I'm certain that you've encounter some "incompetent dentists
" along the way but it wouldn't surprise me if you've came across a few skilled ones as well. Whether you've given them a chance is a whole different matter.
As you noted, you've been wearing dentures for 15 years and you started experiencing bone loss as early as 14 years of age. The major concern now is whether you even have enough jaw bone left to support any future dentures. That would depend a lot upon whether in the past 15 years, if you've been back to your dentist (or last dentist) every 2-3 years to evaluate and possibly reline those dentures to make sure they're fitting as well as they could/should. Ill-fitting dentures tend to accelerate bone loss, which obviously makes future replacements even more difficult to fabricate.
I'm going to go on the assumption that there is severe damage and loss of bone. And it is doubtful that any competent dentist, or in the case of a specialist, Prosthodontist, will be able to make you another set of dentures that you'll find stable and functionally acceptable. The question now comes down to what are you desires for your mouth, teeth, and your smile?
Unfortunately, you'll need to go see one more general dentist to make the proper prosthodontist referral. If you rather not deal with private practice, then you can also contact the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
, located in Minneapolis.http://www.dentistry.umn.edu/
Contact admissions and see if you can become a patient of the dental
school. Many years back when I was in school, it was easier to get to the specialty program via a referral given from a general dentist in private practice. That way, you can skip a fair amount of paperwork at the undergraduate level and go straight to seeing the people that you need to see, which are the dental students in the Grad Prosthodontics
program. These individuals are already dentists. They're simply there for additional training to specialize in full mouth reconstructions and rehabilitations. If you're looking for the best restorative dentist of complex cases, "Prosthodontists" will be the ones to contact. Dental school fees are generally cheaper than private practices as well.
If you rather bypass a general dentist in private practice, you can try to look up "Prosthodontist" in the phone book. You could also go to this website below:
That leads to the dental society for Saint Paul, MN. Hopefully a friendly receptionist will be able to provide you with a list of Prosthodontists practicing in the area for you to seek care. Again, generally, specialists require that you've been referred to them by a general dentist. However, it's possible that some of them will overlook that fact and agree to do a consultation with you without a referral.
Best of luck to you.
Jul***** *****, DDS