My 69 year-old mom has lost many of her teeth. Fortunately her front teeth are left, so she’s not too embarrassed. But she basically has no teeth to chew with, and this is causing lots of problems and inconveniences for her. I’ve done some research trying to find out her options, and I read about dentures and dental bridges, but we could use some help. – Rachel, Arkansas
Rachel – A dental bridge is not an option if all of your mother’s back teeth are missing. There are two options for replacing the missing teeth—dental implants or removable partial dentures, which would be attached to the front teeth.
The removable partial dentures are the least expensive option. With this option, many teeth can be replaced with one appliance. Although less expensive than implants, removable partial dentures would put stress on your mother’s remaining teeth.
Dental implants are healthier, will function as natural teeth, and they are more comfortable. But they are also more expensive—the cost is per implant. Implants are surgically placed in the jawbone, and after the jawbone heals, replacement teeth are secured to the implants.
Another advantage of implants is that they help prevent jawbone shrinkage. When teeth are missing, the body resorbs the jawbone in the area that once supported the tooth. When a dental implant replaces a missing tooth, there is no jawbone shrinkage, and facial collapse can be prevented.
Find an artistic cosmetic dentist with whom you and your mother can discuss the implants and removable partial dentures, as well and the pros and cons for each.
This blog is brought to you by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.