I grew up too poor for dental care. The only care I remember recieving was from someone who came around to my scool once in a while until the age of 12 when I went into the foster care system. Each event was painful and traumatizing. One dentist even had my lip twisted in his ring and got angry when I pushed his hand away. As an adult I tried to go several times but I never had much luck with finding a good dentist. I was met with pain experiences or the dentist was condescending.
I tried very hard to care for my teeth. I brush regularly, floss and use oral antiseptics. I did not address the fillings that fell out or cracked molars, just kept them clean and free of infection. There were many years of self treatment (I even made my own flipper) because I couldn't make myself go back to a dentist. Last year one of the uppers (which was loose) got knocked out. It was still a whole tooth so I filed it down to the appropriate size and made a flipper out of denture repair material. I realized that things were getting serious and after a year of researching, I finally got up the nerve to go to a dentist. Well I didn't get warm and fuzzy - what I got I perceived as indifference (might just have been me), and his recomendation was to simply pull all of my upper teeth and get dentures because of periodontal disease. I have to say this shocked me because many of my teeth are still firmly rooted and not loose. One of the upper molars is dropping - I can feel the root and one eye tooth is wiggly.
I listened to the dentist as he dictated his assessment to the hygentist. I heard a few 8's in the uppers, mostly 5 & 6's and some 2's. #18 he said needs to come out, and the lowers were mostly 1s & 2's but one or 2 6's.
So the trauma continues... I asked about transplant instead of dentures. He simply stated "no structure". He also said to schedule an appointment with the periodontist at the practice and he would evaluate if any of my lower teeth were worth saving. Most of my teeth are fine - it's my gums that are bad.
Is it really too late to treat periodontal disease? When is it too late to consider bone and tissue grafts and transplants? I am otherwise a very healthy 55 year old woman. With the exception of mild arthritis in my hands, I have no medical issues at all. I still have 10 years of work left and being a lecturer, I do not want to retire my teeth before I am ready to retire. I am afraid that dentures will affect my speech during lectures.