My teeth are a mess! Should I consider dentures? Most Liked Hot Conversation

Today’s Featured Comments

From Lynne B

Let me preface this by saying that if I had the money that has been spent on my teeth over the last 55 years, if it had been invested, I would probably have very few worries about retiring.  I say that because when I ask the question I have to ask, most of you are going to think that I have neglected my teeth over the years and nothing could be further from the truth.

My teeth have always been horrible.  I have 4 teeth in my mouth that have not been crowned.  Every crown and every bridge I have ever had, the existing teeth decayed underneath.  I have had one oral surgery after another over the years, spent hours in a dentist chair, wore braces in my 30s and on and on.  SO that brings me to today.  I year ago the denist I was going to suggested partials.  They are awful.  Now the 4 natural teeth that I have left are starting to decay.  I am a professional and work in the public daily.  I am about to loose my mind about these teeth.  I understand that dental implants are incredibly expensive and in all honesty, I would imagine that I have enough bone loss that I would not be a good candidate for implants.

Does anyone out there have full dentures and if so, could you please share any advice that you may have.  Any suggestions from anyone else that has had this same experience with really crappy teeth???  My mom and dad both had ALL their natural teeth when they passed away.  I have no idea how I ended up with this mess!!  Thanks so much – any advice or wisdom would be greatly appreciated!!

From jhl&f

EEK!!! Do Not Get Dentures.  Dentures are NOT a substitute for teeth.  Dentures are a substitute for No Teeth At All.  Your teeth are part of your skeleton and when they are removed – no matter what a denture-pusher tells you – your face will begin to deteriorate.  Your gums will deteriorate and your dentures will never fit tightly as the base they need to stay put will become less and less secure as time goes on.  I don’t know where you live, or what your circumstances are, but you will put your overall health at risk by not finding out all your options – and that may start with finding another dentist.

Dentures are NOT a substitute for teeth.  Dentures are a substitute for NO TEETH AT ALL.  Your teeth, part of your skeletal system, are the foundation for your face  and if they are removed-no matter what anyone tells you-you will NEVER look the same.  Your gums will deteriorate as the underlying bone and tissue shrinks, so the dentures will never fit properly as the base necessary for them to sit on will erode over time.  You may think this is a choice of economics.  It most definitely is not.  The health of your mouth is key to having good health overall.  I don’t know where you live, or what your circumstances are, but you will put your overall health at risk by not finding out all your options – and that may start with finding another dentist.  I am 60, have survived bad orthodontia, exposed roots, have several molars with caps, and am seeing my endodontist tomorrow for a 6-month follow up from an emergency root canal.  Expensive?  Depends on what quality of life is worth to you.

Sometimes it’s hell to grow old, but don’t go hurrying the downward spiral along with an extreme and irreversible choice. Please, find another, more competent dentist.

[These comments were originally posted in these conversations. ~ Eds.]

Dentures – what’s advice would you give a friend?

18 like

Posted in fashion & beauty, health & fitness, other topics, VN Featured Comment.

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23 Responses

  1. Generic Image gdbland says


    I would seriously look at implants!  Yes, they are terribly expensive (I could have bought a house for what I paid) and the process is long (as in several months) but if you are losing the bone in your jaw, it’s the way to go.  I had dentures for several years and I tend to clench my jaws a lot so the jaw bone was down to the minimum required for the implants.  I decided to do it immediately and fortunately had the money to pay for it.  I’d recommend it highly!!!  I’ve never looked back!!

    3 like

  2. Generic Image Humphrey says

    Implants are very expensive!  I would seriously look at partial or full dentures.  At least having teeth back in your mouth will restore your bite, restore the shape of your face and once again give you back a beautiful smile!  And, more importantly, more affordable.  I know, I have them and my partials still fit and I’ve just lost 40 pounds in weight!

    4 like

  3. ellie phillips ellie phillips says

    Dental problems are preventable and even reversible -the sooner you start the better – start now!!  Cavities are a bacterial infection – and a natural product called xylitol can make cavities stop. Eat some xylitol mints after meals or add xylitol crystals to water and sip between meals. Check into the use of xylitol immediately!

