over and in another 10-20 years you may end up in a similar circumstance.

Dental implants are the best practice for replacing missing teeth because they prevent bone resorption. The more implants you have, the more bone that will be retained. Implants can also be used to secure a denture. This treatment is called an overdenture. As little as two dental implants can be surgically implanted into the jaw to stabilize the denture, but the more implants the higher your comfort, stability, as well as prevention of facial collapse.

Thank you for sharing your story. As sad as it is, it will hopefully help someone that is considering their options to replace missing teeth. Especially, an individual that is younger could benefit greatly from your story. So thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

Best of luck.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Scared of the dentist because I’m highly tolerant to Novcaine.

I hate going to the dentist and have had many problems. This is mainly because I have a super-high tolerance to Novocaine. This means that whenever I go in it is terribly painful. I hurt so bad that I pretty much stopped going in. But now that I’m older I’m seeing the damage that has been caused over time, so I’m committed to getting back on track. Unfortunately, I have five or so teeth that need to come out. But I haven’t acted on that yet because I would like to have them replaced with dental implants if I can afford it.

– Paulette in New Jersey

Paulette,

Thank you for sharing your story. It is not unheard of to have a high tolerance to Novocaine. What happens with some individuals is that as their anxiety increases, the thought is that a higher amount of Novocain is required. But that’s actually not the case. The best way to go about treating an individual with this tendency is to use some type of relaxant. Nitrous oxide gas is a relaxant and when paired with Novocain has worked well. Or a sedation dentist uses oral sedatives to help fearful patients work through their anxieties. This treatment simply involves taking a pill prior to the appointment. Many sedation dentistry patients will not remember anything about the procedure.

You can beat your dental fear and their are many dentists out there that focus their practices on helping patients get out of only seeking treatment when they have a dental emergency. They want to genuinely help you get back into regular care for the best long term dental health.

As for replacing your missing teeth, dental implants are the best solution. If you can afford it, you will be happiest with the quality of life they provide, as well as how they look, feel, and function just like your normal teeth.

Hopefully this information was helpful to you.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Where should I go for a dental emergency?

When I went into the dentist last week, I was told that my insurance will not be covering the treatment. So where else can I go? Do I go to the hospital for something like this? I want to get out of pain.

– Jeremiah in Virginia

Jeremiah,

The emergency room isn’t going to be the best plan for something like this. You aren’t the first person that doesn’t have dental insurance. If you are in pain you need to schedule an emergency dentist appointment. Many offices will see you the same day you call. And there are affordable dentist payment plans out there. CareCredit is a low interest financing company that is independent of the dental office, or sometimes the dentist office will work with you on payment terms. They can phase the treatment out over time, taking care of the most pressing needs first and then after time goes by they can address the next phase of treatment. This concept works well to pay as you go. Other practices have payment arrangements in-house and will work with you. Still others will discount treatment if you don’t have insurance. And if you have time and can deal with the pain, there are dental discount plans online. They are not insurance, but they can discount your fees quite a bit.

Best of luck! Hopefully you can get that dental emergency taken care of immediately. No one likes to be in pain.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Cost of dental implants

Can you give me an idea of the total cost of dental implant treatment?

– Sheila in Nevada

Sheila,

With modern dentistry, the prospect of a missing tooth doesn’t have to be so scary. Such procedures as bridges, dentures, and dental implants all replace missing teeth. Dental Implants, however, are a more permanent solution providing natural looking, full functioning tooth replacement. With their advantages, also comes a hefty cost. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3000-$6000 per tooth from start to finish. Of course the price will fluctuate depending on your geographical locale.

There are three essential components to restoring a tooth with an implant. The surgical placement of an implant, the placement of the connection between the implant and crown (abutment), and the placement of the final crown all contribute to the total dental implants cost. The length of treatment can vary from 6-12 months depending if it’s a traditional implant placement or if bone needs to be build up first with grafting. With this level of involvement, the amount of materials used, and quality of the end result the price tag is understandable. Other factors that may influence the cost would be the expertise of the clinician and the brand of implants used. Also, using a higher end lab and materials to do the job is usually reflected in a higher fee.

