Dear Dr. Crapo: I’m sixty years old. I have a mouth badly in need of work, mostly because of bad habits and neglect. As a child I had a bad bite and never learned to clean properly. As a teenager I got in with kids that were fooling with alcohol and drugs. I would get cavities, then they’d start to hurt, then I’d use stronger drugs so the pain would go away. I tried to get my teeth fixed with root canals but then I’d neglect my teeth and they would break leaving them sharp to my tongue. I still have a bad bite but I’ve got more problems worse than that. Many of the teeth that broke continued to break, so I’ve had to have some of them out. Others have just rotted off to the gum-line leaving black stumps. I can’t smile anymore and I don’t like to even speak in public without covering my mouth. About five years ago I tried to address the situation. I got some work done that was going to save my teeth, I just didn’t want to lose my teeth because I can’t have anything touching my palate. The result looked okay but then I didn’t follow through with the full treatment, so now I have temporaries that are breaking and turning dark. I still want to keep my teeth but I don’t know if that’s possible. The uppers are the worst and they show the most. My family is willing to help me but I don’t know what to do.
Neglect mixed with drugs is a recipe for disaster when it comes to teeth. If your teeth have decayed out from under the temporary crowns done a few years ago, keeping your teeth is not an option. Historically that would mean dentures. An upper denture can serve you well unless you have an uncontrollable gag reflex. If you just don’t like the idea of dentures, you have options if your finances will allow it.
Before giving you the options I must tell you that it will be very important to be open and frank about your present use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Wonderful technology is available to give you a beautiful functioning set of teeth but the best surgery and prosthetic care (bridge fabrication) cannot compensate for health and healing that is affected by these substances.
It will be important to get a very good diagnosis after you have given an accurate health history. Once the plan is set, it is quite likely that you could have teeth anchored to implants on the day that your decayed teeth are removed. If you are now drug, alcohol and tobacco free, you can expect to have beautiful teeth that will give a lifetime of comfortable service.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.