Q: Dr. Crapo: I’m eighty-one years old. I’m from the old country. I have bad teeth. I have some very bad things going on in my mouth.
Right now, I have pain and swelling and I can’t put my partial denture in because it hurts too much. I have teeth made about five years ago. The top ones don’t stay in too good, so I leave them out sometimes.
The pain is on the bottom. I think I would like you to take out my teeth and give me some new ones. I told this to my dentist and he said I have very good bone and strong roots, so I should keep my teeth.
He said that I have lots of decay but it is better to do crowns and root canals to save my teeth and to fix the swelling and pain at the same time. I don’t think I can pay for this. I need teeth to chew with. My teeth may be okay but if I have to spend so much money, what happens when more decay and more swelling comes.
I’m too old to think about my teeth so much. When my mama had her teeth out, she had no more problems. Sometimes she ate with her teeth out. I don’t want that but I don’t want problems with all this swelling and pain. Can you help me out?
A: It is true that the dental profession and all its technology, is geared for saving teeth and improving the way they function. I think I understand your dilemma. If you were my father, I would save your teeth and give you the best function possible, which in 2014, is as close to one’s own teeth as one can get.
It sounds like you have swelling, pain, and decay, because cleaning your teeth and maintaining them is not possible. If that is true, making you new teeth is probably best.
The solution of the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s was dentures. Even today, almost 50% of the population think dentures are the final solution. People in their 60’s and beyond, have a hard time adjusting to dentures, so I recommend implants to support teeth, especially for the lower jaw, because it’s the only way for predictable function (chewing & eating).
“Teeth-in-a-day” is the best implant supported “new-tooth solution”, because you are able to chew your food the same day with your new teeth. Besides that, they are attached as solidly as your own teeth, so they work as efficiently.
Teeth may also be attached to 2 or 3 implants. This treatment is less expensive and is light years better than conventional dentures