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dental implant

Q: Dr. Crapo: About ten years ago I gave up on my teeth. They were crooked and full of fillings and every time I went to the dentist he’d say, you’ve got three new decay spots or five. It seemed like no matter what I tried, nothing worked.

So finally, I said “to heck with this pull’em and give me dentures”. I thought I won’t have to go back and hear that I’d failed again. I also thought, finally I’ll have some nice teeth. So, I went through with it and had my teeth out and dentures put in. I had a terrible time adjusting, in fact I never did. At first, I had to get used to the fitting and I must say during this time I’d gag every time I put them in.

I could get one in but not both at the same time without feeling like I was about to lose breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was awful! My dentist tried to make the dentures as small as possible and still have them stay in but to no avail. So, for five years I’ve gone without teeth. I’ve managed but despite trying to think it’s just my cross to bear,

I really know I sound toothless, I look toothless and my diet has to be cooked and soft. I’ve read about implants, would they help? I’ve been told I’ve got enough bone for the bottom implants but not enough for the top. I can’t see getting teeth on the bottom with no teeth on the top to work against. What can be done?

A: Individuals who have severe gag reflexes demonstrate several areas in the mouth that produce over reaction to foreign body stimulation. At times flossing and tooth brushing will cause gagging. Classically roof of the mouth and back of the tongue are the culprits for gagging but I have patients that are so volatilely prone to gagging that I can’t even put the mouth mirror past their lips without them retching.

Interesting enough food and its chewing and swallowing does not cause gagging. When I have placed bridge work in these individuals (they’ve been sedated during these procedures) it has been readily accepted (i.e. no post-op gagging).

In your case bridgework could be fitted to your lower jaw with implants. At the same time sinus grafting will produce more than adequate bone for future implants and bridgework to be placed in your upper jaw. All of this work can be done with intravenous sedation – a gentle procedure, not a general anesthetic, that eliminates an awareness of the procedures. If you’re not able to wear an upper denture while the graft is healing, know that it is only time before the bridgework will be placed and your chewing and smiling return.

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

Based on actual patient cases

 Calvin Ross Crapo


Q: I’m nearing my eighth decade. I’ve cared for my teeth in the best manner I could but at this point I find myself at a crossroads. I have lost all my molars, top and bottom. On the lower, I had implants and a bridge put in some time ago, but then my upper molars on that side got loose and they had to come out. The other problem I have is that I have a deep overbite. When I put my teeth together, my upper front teeth completely cover my lower front teeth. My dentist and hygienist say they can see me wearing my teeth away. The wear seems to be going more quickly as I can’t remember anyone saying that only eighteen months ago. I guess it makes sense since I’m chewing everything on my front teeth because I have no back teeth.


I’ve had moulds taken and seeing what’s left is kind of demoralizing. I can see the extreme wear on the remaining teeth. I understand that this deep bite means that the teeth skid along each other all the way up and down the slopes of my teeth until I hit my final bite. That is a wear factor, I get it. Now my problem is, what to do. The remaining teeth – ten on the upper, seven on the lower, have good roots. So, do I have all my teeth built up with crowns and implants added to the missing teeth areas or do I get implants and bridges or dentures? What do I do?


A: First of all, dentures should not be considered. The effectiveness of chewing is drastically reduced. Natural teeth or implants do not move, as does a denture (more particularly the lower). This allows greater forces in chewing and biting your food thus better function.


Deciding whether to restore your own teeth or go to implants has a number of considerations. There are many reasons one loses one’s teeth: decay, gum disease, etc. Those diseases in conjunction with a bad bite or damaging bite only make things worse. Your bite may have been part of the reason you lost your molars. That being said, it would be necessary that the deep overbite be corrected, or the deep bite forces mitigated (softened) if you’re going to keep your own teeth. This would require crowning your remaining teeth in such a way that the bite works harmoniously in its functional chewing. This can be done but it’s important that a mock up and the rationale be seen and explained.


In response to ‘getting implants’ and teeth made the same day, that is also an option. That treatment is very predictable, but you should feel that removing all the remaining natural teeth is what you want to do.


If you have good bone support around your remaining teeth and if the bite can be corrected properly, think seriously about the two solutions before committing.


In your case, these reconstruction options of your bite might well have similar fees but check that as well. Well-restored, well-functioning natural teeth are beautiful and relatively easy to maintain.

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

Based on actual patient cases

@ Calvin Ross Crapo


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