Dentists love to save teeth.  That’s what we are trained to do.  But sometimes, out of necessity, treatment takes another path.  Case in point:  A new patient, in her early 50s, with no medical problems came in recently.  Her X-rays and an examination of her mouth, showed multiple broken teeth, generalized gum disease, and not many stable teeth.  In  fact, there were not enough stable teeth to recommend anything other than having her remaining teeth extracted and having full dentures.

Without financial considerations, I would recommend saving teeth if there are at least 4 quality teeth spread throughout the mouth, although that will be a push. If someone has their 6 front teeth in one arch, and they are in sound condition without gum problems, the choice is to keep them.

If someone has gum disease, that’s one problem for consideration. The more gum disease, the more the choice goes for extractions.

If someone needs a lot of root canals, then the patient needs to know the cost of the various treatment options before moving along.

With the improvement of dental implants to help provide stable chewing as well as great esthetics, some of the choices to save teeth for a short period with a partial denture need to be rethought. These are the top priorities that all patients look for, as well as keeping their prosthesis for a long period of time with not too difficult upkeep (homecare).

Keep in mind that when someone wears a partial denture, the clasps will put stress on the supporting teeth. The result of this stress is that bone can be lost on these teeth and become mobile in time. They are also more prone to decay since they are harder to keep clean.

So, if 1 or 2 teeth are missing, getting implants is great. With more teeth missing, the thought of a partial denture comes into play. With lots of teeth missing, a full denture, whether or not supported by implants, is the best choice.