I am only 39 years old and my teeth are deteriorating every year. At the moment I have two that are driving me crazy because they hurt so badly. I get these terrible zinging sensations from anything hot or cold and I have so much dental work that causes me to grind my teeth every night. I have tried mouth guards, have loads of crowns, fillings, and have endured many root canals. I have always kept up with regular dental care but my mom had dentures by 50. So I feel like I got the short end of the stick with genetics. I have paid thousands of dollars to the dentist and now he wants to do two more root canals. Is it time I just cut my losses and get dentures?
– Candice in Georgia
It sounds like you are having a tough time yet again. Most dentists will encourage you to maintain as much healthy tooth structure as possible, whether it be through crowns or root canals. The problem is once the teeth are extracted, that’s it. Have you started talking about other options with your dentist? Dentures are not the only option for people in your situation, although most people assume them to be.
Have you considered dental implants? Dental implants are becoming the best practice for replacing missing teeth. It is understandable that you are fed up with root canals and crowns, but dental implants are actually surgically implanted into your jawbone and a replacement crown is placed directly on it. Implants tend to be a bit more expensive than dentures, but the end result and quality of life is something that you should definitely consider. They look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.
Your mom may be able to attest to it, but when you no longer have teeth present the body resorbs the bone to be used in other parts of the body. The end result is bone that shrinks and your face takes on a sunken in appearance. Over time (10-20 years) you will not even be able to keep a denture in, there will likely be dietary restrictions, and they will be terribly uncomfortable. This bone loss condition is called facial collapse. So proceed with caution in making your decisions. You are still very young and facial collapse is inevitable with dentures at your age.
There are some other treatment options that may work for you that are less expensive than dental implants. Ask your dentist about partial dentures, a dental bridge, or even an implant-supported denture. Also, it is important that you seek a couple opinions before selecting an implant dentist. It takes extensive training beyond dental school in order to have success in placing them. Good luck! This post isn’t to scare you out of dentures. Just know your options and possible denture problems that patients deal with.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.