My dentist told me that I needed a five-unit bridge in early February. I asked for a partial denture, but my dentist says I have so much bone loss that a partial denture would put too much pressure on the teeth for the partial to hook onto them. The teeth are weak from gum disease. The cost estimate for the bridge is $5600. I think it’s easier to get all my teeth extracted and get a complete set of dentures. Does it make sense to keep weak teeth? – Dwight from Kansas City, MO
Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your teeth, digital x-rays, and dental records to give you an accurate diagnosis. But we can say that if most of your remaining teeth are healthy, you should not ask a dentist to extract all your teeth in exchange for complete removable dentures. It will create more problems that will affect your quality of life.
Dental Bridge or Removable Partial Denture?
How do a dental bridge and a removable partial denture compare? We will explain and briefly discuss an alternative.
The cost your dentist quoted you for a dental bridge is reasonable. But we are not sure why he suggests a dental bridge instead of a removable partial denture. A dental bridge requires your dentist to shave down the teeth that anchor the denture. Shaving your teeth down and using them as anchors for a bridge will further weaken them.
Removable partial denture
A removable partial denture attaches to the tooth on either side of the missing one. The clasp can be metal or gum colored.
If your teeth are weak and in danger of declining, an implant-supported bridge may be an option for replacing your missing teeth and anchoring a dental bridge. Dental implants would support the ends of the bridge with replacement teeth in the middle. Speak with your dentist about this option.
Treat Gum Disease Before Restoring Teeth
If you are still battling gum disease and bone loss, your dentist needs to treat your gum disease and ensure it is stable before restoring your teeth. You may also need a bone graft to build up bone and protect your oral health.
Get a Second Opinion
We recommend that you see another dentist for a second opinion. Bring your dental records with you so the dentist can use them to give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Also, speak with the dentist about options for relieving your anxiety during the procedure.
Dr. Steven Brooker, a Baton Rouge Fellow of implant dentistry, sponsors this post. Dr. Brooksher is accredited by the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.