    Also consider what you drink and stop drinking anything acidic between meals. A mouth rinse called ACT will help and Crest Original Toothpaste has ingredients to stop cavities and build back strength.

    You may have been infected with cavity-bacteria as a child, or had a dry mouth for some reason. Cavities are not lack of care – but lack of information. Vibrant Nation has a downloadable guide that can help you – it is never too late!!

    Get your problems under control and work to find the best help possible (preferably a dentist who is a member of AAOSH – the American Academy for Oral-Systemic health ) This is a not-for-profit organization and these dentists care about general body health and what is best for you!

    4 like

  4. Facesoverfiftydotcom Facesoverfiftydotcom says

    First of all, don’t blame yourself for what has happened to you. This is part of the gene pool – like blue eyes – and clearly you were diligent about care!

    Second implants ARE expensive and do not always take. Before you make ANY decision about your next step, I would make an appointment with the best university dental school in your area. First of all, the fees are considerably less than a practicing dentist. And second, if you think you’d be getting second rate care, you are mistaken. These students are usually fantastic and are in their fifth or sixth year. If you live near a major city, obviously this is an option for you. If you don’t, I’d be using my vacation time. The process is slower but it will be a third of the price whether the end result is dentures, implants or restorations. And if you have dental insurance, they’ll process it as well.

    Also – and perhaps most important – you will get an unbiased opinion from a professor of dentistry. He or she has no vested interest in lining their pocket with your money.

    My personal experience was that after regular checks and virtually compulsive home care, I was told that I needed four quadrants of dental surgery plus braces. It was absurd! I went to an Ivy Leaque dental school in my city only to be told that the diagnosis was ridiculous and the professor even guessed the name of the dentist who prescribed it!

    A dental school is the only place you’ll get that kind of opinion and in your case, it will be worth the effort.

    14 like

    • Generic Image polywog says

      Thank-you, thank-you. Wow. I started finding pieces of crumbling tooth in my food about three months ago. I have been OCD about caring for my teeth, have spent a fortune, including over $4000 on an eye tooth to be crowned approx. ten years ago only to have the base of the tooth rot underneath the crown approx. two years in to this particular crown. Recently, I went to a dentist in a major city who filled half a dozen teeth around the front tooth I was most concerned with losing as it is the very front upper tooth, visible to all everytime I open my mouth. I have been living in shame with this horrid gap in my smile (past tense; I don’t smile anymore). I was sooo frustrated w. this particular dentist b/c he ran my co-pay sky high and didn’t resolve the issue I was there to see him about (the front and centre tooth). So; it is devasting to allow this to continue; I will try our local university Dental School, as advised and pray for assistance as I am totally broke and cannot allow this to continue. It is good to know there are others out there who “get it”.

      2 like

  5. Kath245 Kath245 says

    I too had terrible teeth all my life.  At age 55 I had full dentures and now at 66 have never looked back.  They look good, fit well, no dentist visits or cost.  I think the key is to find someone who fits them well and is concerned with your appearance.  I had a good one.  He was a professor of dentistry at UCLA. I had a small change in my appearance that I noticed, but no one else seemed to, including my husband.  I wear them day and night even tho most dentists do not recommend, and have had no problems.  Get lots of advice on the best dentist to do them, and you should be ok.

    6 like

  6. Generic Image freelady says

    I have had bad teeth all my life too.  My son also inherited these teeth.  Our other relatives all have sturdy fine teeth.  We were the unlucky ones.  I have two bridges, one upper and one lower, over my front teeth.  I am missing some of my back teeth.  Now that I am in my sixties, one of my molars is really bothering me, and I have had one tooth towards the front removed.  I am considering partial dentures: I have read about new type of dentures called “Flexible resin” dentures. I asked my dentist about them and he showed me a sample: they really are flexible and soft, and they say they mold to the gums much better than the old fashioned rigid dentures.  I am going to look into this.

    5 like

  7. Generic Image Erica Manfred says

    I write about dentistry and specifically about implants.  There is a solution that most people don’t know about:  Overdentures:  dentures that snap onto implants.  Cheaper than individual implants and better than dentures.  Much better.  I have them myself and love them. I never could have afforded regular implants and I couldn’t have worn full dentures. 
    You can email me at if you have questions.

