I’ve stopped crying long enough to write you. I’m 28 years old. My parents never took me to the dentist. I didn’t really think about it much until last week when my new job told me I had dental insurance. That was kind of exciting. So, I was thrilled to get to go to the dentist for the first time. That feeling quickly turned from elation to despair. He told me that my teeth were a wreck and he should pull them all and replace them with dentures. He really pressured me to do it right then. I was in shock. Dentures! At my age! I burst into tears. That’s when he grew impatient and said, “What did I expect when I neglected my teeth my entire life.” I got angry and walked out. I haven’t neglected my teeth. I brush AND floss everyday, which people who have been to the dentist don’t do. Also, how was it my fault my parents couldn’t afford to take us to the dentist? Is there any chance he’s wrong? I’d think if my teeth were in that bad of shape, I’d know somehow. Wouldn’t I be in pain or even see cavities? If he’s not wrong, are dentures my only option. Please help me!
Wow! I’m not sure what to say. Mostly, I feel sorrowful that your first experience with the dentist was this negative. Not all dentists are as grumpy as the one you experienced. And they certainly would not have such a pessimistic attitude about your dental health.
You may not feel this way right now, but there is hope. In fact, I’m pretty sure you won’t need dentures at your age. I have no idea why your dentist just jumped right to dentures. That’s generally an absolute last resort, even if you do have to remove all of your teeth.
The first step for you is to get a second opinion and see what the true condition of your teeth is. Most dentists will make it their first priority to save as many teeth as absolutely possible. If you do need to have some teeth removed, dentures won’t be their top recommendation.
Alternatives to Dentures
There are several alternatives to dentures. Most of which are a better option.
This is the ideal tooth replacement. As you can see from the image on the left, this puts a prosthetic tooth root into your jawbone to stabilize a dental crown. The crown serves as the visible part of your teeth. The stability of the implant allows you to eat, drink, and care for your teeth as you normally would.
A Dental Bridge
Another good option is a dental bridge. It uses the teeth on either side of the extracted tooth to anchor your new false tooth. These are especially useful when the adjacent teeth are needing crowns to begin with. It’s a little less expensive than dental implants as well.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.