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Is a dental bridge the only answer?

By July 15, 2010 - 7:33pm
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My son has severe peridontal disease. The dentist he consulted told him he needs all of his bottom teeth pulled, and a bridge put in, to the tune of over $8000. He's only 29. I've begged him to get a second opinion, and from what I've learned on the Internet, there are other options, such as surgery, that could save his teeth. I've suggested he go to the dental school for the second opinion but he's too afraid that they won't know what they're doing and he doesn't want to be an "experiment." I told him they supervise the students closely with experienced dentists, and I've even looked into the clinic there. It's very professionally run, and they will even discount the charges for him since he's unemployed and has no insurance. I think he's just resigned himself to losing his teeth because a bridge will be "easier." Are there any facts I can arm myself with to present to him? I strongly suspect, based on my mother's experience with losing her teeth at a young age (26) and having dentures all her life, that the bridge is NOT the easier way out.

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Hi Meebzilla,
I am a firm believer that you get what you pay for, and if you have any reservations about a procedure, diagnosis, or cost, get a second (or third!) opinion. You're a good mom to advocate for his dental health and make sure he doesn't get a procedure that isn't completely in his best interest. This quote is from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research's page on severe periodontal disease treatment: "When considering any extensive dental or medical treatment options, you should think about getting a second opinion. To find a dentist or periodontist for a second opinion, call your local dental society. They can provide you with names of practitioners in your area. Additionally, dental schools may sometimes be able to offer a second opinion. Call the dental school in your area to find out whether it offers this service." Here's the link to the page--it also has some information about treatment options: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/nidcr2.nih.gov/Templates/CommonPage.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID=%7bCE246689-D899-4CC7-B68A-805AD910F4E7%7d&NRORIGINALURL=%2fOralHealth%2fTopics%2fGumDiseases%2fPeriodontalGumDisease%2ehtm&NRCACHEHINT=Guest#howIs
Here's treatment suggestions for periodontal disease I also found from the American Academy of Periodontology:
Good luck and let us know what your son decides and how it all works out.

July 16, 2010 - 10:21am
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