Options to Save Teeth from Periodontal Disease?

My husband, age 50, was recently diagnosed with periodontal disease and has just gotten a recommendation that all of his upper teeth and most of the lowers be replaced by dentures, as it looks like they cannot be saved. We’re seeing a periodontist in a couple of weeks. What alternatives might be available to us?

— Beth, Washington

There are so many options available today that it would be difficult to explain them all. That said, I’ll give you a brief overview that can help you get the discussion going with the periodontist.

First of all, there may be a possibility that some of the teeth your husband was told to remove can actually be saved. Periodontal surgery — including deep cleanings, bone

grafting, and splinting and joining of teeth — can do a lot to help people keep their natural teeth when they have periodontal (gum) disease. To make this happen, though, your husband will need to adhere to a dental-care plan focused on improving his oral hygiene; deep cleanings will need to be performed and possibly periodontal surgery, including grafting bone that’s been affected by periodontal disease. The good news is that some of his teeth — or perhaps even many of them — may be salvaged this way.

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