Dr. Crapo: This is a tough thing to say out loud but here goes – I hate my teeth – I hate everything associated with teeth. To say it in other words, if I didn’t have bad luck with my teeth, I’d have no luck at all. I’ve lost most of my upper teeth, all I’ve got left is my back most molar on the upper left, two molars on the upper right and an upper right bicuspid that just cracked in half and has to come out. Twenty-five years ago I lost my two front teeth, so I had a bridge made that has worked well until recently. I was told by my dentist I’d need to extend the bridge to include my eyeteeth, or the bridge would ultimately put too much pressure on the side teeth it’s attached to. It’s not as if I haven’t tried. I’ve got a good fitting partial for my top teeth but now it won’t fit as well when the bicuspid has to come out. On top of that, I’m having pain and looseness in my upper left tooth (which the partial fits around) and I’ve been told it’ll have to come out. I can’t stand the fact I’m putting out so much money. Just as horrifying to me, is having to wear an upper denture. I need some ideas. I’ve got good dental coverage but it doesn’t help with a lot of implants.
This kind of dilemma is more common than you think. In your situation, there may be some things that can give you many years of service.
If your eyeteeth are in good shape and there isn’t excess bone loss around your lateral incisors, extending the bridge is a good idea. Most of the time that should be done from the outset. Lateral incisors are usually not strong enough to carry the forces they’ve been carrying in your mouth. Eyeteeth are usually included in a bridge like yours for strength, as it pertains to the bone and gum around the bridged teeth.
The split bicuspid can be removed atraumatically at the time the bridge for the front teeth is done and an implant placed if your dentist has the experience and training. That implant will be ready in three months to add “anchorage” to your partial denture. If your partial is getting retention from your front bridge now, the new bridge can be made to fit your existing partial and by the time the bridge and implant are functioning, you’ll have better strength and support than you’ve had in years.
Once these treatments are completed, you may be able to mimic the treatment for the upper left molar, done to the bicuspid, adding even more “anchorage” for your partial.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a free consultation.