    1 like

  8. says

    I too have terrible teeth, but the good fortune to be married to a Dentist. He read your story and his answer is “I wouldn’t put dentures on my dog”. Do your homework, there are dentures that are anchored by implants. They can do bone grafts before adding the implants, I have one implant, that my husband thought had failed, but it has lasted now for ten years! They are not painful to put in. I would interview some dentists until you find one you really can trust. I think part of not wanting dentures is psychological , so really research this before you commit to anything. Good luck!

    2 like

  9. Generic Image Erica Manfred says

    I guess links aren’t allowed here because I linked to my article.  Again, dentures attached to implants are called OVERDENTURES.  I believe implants should be done by oral surgeons, or dentists with extensive training in implantology.  Too many dentists take two week courses and think they know what they’re doing.

    2 like

  10. Generic Image nancybee says

    It sounds like you have already lost the battle with your teeth.  If I only had 4 teeth left, I would pull them and either get implants or dentures.  The key is if you get dentures that you find a really good doctor who fits you well. 

    The key is to take care of your teeth and gums.  I go at least once a year, sometimes twice a year to get my teeth cleaned. 

    My mother had all of her teeth pulled and had some awful ill-fitted dentures she had to live with because she could not afford anything else.

    1 like

  11. Generic Image Erica Manfred says

    Just to prove that I’m not promoting anything, here is my article:

    Not Your Mother’s Dentures
    By Erica Manfred

    Wearing dentures ranges from tolerable to miserable. Some people never get used to them and wind up going toothless. Dentures cover the entire palate, which may cause a gagging or choking sensation and diminish the taste of food. Lower dentures are likely to loosen while eating, requiring gooey denture adhesives. Over time, dentures may become painful, causing ulceration of tissues in the mouth. Even when they fit well, dentures only provide one-fifth of the biting strength of real teeth according to studies. Eventually the bone that supports them starts getting re-absorbed into the body, the dentures become ill-fitting and have to be repeatedly relined, a process where more and more material is added to the inside of dentures to fill gaps where bone has been lost. The caved-in appearance of the face in elderly denture wearers is due to bone re-absorption. As a result the elderly may suffer from malnutrition because their dentures are too painful to chew healthy foods like nuts, meat, and vegetables.
    Implants are the modern, high tech alternative to dentures, but many denture wearers assume that they’re not affordable. In fact, there is an alternative that’s more affordable—overdentures–a combination of dentures and implants, Titanium implants are as stable as teeth roots by integrating with the jawbone. Dentures, which are unstable by definition because they just rest on the gums, can be stabilized by snapping them onto implants. Overdentures are smaller and more comfortable than regular dentures and require less coverage of the palate and lower gums. “They also provide more chewing power, which in turn helps maintain bone density,” according to Joseph Pilatich, DDS, a dentist in Catskill, New York, who specializes in implants and overdentures. “The simplest, most inexpensive overdenture is attached to two implants in the lower jaw and four in the upper,” explains Pilatich. “Overdentures are still partially supported by the gums, but they’re much more comfortable, are removable and can be cleaned daily.
    Overdentures can be a godsend to the elderly with ill-fitting dentures according to a study in Gerodontology. One former denture wearer, Kyle Salsburg, of Olympia, Washington got full upper and lower implant-supported overdentures when she was 83. “These are so much better than dentures. You can forget about them. They’re like your own teeth.”
    . If there isn’t enough bone for traditional implants to support overdentures, Manhattan periodontist Nicholas Toscano, DDS, uses an “all-in-four” system. “Four implants are placed on both the top and bottom angled in such a way as to avoid the nerves and provide stability for the denture,” explains Dr. Toscano.
    If you want a permanent solution you can go for the more expensive fixed bone anchor bridge, requiring six or eight implants to be placed on the top and bottom —to support an overdenture which is screwed in permanently “For some people the permanence of the denture is very important, they don’t want teeth that come out,” explains Dr. Tim Kosinski, Assistant Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. “However, the fixed overdenture can be difficult to keep clean so we try to design them so they’re maintainable.”
    The cost for overdentures depends on where you live. Theoretically, implants plus overdentures could cost less than $15,000 for your entire mouth if you live in Detroit, where Dr. Kosinski practices. However, in a city like New York the cost might easily be twice that. In comparison, a full mouth of implants with fixed porcelain crowns and bridgework could easily cost three or four times as much, depending on how sophisticated a restoration you choose. As far as looks are concerned, an overdenture can be as cosmetically pleasing as porcelain crowns, depending on the skill of the lab that makes them.
    Before you sink your life savings into implants plus overdentures, however, be sure to do your homework. Dr. Kosinski suggests asking your dentist the following questions: “How long have you been doing this? How many overdentures have you done? Where did you get your training? Can I talk to your patients who have had this done?”

