Dear Dr. Crapo: I’m fifty-five and in good health. I had lots of decay as a teenager and so when I was twenty-four they took out all my top teeth and I got a denture. Most of my lower back teeth were pulled and I have a partial. In the last ten or twelve years I’ve seen a gap between my lower teeth grow and grow. One of the lower teeth is loose but the rest seem strong. I saw a fellow about a new partial. I told him maybe the loose tooth could be pulled and a tooth or two could be put on the partial.
He took x-rays and then told me that of the seven teeth I’ve got left, two need root canals and one needs a new root canal and crown. Then he said I needed a new partial. I was surprised but not shocked because I’ve been feeling some pain off and on. When he tallied it all up it looked like a pretty good size bill. He said I was likely to get more decay because that’s what usually happens to me. He said I might also think about implants. I hadn’t thought of giving up the rest of my teeth but I need to know my options. He said saving my teeth wasn’t going to last me the rest of my life. What will?
I can’t guarantee any treatment for the rest of your life but I can say that if you try to save your teeth with crowns and a new partial, you’ll lose that investment.
You have a certain kind of gum and bone disease where the bone is lost around natural teeth; that’s why the space developed between your teeth and one is loose. Others will get loose, especially if they have to support a new partial. Historically that looseness was mitigated by connecting the teeth with crowns but that will be as expensive as an implant solution.
Here are two options that are better. First, “teeth-in-a-day” gives you four or five implants and a bridge you can chew with immediately. This is a tremendously successful procedure. Does it last a lifetime? I can’t say, the procedure is only ten years old but I’m seeing tremendous results in those that are having this done during that time.
A second technique places three implants and fits a denture to them. They are held in place with a snap attachment similar to a western shirt snap button arrangement.
Yes the remaining teeth all come out but there will be no further decay and either solution will give you much more life than your own teeth – forever? A definite maybe.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.