I’ve been in a pretty bad car accident which has caused me to lose most of my bottom teeth and three on top. I went to see a dentist about getting dentures for the missing bottom teeth and a bridge for the missing top teeth. He said because I’m 29 I need to get dental implants. The difference in price between those two procedures is astounding. Is it truly necessary or is he just trying to bully me into the more expensive procedure?
You are in quite a pickle. At 29 you likely don’t have a lot of money. But there are serious consequences for getting dentures at your age. When your teeth were knocked out (and I’m so sorry you had to go through that) your body recognized there were no longer teeth there. Because our bodies are so efficient, it starts taking the minerals used in our jawbones and spreads them to other places in the body that will need them. This has the unfortunate result of shrinking your jawbone. In dental circles, it’s known as facial collapse. You can see a visual representation of it in the image above.
It’s your young age which makes this so dangerous to you. While facial collapse normally takes a decade or so, that would only put you at 39 years old or possibly in your early 40s. You would look 80. But, worse than that, you’d be a denture cripple. You see there would no longer be enough jawbone left to hold in your dentures. You’d have no way to eat.
Dental Solutions to Facial Collapse
Once that happened, you could have bone grafting done to rebuild what was lost, then have new dentures made, but the process would just start over and you’d suffer from facial collapse again.
What your dentist is wanting you to do is prevent it from the beginning. Dental Implants signal to your body there are still roots there needing to support your teeth. Therefore, your body doesn’t remove any of the minerals and your jawbone stays intact.
While your dentist is advising you properly, it is your body and he shouldn’t insist on the ideal treatment. Instead, he should give you all your options and let you decide.
There are some “in-between” treatment options which could help. The least expensive of those is snap on dentures. This is done with as few as two dental implants and helps keep your denture in place. It will preserve the bone where the two implants are and give you time to save up for more.
Discuss this option with your dentist. If he still insists and you just can’t do the ideal treatment, simply go to another dentist who is more understanding to patient’s financial restrictions.
I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.