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Avoiding Short-Term Gain

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Mark hadn’t been to the dentist in 13 years, and came to see me to have all his upper teeth extracted, just like his parents had done in their mid-forties. He’d saved up enough money for an upper denture and just wanted conscious sedation to “get through it”. During the conversation, Mark also mentioned his plan to lose the 60 pounds that he’d gained. Was he entering a midlife crisis or just trying to become healthier?

I don’t take the decision to remove teeth lightly, and neither should my patients. I know how much our dental treatment options have changed, for the better, in the last 30 years. We discussed these changes, and some issues that may result from his decision. I also know that losing that much weight would make his denture fit differently, and probably feel loose. I wanted Mark 100% informed before he made a decision. I asked him to think about our discussion over the next two weeks, watch a couple online videos, interview friends who wore dentures, and then return. I urged him to start his diet immediately and told him to call with any dental questions that may come up.

Mark called twice. The first time, he admitted that he just wants a quick fix, because he is impulsive. He told me that he was using shakes to lose weight. The next time, he asked how many teeth needed to be removed because they were “beyond hope”. My answer was “two”. Tired of shakes, Mark was snacking on whole carrots and almonds to fight off his hunger. Hmmm, those might be difficult to chew with a denture.

Personal reflection is a good exercise. Mark learned a lot about himself in two weeks. He asked me to place implants in the two areas where the teeth were beyond hope and to fix the front teeth next. I mapped out a plan to restore two teeth each month, on a payment plan. Meanwhile, he continued to lose weight.

You would never recognize him as the same person, now healthy and vibrant.

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.