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Dentistry/Dentures, bone shaving

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Question
I have several problems with my teeth and am at a point where I am seriously considering complete dentures. I have been told that in order to have the bottom dentures fit properly, I will have to have oral surgery to shave down some bone on the lower jaw.  Several people that I have spoken with that have dentures were confused as to why this was needed as I was when I first heard this.  It sounded to me like it was just a money-making procedure.  Can you shed some light on this subject?

Thank you

Answer
Dear Stephen:
I am sorry to hear that you have lost hope with your natural teeth.  Dentures, no matter how good, are unfortunately, a poor substitute.  It is best to keep your teeth. However, a denture is the best option in many instances.
The fact that the people you have spoken to have never heard of bone shaping surgery, called Osteoplasty, means very little.  It is performed commonly.
Many times, after teeth are removed, the bony architecture under the gums is irregular and jagged.  This type of configuration can result in many sore spots with the dentures and difficulties in wearing them.
If this is the case with your mouth, then the advice you have received from the dentist is actually prudent, helpful, and will result in a much better denture-wearing experience.
As always, prior to having any work done I always advise to go and see the expert on the subject.  A prosthodontist, the specialist in restorative cosmetic and implant dentistry, will be able to evaluate your mouth and let you know if you really need surgery, or a denture that can be made to fit you properly without the surgical procedure.  The denture made by a prosthodontist will probably be more expensive, as most specialty services are, but you might be able to avoid the surgical procedure and end up with a better denture.
Www.gotoapro.org will have a link to a prosthodontist near you.
Best of luck,

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Zev Kaufman, D.D.S.

Expertise

I can answer any question from simple routine dentistry to very complex dentistry with emphasis on reconstructive, cosmetic, and implant dentistry. My expertise is in co-ordination of very complex treatment plans with other dental specialists or as a one-man-team, since I have extensive training in Prosthodontics, Surgical Implantology, and orthodontics.

Experience

Over a decade in private practice of Surgical Implantology and Prosthodontics. Founder and owner of Prosthodontics & Implant Surgery of Manhattan, PC. Clinical Assistant Professor at the Post-Graduate Department of Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry. Lecture weekly since 1999 on advanced Implant Prosthodontics at New York University College of Dentistry Post-Graduate Program in Periodontics & Implant Dentistry. Former clinical assistant professor of Dental Radiology at the NYU College of Dentistry. Former clinical and lecture faculty at Lincoln Hospital, Dental residency program. Former clinical and lecture faculty at St. Barnabas Hospital (Bronx, NY) dental residency program. Lecture nationally on Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry.

Organizations
Memeber of the American College of Prosthodontics. Memeber of the Acacdemy of Osseointegration. Member or the Omikron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) Honors Dental Society. Member of the American Dental Education Association.

Education/Credentials
Graduated with Honors from New York University College of Dentistry. Post-Graduate training and certificate in the specialty of Prosthodontics. Post-Graduate training and ceritificate in Surgical and Prosthetic Implant Dentistry. Honors-program in Comprehensive and Applied Practice Management. Honors-program in Orthodontics.

Awards and Honors
NYU Cervice award to the community. OKU honor society. National Dean's List. National Who's Who.

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