The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-30-2011, 07:05 AM
KellyCriterion KellyCriterion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
I'm 28 and my teeth are deteriorating rapidly. What do I do?

Hey there.

As the title says, I'm 28 (and male, FWIW) and have really bad teeth. I've had one wisdom and two molars already extracted (the wisdom tooth was taken out due to a jaw injury, the molars were remove because large pieces of the tooth had broken away).

Two of my still-in-mouth teeth (both molars) have large pieces missing from them, that my dentist told me on my last visit will almost certainly need root canal and/or crown.

I'm in two minds about spending the huge dollars required for root canals and crowns. A lot of anecdotal experience suggests that crowns and root canals can be hit and miss. My mother has had two crowns, one lasted 9 months, the other last 3 years. My work colleague had had one crown, it lasted 3 months.

My previous dentist told me that my teeth are amongst the softest he's ever drilled, "it's like drilling butter". I have no confidence in my teeth being able to "hold on to" a crown for a long enough period of my life that I think it's worth me spending money on getting them.

So, with two gaps in my mouth where molars have been removed (I don't miss the wisdom tooth), and another 2 molars in urgent need of work, I'm not sure what to do. I have no emotional attachment to my teeth, so that's not an issue. I'm not rich, so that is an issue. My eating ability is already impeded, that is an issue. I don't care too much about aesthetics at this point, because the worst of my teeth sit just outside my visible smile line.

Over the next 5-10 years I expect my teeth to decay even further, so it's going to be crunch time very soon to decide which path I go down in terms of a long term solution for my teeth.

Currently I am thinking a denture plate may be the way to go:
http://www.primedentalbudapest.co.uk...ttachments.jpg

Any advice or opinions? Thanks.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-30-2011, 07:14 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Get your teeth sealed, and use fluoride gel.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-30-2011, 07:18 AM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Boston Metro
Posts: 3,855
My parents both had dental problems from an early age - mid-late 20s.
My mom had full dentures by the age of 40, and my dad managed to hang on to just a partial plate until he was around 55.

I think if asked they both would have advised you to hang onto however many natural teeth you can, for as long as you can. Without being in pain or having to bankrupt yourself, of course. If your natural teeth can handle supporting a partial plate, that might be the way to go.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-30-2011, 07:21 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
My grandpa had a choice at some point of implants or pulling them and getting dentures - he was too cheap for the implants and always regretted it. Dentures suck.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-30-2011, 11:08 AM
bump bump is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Well, for some anecdotal tales to rebut yours... I've had one crown in my mouth for something like 15 years, a couple for about 10, and a few for about 6.

In all that time, I had to get one re-done because I got decay under it, and one has popped off twice, but without decay, so they just re-glue it.

No root canals so far- all in all, the crowns seem like a pretty excellent deal when compared to the alternatives. And I have decay-prone teeth; I brush twice daily, and floss daily, and when I visited the dental college in graduate school, they brought the students over to see an example of "excellent gums" in my mouth. Yet my teeth still tend toward getting cavities.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-30-2011, 04:18 PM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
You are 28 - you should try to hold on to as many natural teeth as you can.

Get them sealed after cleaning, it will help.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-31-2011, 12:07 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 5,670
It kind of sounds like you might benefit from a more extensive conversation with your dentist about preventive care. If your enamel is really that soft, I would bet no amount of sealing or additional fluoride will really extend their life. It's probably why your dentist didn't offer sealing as an option, but it can't hurt to bring it up to make sure.

I've met a couple of people IRL who have "soft" enamel. One went with implants, and the other is getting veneers as the enamel chips, so I'm not in full understanding of why choose which option, maybe it depends on the nature of the wear. I have bruxism, which means I clench and sometimes grind my teeth, resulting in wearing my molars down. While the teeth/roots/everything besides the white enamel is fine, I needed two crowns. My dentist said they are basically little helmets since there was no root canal work done or anything like that.

