I’ve been chipping my teeth a lot. My dentist says I’ll need to get dentures. Can I go to my dentist for that or do I need an oral surgeon?
Meagan- Albany, NY
If you need to get dentures it is always best to get someone who can do the surgery and the dentures. If that isn’t possible, than you can go to an oral surgeon first, though I wouldn’t have the same confidence. There is a reason you want the same person doing both procedures. It is helpful to have coordination to prepare the procedure properly. There are also ways to make the denture fit more comfortably with special things done during the procedure, but the one making the dentures needs to be intimately aware of the pre-procedure surgery techniques.
If you don’t mind me changing the subject a little bit, I’m a little confused. You said your dentist told you that you need dentures because you are chipping your teeth? Are you sure you under him or her correctly? That is not a legitimate reason for needing dentures. It is possible you might need crowns placed on some of your teeth. I’d also want to get to the root cause of the chipping. Often it is because of a clenching or grinding problem. Instead of taking out all your teeth, wearing a simple night guard will solve your problem.
You never want to remove teeth unnecessarily. First, no matter how well fitting your dentures are, your chewing capacity will be reduced by 50%. Secondly, many patients find them to be remarkably uncomfortable. But, the most severe consequence is facial collapse. Once you lose your teeth, your body immediately begins reabsorbing the minerals that your jawbone uses. After 10 to 20 years, you won’t have enough jawbone left to even wear your dentures. You’ll be what is called a dental cripple. You may have seen pictures of elderly people with faces that looked mashed up. They have facial collapse from too many years with dentures.
Ideally, you want to save as many teeth as possible. Chipping is NOT a reason to take out a tooth. I’d feel better if you got a second opinion before taking such drastic measures. If there is a legitimate reason for having to remove your teeth, the ideal replacement would be to get dental implants. It is almost like having your own natural teeth back in your mouth. It also prevents facial collapse, because it signals to your body that the minerals in your jawbone are necessary.
This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.