I have two upper partial dentures. The only thing left on my upper teeth are the top two front ones. I can’t decide if I should keep them or extract them and get a full upper denture or keep the last two good teeth. I don’t know anyone else in this situation that I can ask. Is there a clinical opinion on this?
I am going to have to preface this by saying my advice is given based on general principles drawn from what you’ve said. I haven’t examined you or seen x-rays so there is no way for me to give you a definitive response.
In most cases, it is better to save your natural teeth whenever possible. Whenever you extract a tooth and replace it with a removable device, there is always some shifting and movement. If you replace it with a dental implant, that is closer to having a healthy natural tooth.
The Danger of Facial Collapse
There is usually an even bigger issue with having all your teeth removed, which is known as facial collapse. When your teeth are extracted, your body recognizes there are no longer teeth there. In order to use its resources well, your body begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone in order to use them elsewhere where it perceives they’ll be more useful. After ten to twenty years, depending on the individual body’s response, you will no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures, a condition dentists call facial collapse. This doesn’t affect upper dentures nearly as much because that is held in by suction. However, if you were wearing a lower denture, it would be disastrous. These just rest on the ridge of your jawbone, which will disappear.
Your case is different. Yes, you have two teeth left, but with the eating/biting stresses put on them as your only natural teeth I don’t expect them to last long. The teeth for a complete denture will be much easier on your natural teeth on your bottom arch. In a situation such as yours, the best solution would be to remove those two upper teeth and place an implant overdenture there. This places four to six dental implants and anchors a denture to them.
Not everyone can afford that. However, even the least secure option of completely removable dentures will be better than what you have going on now. You’ll be more comfortable and it will look more natural.
This blog is brought to you by Duluth, GA Dentist Dr. David P. Marion.