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Oral surgeon making a "shelf" with extractions



Well-known member
Jul 8, 2021
I am at the beginning of many dental appointments to try to get my dental health mess cleaned up. My next appointment is 2/16 to have 30 and 31 extracted. They have crowns on them and are decayed past the point of saving them. When I saw the oral surgeon 12/15 to extract 19, which became urgent unexpectedly, I mentioned that I would be back to have 30 and 31 removed. I off-handedly mentioned needing a partial denture after that. He seemed to take special note of that and said something like (paraphrase) - "Oh, you're getting a partial? Then I will make a shelf when I remove 30 and 31." I think he then said something about that making the partial fit better. What is this "shelf" he is talking about? Does it involve removing more bone than he otherwise would? I am very nervous about losing any more bone than necessary and kind of wish he hadn't thought of this or that I hadn't said anything, but if it helps the partial be more successful, that's good, right? I'm confused and nervous about offending him if I ask anything about it right before the extractions. Can anyone here shed some light on this?
Sorry, never heard that expression before.

Why on earth would he be offended if you ask him what he meant? It's your body and you're perfectly entitled to be clear about what treatment is being proposed.
@Gordon Thank you for your reply. I've been doing a little internet searching over the weekend and it looks like maybe (?) he might be talking about alveoloplasty. I'm thinking that I may need to request a consultation appointment before the day of extraction so I have time to decide if that is something I want to do. If it is alveoloplasty, do you have any thoughts on that.
Definitely go for a pre-op chat so you know exactly what is being proposed.
Alveoplasty is a divisive subject amongst dentists :) Some strongly opposed and some equally strongly in favour. I could be wrong but I think US dentists are more in favour of it and us Brits are a bit less so...
Simplifying things a bit (OK, a lot!):
Pros are mainly that the initial stages of denture wearing will be a bit more predictable with less need for relines in the initial healing stages.
Cons are that there is usually a bit more discomfort/swelling for the patient afterwards and after 6 months or so the bone will have naturally remodelled anyway.