    Connect the Dots:
    An AARP article about implants explains why they’re worth the time and expense. The success of your overdentures depends on the skill of the dentist. Here is a site that will help you find a certified implant dentist. Whether you are getting overdentures or replacing just a few teeth, implants may make more sense than bridges says this New York Times article by Jane Brody.

    9 like

    • Generic Image ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY says

      Wow only $15,000! What if you have no insurance and don’t even have $500? What do you tell these people? Who cares right ! Those types of people should get a job, or what ever people that have money think about those who don’t.

      3 like

  12. Generic Image asfastasIcan says

    I am in the exact same boat as you.  All my life, my childhood trips to the dentist required repeated, miserable visits, while my brother (who never took care of his teeth like I did) went once a year for a mere cleaning!  Now my teeth are not looking good at all and I am faced with the question of what to do.  I always thought I would keep my teeth for all my life, and my dentist is telling me the upper ones are not worth saving!  I too, have receding gums.  Ah, the golden years!
    The dentist I went to last week recommends upper dentures, but the kind that screw in like implants.  Otherwise, my receding gums would have trouble keeping the dentures in place and the nightmare would begin.  He tells me they would be comfortable and carefree and would feel like my real teeth.  Don’t know how true this is, but I am at a point where my options are limited and I really can’t go much longer the way I am.  I wish you luck on your endeavor!

    1 like

  13. ellie phillips ellie phillips says

    People – this is TRAGIC!!!

    Dental disease is COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE – and it is NOT about FLOSSING nor is it about going to regular visits at the dentist. YOu have to change your mindset – or else you will be like the rest of these ladies here – contemplating dentures. Do something before it is too late!!!

    This conversation breaks my heart. As a preventive dentist – I have tried to ring the bell for 30 years. Please think about incorporating xylitol into your routine. Please – there is no other way for women to protect themselves from the ravages of dry mouth and mouth acidity. This damage happens to most women and it is completely preventable. I am so upset at the comments here – from wives of dentists who need implants. This is all so, so sad – and so preventable.

    2 like

    • Facesoverfiftydotcom Facesoverfiftydotcom says

      I don’t usually respond to an individual post but I think that your repeated posts about telling these women what they SHOULD have done (in your humble opinion) is not helpful and IS hurtful.

      The technology and knowledge available wasn’t around thirty or forty or fifty years ago and there are in fact academics who would disagree with your theory that all of this is completely preventable.

      While I do believe your intentions are ultimately well-meaning (at least I hope they are) many of these women have been manipulated by practitioners in YOUR profession who attend seminars to learn the latest techniques in securing ongoing and never-ending relationships with their patients until they are literally bled financially dry.

      The original concern was, “What can I do now?” not to be chastised about what wasn’t done forty years ago.

      16 like

  14. ellie phillips ellie phillips says

    I apologize to anyone for any wrong interpretation. I am sorry if this is how my post came across, I will make this my last.  The reason I speak is that I am passionate about helping everyone learn a new approach that is not being explained – and people are suffering because of this.

    Today there is an epidemic of cavities in children under 2 years old. This is preventable. What I am hoping is that grandmas and parents can learn a new way to look after teeth and prevent families from a lifetime of dental stresses, concerns and expenses. 

    The need is education, and I think the dental academic world does not have the stomach for this huge project. Learning that all these problems are preventable does upset people and also, as you said, make them frustrated to think about what they have already suffered.

