I grew up never going to the dentist. I’m 25 years old now. It’d never been a problem until a few months ago. I had a tooth start bothering me. I saved up and went to the dentist. He offered to look at all my teeth seeing as it was my first dental visit. I agreed. When he was finished, he told me my teeth were a disaster and I needed to pull them all and get dentures. I froze and couldn’t believe my ears. He was pushing me to do it right then. That’s when I started crying. He told me to stop blubbering and if I’d taken care of my teeth I wouldn’t be in this situation. I let them pull the one tooth which bothered me, but told him I’d think about the others. They pressured me to schedule that appointment. I did, but only to get out of there. I don’t like the way they treated me, so even if I go through with this I won’t go to that office. I guess I want to know is if there’s a way to tell if dentures are my only option. Can you help me?
It saddens me that your first experience with a dentist was such a negative one. I want you to know that not all dentists are this insensitive to patients, especially patients in distress. To get a full set of dentures at the age of 25 would be disastrous for you in the long term. I’m shocked that was his recommendation to you, especially given your age, which will doom you to facial collapse. I’m also uncomfortable he pressured you to decide right then without even giving you the other options available to you. That’s unethical. You’re wise to go to a different practice.
In fact, that’s my recommendation to you. I want you to get a completely new check-up somewhere else. Don’t tell them it’s a second opinion. You don’t want to bias them in any way. Instead, just go as a new patient. You’ll find that most dentists prefer to save as many teeth as possible, even if it’s just one or two teeth. Even if you do need to have teeth extracted, they’d be much more likely to recommend you get dental implants, which is much better for your teeth and health overall.
You’re starting from scratch with your dental care, which is not anything to feel guilty about. Your parents never took you so you would never consider it a priority when you first set out on your own. But, because of that, you’re likely to need some extra work done at first. You might consider looking into dental insurance policies. They often don’t cost too much and can save you some money if you need a lot of work done. Be careful, though, some of them have a waiting period before you get the work done.
Even if you can’t get insurance. There are ways to phase your treatment. Have the dentist list out what work you need in order of urgency. Then you can work on each need as you’re able. Don’t beat yourself up too much. It’s admirable you’re trying to get on track now. Be patient with yourself. Also, sedation dentistry will allow you to get more work done at each individual appointment, comfortably.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Newkirk.