I am a recovering drug addict. I’ve been straight for a little over a year, and my health is slowly improving. The one thing that is not going to get any better, though, is my teeth. They are really trashed.
The dentist at the clinic I go to wants to pull all of my teeth and fit me with dentures. He set up an appointment for me to get this done next week, and says he can do it all in one visit. That doesn’t seem like a very good plan to me, but I am not really comfortable arguing with this guy. He says what he is going to do and doesn’t really give you any choices.
I know something significant has to be done. My molars are such a God-awful mess that I have been chewing with my front teeth, and they are pretty wobbly and sore. This just seems like such a drastic option. I am only 23 years old.
Any advice you can offer would be great. I can’t afford to go to another dentist for a second opinion.
Ray in Kentucky
You are to be commended for staying off drugs–addiction is a difficult and painful malady.
The treatment plan recommended by your dentist is not one that we would support in our office. It is a quick and easy fix for your dentist and many years of struggle and difficulty for you. You are far too young to have all your teeth pulled.
If you have all your teeth extracted, you will eventually suffer from a condition called “facial collapse”. This is when the bones of the jaws deteriorate and thin, which happens at the site of a lost tooth or teeth. If ALL of your teeth are gone, this process accelerates, and by the time you are in your 40s you will be unable to wear any kind of denture.
Though we obviously do not know the details of your case, it seems unlikely that none of your teeth can be salvaged. If even a few are healthy enough to remain, they could be used to anchor dentures and will help maintain the bones of your jaws. Root canal treatments may help salvage some teeth, and down the road dental implants may be a possibility. Some kind of dentures may be necessary, but if enough of your teeth can be salvaged dental bridges may be possibilities.
If another clinical dentist is available, seek a second opinion.
This post is a courtesy of the dental office of Dr. Currie, York PA dentist.