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Till Death Do Us Part!

Question:

Dear Dr. Crapo: Thirty years ago I had three implants with crowns put in to replace three teeth that got knocked out in a bar. They have worked really well until a year ago, when two of them got loose and fell out. I saw a dentist because I have one implant left but the tooth is off. He said the implant was still anchored well in the bone but the post that was attached to the crown has broken off inside the implant. I’m missing three front teeth and look like a six year old who’s going to miss eating corn-on-the-cob. I’d like to have two new implants put in and get the remaining one fixed up with a new crown so I have my teeth back. Do you think they’ll last me till I kick off? I’m a sixty-four year old man and I don’t have family that live much beyond their sixties. Heck, I thought I’d be gone by now – anyway if the new implants last as long as the first ones, I’ll have a great smile when they put me in the ground. 

Answer:

Without clinical information (x-rays, oral exam, bite analysis etc.) it’s difficult to give you hard answers, but your history does give me some clues. When implants fail after thirty years there’s usually a good reason. That you’ve broken the post off in your remaining implant and lost two implants, suggest tremendous forces at work. It may also be a case of neglect on your part or supervised neglect on the part of your dentist. There are always clues before failure of a tooth or implant. If you’re an “every six month check-up kind” and your dentist is familiar with what makes for successful teeth or implants, you should never have lost your implants or broken the post holding the crown in the implant that’s left.

The point isn’t accusational but factual. Uncoordinated forces can loosen teeth or implants, crack and break teeth, move teeth, and cause TMJ problems to the extreme, to mention only a few.

When you have your questions addressed by someone who understands complex dental issues, make sure a very thorough analysis is done or you may outlast a second set. Don’t be surprised if fixing the problem involves more than just two implants and three crowns. Your jaw mechanics have developed a “worn-in” pattern that needs reconfiguring and balancing. It’s akin to a set of tires that are out of balance and a steering mechanism that is out of alignment. Placing one new tire on a car with three worn tires and bad alignment will see the rubber literally ripped off the new tire. Your bite is the same.

If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.


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