No one’s oral health is beyond saving.
Did you know that everyone develops between 28 and 32 adult teeth, depending on whether or not you have wisdom teeth? Your teeth play an important role in your daily life, so modern dentistry uses many different treatments as well as advanced technology to treat and prevent oral health issues. This gives you the best chance of keeping all of your natural teeth for your entire lifetime. Life happens, though, and most people have to undergo some form of dental treatment over the years for cavities or gum disease.
If your oral health is suffering, it’s easy to feel discouraged about ever regaining your oral health—but don’t worry! The advanced methods and materials available to dentists today ensure that your oral health is never beyond saving. When you’re suffering from extreme oral health issues, full-mouth extractions and dentures can be the key to restoring your oral health as well as the function and appearance of your teeth. Like any large medical decision, however, we understand that you likely have a lot of questions. To help you understand how this process might help you, here are 5 of the most common questions people ask about full-mouth extractions and dentures.
1. Why do I need to have all my teeth extracted?
There are several reasons you may need all of your teeth extracted, including severe decay, gum disease, dental injuries that can’t be treated by other means, infections or abscesses, or bone loss in your jaw. Oral health can be complex, so you may have multiple issues with the teeth in your mouth that, taken together, make extracting all of your teeth the best way to improve your oral and overall health. Everyone’s case is unique and we always want to make sure that you understand and feel confident in your treatment! To make sure you’re comfortable with your treatment plan, Dr. Harris will answer all of your questions and explain exactly why he believes that this is the best treatment for you.
2. Is it painful?
It’s not uncommon for people to worry that tooth extractions are going to hurt, but don’t worry—you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. Dr. Harris will discuss options like localized anesthetics or sedation with you to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. If you’re just getting a few teeth removed, localized anesthetics are often used to numb those teeth. If you’re having numerous teeth extracted, however, sedation may be offered as an option. Both options will ensure that your procedure is completely painless.
When the procedure is over and the numbness from the anesthetics wears off, you’ll feel some pain and tenderness for several days, but much less than you may be expecting. Many people say that tooth extractions cause about as much soreness as a root canal does. This soreness should begin to fade after about three days, but some tenderness will likely remain as your gums finish healing. As a result, it’s possible to manage the pain with over-the-counter pain medications and ice packs, but Dr. Harris may prescribe you pain medication if he feels it will be necessary.
3. How long is the healing process and how do I care for my gums during it?
The size of the teeth you had extracted impacts how long it takes to heal. In general, the hole in your gums will take between 10 days and three weeks to heal completely and your jaw bone will take around three months. Thankfully, there are several steps you can take to minimize your discomfort during the healing process and to help your gums heal faster! Right after your procedure, a blood clot will begin to form in each socket to protect the underlying bone. This clot is your best friend while your gums heal! To help it form and keep it from dislodging, you’ll need to avoid spitting, rinsing your mouth out, using a straw, and blowing your nose for the first 24 hours following your procedure.
After this, you can begin gently rinsing your mouth out with salt water, but you should continue to avoid using a straw. Stick to eating soft, cool foods that don’t require a lot of chewing for the first few days, like yogurt, applesauce, or mashed potatoes. After this, you can add a little more variety, such as eggs and pasta, but stick to soft foods while your gums heal. It’s also wise to avoid smoking and other forms of tobacco use because these habits impair your body’s ability to heal and increase the risk of complications like infections.
Don’t worry about getting all of this information down pat beforehand, though! Dr. Harris will send you home with instructions to follow as you recover. Just do your best to follow his instructions closely, as this will ease the healing process. We want to ensure that you have the most comfortable recovery possible, so you can always ask questions about the recovery process or Dr. Harris’ instructions.
4. When will I be able to get dentures?
The answer to this question depends heavily upon what type of dentures you’re planning on getting. If you get traditional dentures, you’ll need to wait for your gums to heal completely before you can be fitted for permanent dentures. The dentures will then take a couple of weeks to be made and sent back to our office, so it generally takes between six and eight weeks after your full-mouth extraction for you to get your traditional dentures.
Implant-supported dentures vary greatly based on the method used to place them. Generally, you need to wait for your jaw bone to heal completely before you receive implants, so it may be about three months before you are ready for the procedure. In some cases, implant-supported dentures can use a system called All-on-4 to place your dentures on the same day as your tooth extractions.
5. How will my dentures look and feel?
Thanks to the advanced materials and technology available to dentists today, dentures look completely realistic. Like many other restorative dentistry treatments, dentures are highly customizable. You can choose the size, shape, and shade of your new teeth, so your smile will look just as unique as you are. This allows dentures to go beyond restoring the function of your teeth or your oral health—they give you a smile you’ll truly love and feel confident in!
Exactly how your dentures feel will depend on whether you get traditional or implant-supported dentures, but both types of dentures should feel secure and comfortable. Yes, even traditional dentures! Comedy routines have made them infamous for slipping or falling out completely, but the truth is that they should feel secure if they fit properly. The fit of traditional dentures does change over time, however, so you’ll need to have them adjusted regularly to ensure that they continue to fit well. While traditional dentures are secure and do their job well, implant-supported dentures go above and beyond because of their deep-rooted support, allowing them to feel and function like natural teeth. Each type of denture has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s wise to discuss your options with Dr. Harris to determine which is right for you!
Losing your teeth isn’t ideal, but sometimes a full-mouth extraction is the best or only way to restore your oral health. If this is the case, the procedure can transform your life, protecting your oral and overall health, helping you live pain-free, and restoring the function of your teeth while allowing you to regain confidence in the beauty of your smile. It’s never too late to save your oral health and rebuild your smile! If you have any questions about this restorative dentistry procedure and how it might help you, feel free to call our office and schedule a consultation with Dr. Harris at any time.