Where I'm going with this is if your enamel is the problem and the rest of your tooth is healthy, a dentist is truly loathe to pull it. The tooth root and jaw bone structure is the healthiest thing to maintain if at all possible. Due to the bruxism, I opted for gold crowns, since it's the furthest back molars on each side, who's going to notice, and it's the longest-lasting option. My mom has a gold crown on a tricuspid that was placed when she was 30, she's 66 now, and also uses that tooth as an anchor for a partial. My dentist said there's no reason not to expect my gold to last upwards of 20-30 years with proper care (brush 2x, floss 1x every day, wear mouth guard every night).

There are several options for crown material. My dentist originally quoted me for the metal/ceramic veneer since those are the most popular, but especially with my clenching issue, I decided I would go the non-vain route and get the ones most likely to last without problems. The veneered ones are too likely to chip or wear and need replacement in 5-10 years.

Your partial option may only be viable if there's a crowned or implanted tooth to anchor it to. If your enamel is so soft it may shear off, a partial is going to wreck the teeth it's anchored to, from inserting and removing it daily. So you will still most likely need to go with a combination of crowns and partials if you don't get implants.

You've gotten stories from RL people who had bad crown experiences, but I'm not convinced the people who had problems after only a few months really had permanent crowns - that sounds like temporaries that they let go too long. The ones that lasted a little longer, perhaps weren't fitted perfectly. When I had the second crown placed, I had to get it done twice. The first time there was a miniscule mismatch that made running floss over the spot where tooth met crown feel a tiny bit rough. Unacceptable, sent crown back to lab and had to do it all over two weeks later. So my dentist is a perfectionist, and I feel like I'm getting what I'm paying for with him, even though he's priced on the high end of normal.

So, please do more research before deciding on pulling otherwise healthy teeth. Talk to your dentist. I'll bet he won't really like the idea, I don't think a good dentist would support the idea of pulling otherwise healthy teeth that just need helmets!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-01-2011, 07:28 AM
surrounded by literalists surrounded by literalists is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
I also have bad teeth. I take supplements, I keep them freaky clean, and use a special persciption, daily topical fluoride treatment, yet they continue to deteriorate, even the ones that have been sealed. My dentist and FNP are mystified. As best as we can tell, my body has decided that my teeth are foreign invaders and my immune system is attacking them. I had 5 root canals with crowns but only one is left. Now, when I have a tooth go bad, I just have it pulled. It just wasn't worth the $1500 to $1700 for dental work that only lasted 3 years or so. Considering an implant is about $2000, for only a few hundred bucks more, I get something much more durable. Not that I can afford $2000 dental work, which is why I look like a meth addict when I laugh.

Last edited by surrounded by literalists; 06-01-2011 at 07:29 AM.. Reason: Good grammer is a priority
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-01-2011, 08:15 AM
UncleRojelio UncleRojelio is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ATX
Posts: 5,360
When the time comes, go for the implants. Greatest thing since sliced bread.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-01-2011, 08:28 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Stockton
Posts: 8,068
If your dentist has mentioned getting a bite guard to wear at night, get one. If you can't afford the expensive official mouth appliance, use a sports one. There are threads on how to use those.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:14 AM
KellyCriterion KellyCriterion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorgirl View Post
I think if asked they both would have advised you to hang onto however many natural teeth you can, for as long as you can.
I've heard this comment a few times, but I keep forgetting to ask why?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:32 AM
Omar Little Omar Little is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Stop tweeking. It's really bad for the teeth.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:32 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Because dentures SUCK. Seriously.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:49 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: 'burbs of Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 13,312
False teeth won't ever feel the same as your real teeth. Do what you can to preserve the teeth you have left. I'd go through 100 crowns before I'd let them fit me for dentures.

Have you spoken to your dentist about possible causes for such soft enamel? Do you have an eating disorder? Do you eat a nutritious diet and/or take vitamins? Were you on long-term antibiotics? Surely there's an underlying reason. If you can identify it, perhaps you can try and reverse the soft enamel.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-07-2011, 09:14 AM
Motorgirl Motorgirl is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Boston Metro
Posts: 3,855
Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyCriterion View Post
I've heard this comment a few times, but I keep forgetting to ask why?
As Zsofia and PunditLisa touched on, dentures will never be a perfect replacement for natural teeth. They move around, they have to be glued in place with sometimes unpleasant pastes and powders, they can be uncomfortable, etc. Once my mom went to full dentures she was never able to bite an apple or eat corn on the cob again. She had trouble sometimes with just biting a sandwich. Eating was a slow process because her dentures would sometimes slip unexpectedly.