Being that this procedure takes the better part of a year to complete may work in your (financial) benefit. This may allow you to space out finances and alleviate the burden of the cost all at once. Implants are rarely covered by insurance, especially if there is a cheaper alternative. Though there may be less expensive alternatives, dental implants outlast other tooth replacing procedures, proving to be much more cost-effective over time.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care

Sedation dentistry and dentures.

I’m helping my dad look around because he is in need of dentures. Do you know if he will be put to sleep when they pull his remaining teeth? Also, are the dentures placed at that same appointment?

– Becky in Texas

Becky,

Sedation dentistry is used during tooth extractions when an individual is getting dentures. And all of the teeth will be removed during that same visit. Options for sedation are typically oral sedation which involves take a pill prior to the appointment or some offices offer IV sedation. You should talk to the different dentists about which method they use because some dentists are not certified for IV sedation.

In regard to your question about the denture placement procedure. There are some variances in placing dentures. One of the most common types of denture is called an immediate denture which is placed at the same time as the teeth are removed. Many people like the fact that they will leave the office the same day with new teeth and not have to go toothless for any amount of time. An immediate denture also helps reduce swelling and bleeding after the extractions. Immediate dentures cost a little more than the placement of traditional dentures because there are more follow-up visits involved. The immediate denture will need to be adjusted as the individual begins to heal. As for a traditional denture, they don’t actually get placed in the mouth for up to eight weeks after the extractions have taken place. Many people don’t like that about them, but overall the fit can be better than the immediate denture. This is because over those weeks your body is healing and the tissue shrinks. Therefore, the immediate denture sometimes feels loose because a softer temporary lining is used. Typically it will be six months to completely heal, at which time a permanent denture lining needs to be done.

There are many options beyond dentures available for people that are missing all of their teeth. Be sure to discuss all of the options, as well as the pros and cons of dentures. Many patients experience problems with dentures, like they move around while they are eating and talking, and over time can cause painful sores. Facial collapse is also a bone loss condition that causes the jawbone to shrink and makes it difficult to continue wearing a denture. Dental implants prevent facial collapse and can also be used to secure a denture. Again, just make sure you talk through all the options to find the right solution for your father.

Best of luck.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Looking for a gentle dentist.

I hate going to the dentist. I used to have a very gentle dentist that would help put me at ease. But now I can’t stand when I get that reminder phone call from the dentist office. Do you know what I can do to find the right one for me?

– Heather in Wyoming

Heather,

If you have a fear or uneasiness about going to the dentist, you are not alone. Over 35 million Americans have some level of anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist. The smells, the sounds, the lights – all can be frightening if you suffer from a dental fear of some sort. Whether it’s a fear of pain, a prior negative experience or just embarrassment, as your fear has led you to neglect, know that dentistry can be comfortable. Many dentists offer gentle dentistry, a phrase that’s coined in most practice names, or logos.

The mission of a gentle dentist is to help and care for people who’ve had trouble going to the dentist. This is done by making comfort a first priority, and diminish your anxiety in the chair. This often starts with the overall patient experience. Certain things like having a welcoming practice, with warm friendly staff to listen to your concerns are helpful. Once the office is aware of your apprehension, they can assist in easing your anxiety by lessening your wait time in the reception area, play comforting music, or other distractions during your appointment. Communication overall, give patients opportunities to discuss their treatment (and their fears) and start to build a stronger patient-practice relationship. Nowadays, many dentists offer anesthesia, particularly sedation dentistry which is quite helpful to the fearful patient. Sedation dentistry brings about a relaxed state known as conscious sedation. Patients are awake, but feel drowsy and only semi-aware. And because mild amnesia is another common side effect of the drugs, they often don’t recall their experiences at the dentist.

