Saturday, August 18, 2012

Should I pull healthy teeth and get dentures?

"My dentist told me it is going to cost between $10,000-$15,000 to restore my teeth. I don't have that kind of money and am uninsured. Should I just go ahead and have my teeth pulled and get dentures? I'm tired of not being able to smile and tired of living in pain. What should I do?"

This is a REAL scenario for so many people. The answer isn't as easy as you would think. My initial response is, no, you should never pull teeth that can be saved—but if you don't have the money to invest in them, what else can you do? I'm serious. I am asking any dentists who might be reading this, what would you recommend?

Teeth are important, but so is feeding your family and paying your mortgage. So how do you choose between the two? If you have analyzed your budget and see no room for any cuts in any areas of monthly spending, if you can't borrow the money, if you can't put it on credit and make payments, if insurance won't cover enough, what is one to do?

You can easily see why one would say, "Just pull them". It's not that they think dentures are a great option, many look at dentures as the only financially feasible option.

Real life scenario:

When I was 22, a single mom still living with my parents and bar tending on the weekends, I decided to start trying to fix my teeth with my own money. I was initially told it would cost about $13,000 to restore my teeth. Of course I was completely overwhelmed by that figure, but I did what I had to do and started getting to work. Every week, I would take $500 and dump it into my mouth. When that money ran out, I would pour in another $500 until I finally reached $5000 worth of work done.

At that point I had to make a tough decision. Should I continue living with mom and dad and fix my teeth, or should I move into my own place so I could finally be free to be a parent to my son? I very well could have continued living with my parents....but I wanted a place of my own for me and my son so I could raise him on my own, without the interference of two other adults. I didn't want to confuse him. I wanted him to have his own room. I wanted to cook dinner in our own kitchen. I wanted him to get into a routine. He was my son, not my parents. So I did what I thought was best for him and moved us into our own place. All of the money that would have went to my teeth started going to bills. It was a sacrifice I felt I had to make for my son. Was I wrong?

All of the work that I had done on my teeth started to deteriorate. No matter how religiously I brushed and flossed and tried to keep up with my oral health, it just wasn't enough. Within 4 years my teeth were at a stage that they could no longer be saved.

So again, I ask, what is the smart move in this situation? Please share any advice you may have in the comments section below. Or, if you were in a similar situation, tell us your story!


  1. That is SUCH a good point... i would actually love to hear what dentists have to say about this. So many people and dentists alike think that we either didn't practice good oral hygiene or did drugs. Granted not everyone but quite a few. I am 25 and have had my dentures for 1 month and maybe i was stupid -- but i always thought you could pretty much eat and drink what you want as long as you brushed and flossed several times daily (which i did). My teeth got their worst believe it or not when my body was at it's healthiest. i was eating tonnns of fruits and veggies and had lost most of the baby weight i had gained from my first baby. my dentist told me eating tons of fruit is as bad as soda because of the acid. i also had dry mouth all the time and wasnt aware that that could also cause lots of decay. so its always been frustrating to me to have dentists automatically look at me and think i just wasnt brushing or was a druggie. i also couldnt afford what it took to restore my teeth even with great insurance. so i am writing this for dentists and others to not assume that its our fault that our teeth went bad. granted we all could have better oral care and drink no soda or eat sugary stuff but it doesnt mean we asked for this. i never in a million years thought this would happen to me. but life is life and i saw a show the other day on shark week (im a dork lol) and it was one of those shows about shark attacks and all the amazing ppl who have lost limbs and still surf or a man who got attacked and lost his arm and actually rallied for them to let the shark live bc it wasnt that shark's fault and it was one of those kind of moments where if dentures is all i'm having to deal with right now then i'm doing pretty damn good. the oral surgeon who pulled my teeth told me, and these were his exact words, that i'll NEVER get used to dentures. well i have proved him wrong and intend to continue to prove him wrong. you can make dentures the most negative thing in your life or the most positive and thank you kristi for making sure people stay positive. dentists do need to realize that some of us just wanna have beautiful teeth again and that if we could win the lottery we would spend every dime on our teeth but for some, especially people with kids, it's just not a possibility sometimes. i would also love to hear from dentists on how to handle this. like you kristi by the time i had more money to put in my mouth the work i'd had done previously would be falling apart already. even though i too was religiously brushing and flossing. maybe we will actually hear from some dentists lol bc i would like to. this is a great thought to post and a dilemma i have always wanted to know the answer for... and just a quick question kristi- what shade teeth did you go with? they are gorgeous!!!

