What Would Getting Dentures Entail?

I’m losing my teeth and making some decisions about what to do next. What would it entail to get dentures? Do they put you out and then take out all your teeth at once? Do you get the dentures right away?

Carla

Dear Carla,

Dentures

I’m sorry you’re facing this decision. I know how heartbreaking it can be. I’ll answer your question about dentures, but before you make a decision I want to be certain you know your options other than full dentures.

Options to Full Removable Dentures

Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implantIf you’re removing all your teeth, ideally you’d get dental implants. As you can see from the illustration at the left, it implants a prosthetic root into your jawbone. This is why dental implants are so useful. They’re much more stable than other options. You can eat and brush/floss as you normally would with your normal, healthy teeth.

However, their biggest benefit is the prevention of facial collapse. When your teeth are removed, your body immediately begins to reabsorb the minerals in your jawbone to distribute elsewhere throughout your body where they’re more needed. It’s efficient, but the result will be you won’t have enough jawbone left to retain a denture. Dental implants prevent that.

Implant Retained Dentures

dental implants anchoring denturesVery few people can afford to get an implant placed on every tooth. However, implant supported dentures are another option which is more do-able financially. With these, your dentist will place an implant in even distribution throughout your bite. When that’s completed, he can anchor your dentures to them. You get the benefit of preserving a good deal of bone along with having your dentures secure in your mouth.

Obviously, the more implants you can afford to place the better, but this can be done with as few as two implants, which are called snap-on dentures.

How Are Removable Dentures Placed?

First, the teeth are extracted. Some people prefer to have dental sedation for this part of the procedure. This way they can sleep through the procedure if they’d like. Others prefer just to use a local anesthetic. It’s completely up to the patient. Once that is completed, the next step depends on the type of dentures you decide on.

Immediate Dentures

These can be placed as soon as your teeth are removed. The benefit is you can walk out with a full set of “teeth”. They tend to end up being a bit more expensive because they require more follow-up visits and adjustments.

Conventional Dentures

These are placed about eight weeks after extraction. The benefit is they tend to fit better, requiring less adjustment. The obvious drawback is the wait to have a smile.

Discuss these options with your dentist. I’m sure the two of you can come up with what works best for your lifestyle and budget.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Dental Implants for Stuntman?

Hoping you can point me in the right direction. I’m a stuntman and normally have no problems. But, in the last six months, I’ve lost two teeth. That’s quite a spate of bad luck for me. I need to replace those teeth but wondered if dental implants are stronger or a dental bridge. I don’t want anything removable because I’d think that would be a choking hazard.

Carlton

Dear Carlton,

Illustration of a dental implant

I’m glad you’re taking the time to research this ahead of time. You’re in a unique situation and have to be certain you’re getting the absolute best tooth replacement. Before we discuss your options, I want to make sure you’re wearing a mouthguard during your stunts. If you’re worried about appearance, your dentist can fashion one that will look like teeth.

Another thing to consider is whether you’re losing more teeth because of accidents at work or if they’re a little looser than normal because of some gum disease. If that’s the case, you’ll want to have your dentist start treatments right away or you’ll continue to lose teeth.

I’m not saying that’s the issue, just that you want to try to pinpoint why you’re losing teeth to see if you can eliminate the issue. Though, you can’t very well do anything about a run of bad luck.

Dental Implant versus Dental Bridge

As you can see from the illustration above a dental implant places a prosthetic root into your jawbone, making it the most stable replacement option. The implant mimics your tooth root. After the healing time and the bone has reformed around your dental implant, it will be as strong as your natural teeth were. But, just like you’ve broken your natural teeth, you can break your dental implant if enough force is applied.

An illustration of a dental bridge

The other option you asked about was a dental bridge. While a dental bridge will be bonded on (see image directly above), it’s not implanted into your jaw. They’re still stable, but not quite as stable as an implant.

Because of that dental implants are generally the better choice. However, if the adjacent teeth already need crowns, then a bridge may make more sense, though, you can certainly get more than one dental implant if you wanted.

Hopefully, your spate of bad luck will change soon.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

How Do I Find the Best Dentist to Fix a Cosmetic Tooth Disaster?

Help! I spent half my savings on a smile makeover and it’s a disaster. My dentist suggested Lumineers because my teeth wouldn’t need to be shaved. I thought that would be better for my teeth. What he didn’t tell me was how bulky they’d look. I feel like I have the smile of a donkey. Plus, the color isn’t anything like I expected. They look opaque to me instead of translucent. Can this be fixed? How do I find the best dentist to fix them?

