I’m so frustrated right now. My daughter lost a couple of teeth due to decay. I did research to find the best implant dentist in our area. But, when we went to see him, he flat out refused to treat her, due to her “inability to care for her teeth”. She’s 23 years old and, yes, she has Down Syndrome. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t care for her teeth. She’s largely independent and even holds down a job. She still lives with us and I manage her medical needs to make sure she is seen to. I remind her to clean her teeth, and yes, she’s lost a couple, but doesn’t everyone who gets dental implants? I don’t understand how he can be so heartless. I don’t know if I should try to make an appeal to his softer side or if we should just keep searching until we find someone who can do it. Any suggestions on how to proceed are welcomed.
Sheila M. – Mississippi
I’m sorry for the experience you’ve had. Even the “best implant dentists” likely have days where they’re insensitive in how they deal with patients. There are two possibilities here as to why he’s refusing to treat your daughter.
The first is likely the one you are offended by. He may be uncomfortable with your daughter’s Downs Syndrome. It may be he hasn’t had any patients in your daughter’s situation and isn’t familiar with whether or not care for her differs from his other patients.
The second is it has nothing to do with her Downs Syndrome and more to do with her oral health care. If he’s concerned that she doesn’t clean her teeth well enough it would explain his refusal to treat her. This means that if a dental implant is placed, it will quite likely fail, and that’s no small thing. When you consider all that’s involved; the surgeries, the waiting for it to heal, treatment costs, etc., it’s really unwise to perform treatment that’s almost guaranteed to fail.
Here are some options for you. You’re right that other people lose teeth and get dental implants. You mentioned your daughter lost her teeth to decay. It takes a long time to get from decay to the need for an extraction. This makes me wonder if your daughter is getting to the dentist enough. Especially if she’s predisposed to problems with her teeth. Some people are. It’s not a matter of not caring. It’s more the dental genes they were dealt. If you can get her to the dentist more often and show the dentist her hygiene won’t be a problem, he may change his mind.
Another option is to try for a different dentist who is equally skilled at placing dental implants. Call some of the dental implant organizations such as the International Congress of Oral Implantologists or the American Board of Oral Implantology to find out who are the most qualified implant dentists in your area.
If she’s truly not a good candidate for implants, you have other options. You could look into a removable partial denture or a dental bridge. These are very viable solutions for missing teeth.
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