I don’t know what to do for my mother. She has always liked the way she looked and as she gets older, things have changed. Now, she’s having issues with her teeth, which is really freaking her out. She has had a partial denture for a couple missing teeth and another one fell out near that location. Then, in a completely different area of her mouth, another one just fell out last night. Obviously her oral health is slipping, so we aren’t sure if a bridge will cut it. Budget is also an issue. Any pointers or advice so I can help calm her down and put her mind at ease?
-Whitney in Indiana
Of course, it is difficult to give specific recommendations without having seen your mother in person. That said, when teeth begin to fall out, it is a symptom of advanced gum disease.
So, if that is indeed what is happening for your mother, a dental bridge will not be the ideal treatment plan because it isn’t likely that she really has any solid teeth left that would be able to support this type of treatment.
If budget weren’t an issue, dental implants would absolutely be the treatment recommendation. Dental implants are the standard of care to replace missing teeth because they function like natural teeth and are lifelike. They prevent bone loss around the implant site and are a permanent solution. But, a full mouth restoration with dental implants would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
At this point, keeping in mind that there are budgetary constraints, your mother may better candidate for complete dentures. This would entail extracting the remaining teeth. The major downside of this plan is that when the teeth are gone, bone loss will occur. If you’ve seen images of elderly with sunken in faces, that is what would end up happening to her as the years go by. The condition is known as facial collapse and if she’s concerned about her appearance, she will not like that. Although, depending on her age, it still may be the best option for her.
If she’s not ready to go to the extreme of having all of the remaining teeth extracted, there is another type of partial denture called a Cu-Sil partial. This type of appliance is similar to a complete denture, but it allows the natural teeth to poke through and they help secure it in place. It will provide more stability than a complete removable denture. But if she truly does have advanced gum disease, it may not be the right fit. Although, as other teeth fall out, the Cu-Sil partial can accommodate the occurrence with an artificial tooth replacement onto the appliance.
Hopefully this information was helpful. It would be wise to meet with a couple different dentists to obtain multiple treatment plans. Good luck!
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.