Should I just get my teeth pulled and replaced with dentures?

I have advanced gum disease and I need surgery. There are 5 to 7mm pockets around my teeth that need to be cleaned out. The out of pocket cost for me is about $1350 for the deep cleaning and approximately $4800 for the surgery. I know that there is no guarantee that the surgery will stop the disease. I am thinking about getting all of my teeth pulled and finding a cosmetic dentist to do dentures for me. I’m not crazy about this idea, because I am only 49 yrs old, but it might be better for me in the long run. Any comments you have on my situation are appreciated. Thanks. Don

Don,

We understand the frustration that can result from having advanced gum disease and multiple problems with your teeth. Before you make a decision, there are two questions to consider:

Are Dentures Necessary?

Although it might seem that dentures are the best solution, they might not be necessary. Under normal circumstances, gum and bone have a snug fit around your teeth. Periodontal (gum) disease destroys gum tissue and bone, and the pockets around the teeth deepen. Normally, the pockets measure 1mm to 3mm. But periodontal disease causes the pockets to get deeper with time and it makes it easier for bacteria to grow.

During the surgery, the gums are cut and folded back so that the bacteria can be cleaned out, and the tissue can be secured into place. This will help the gum tissue grow back onto the bone, without pockets.

In your case, the five to seven-millimeter pockets are considerate moderate periodontal disease, and it’s very treatable. In addition to surgery, you must be diligent about daily oral hygiene and receiving dental cleanings every three months. If you have concerns about the cost of the periodontal surgery and whether or not it will be effective, you can consider getting a second opinion.

The cost of the surgery is comparable to having all of your teeth removed and replaced with dentures. Although dentures can replace all of your teeth, keeping your natural teeth, whenever possible, is the healthiest option.

What Can You Expect with Dentures?

Of course, having dentures is better than not having any teeth at all. But there are several considerations that can help you understand why keeping your natural teeth might be the best option.

  • Dentures can rub on your gums and irritate them or cause sores.
  • When all of your teeth are missing, it’s a signal to the body that the jawbone is no longer needed to support the teeth. The body resorbs the jawbone, and in time, it becomes difficult to keep the lower denture in your mouth. Also, jawbone shrinkage can lead to facial collapse.
  • Chewing efficiency is also reduced with dentures.

If you really want dentures, or if you find that you need them, they can be supported with as few as two dental implants. The implants prevent the dentures from slipping around in your mouth, and they help prevent jawbone shrinkage and facial collapse.

This post is sponsored by top NJ dentist Dr. Allyson Hurley.