Modern dentistry can be gentle and pain free. Many offices offer relaxing amenities to combat the fears that may accompany you. If it’s not available, suggest ways the office can make your visit more relaxing. With an array of behavioral and pharmacological techniques, and Zen-like atmospheres, you can rest assured that all appointments will be stress free.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

I have dental implants, can they support a denture?

I think it is time for me to get a new denture. I also have dental implants. Do you think my existing dental implants can be used to support the new denture? Or do they need to be removed and do I need to get new ones? Any insight you have would be greatly appreciated.

– Lawrence in Louisiana

Lawrence,

It all depends on the current condition of your dental implants. If they are in relatively good condition than it is possible to use them in support of your complete dentures. It is very difficult to make an assessment or make any specific recommendations without having actually seen you in person.

The dentist will need to perform a CT scan to evaluate your existing dental implants. The placement will be assessed and it will be imperative to confirm that there is favorable bone density to continue in the support of your implants and denture. The location of the existing dental implants will also be a factor in the design of your new dentures. There may be some limitations in the design parameters based on exactly where the implants are currently placed.

Make sure you consult with a credentialed and proven implant dentist. He or she will be able to give you more personalized recommendations, as well as provide your options to secure the denture.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Victim’s loose tooth from assault.

I am in an abusive relationship. The father of my child punched my face and now my two front teeth are loose. I think one of them may be a bit looser than the other one. When I went into the emergency room they did perform a cat scan and I was told that they didn’t see any fractures. I’m in my mid-twenties and am very nervous that I will end up loosing these teeth. They are the ones right in front and I really am scared they are going to fall out. Do you know if a dentist will help at this point? Will there be any long term effects I need to be aware of? Another issue that I have after the incident was that the little piece of skin under my upper lip was ripped. The doctor didn’t say anything needed to be done to fix it and not to worry about it. What do you think?

– Sabrina in Tennessee

Sabrina,

That is terrible and I hope you pressed charges. Hopefully you and your child are in a safe place now.

In regard to your front teeth, if their roots have not been fractured (which it sounds like they weren’t in the x-ray) then the best thing to do is for them to be stabilized. But this really should take place right away, in the next day or two. Yes, you should go into a dentist so these two teeth can be bonded into the correct position. That will ensure that the bone heals correctly. That should be all that is required.

As far as the skin under your upper lip, the assessment you received at the emergency room is correct. It’s really not that big of an issue. There is also a potential for it to grow back naturally. Sometimes dentists like to clip the skin away from your gums because it likely irritated your gum tissue. That would be a precaution so it didn’t aggravate it any further. Again, it should grow back on its own.

As far as any long term issues, it sounds like everything will be okay as long as those roots are not fractured and you go into for an emergency dentist appointment right away to have them stabilized. It may be good to return to the dentist after a couple week to have everything checked out. This will also ensure that there is no nerve damage happening. If there is some nerve damage detected, than you will likely end up needing a root canal treatment. Since this is a front tooth it would be important that the gutta percha or the cement that is used in the crown is not left in the crown. This is because it will help the discoloration process that will occur. If the cement isn’t left in the crown it will take much longer for the darkening of the tooth to occur.

You may run into dentists that feel a root canal is required to make the tooth straight. But if the teeth are otherwise healthy and you don’t have fillings and one or both end up needing a root canal, it may be best not to get a crown. This is because a crown may actually end up weakening the tooth since it is a front tooth.

If you end up needing any cosmetic dentistry down the road, you may look into some non-profit opportunities. There are organizations that donate services to victims of domestic violence. One that comes to mind is called “Give Back a Smile” and it is a group through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. So that would be a good organization to check out if you end up with a gray tooth later. It is imperative to take accurate documentation of the assault and check into the organization requirements now so you can seek treatment later if it is necessary.

Hopefully this is helpful to you.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.