Lucinda C.

Dear Lucinda,

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrument
Finding the Best Dentist for a Smile Makeover

These type of tragedies are way too common. A patient spends a lot of money to get a beautiful smile only to end up with a disaster that was worse than their natural teeth were to begin with. Most patients tend to leave it to their regular family dentist to do their smile makeover out of a sense of loyalty.

Unfortunately, unless your family dentist has invested extensive time and training in developing their technique and artistry for creating gorgeous smiles with porcelain veneers, the results are rarely what you’d expect and often disappointing.

Lumineers are often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because they’re considered “no-prep”. Well, you’ve seen what no prep can sometimes end up looking like.

Finding the Best Dentist to Fix Your Cosmetic Disaster

First, your dentist should not have permanently bonded your Lumineers on without letting you see what they looked like with a temporary try-in paste. The fact that he did and they look so unacceptable to you, you have the right to ask for a refund. Then it becomes a matter of finding the right dentist to give you a stunning smile.

The easiest way is to find a cosmetic dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the best cosmetic dentists in the country. Not every area has them. However, it’s worth it to do a little traveling to get the best. There are some cosmetic clients who fly across the country to get their cosmetic work done. But, I realize not everyone is living on a celebrity’s budget.

If you don’t have one at a reasonable distance, look on the mynewsmile.com website. Some dentists are in the process of reaching accreditation level and are equally skilled. This site checks out the technical and artistic skill of the dentist before allowing them to list on their site. No one can simply purchase their way to the list.

I hope this helps!

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Need Invisalign to Save My Marriage

Help me! I totally blew it at Christmas, apparently. I thought I was listening and being attentive. She’s always complaining about how we have the worst vacuum ever. So, I spent more money than I thought you should on a vacuum. Pro tip: That’s not a good Christmas gift. I wasn’t aware that things you have to have anyway to keep the house clean doesn’t count. She’s been mad at me since Christmas morning. In my defense, I have noticed she is vacuuming more, even if she’s glaring at me while doing it. I’m determined to make it up to her on Valentine’s Day. She also always talks about wanting a smile makeover. So, I thought I’d get her a gift certificate for Invisalign and teeth whitening. I went to see her dentist at lunch today to order it (see I’m actually a month ahead of the game), but he said no. She has to be there for an exam to know the cost. How can I surprise her like that? Will all dentists feel that way?

Dennis (the gift menace)

Dear Dennis,

A woman putting in her Invisalign aligners in two stacked images

I love how much you’re trying. You’re absolutely listening, so she can’t fault you for that. I think you’ll be able to get her that mini smile makeover you’re hoping to. Before we do that I want to make sure you know a distinction. When your wife says smile makeover, she could be referring to Invisalign and teeth whitening. Many people get beautiful smile makeovers from these two products.

Be aware, though, most people are referring to getting a smile makeover with porcelain veneers. Either way, I’d make sure you do some digging to see which she means as you’re trying to make something up to her she was unhappy about.

What’s the Smile Makeover Difference between Invisalign and Porcelain Veneers

With Invisalign, her teeth will be gently and precisely shifted to a correct position wearing a series of aligners. The image at the top of this post shows a woman placing an Invisalign aligner on her teeth.

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrumentWith porcelain veneers, her teeth can be made to look straight even when they’re not using thin wafers of porcelain an expert cosmetic dentist designs. You can see an image of a single porcelain veneer directly above. These can also change the shape, size, and color of her teeth. This is the smile makeover most celebrities get when they’re going for that “Hollywood Smile.”

Can You Pre-purchase Invisalign Ahead of Time?

My suggestion, if you want to get an Invisalign Gift Certificate is to talk to the dentist again asking what the minimum cost would be. If he knows your wife’s teeth at all, he can probably give a semi-educated guess. Then purchase a gift certificate for that amount. Let him know after her exam and treatment plan is designed, you’ll make up any cost difference.

If it turns out porcelain veneers is what she was after, the dentist you choose to do this is the most important decision you’ll make in this procedure. You really want her to go to a dentist who’s reached accreditation level with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Those are the dentists which can give her a stunning smile. Be aware, this procedure is much more pricey than Invisalign. But, you get way more for your buck at the same time. The aacd.com website can help you locate one near your area.

This blog is brought to you by American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry Accredited Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.