I am heartbroken for my son. He is a 23-year-old recovering drug addict. He was the perfect child growing up. When he went away to study at a conservatory the pressure was immense. Three of the students committed suicide his freshman year. He turned to drugs to cope. Now his mouth is in ruins. He is trying to get his life back in order and has moved back home to do that. I’ve taken him to our family dentist and he says we should just remove his teeth and give him dentures. I got the impression he didn’t want to be bothered with my son. It may be I’m reading into it because I’m sensitive about it. I will admit, the idea of a 23-year-old having to wear dentures is heartbreaking. Can you think of another option for him?
I am in agreement with you. I haven’t examined your son, but surely at least SOME of his teeth can be saved. There is a huge problem with him getting full dentures at this age. When his teeth are removed, his brain recognizes that. Our bodies are designed to be as efficient as possible. Once it knows there are no teeth there, it will begin to absorb the minerals in his jawbone to use elsewhere in his body where it perceives they’ll be more useful. The unfortunate result of this is within ten years, he will begin suffering from facial collapse. This means he won’t have enough jawbone left to even support his dentures. It will also make him look decades older than he is.
Your son is going through enough stress trying to do what is necessary to repair his life and health. He doesn’t need the humiliation, along with its devastating health effects, of dentures for someone his age.
Priority One— Save as Many Teeth as Possible
It’s more work for both your son and your dentist and may be why he’s not interested in even trying, however it is worth it. If this dentist doesn’t seem to value your son, he will not be the best dentist for him. You need someone willing to fight to save every tooth. One who will make your son feel like both he and the effort is worth it.
If Some Teeth Can’t Be Saved
Let’s say, through the best of efforts there are a few teeth which cannot be saved. In that case, the best tooth-replacement option is to get dental implants for those teeth. These mimic your natural teeth with a prosthetic root and are the most secure option available.
There are other options as well you can speak with your dentist about. I’d focus on saving teeth first.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.