A New Reality
I am Vanessa. Let me tell you my dental story…
My teeth were starting to separate with gaps developing between them. The change was slow and subtle until the point that I realised something serious was happening. My smile was beginning to change .Some teeth were even becoming loose. My gums were red and puffy and I really became concerned. I knew there was something wrong.
After a search on the Internet I found a prosthodontist who has many years of experience in helping patients face this problem .
I made an appointment with Dr Kaplan and began my journey to achieve long-term to comfort. I wanted the ability to look good, speak properly and enjoy chewing my food.
Dr Kaplan did a complete clinical examination and took pictures of all my teeth. A wide-angle view of all the teeth was taken with panoramic x-ray machine . This showed clearly the situation teeth and the bone supporting them.
As Dr Kaplan’s gentle words of explanation were presented to me tooth by tooth, they came to me as quite a shock. I wasn’t expecting to be presented with such a dramatic situation . He showed me clearly the extent of bone loss which rendered my teeth unsaveable. They had all come to the end of the usefulness. He was understanding and empathetic. He made me understand that the transition to complete dentures is both an art and a science .
What also upset me greatly was the explanation of how the deterioration of my teeth had progressed over time . It had not happened overnight and I had been seeing a few dentists regularly over the years.
Did you know that as part of a complete dental examination, a periodontal probe is an essential tool. A dentist or hygienist should use this instrument to sound out the foundation of everything the tooth . Looking for cavities is one thing but checking the underlying bone is quite another.
Without this periodontal probing, it is not possible to evaluate the loss of bone and begin definitive gum treatment long before the point of no return. Gum treatment if detected early is treatable. One does not have to lose any teeth through supervised neglect.
The only choice for me now was to have complete upper and lower dentures. You can imagine how emotionally traumatic this prospect was. It took quite a while for me to reconcile myself but I knew that there was no way forward. I said that I would get back to him in a week or two. I had to pluck up the courage for this new reality.
Today the standard of care for the lower denture is to place 2 or 3 implants and construct an over- denture. This is done after there had been satisfactory healing from the tooth extraction and takes several months for the healing to improve. Only then are the implants placed.
He also made it clear to me that the immediate dentures which are placed over the extraction sockets serve as a temporary solution. With time they become loose as the gum heals and the bone shrinks. This is corrected with a laboratory processed reline procedure.
Even after the reline of the dentures , the prospect of new complete upper and lower dentures has to be considered and budgeted for. This is usually considered about a year after being fitted with the interim dentures
As part of this complete explanation of how the implant treatment is done, he gave me hope for the future if wearing complete dentures became a problem He explained how implants can be used in many different ways to support a more stable reconstruction. There are many options available depending on the amount of bone present and also the investment involved..
Loose and unstable dentures can be a thing of the past but the treatment begins with complete upper and lower immediate dentures .