Q: Dr. Crapo: I have had a considerate amount of dentistry in my life. It’s a family thing I guess, as nobody in the family can hang onto their teeth. I was doing okay until my early fifties, then like my siblings before me, I had to have an upper denture. I had lower bridgework done in my twenties that hung in until just recently. I first noticed the bridgework began to hurt even though root canals had been done many years ago. Another problem I noticed was there seemed to be some looseness of the teeth that the bridge was on. So, my lower crowns and bridges that have lasted me forty years, are painful and loose. I saw my dentist and he said I’d lost a lot of bone around my lower teeth and infection had gotten into the teeth by way of the gums not the root canals. He said I’d have to get all my lower teeth out and get a denture or implants and a denture. It was not totally unexpected but such an abrupt change takes some getting used to. My upper denture is fine and though I wish my own teeth were up there, I’ve made peace with it. The thing is I’ve seen my parents and brother suffer with lower dentures. They hate them and my dad before he passed, wouldn’t even wear them. So now I’m wondering what’s best for me. I’ve come to the conclusion I need to get these painful loose teeth out but I’ve heard I would get them out, then heal and months later I would get a denture or implants would be put in then. I don’t want to do that. Can’t I get some teeth right away?
A: To answer your last question, the answer is yes – you can be provided teeth on the day your own teeth are removed. Before implants, a denture was made that you could wear as you healed. After complete healing, it would be relined for a better fit. In some cases, this was
satisfactory, especially if a good deal of bone remained and a healthy ridge stayed in place for the denture to sit on.
With implants, the most popular reconstruction is implant placement at the time of tooth extraction and teeth are made to securely fit the implants. A bridge in fact, is constructed that is secured right to the implants. This bridge acts as a provisional temporary set of teeth as the implants are accepted by the bone. About three months later, a final bridge, made of long lasting materials, is made to replace the provisional bridge. This technique has many years of success. This is the answer to loosely fitting lower dentures.