Does my son need all his remaining teeth extracted? His addiction started at age 16, and now, at 20, he is recovering and has been clean for 8 months. When he was 16, his pediatric dentist talked to him kindly about the effects of smoking and drugs on his teeth. Two weeks ago, he had his first dental visit since the one with the pediatric dentist at age 16. I convinced my son to see a dentist, and he agreed that we could see a dentist who is 1.5 hours away so that no one would know him or be able to spread his story to people who know him. We found a few dentists during a Google search and scheduled an exam with one.
My son and I were surprised to hear the dentist recommend extracting all his teeth, including impacted wisdom teeth. This sounds extreme. My son wishes to return to his pediatric dentist for compassionate care, but we know it is impossible. Could drugs damage all his teeth beyond the ability to save them? Does this mean he will be a young adult with dentures at age 20? This hurts us so deeply. Thank you. D. Williamson from Illinois
Hello, D. Williamson,
Your son’s recovery is commendable. It’s challenging to experience a disappointing dental visit when someone tries to improve their life and smile, affecting their confidence. It’s good that your son had a kind pediatric dentist. We recommend moving forward until you find a dentist with advanced restorative training and skills who is also compassionate.
Although one of our dentists would need to complete a comprehensive exam and take X-rays of your son’s teeth, the recommendation to extract them all does sound extreme.
What to Consider Before a Dentist Extracts All Your Teeth?
If a dentist recommends extracting all your teeth, consider the consequences and how they will affect oral health. Below are factors to think about.
A young patient will likely have some savable teeth. Although it may require more work for a dentist to save the teeth, restoring them will help preserve the jawbone. If a person is a senior and has lost most of their teeth, it is not unusual for a dentist to recommend extractions if the remaining teeth are not savable or would threaten oral health.
A skilled dentist can determine whether your son’s teeth are savable or if some require extractions and dental implants.
After your teeth are missing, the jawbone will begin to shrink because there are no tooth roots to stimulate them. If your son is 20 years old, by age 40, jawbone shrinkage will be so severe that a denture will fall out of his mouth because there will not be enough bone to support it.
The jawbone supports facial muscles, so the face will sag and shrivel when it shrinks. As your son matures and becomes more concerned about his appearance, he will want a solution for jawbone shrinkage and facial collapse. A jawbone graft and implant-supported dentures are the only solutions.
Intensity of Oral Surgery
Removing all upper and lower teeth is an intense procedure and may require multiple visits. Get a second opinion from a dentist with advanced training and years of experience. You can expect a comprehensive exam and X-rays before a dentist makes any recommendations.
We recommend finding at least two more dentists with general and cosmetic dentistry credentials. Look for training from the Academy of General Dentistry and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
The Monroe, Louisiana, dentists at Bayou Dental Group sponsor this post. Please read about Dr. Henderson’s, Dr. Finley’s, and Dr. Coughran’s commitment to offering their patients some of the best dental care in Monroe.