Q: Dr. Crapo: Many years ago I had a lot of jaw pain. I had a very bad overbite and it was decided that to help me I needed a jaw advancement, so I went ahead. It gave me a much better bite and my pain was no more. I was a young adult and I was happy for the improved look it gave me. I married and had a family. I tried to keep up my dental health but as the years rolled by there were many demands that seemed more urgent than my teeth. Other things happened that were very hard and I found myself in a situation where my finances were greatly compromised. I struggled on. I had a terrible time with decay, so I had many extractions of my back teeth, especially on the top but I did every thing to save my upper front teeth. All of these teeth got root canals and fillings but I couldn’t afford the crowns needed to make them more cleanable and better looking. Over the last year, I’m a senior now, I seem to have broken both upper eyeteeth and the teeth beside them. I can’t smile in public and I hate what looks back at me in the mirror. I’ve got a good deal more teeth on the lower but decay has recently got under two crowns and they’re gone, leaving me with a bad toothache. Interestingly enough, my financial situation has improved, so I now want to get things done. I’ve got one good lower molar on both sides, so I’m hoping I can keep them as I have my lower front teeth and others back to these molars. I’m afraid if I get dentures my jaw pain will come back. A dentist told me years ago a denture would be the worst thing I could do. So what do I do?
A: I’m not totally certain why you were given that advice. It is true that a denture is not as stable as your own teeth. It is also true that denture teeth can’t function like natural teeth or implant supported teeth. Since your jaw advancement you may not have a problem at all.
If a denture is the only option you can manage the roots of the root canaled teeth, properly shaped under your dentures will serve as bone support against the biting pressure of your natural lower teeth.
If your finances are improved an implant supported bridge can be placed in one appointment. It solves the denture mobility problem and because it’s not rubbing on sore gums, healing proceeds more quickly. From the dozens we’ve done, we have seen no “break-in-period” – the time needed to get used to them because the teeth are solid, held in by the implants.
They look beautiful and are as strong as your own teeth (or stronger).