My grandmother is in her nineties, and while she has most of her teeth, her teeth and gums may not be in the best of health. She saw her dentist for a filling recently, however since then, two of her teeth have simply fallen out of her mouth! We’re not sure what the best options for her are – should she get a bridge with her remaining teeth? If her teeth are healthy enough, should she get dental implants or should she go for dentures?
Anna, from Kissimmee, FL
Teeth take a large amount of force to knock out. If your grandmother’s teeth simply fell out, then she most likely has advanced periodontal disease, or gum disease.
With gum disease, it is likely most of her teeth are unstable in her gums, making it impossible for her to get a bridge. If you anchor a bridge to unhealthy, unstable teeth, it will strain and stress them, causing them fracture and need removal.
The ideal replacement would be dental implants, but since your grandmother likely needs a full-mouth smile makeover, that can run tens of thousands of dollars. A removable denture is also the more affordable option compared to dental implants. Also, if you grandmother does not have enough bone in her jaw, she may be better off going with a removable denture. For patients lacking enough bone in their jaws, a bone graft is an option, but your grandmother may be too old or not healthy enough to receive a bone graft procedure.
Since your grandmother’s teeth are likely in need of extraction, a full set of upper and lower dentures may her best option. Dentures can lead to bone resorption (the body breaking down the jaw bone for minerals and nutrients) and facial collapse over the course of 10 years. At your grandmother’s age, she may not need to worry about jaw collapse as much as a younger patient would.
A full set of dentures would be less stressful on her teeth than a removable partial denture. Seek a general dentist or affordable cosmetic dentist for your grandmother as soon as possible, before any more teeth fall out.
This blog post is brought to you by Baton Rouge smile makeover provider, Dr. Steven Brooksher, of Dentistry by Brooksher.