top of page

Q: When I was twenty-five, I was told that my back teeth were soft. I was told they would never hold a filling, so my best bet would be to have them all out. So, they took all my lower molars and the teeth in front of the molars (bicuspids) out nearly fifty years ago. I’ve had good and bad partials for all that time but right now I’ve got nothing, which makes it hard to eat. It’s been quite a few years in fact, since the last set broke. When I didn’t get them replaced, I was warned that the upper teeth, which have crowns, might descend down because they had nothing to chew against and because teeth are always growing they would just come down. Well, after not seeing a dentist in six years, it’s happened – my upper teeth have grown down and the dentist is wondering what to do. He said that my lower spaces show a lot of bone and implants could be put in. I checked with a denturist and even he said I should think about implants, but what about the overgrown upper teeth? How does that work? And why is everybody talking about implants? That’s all I hear anymore. Can’t somebody make a partial that fits? Now I don’t know if one could even be put in - so could you explain it all to me.

A: Without seeing the relationship of your upper teeth to the lower spaces where your teeth used to be, it is hard to give you an absolute diagnosis. Sometimes the descent or over eruption brings the upper teeth within a few millimeters of the edentulous space (your ridges). In these cases, placing posterior teeth with a partial denture or implants would require extraction of the upper teeth to make the proper space.

If the descent of your upper teeth is only partially infringing into the space that your lower molars once occupied, re-crowning the upper teeth may be done to “hike-up” the upper teeth so lower teeth can be put in at the proper height and alignment.

The “big deal” about implants is that they work so well – 95% of the time they work as well or better than a person’s natural teeth, they are stronger than natural teeth and experience no decay. In the other 5%, undiagnosed health concerns, operator error, patient habits (smoking, alcohol, dangerous lifestyles) and manufacturing defects contribute to implant failure.

In an environment as harsh as the mouth dental implants have passed the test of practical and scientific scrutiny. As time passes, the one thing that bothers me is that because they work so well other viable and less expensive services that maintain natural teeth may be rendered obsolete.

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

Victoria Implant Centre


Dr. Crapo


Dear Dr. Crapo: A year ago I decided to get my teeth capped. I had the dentist cap my six upper front teeth. I wanted to get the lower front six done too but the doc said I had some gum and bone problems, which I kind of knew because a couple of the teeth were a bit loose, but what the heck, I figured yank those and put in a bridge. Well, we decided to do just the top to start. My teeth were always a bit rectangular and flat. When the new teeth came in the doc said they looked real good and I’d like the new lighter color. He put them in and then showed me the new teeth. The color was great but they didn’t look like me. They looked rounded on the edges and there was this lump on the front up by the gums on each tooth. When I asked the doc about that, he said it was part of the natural tooth anatomy that the lab man had put in. He said in a few days you’ll get used to them and love them. When I left the office I felt like I had a fat lip. I thought maybe I’ll get used to it but I didn’t, so I went back to have him check them. After several visits I gave up – but a year later my lip still feels like it’s sticking out. What do I do? My lowers need attention and those two teeth are getting looser.


There are times when making a transition is very difficult. After a year of feeling the same you may have to come to the realization that the dentures need replacing even though they’re only a year old. Proceed carefully by having your dentist shave the “lumps” down to mimic your natural teeth. Have him shave just the two front teeth first and have him square the sides so they look and feel more like your own teeth. If your lip feels natural, you may need to replace just those two. If you need more, have the side teeth (lateral incisors) treated in the same way. This is irreversible and will affect strength and color, but the benefit is finding exactly what feels good. That information will help the lab tech make the new crowns.

Lower front teeth that are loose may have to be removed. If you go with a bridge, make sure the extraction sockets are grafted with bone so that you prevent shrinkage of the bone. Wait three or four months so that the bridge can be constructed to the healed gum and bone level.

You might think about implants in the sockets of the extracted teeth. They will give you great service and save cutting down of other teeth for a bridge.

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

bottom of page