    My intention is only to help – either one reader or perhaps a family who otherwise will pass this disease to each other unknowingly as they kiss and hug their children and grandchildren.

    I wish we were talking – because you hear in my voice that my heart is open, that any strength in my words are from passion, and that my reason for contributing is only to spread the message to anyone who may listen. Thank you for pointing out that people do not necessarily want this message here.

    3 like

  15. Maggies Raggedy Inn Maggies Raggedy Inn says

    My advice is to stay away from dentures. As a child, a dentist took out all my teeth and basically destroyed a part of me. I have had to live all my life with a secret that has taken away so much of who I wanted to be. I have lived through the ridicule, cringing inside. In school it was horrible. Just writing this causes me to feel the situation all over. I did not have a normal childhood for I was made to feel like a I was not good enough.  As an adult, it has made me feel ignorant. You may ask why this  was done, well the dentist had no morals. He made money doing this to many children in the area. Everyone believed him when he said it was for the best, after all he was the professional. I remember having  terrible earaches and he told my parents that the only way to cure them was to take out my teeth.  I cannot imagine my parents accepting this but I never held it against them. They did not want me to suffer and could never have imagined the consequences of it on my life. I know that this will offend some people, but what was done to me is like rape. He took advantage of me and scarred me for life. Rape  victims have no outside evidence of their trauma, I do.  It has caused me to have relationship problems all my life, for I have seen my self as a lesser being. Yes I went to counscelling but unlike rape, I see the evidence everyday. You can try to accept it and go about life and make a life, yet unlike rape, the reality of it  is there everyday when I look in the mirror, when I try and eat, when I feel unclean, when I  swish my mouth with Scope several times a day. I  have went to my doctor because sometimes I get ulcers and it scares me as I wonder what will happen to me. She said that she cannot do anything. I contacted the Canadian Dental Association and they practically say.. that its too bad but they cannot do anything. Medicare won’t touch the case so I am left with a whole mess of problems.  I cannot eat as I would like and now I feel an aching in my gums and jawbone which almost feels like arthritis. I have had severe neck problems and they say it is degenerative arthritis.. no wonder, my bones are missing some vital elements in their structure and really never had a chanec to grow right. I have digestive problems and I know that it is from my mouth. I cannot chew normal so food is badly ingested.  I was dianosed with ulcerative colitis years ago but have gotten that under control on my own accord. Despite everything I am a healthy , optimistic person but  now at 55 I wonder what the future holds for me. I cannot afford to have implants, yet it has always been  my dream to someday be normal. It is now a eserious health issue and there is no help available. My small salary will never allow me to try and fix this. I have been though a really rough divorce and have faced  some really rough spots in life. In fact some people have told me that I should write my own story because  I was able to stay standing through it all. They do not know about this part of my story for I have kept it a painful inside element of my life.
    My face is falling in, in fact I had to buy chidrens eye glasses because my face is so small. I used to be decent looking but my looks are fading fast because the bone mass is disappearing.  I have always been told I have a kind smile, so open etc. Each time I hear that it is like a knife going through me… I scream inside saying but this is not a real smile. I still hide from conversations about dentists with friends or co-workers, trying to change the subject . I  fear going to a hospital for fear that they will make me take them out. I sometimes see the son of the dentist who did this to me. He is about my age and of course has made a decent life for himself. I wonder if his father would have done this to him if he had had an earache. I wish him no bad but it hurts every time I see him. I used to say that I hoped the dentist found himself in hell, but I have stopped  thinking like this. I have tired to accept saying that others have had it worst than me, yet my mouth is very real and I cannot hide away anymore. I need a fairy godmother to help me fix this.  
    So my advice is stay away from dentures if you can. And if anyone knows of a fairy godmother, please tell her she can find me at I sometimes imagine that  it would make a great reality television show… then I cringe!!!

