I am in my late 40s and have always avoided the dentist because of anxiety. As a result, my teeth are in bad shape. Many of them are broken. A few are missing. This has kept me from socializing. I’d like to change that and think dentures will by my solution. One thing I am not certain about is whether I should go to a dentist first or an oral surgeon first to have the teeth removed. Is there a standard practice for this?
My suggestion is that you use a dentist who can do both the extractions and the dentures. It is not hard to do pre-denture surgery, so you should not have a problem with finding a dentist who can do that for you. One thing to be aware of, though, is you don’t want to hint to the office what you are looking for when you call around. Just ask them what the dentist’s normal procedure is when it comes to giving a patient dentures. This way you know whether or not they are in their comfort zone.
Given your dental anxiety, I would like you to also look for a dentist who offers oral conscious sedation. You can do an internet search for sedation dentists in your area and then make sure oral conscious sedation is one of their options. This is administered by a pill, but is strong enough that you will sleep through the procedure. In fact, some people call it sleep dentistry. Be aware that you will need someone to drive you to and from your dental appointment with this option.
A Warning about Long-term Dentures
From the moment you extract your teeth, your body will recognize that you no longer have any teeth roots in your mouth. Realizing it no longer has teeth to support, your body begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone that help with bone support, to use elsewhere in your body. It does this in an effort to be as efficient as possible with your body’s resources.
The unfortunate consequence that results is that as the minerals are resorbed, your jawbone shrinks. In about ten or so years, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. In dental circles, this is known as facial collapse.
There is a way to prevent facial collapse. Instead of just having removable dentures, you first get some dental implants placed that your dentures can be anchored to. This is sometimes called implant overdentures. Not only does this signal to your body that you have teeth roots there which need to be retained, but completely secure the dentures and you never have to worry about slips.
This blog is brought to you by Kalamazoo Dentist Dr. Susan Dentist.