  2. I went in to see my dentist the other day and I told him i was watching YouTube videos on people who wear dentures. His first response? "Ewww". I was shocked that he would react this way, but it's understandable because working on regular teeth regularly makes him a lot of $$$$$$. The stigma against dentures is what keeps the dental business as profitable as it is today. Of course there are some good people out there who aren't like my dentist, but how sad is it that people will stoop to such a level. It's 2012, and science is so incredible nowadays that half of what you see on people's faces might not actually be their's naturally. It's all about what makes you feel healthy and good.

    Thank you for your videos - you are fighting against stigma and that's one of the best and noblest fights to have.

  3. I have always know that dentures were in my future. My mom has them all of my aunts. My dad his family... but my dentist tells me it is not genetic. OK so I don't have dental insurance and tried to get my teeth fixed using my care credit. After $5000 dollars worth of work done I thought that I was almost done and had put off the dreaded dentures for a few years. I go in for my last filling on the top(never mind the fact that I needed about 8 fillings on the bottom...but they weren't "bad" yet)the filling is in the back of my front tooth. My dentist tells me that the majority of the tooth is filling already, but he thinks we can make it work. In the middle of the filling he stops and says we need to discuss your options. I had enough work done that I knew my options were not going to be good and just finishing the filling sure as hell wasn't going to be one of the options he wanted to discuss. I started to cry! I mean this was my front tooth! I couldn't hide it if it was gone!!! The dentist tells me that the tooth is decayed all the way into the gum. He can put a temporary filling in it for me but it is going to have to come out. He tells me that he can make me a temp partial that would have a plastic piece that would hold it in much like a retainer. I ask through tears how much will that cost he says $350. I think to myself that's not as bad as I thought. He then tells me that I would have to take it out when I eat and sleep. Seriously my husband is in sales and we attend a ton of work dinners so I am going to say excuse me while I take my front tooth out so I can eat??!! Ummm no then he tells me that once it heals I would need to get an implant at the low low price of $1300. Keep in mind I still needed to get work done on other teeth and have NO dental insurance. So I tell him that I think I should just get dentures. He tells me that he will allow me to do that if that is what I really want(apparently I have to have his permission how kind of him to allow me), but I need to be aware that he has NEVER seen anyone who has been glad that they got dentures and there are always major problems. Ummm OK so I wanted to look at him and ask him if he was going to let me make payments on the implant and those other fillings and then remembered that no that wasn't an option because if you don't have insurance you pay for everything up front. This was eight months ago. I am now living in a lot of pain because my teeth have rapidly gone to hell so to speak. I went for a consult at Affordable Dentures 8 months ago and have been putting it off. I am scared to death, but I finally made the appointment for March 26th. Fourteen days from today. I know this is what I have to do and I know that I will get through it. I feel major guilt for feeling so sorry for myself when it is just my teeth and there are so many people with cancer and other issues that are life threatening. I spent most of the day yesterday watching your videos and you have made me almost look forward to getting it done. I am looking forward to eating ice cream and other frozen things again. Thank you for posting your story it has helped me so much. I am still scared, but I had a friend tell me that if I could give birth I could do anything. I have done that twice so I think I will be OK. Again THANK YOU so much for posting your story. I should add that I am 36 now and feel like that is really young to have to get it done, but it is what it is and I am tired of feeling like crap all the time!!

    1. thanks!!! i m going for my extractions and dentures tomorrow i m really scared you helped me a lot

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  5. n Serbia you whel pay 6 implants straumann and fixed teeth 4500$

  6. see oral surgeons who sit and tell you about everything and does the exam are not in fact the ones who are working on your extractions of 1 or 20 of your teeth. its 99.999% a woman doing all the work. its never the guy removing them. i found that out after i have all 20 of my teeth removed, plus i did not like being asked, so you want all of them removed due to your drug use? i looked at him and said do you wanna lose all your teeth right now or later? he got up and left. then security came in and removed me. i told them what he said and the security personnel looked at the surgeon and said i would of knocked your ass out for saying something stupid like that as well lol

  7. I found your site while searching for others who were considering giving up their "real" teeth for dentures. I have poured tens of thousands of dollars into the dental industry in my lifetime. Finally, at age 56, I heard something from my dentist I had never heard before; she told me that my teeth naturally got cavities faster than normal people's do. What??? It was an epiphany. Now I'm wondering why I should keep doing this endless loop of cleanings and fillings and crowns. So refreshing to find your blog. I'm going to go watch all your videos now. THANK YOU!


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