If you can instead anchor a partial plate to natural teeth, or have crowns, it's apparently much more comfortable and secure.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:20 AM
KellyCriterion KellyCriterion is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
What the difference between an anchored plate and dentures?

What is this? http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...GGw567qNiPB7CM
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:50 PM
hellpaso hellpaso is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyCriterion View Post
What the difference between an anchored plate and dentures?

What is this? http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...GGw567qNiPB7CM
That's a "partial" denture. For when you still have some teeth. I, too, have had the same problem as you, only mine have really rapidly deteriorated over the past 10 years or so, and I'm 51. I'm looking at implants, which have been estimated at around the price of a small car. People who haven't had issues with "soft" enamel and tooth deterioration seem to have a difficult time understanding how, sometimes, the best course is to have the damned things removed. Dentists won't remove viable teeth if they can help it, so if they do recommend removal I'd just go with that.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:58 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Drink more milk! Take calcium tablets!
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-08-2011, 10:46 PM
hellpaso hellpaso is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Drink more milk! Take calcium tablets!
If the teeth have already deteriorated, that is not an option. Like I said before, if you haven't experienced this, you most likely won't understand.

Last edited by hellpaso; 06-08-2011 at 10:46 PM.. Reason: and have the compulsion to make what you think are "funny" posts
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-09-2011, 06:29 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 18,792
Other than go to a good dentist and follow his/her advice to extend the life of your natural teeth, you may wish to investigate implants and figure out a way to finance them. This may involve taking out a loan and paying them off over a course of years, but if they are a good option for you (this requires consultation with an oral surgeon, if I recall) then they can be a permanent solution for your problem. Implants are costly, yes, but so are crowns and root canals, particularly if they don't last. Bridges and dentures work to some extent, but they don't last forever and there are significant drawbacks. With implants you might take 10 years to pay for teeth that could last the rest of your life, so long term that may be the best course of action, but like I said, you'd need to talk to a dentist/oral surgeon who is qualified to perform the procedure.

It's my understanding that you don't have to get a full set of implants, either - you can get a couple or a few implants and use them to anchor a bridge or set of dentures, which option you might want to look into as well. A bridge anchored to an implant will be much more stable and enduring than one anchored to a "soft" and deteriorating tooth. That might be a solution that is more manageable in cost but will give a better result than some alternatives.

Regardless, researching your options is definitely a good idea.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-10-2011, 07:50 PM
pope_hentai pope_hentai is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
ive got the same problem and am honestly saving up for implants. all else fails and 5 placed implants can hole a whole jaw plate.luckinly the right teeth are the one ive lost.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-10-2011, 08:50 PM
River Hippie River Hippie is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: N.E. Indiana, USA
Posts: 3,477
My dentist scared the hell out of me regarding my receding gums and bone loss around my back molars. I did a lot of online research about dentures and followed along on a denture support group message board as members went through the whole process.

My take away impressions...Dentures will never be like healthy natural teeth. Some people adapt to dentures quickly and move on. They eat what they want and with a well fitted denture, adhesive use is minimal. Some people have great difficulty adapting and regret thier decision. Implants can be problematic, sometimes after great expense they fail.

10+ years later, my teeth are essentially the same as when the dentist told me to anticipate some big procedures to save them. I had one of my front teeth re-root canaled but I think they will go the distance.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-11-2011, 01:30 AM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
once I bit into a french fry & broke my eye-tooth in half. didn't surprise me; my teeth were in terrible condition. I'm descended from English/Irish ancestory. the enamel on our teeth is so soft that all it does is disinegrate. You may have to do what I did....get all your teeth pulled & get dentures. saves a whole lot of pain & makes you have a great smile (wait. I tried a bridge for a while, didn't work. the wires "ate" thru the little enamel I had) don't waste your money on cosmetic solutions
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-11-2011, 03:24 AM
SciFiSam SciFiSam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Doesn't having your teeth pulled, root and all, contribute to that 'old person' look, with the sunken cheekbones? The roots of your teeth contribute to the overall appearance of your face.

