Your Dental Health


With an aging population we are noting the problem of terminal dentition.

It’s unfortunate with excessive wear and tear, things break down. Cars, appliances, etc., all break down and need to be replaced. Due to various reasons the masticatory system also takes a heavy beating. If the supporting bone that supports the roots of teeth is progressively lost due to diseases like diabetes (uncontrolled), osteoporosis, other forms of bone disease and periodontal disease, then the teeth get loose, gums shrink and eventually the teeth need to be extracted.

Teeth are also affected by excessive attrition or abrasion due to grinding and/or clenching, large fillings falling out, remaining unsupported enamel cracks off, and leaving a hopeless situation. Many patients may have had root canal fillings, later roots dry out and cracks can occur in the root. Hence crowns fall off or many a time, long span fixed bridges fall apart due to fractured roots or decay, then the restorative options are limited. As these complications occur every attempt is made to salvage what can be saved. Hence from long span fixed bridges the patient will need a removable partial or over denture, or implants. Terminal dentition is a serious problem and must be taken care of.

At times the prognosis is so poor and treatment options so expensive many patients end up with immediate dentures. Immediate dentures are made ahead of the time of the surgery. Then the oral surgeon extracts all hopeless teeth, trims sharp bony edges and delivers immediate dentures. Then the dentist follows up with soft liners, etc., till healing occurs and later relines the immediate denture after healing has occurred. Many patients who may need radiation treatment for cancer treatment for the jaws, tongue or surrounding jaw areas, throat or vocal cords etc. are advised to extract all teeth if hopeless, allow healing and use immediate dentures. After radiation treatment the blood supply is severely cut down and the jaw bones and surrounding areas do not heal. It is a good idea to consult the patient’s Oncologist before the cancer surgery, radiation, etc.

Its unfortunate many patients end up with terminal dentition situation. The best advice is to avoid getting into this situation. Get regular dental checkups and keep up with good medical health. Regular dental checkups with your dentist includes basic x-rays, hygiene checkup, periodontal probing’s to determine gum disease, bone loss etc. This is followed up with regular or deep cleaning & cancer check. Get the decayed or poor restorations replaced with new fillings or crowns or fixed bridges, partials or implants as needed.

If you end up in any of the above situations or are heading that way feel free to contact us in the Phoenix East valley (Chandler, Sun Lakes) area.