I really need some advice for how to guide my 20 year old daughter. She is a recovering addict, and I find that it is hard to get compassionate advice when people think you’ve brought your troubles upon yourself. She is trying really hard to turn her life around.
Her teeth have been completely ruined by the drug use. The dentist at the clinic wants to pull all her teeth and then fit her with dentures.
She is 20. Isn’t there some other way? The dentist wants to pull the teeth and fit the dentures all in one visit, which I was not going to allow in any case. This is just another example of the inhumane treatment recovering addicts encounter from medical professionals.
My daughter is in a lot of pain from her teeth, and I recognize that something has to be done, but I just keep hoping there is some other alternative.
Please help us.
Anne in Key West, FL
It is so sad when we hear stories like this. Everyone deserves a second chance, and compassion.
We are also not in favor of this treatment plan at all. Twenty is absolutely much too young to get all of her teeth pulled, especially when you understand the long term implications of this. When you lose a tooth, the bone at the site of the lost tooth begins to be re-absorbed into the jaw almost immediately. If you lose ALL your teeth, there is nothing preventing your jaw bones from becoming thin and brittle. Over time, the thinning bones make it impossible for the patient to wear any kind of denture at all. This condition is called facial collapse. It is tough enough to deal with in a person who is 80, but your daughter would be suffering this in her 40s. Treatment at that point involves expensive surgery for bone grafts and dental implants.
Almost certainly at least some of her teeth can be saved. Those teeth will help preserve the bone of her jaws and slow the process of re-absorption. Then partial dentures (which can be fairly reasonable, cost-wise) can be anchored on those remaining teeth to provide a more stable result. In the worst case scenario none of her teeth can be salvaged, at which point I would strongly recommend considering mini-implants to anchor a full denture. Even two implants per jawbone will help.
Many of us can only imagine how difficult the path you’ve walked is. Your compassion and love for your daughter are obvious in your desire to get her good dental care. We wish you the best of luck in this endeavor.
This blog post provided courtesy of the office of Baton Rouge dentist Dr. Perry.