Q: Dr. Crapo: Eight years ago I was losing my teeth. I had nothing but black stumps on the bottom and lots of decay on top. My dentist suggested I get implants, which I did on the bottom. He sent me to another dentist to put them in; there are six implants. After it healed, I asked the dentist when he was going to put my teeth in. He said he didn’t put teeth in, he just put in implants and I should go back to my dentist and he would do it. When I went back the dentist, he told me it was going to cost me more money, and a lot of money. I thought when I went in to get the implants it was all included. I was very frustrated, so I left and went to a guy who makes dentures. He made a regular denture over the implants. I have some support with the lower denture on the implants, but it’s not hooked up to them, so it floats on top of the implants. I was so frustrated that I didn’t want to spend any more money to get them hooked up. I haven’t been to the dentist for six years so my lower denture has lots of black buildup and the teeth under my upper denture are all black. I know it sounds disgusting but I’ve been so frustrated. I was told back then that I had more than enough bone to do implants on the top, but I was so mad I didn’t follow through. Now I’ve got to do something but I want it explained so there aren’t hidden costs. I’m tired of my upper denture and I want things hooked up, so they feel solid and secure in my mouth.
A: Good communication is essential in any treatment and this is even more important when two or more doctors are providing it. As important, it is essential that you are clear what each doctor is providing and the accompanying fees. Nobody likes surprises!
Here are two options for the lower implants “hook-up”. If you tend to get an unusual buildup of tartar, I suggest a supporting bar to connect all six implants. A snap system can then be created on the supporting bar, with female snaps on the underside of your teeth to keep it very stable. Between meals and at bedtime, the teeth can be removed and you can thoroughly clean the teeth, the bar, and the implants. If you don’t buildup much tartar, a bridge can be permanently placed.
On the top, you can do the same “bar hook-up” as the bottom but “teeth-in-a-day” would be the best option, because you have instant fixed teeth in a four to five-hour process that is accomplished while you sleep.