Dr.Crapo: I’m sixty-three years old. I’m fastidious with my health – medically and dentally. I see my dentist four times a year. I’ve been told that I have a genetic predisposition to periodontal disease. Over the years, I’ve managed to keep all my teeth, but my dentist reports that I’ve lost almost half of the bone around all my teeth. I’m not a smoker but I do clench and grind episodically. About four years ago, my lower front teeth started to get a little loose, so I had my dentist splint (join) them together with a bonding technique. I also needed some gum grafting to prevent the rate of bone loss around my roots. All these efforts have helped but as I’m thinking of retirement in the next few years, I’m wondering if I should just get implants for my lower front teeth and be done with it. Do you think I’m a good candidate? Since I’ve lost bone throughout my life, will I lose bone around my implants?
About ten years ago, I saw two men whose dental situation almost mirrors yours. Both had been patients for many years – both were ready to retire. One of the gentleman not only had steady bone loss around his lower front teeth (actually every tooth in his mouth had bone loss), but he also had a tooth that was so loose it had to be extracted. For both these gentleman, crown splinting (fusing adjacent crowns to one another) was used. The reason crown splinting is optimal, is that it completely takes away any movement of the tooth’s root in its socket. In some individuals, movement of teeth through clenching, grinding or just vigorous chewing produces a bio-chemistry in the bone that causes boney dissolution and breakdown. I have observed that the rate of bone loss over ten years has decreased dramatically in these gentlemen.
The gentleman who lost a tooth to bone and gum disease (periodontal disease) received a bone graft, then six months later, had an implant placed. It is working very well and has done so these past ten years. Is there bone loss around it? Some – maybe a millimeter in ten years.
Before sacrificing your teeth, it might be worth an evaluation. Crown splinting is an older, conventional, good technique. Implants have also been well proven and it’s generally believed that an implant that has “taken” (94 – 99 % of the time) in the first six months after loading (put into function), will have a very long life.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.
Based on actual patient cases.