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Straight Teeth Talk: Properly fitting dentures major undertaking

April 4, 2011 at midnight
Updated April 4, 2011 at 11:05 p.m.

Before: The missing tooth fell out all on its own because of gum and bone disease.

By Mac Lee

Editors note: This is the third column in a series on bad bites and what it can do to people and their teeth. The first article explained how a bad bite can cause headaches, and the second explained how it can destroy teeth. This column ties the two together, focusing on how a bad bite can cause headaches and destroy teeth. The first two installments of this series can be found at www.drmaclee.com.

There are three ways that people naturally lose teeth: decay, gum disease and the way they come together.

The missing tooth, in the picture on Page E2, fell out all on its own because of gum and bone disease. It was so infected, the body pushed it out of its socket just as it would push out an infected splinter. It only makes sense that the others were infected also.

In addition to having severe gum disease, this patient's teeth did not hit correctly when she bit down. From a layman's standpoint, you can imagine fence posts that are sitting in deep mud. They would stay there if nothing moved them, but if you rammed your tractor into them every day, they would get loose and even come out of the ground. Infected bone is soft like mud, and hard hitting teeth are like the tractor.

Teeth problems are not isolated to the mouth. Her infected teeth were pumping bacteria into her blood stream, and her misaligned teeth were causing head and neck pain with the neck pain being the worst. In reality, she has a serious medical problem along with a dental problem. Her only solution was to take out the infected teeth and replace them with dentures that will give a proper bite.

For patient and dentist, this is a major undertaking. The goal is for the patient to never have to go without teeth. That means taking all of the teeth out and immediately placing beautiful looking dentures at the same time. In other words, the patient will have dentures in one day.

To really get a proper fit, two sets of dentures will need to be made.

The first set is called a healing denture. Its job is to look great and keep the patient from going around with no teeth.

It also guides the healing of the jaw bone so the final denture will have a good foundation to sit on. The final denture is completed about six months after healing. It also allows the patient to change the looks of the healing denture if desired.

This medical/dental procedure is complicated, but extremely necessary for overall health. It gets rid of serious infection and gives a person a smile to be proud of.

Dr. Mac Lee practices dentistry in Edna. His website, www.drmaclee.com, is dedicated to sharing common sense dental education for the public. If you have dental questions, please visit the site or call him at 361-782-7191.

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