I’m in a bit of a pickle, that I completely caused. I have never been a fan of the dentist. Rather than sucking it up, I avoided you guys as best I could and only went when I had a dental emergency. Now I am left with only my two front teeth on the top. My bottom level has most of the teeth. At the moment, I am wearing two partial dentures up top. They are very uncomfortable. My dentist suggestted I just take those last teeth out and get dentures, but I read it is important to keep teeth because of facial collapse. Is there another option for me?
You are in a unique situation. I’m going to start by helping you keep those lower teeth. Those are essential for reasons I’ll go over shortly. Even with your dental anxiety, you will not have to “suck it up.” My suggestion is that you see a dentist who offers dental sedation options. If you have mild anxiety, then nitrous oxide is enough. If you have severe anxiety, you will want a dentist who offers oral conscious sedation.
This is administered by a pill and will allow you to sleep through your dental procedure if you want to. Be aware, however, that it is so strong that you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours after your procedure is completed. You will want to be lucid and steady on your feet before being left alone.
You will want to do everything possible to save your lower teeth. These are the teeth that will impact you when it comes to facial collapse. While your upper dentures will be held in my suction, it is the ridge of your lower jawbone that holds in your lower dentures. When your teeth are removed, your body recognizes that and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use your body’s resources as efficiently as possible. This has the unfortunate side effect of shrinking your jawbone as the minerals leave. After ten years or so, you will not have enough of the ridge left to retain your dentures. Keeping those teeth are essential.
Because you are dealing with just your upper teeth, you can go ahead and extract those last two. You will be much more comfortable with a full upper denture than you are with the two partials.
This blog is brought to you by Auburn, AL Dentist Dr. Alan Yount.