I am nervous about wearing dentures at age 62. Last year, I lost three teeth. My dentist has me coming to the office every three weeks for deep cleaning. But two of my teeth are so loose now that I know that they will fall out soon. But I do not have many teeth left. My dentist tells me that I should get dental implants every visit, but I cannot afford them. And I have about 12 missing teeth, so how much would that cost? My teeth are no good. I am concerned that my deep cleanings are not working, and my dentist does not want to admit that his method is not working. What else can he try? Thank you. Roberta from Massapequa, NY
We are sorry to hear about your experience. No doubt, it is frustrating. Dr. Sirin would need to x-ray and examine your teeth for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options. But if you have lost three teeth and two more are loose despite deep cleanings, you have advanced gum disease that is not improving. You need an intervention that your dentist cannot provide.
As you mentioned, dental implants are not an affordable option for you. Replacing each tooth with an implant can cost $2000-$4,000 per tooth. And with advanced gum disease, your may be losing bone volume.
We recommend asking your dentist to refer you to a gum specialist (periodontist). Periodontists can treat aggressive gum disease and stop the progression. But dentures are more affordable than dental implants if you risk losing all your teeth.
Dentures decrease your chewing efficiency. But if your natural teeth are deteriorating and a specialist cannot help you save them, dentures will give you replacement teeth and help you feel better about the condition of your mouth. But a periodontist must treat your gum disease first.
Afterward, ask your periodontist about implant dentures. Two to six implants can support your denture and make it more comfortable for you. Stabilizing a denture with implants takes stress off your gums and jawbone.
If your dentist is unwilling to refer you to a periodontist, you can self-refer. Ask friends and acquaintances for a recommendation and check online reviews before scheduling a consultation.
Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin, Illinois dentist, sponsors this post.