If you're considering something really expensive, it's worth getting a second opinion - from a dentist who's actually seen your teeth, not us lot here.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-11-2011, 01:48 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 5,670
Quote:
Originally Posted by SciFiSam View Post
Doesn't having your teeth pulled, root and all, contribute to that 'old person' look, with the sunken cheekbones? The roots of your teeth contribute to the overall appearance of your face.

If you're considering something really expensive, it's worth getting a second opinion - from a dentist who's actually seen your teeth, not us lot here.
Yes. Teeth are part of the structure of the face, they hold up the palate (which holds up the nose) and cheeks, and they keep the chin in it's place. Unless the OP really wants to be able to touch his nose with his chin by the time he's 50, he will want to keep as many teeth in his mouth as he can.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-11-2011, 04:26 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
I got jumped back in '97 and got seven teeth broke. The thing is dentists don't want to pull teeth anymore, they fix them. This is good. But is it?

If you can't afford to get your dental problems fixed within a year's time, you're in for big troubles. In my case it took about 4 years. In that time, the teeth shifted, they caused other problems and after spending a huge amount of money, they still aren't the best.

Root canals are expensive and can fail. Then again, I have root canals from '97 that are holding fast.

You need to look and I mean REALLY look for a dentist that is going to treat the WHOLE mouth. Not as 32 teeth that need to be fixed but the mouth as ONE UNIT that needs to be fixed.

Dentures are not as good as real teeth or fixing real teeth, but there is no point spending year after year after year, of your time and ten thousand dollars just to wind up in dentures anyway.

First is dental schools, they will treat the "Whole mouth." But today these schools are not as common as they were. In 1980 Chicago had 4 dental schools. Today America's third biggest city has only one. And it's always jammed packed.

I would call 1-800-DENTIST. They have always been very helpful. But you explain to them, exactly what is wrong.

Tell them my teeth are horrible, I'm young and I need a dentist that believes in treating the WHOLE MOUTH. Not one that will take years to fix the teeth only to have me wind up in dentures anyway.

I found they took nearly 30 minutes to find me a good dentist, and they did it more than once when I had to travel between Chicago and NYC.

You need to be firm and upfront with the dentist and inform him, you want the long term prospects of your mouth treatment. You don't want a tooth fixed, you need your WHOLE MOUTH fixed. And be prepared to walk and find another one, if they refuse to do the treatment YOU think is appropriate.

For instance I am 46 and I had a dentist that wanted to pull them out. Why? I said, he replied, "they may give you problems." I said, "they never grew out. I'm 46 and they've never once caused me pain. There is plenty of room for them. If they hurt, I'll pull them, but otherwise, leave them alone."

I left him and went to another dentist.

So your focus is finding a dentist who understand you need "The whole mouth" treated. Use those specific words when calling around.

Good luck to you
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-11-2011, 09:44 PM
gatorslap gatorslap is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Get some really good dental insurance asap. They always have waiting periods before certain things are covered, but if you really need a lot done, it will pay for itself. You may also want to consider getting Aflac dental coverage on top of that. At an old job I had both good insurance and Aflac, and between the two of them I got a crown for free.

You may also want to consider going to a dental school. It's more of an inconvenience but it's a hell of a lot cheaper.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-12-2011, 11:28 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
I've had decades of dental problems since going over the front end of a bicycle when I was 10 and landing on my jaw. My advice, start saving money, invest in all the dental insurance you can get. Don't waste time and money trying to save teeth that won't last. Go for bridgework, implants, anything that will last. I've had teeth filled, root canaled, capped, and then in the end they had to be extracted because the damage was too great. It would have been easier to start with the extraction and replacement than the futile attempts to save them.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.