My son ran away when he was 17-years-old. Three years later he came back. He was a complete mess and addicted to drugs. In the year he’s been back we’ve done everything we can to help him get his life back on track. Recently, we took him to the dentist in order to get his oral health back on track as well. The drugs and his previous lifestyle have done a number on his teeth. Our dentist said it’s not worth the effort to fix his mouth and we should just extract all his teeth and get him dentures. He’s only 21-years-old. Is that really our only option for him?
First, let me say right off the bat two things. 1. I am so glad you have your son back with you. That must have been the longest three years of your life. 2. You need a different dentist for your son.
Giving a 21-year-old dentures is a recipe for disaster. Our bodies recognize when we have teeth and when we don’t. The moment his teeth are removed, his brain will signal the removal and immediately begin resorbing the minerals in his jawbone to use elsewhere in his body. By the time he is in his 30s, he will be dealing with facial collapse. Not only will he no longer be able to keep his dentures in, making it nearly impossible for him to eat normally, but he’ll look like an old man.
Your dentist said it is not worth it to try and save his teeth. I find that hard to fathom. Will it be a ton of work? Yes. Will it be hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. My guess is he doesn’t feel like your son is worth all that time and effort. You don’t want someone like that anywhere near someone who is striving to get their life together. There are dentists out there who will fight to save as many of your son’s teeth as possible.
When a Tooth Can’t Be Saved
There may be a tooth or two which are beyond repair. In that case, the ideal replacement will be a dental implant. This uses a prosthetic tooth root that is surgically implanted into his jaw. Then, after a period of healing which also gives the bone time to integrate with the implant and secure it your dentist will place a porcelain crown on top. It is the closest thing to having a healthy, natural tooth.
Find someone who will fight for your son and make him feel like he deserves the dignity of a nice smile.
This blog is brought to you by Midtown Manhatten Dentist Dr. Marianna Farber.