    3 like

  16. Alicia Alicia says

    I am so incredibly sad at what you wrote.  I am going to pray for a fairygodmother.  What was done to you was horrific and psychologically, I cannot imagine.
    Love and hus, Alice

    1 like

  17. Generic Image JenLa says

    I’ll speak from my own experience. I had problems with gum recession, so had to redouble my hygiene routine. Floss in the morning and at night, use a rubber tipped device to get rid of plaque,then use a Stimudent and then brush my teeth.      Since beauty and health issues are inextricably intertwined, I made some beauty/diet upgrades.                                                                We tend to become more acidic as we age, which affects our bones and teeth among other things. I eliminated all acidic beverages- coffee, tea, soda(have never been a big soda drinker). I have substituted with green tea, which heals and strengthens gums and teeth, and is wonderful for the body, soy milk and other non sugary drinks, also raw geen vegetable juices or powder like Perfect Food by Garden of Life.                                                                            Also, no sugar or white flour which spike the insulin, hydrogenated fats or preservatives, which drastically affect our health and beauty.   Eating more organic greens(arugula, baby spinach, mesclun lettuce) which contain Vitamin K and strengthen the bones, plain organic yogurt with berries(low glycemic)and take Advacal the only calcium supplement known to rebuild bone. Also Emergen-C and grapefruit seed extract which is a powerful antobacterial.                                                                            End result? After just a month, my recession has stopped, my body and skin look much better. There is hope. We are a culture that addresses the symptoms but not always the root cause of things.                                                                                         I hope you can keep your teeth, I’m sure this is upsetting. If not, I personally would go with implants. (seen so many women on 10 Years Younger/Youtube with them and they look great)                         One last thing to this very long post- I strongly recommend Kat James’ book ‘The Truth About Beauty’ and her website if you’re serious about your health and beauty. After all, it’s about your quality of life. I wish you the best     

    2 like

    • Generic Image freelady says

      This is great information!  Thank you so much and I am going to check out the book you’ve recommended “The Truth about Beauty”    
      I have been a tea drinker all my life and I have recently switched to green tea which I find very healthful.  I have a hard time staying away from carbs but I ‘ve thrown away my white flour and now use whole wheat flour exclusively.  I also love spinach, eat plenty of it.  I will increase the other greens you’ve mentioned.  Again, thanks.

      0 like

  18. Generic Image grammayumyum says

    Some of us have had underlying health conditions for years, which have affected our dental health.  It goes two ways.  In my case, I had undiagnosed celiac disease for almost 30 years.  When I was finally diagnosed, I was at death’s door after the birth of my third child.  I weighed just over 100 pounds at 5’6″.  I had severe vitamin/mineral deficiencies for years because of the disease.  I had cavities at the roots of my teeth, which is very symptomatic of this condition.  A bone marrow test showed I had just 1% of the iron a woman my age needed. 
    Because the celiac disease (a hereditary autoimmune disease) was undiagnosed for so many years, it led to several other autoimmune conditions.  One is Sjogren’s Syndrome, which causes severe dry mouth, which of course leads to dental probs as well. 
    I had a crazy dentist pull a tooth at the same time I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia by my doctor.  The dentist thought I was drug-seeking because of the pain meds my doc put me on to attempt to get the nerve pain under control without a hospitalization.  The dentist was fired shortly after I saw him — apparently others had had similar bad experiences with him.  I had been too sick to complain.
    I had a tooth die during the recovery from a recent surgery. 
    Any trauma to the body or a severe GI illness (especially a bout of severe flu) can cause the death of a tooth.
    Not all of us can prevent the problems we’ve been dealt.  I’ve tried xylitol.  It causes me severe stomach upset. 
    But, we are strong educated women who know more than we did years ago.  We will move forward from this point in our lives, and do the best that we can with what we have.
    If/When I have to make the dentures decision, I would lean toward overdentures attached to implants that are removeable for cleaning.
    My best to all!

    1 like

  19. CarolynH CarolynH says

    Lynne, just ran across this post, because I bookmarked it because i too was interested in the various responses. Did you ever make a decision?  If so, what was it, and are you pleased?  I discovered a procedure that worked for me “all o 4″.  They are permanent and i had the  procedure done and back home in 3 days.  I went out of state to get it done, after doing my research.  It has been one of the best decisions, and investments i have ever made for myself.

    2 like

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