If I lost most of my upper teeth, is it best to keep them or get them extracted for dentures? I’m currently wearing a cheap partial denture for my top teeth, and I’ve worn partial dentures since 2001. I’ve always hated the feel of my partial denture. Will a complete upper denture be more comfortable than my partial denture, even if I keep the two teeth? I don’t want to spend more than $5000 or $6000, but I think it’s worth it because I am only 62 and socially active with sports and non-profit organizations. Thank you. Caleb from Hoboken, NJ
Dr. Pumphrey would need to examine your mouth, teeth, X-rays, and other diagnostics to give you an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis. But we will provide you with some principles to consider.
Should You Get Tooth Extractions and Dentures?
Whether you should get tooth extractions and dentures depends on how many teeth remain, their condition, and how keeping them would affect your oral health.
It’s better to save natural teeth
- It is usually best to save natural teeth that will not harm oral or overall health.
- When most of your upper or lower teeth are missing, eating stresses them.
A complete upper denture is more comfortable than a lower one
- Suction keeps a complete upper denture in place, so it does not move around as much as a lower denture.
- A well-made upper complete removable denture is gentler on your teeth than a partial denture and a few remaining natural teeth.
- Severe underbite puts more stress on lower teeth.
Your jawbone resorbs when all your teeth are missing
- Teeth stimulate and preserve the jawbone. When all your teeth are missing, the jawbone shrinks.
- When your lower jawbone shrinks, sharp ridges form and make wearing a denture uncomfortable. You will still have the suction to keep the denture in place. An upper denture—even with severe bone loss—is more comfortable.
- Within 10 to 20 years, you will lack enough jawbone to support your facial muscles, and your face will sag.
What Can You Expect from Treatment Options?
You will need to schedule an appointment with a periodontist for an examination and 3-D CT scan to determine your treatment options.
- Best clinical treatment – A specialist can replace your missing upper teeth with an implant-supported denture. Although the cost will exceed your budget, a snap-on denture is the most affordable implant denture. Dental implants anchor your denture and stimulate your jawbone to prevent further shrinkage. Your denture will feel stable and comfortable.
- Alternative treatment – Your periodontist can extract your remaining upper teeth and replace them with a complete removable denture. It will look and feel better than your partial denture. It will be easier to speak and eat with a complete denture. If your budget allows it, a periodontist can place two or more dental implants to secure your denture in the future.
Schedule a consultation with a periodontist who will partner with a cosmetic dentist for your denture. Your denture will look natural, and you will get quality results if you decide to get implants.
Atlanta periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey sponsors this post.