I spend most of my life without dental insurance, which I’ve used as an excuse to not go. I realize now that I do have dental insurance, it was more that I’m afraid of the dentist than anything else. Even after I had insurance it took me a while to go in. I went in for the first time and he said I have gum disease and am going to lose a couple of teeth. I’ve been reading about dental implants. I’d really like a fresh start at a healthy mouth and smile. Could I replace my teeth with those? I have so many regrets.
You are very courageous in my mind for two reasons. First, you went to the dentist while scared. Second, you want to take steps to repair the damage. I want to talk about the dental anxiety first because I think I can make your life much simpler.
You are not alone in feeling nervous in the dental chair. Many patients struggle. Most often, this stems from a traumatic experience in the dental chair as a child. We have found that some dental sedation can do wonders. For most appointments, you would only need something simple, such as nitrous oxide. It relaxes you while not interfering with the remainder of your day.
For appointments where you are needing a lot of work done, you may want to try oral conscious sedation. This is administered by a pill, but is so strong you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours afterward.
You will likely sleep through the procedure. Because you are so relaxed, your dentist will be able to get quite a bit done in each sitting, allowing you to catch up much faster.
Your research is spot on. Dental implants are by far the best tooth replacement around. Once you get your gum disease under control, they will be a great option for you. However, while you are dealing with your periodontal disease, you are not a good candidate.
This is because for dental implants to succeed, they need healthy jawbone to integrate with the implants, that serve as your prosthetic tooth root. Without that bone, there is nothing there to help retain the implant and it will fail.
I’d focus on getting your gums healthy so you will be a good candidate. That doesn’t mean you have to have empty spaces where you’ve lost your teeth. I would get a temporary tooth replacement to fill in the space while you are getting the gums healthy. The most affordable temporary replacement is a dental flipper.
Best of luck to you.
This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. Steven Collins