Bad Teeth, Bad Gums, Bad Gas
Dear Dr. Crapo: Dear Dr. Crapo: I came to this country 25 years ago. I never had good teeth. They always broke off. Many dentists tried to fix my teeth but they kept breaking. Now I have only two front teeth on the top, one side tooth – broken and two back teeth, far back. I have partial denture but it doesn’t stay in too good. I went to two dentists. They said get a denture. I didn’t do it because I want to keep my own teeth. I have more teeth on the bottom but no big back teeth. I read about implants and maybe that would work. I need teeth because I can’t chew my food. I swallow big chunks, then I make gas. This is problem at restaurant. I need something strong because I like to eat and I don’t want my teeth to break. I hope you can tell me what to do.
Answer: You have many choices whether you keep your remaining teeth in your upper jaw or have them removed. First of all, your least expensive solution is an upper denture. The great drawback is rapid bone loss once the teeth are gone and loss of taste as your palate would be covered. Knowing that you want to keep your own teeth is important for the dentist to know, but he should still make sure that the four remaining teeth are in excellent shape. If they are in a bad state of repair, fixing them properly will be costly and may not last, causing an expensive redo of the reconstruction you need. If you have good bone, an excellent partial denture supported with implants could be constructed. For adequate strength, six to eight implants would be needed given your history of tooth breakage. With eight implants, you could have regular bridge work. This is more expensive, but is permanent in your mouth. Again, make sure your own teeth are in very good shape before doing this option. Both of these options would take six to eight months to complete. If your teeth have large fillings, you will need to crown them to ensure proper function and strength. As you can see, a careful evaluation should be done to make sure keeping your teeth is your best choice. If your teeth are not healthy and functional, consider teeth in a day. It is extremely comforting and useful to go into the dental office with bad teeth and come out with beautiful teeth that you can eat with the same day; it’s also less costly than the bridge option mentioned above. As for your lower molars, implants can easily be placed, if you have adequate bone, and restored with crowns.
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