Montrose Star interviews trusted dental authority Dr Randy Mitchmore from his Montrose practice called LifeSmiles.
M.S. I was hoping that my teeth would last me a lifetime. I am not sure they are going to make it. How long are teeth supposed to last?
Dr M I do believe our creator had a pretty clever design. We get two sets of teeth to start with. You get to totally screw it up until the age of six years old. That first set is lost. Then you get a get out of jail card and the clock starts ticking on the second set. The dilemma is how long is a lifetime? We do not know that number at the age of six, but it has been getting longer over time in the developed world. As better public health measures have allowed us to live longer, greater demands are put on keeping our teeth longer.
M.S. So at age 45, how many teeth am I supposed to have?
Dr M A full house of permanent teeth is 32. However, most people have the wisdom teeth removed and some people are born without all four wisdom teeth. Therefore, I do not include wisdom teeth in my count of what is considered a “full set”. So, you get one last free pass. A full set is considered 28 teeth.
M.S. I have a “friend” that has lost a lot of teeth, he is thinking about dental implants. I see lots of ads on TV about Teeth in a Day. What’s the 411 on how that is done?
Dr M. The ads make it sound like you walk in the door with no teeth and walk out the door with implants and a blindingly white Hollywood smile. It is really not that simple. There are a number of steps, impressions, and measurements that have to be done before the big day arrives of having dental implants placed and new teeth attached to them.
M.S. I was afraid there was a catch. What else do I need to know about that whole implant scenario?
Dr. M I love it when people come to me for a second opinion. I see a number of people that go to those teeth in a day mills and they get blown away about how much it costs. My experience is that those places do basically the same thing for everyone. They take out all of the teeth, they get 4 implants and they get a plastic denture that screws into the implants and they are $40,000. lighter. And that is just for the lower arch of teeth. I usually can come up with alternatives or options that can save money.
M.S. Now you’ve got my attention. What do you mean by alternatives?
Dr M For starters, frequently I do not see a need to remove all of the teeth. I take a different approach, I listen to what the patient wants before I just tell them what I can do. Most people want a nice smile, freedom of pain, and the minimum amount of dentistry done to achieve those goals. So sometimes, we leave teeth that are good and save the money of having to replace them. Sometimes we do just the top arch of teeth first, or just the teeth that are in the smile zone first. Then we give options of doing the back teeth later if that fits the budget better. A big difference is that I make a CAD/CAM designed and milled zirconium bridge instead of the smelly denture acrylic. It lasts a lot longer. I typically also use a lot more than 4 implants to hold things together and do it all for a lower cost.
M.S. How can you do that?
Dr M. I do not have the overhead of the national advertising and franchising costs. And I don’t always take out all of the teeth.
M.S. I have another “friend” that has dentures that don’t fit anymore and look not so good. She just can’t come up with the dinero for dental implants. What can she do that is better than the standard denture but not as expensive as implants? She is really kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. And she has a zip lock bag of dentures other dentists have tried to make that she can’t wear.
Dr M About 23 million Americans have no teeth at all. That is embarrassing for some because they feel like they are looked down upon for not being like everyone else. However, denture wearers are some of my favorite patients.
M.S. Why would they be some of your favorite patients?
Dr M: I believe denture wearers deserve the same fine care and respect as someone with perfect teeth. Unfortunately, younger dentists receive little training in dentures and because of that; they do not like making dentures. When a denture patient has a bag full of ill-fitting dentures made by several different dentists, they get labeled as a nut case. I find that denture wearers are hungry to find a dentist that understands them. Besides that, we have incredible new technology for denture wearers!
M.S. What has changed?
Dr M We finally have a technology breakthrough in making digital CAD/CAM AvaDent dentures! Ava means birth, Dent means teeth. AvaDent means the rebirth of your smile. There has never been anything like this before. AvaDent takes digital records of your jaws, face and bite and creates a virtual denture right on the computer. It even makes little ridges in the palate just like yours and texture to the gum part of the denture. Nothing has ever felt and looked so real. I love doing Face Lift Dentures. I can take years off of someone’s look with the new denture technology. Typical dentures take 5 appointments to make. AvaDent only takes two appointments. One to make the records and the second to give you the final result. So instead of Teeth in a Day – this is even better. A facelift in just two visits!
MS How can you do that?
DrM Using digital records, the denture is designed on a computer simulation of your jaws and bite. Then the denture is milled out of a solid block using Rapid Prototyping technology. Unlike traditional dentures there is not shrinkage so you get a great fit. This is not out of the old porous material that could give that horrible denture smell/breath. AvaDent is also more bacteria resistant. That is how you can get that youthful feel back again and natural look that you thought were gone forever.
Because the records are all digital, if you lose or break a denture, a new one can be reproduced with the push of a button! I like that they are American made.
At LifeSmiles, you are welcome to come by for a complimentary assessment to see if AvaDent just might give you a virtual smile back!
Dr Mitchmore is active in the community. He serves as Vice-Chairman of the Monstrose Management District. His passion is Dentistry. He has also been a City Councilman and Chairman of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Charitable Foundation, Give Back A Smile. The foundation helps survivors of intimate partner abuse regain their smile.