Question by John S.: Are dental implants “nice to have” when you have lost back teeth, or “need to have”?
Patient is 80 years old with no front teeth missing. They are, however, missing 2 upper left molars, 3 upper right molars, and 2 lower right molars. They are not in pain and can chew adequately. But now a dentist specializing in cosmetic and implant dentistry has recommended expensive partial dentures to replace the missing upper 5 molars. In that the patient has no dental insurance and is fixed income, the dentist suggests spreading the cost out over time by replacing the missing upper molars with partial dentures now, and the lower molars with partial dentures in 1 year.
The question really becomes is whether the patient really needs to go broke paying for implants they may not really need. So do cosmetic and implant dentists sometimes recommend discretionary work? Or would these implants truly be necessary to prevent drifting of the remaining teeth or other deterioration?
Are implants more cosmetic? Or structurally necessary? And versus spending hundreds more on X-rays with another dentist, what is an inexpensive way to get a second opinion in a small town with few dentists?
Answer by Sage
In all honesty, if the patient is that old and it’s just the back teeth, why bother getting them? The patient is not in pain, and does not have any problem chewing so their is no problem. Obviously, the dentist will recommend them, because they want your money. I would suggest not to get them, if you certainly don’t need them of course. Good Luck!
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