I’ve got three teeth that need replacing thanks to a baseball bat that hit me instead of a pinata. The neighbor kid has a swing like you would not believe. Seriously, the Yankees should already be on the phone with his parents. I wanted to get a removable partial denture because it seemed the most in line with our budget. But, my dentist keeps pushing me toward dental implants. He says it’s because the teeth are at the front of my bottom jaw. I looked into it and, yeah, they’re stronger, but I get the feeling he’s saying to get them because he’ll make LOADS more money.
If you call the Yankees and it pans out, maybe you’ll get a recruiter fee. Before we get into your treatment options, I wanted to ask whether your dentist had given you a reason in the past to doubt his integrity and think he’s just trying to get you to do the most expensive treatment? It’s important you’re able to trust your dentist. If you have a reason not to feel he can be trusted, you’d be better served to find a different dentist. You want a dentist you can trust.
Now, onto your question. I think your dentist is concerned about the effects of facial collapse on your lower jaw. If you’re missing three teeth in that same area, your jaw will begin to shrink. Dental implants protect you from that. The implanted prosthetic root tells your body teeth are still there and your jawbone is still needed. So, yes, they’re stronger. But, they also protect your jawbone from slowly disappearing.
What Your Dentist Should Provide
Ethically, your dentist should tell you all of your options whether he thinks they’re good options or not. However, he should also recommend which options he thinks are better, along with why. He’ll know the pros and cons of each option and should take the time to share them with you.
The second thing he should provide is answers. You should be able to ask as many questions as you need and he patiently provides answers. It sounds like you were totally unsure about his recommendation. I don’t know if you asked questions and he refused to answer or if you weren’t comfortable asking.
Know when you’re talking about your health and finances, you have every right to ask questions. I know some dentists tend to get offended when you ask questions as if because they’re the dentist they should not be questioned. But that is unfair to patients.
Options for Missing Teeth
- Removable Partial Denture
These have the obvious downside of not being permanent. Plus, we already discussed facial collapse. As far as quality of life goes, some patients complain of food getting under their denture. Their big benefit is their price.
- Dental Bridge
These are permanent, but you still have to deal with the facial collapse. Additionally, the more teeth you need to replace on the same bridge unit, the less stable. If one part of the bridge breaks, the whole unit has to be replaced. Where your bridge would have to be placed is especially tricky.
- Dental Implants
These are permanent, strong, and will protect you from facial collapse. Their biggest drawback is their cost and the fact it requires surgery.
Those options are up to you, though. A dentist can strongly recommend one solution over another, but it is up to you which one you pick.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Ryan Noah.