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Hi Dr. Hall,
I’ve had teeth problems my whole life. I have chipped missing and discolored teeth. It seems like no one wants to help me fix them. The only thing the dentist wants to do is partial dentures. I guess I could do that but I would really like something more permanent in the front. I’ve tried to talk to him about it and he doesn’t say anything. Finally he said the way your teeth are we can’t do anything else but take out the bad teeth and do partials. I thought with all the stuff dentists had they could fix anything. My question is if you have really bad teeth can they still get fixed? Plus why do dentists suggest partials instead of fixing your teeth? By the way I’m 35 feel like I’m to young for full partials.
– Theresa from New York
Dentists vary a lot in their interest in saving teeth. In my practice, I was passionate about that and rescued a number of teeth that other dentists said were hopeless teeth. Almost every tooth that has tooth decay or is broken can be fixed, but there are many dentists who don’t want to go to the trouble of saving them. And for missing teeth, if you’re willing to pay for dental implants, that is by far a better way to treat missing teeth than removable partials.
Also, when you have a mixture of missing teeth, chipped teeth, and discolored teeth, as you have explained, there are usually a number of different ways to fix them. But some of those ways require newer technologies such as dental implants or dental bonding and some dentists aren’t comfortable doing those.
You can be grateful, at least, that your dentist isn’t willing to go out of his comfort zone. Some dentists will do that, to please the patient or to avoid losing the patient, sometimes with disastrous results.
Just get a second opinion. Look for a dentist with a similar philosophy to yours. Again, don’t try to push any dentist out of his or her comfort zone. Listen to what they recommend, gently prod to see if they are giving you all the options, ask what they recommend, and then decide if that’s what you want to do. If you do want to save the teeth, you want a dentist who enjoys doing that, because they will have a passion and practice in doing that successfully. And for a dentist who is good at placing dental implants, that is the thing they will certainly prefer doing for you and will likely be the first thing they recommend.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.