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Dealing With Conundrums

A patient smiles while being treated in a dental clinic.

Q: I’m in a state. My life has had all kinds of ups and downs. It seems that I go from emergency to emergency, putting out fires. It’s a drag, physically and emotionally. The latest is my teeth. They are a mess. Decayed and broken down. I have about three left standing, and the rest are decayed to the gum. I’d like to have something to smile with, and I’m afraid of dentures because I saw my mother and grandmother with their teeth out, and it grossed me out. But then, I don’t smile for fear of grossing everyone around me out. So I have seen some dentists, and most have said the same thing – there’s nothing to save. It’s really discouraging because what is next is dentures. I’ve read about implants, and I like that idea, but they’re expensive, and I need them for both top and bottom teeth. 

I reached out to a dentist and he said I could go with an upper denture for a period of time and put implants and a bridge on the lower. He said the lower denture is very hard to get used to and I’d really be compromised in chewing. He also said he’d have to graft bone in the sockets of the upper teeth because it would keep the right amount of bone in place for future implants. 

The thing is that I can’t smile, and I need my upper teeth to smile. Since I can’t do both with implants and a lower denture is terrible, I just can’t make up my mind. Any advice? My lower is worse than my upper. I’ve got a partial that’s barely hanging on. 


A: Your situation is not uncommon, so let’s talk about specifics. First of all, function – the ability to just chew your food. Loss of lower teeth replaced by a lower denture reduces chewing forces and efficiency to less than 25% of your own teeth. Replacing the denture and unsavable teeth with an implant supported bridge gives you all the support of normal, healthy teeth. The teeth are fixed to the implants, so your confidence and smile is natural looking and feeling. The upper denture uses your palate for suction and is far more stable than a lower denture.

There are compromises to force and taste, but it’s a much better intermediate step. If you go this route, you will be happier functionally and still get to smile. Yes, the root sockets that are left after the teeth come out are grafted with a mixture of human and bovine bone. This prevents bone resorption (dissolving) during the time you have your upper denture. On your schedule, implants can be placed.  

The placement of implants and construction of lower bridgework on those implants, in your case, on the day of extraction, is extremely successful, cuts healing time, decreases pain and anxiety, and best of all it provides natural tooth function and strength. 

If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation or visit us today.


Based on actual patient cases

© Calvin Ross Crapo

Victoria Implant Centre 778-410-2080


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