Going, Going, Gone
Q: I have put off seeing a dentist because I had bad experiences with freezing. Then I’ve had bad teeth and gums, as do the rest of my family and when I’d go to the dentist I’d get lectured on not flossing and brushing. The cleaning would hurt – they said because I didn’t have gums covering my teeth, so I’d make it through the cleaning enduring sharp pain as they scraped and scrubbed my roots and then I couldn’t drink anything cold without my teeth being on fire for several months after.
The long and short of it – I gave up going. Now I’ve got teeth so loose they are falling out by themselves and I’ve also got pain in three areas that is intolerable. It’s time to get dentures I’m sure. It would stop the toothaches and then I could chew. I’ve talked to several friends and they say the top denture is just fine but the lower is murder. They say among other things, that the denture on the bottom is always loose. I looked up implants and wonder if I can even have them.
Anyway, I’m in the middle of some things, so could I just try a lower denture and then get implants after to keep the lower from moving around and also prevent rubbing irritations I hear about? I hope this can work because I’ve got to get rid of these teeth.
A: Four reasons we lose our teeth in adulthood are 1) genetics, 2) plaque and calculus, 3) smoking, 4) grinding and clenching, and other forceful tooth-to-tooth habits. Root exposure is troublesome, as you’ve experienced. There are several toothpastes that reduce this sharp nerve- stabbing-pain, but one must be fastidious in daily usage. If you have a genetic tendency to lose gum and bone support, it is the most devastating in its destruction. It is also the hardest to treat and arrest.
I understand your frustration. You are not alone, it’s something we see regularly. In those I’ve treated, it’s best to graft the sockets of the teeth that are extracted. Bovine (cow) graft may be the best long term graft in a person with a possible genetic bone loss condition as yourself. Those who have a good deep and broad palate, might do well with an upper denture.
The lower jaw should receive implants as soon as possible. Not only will you have predictable function, but the implants can support the lower jaw bone from the pressure that a denture exerts. This will make it possible to chew without any pinching and pressure to the bone that speeds bone loss.