Dr. Crapo: Last week while doing laundry, I slipped and went head first on my tile floor. I suffered many minor cuts and bruises, and split my lip open which required ten stitches. In the accident, I broke four upper teeth off at the gum line and destroyed the partial denture I was wearing. Over and above the pain, frustration, and embarrassment, is the fact that I was thinking of having some nice bridges and implants done. When I saw an emergency dentist, he said that a denture would be the quickest way for me to have teeth again. I really don’t know what to think, where to start, or what to do. Can teeth broken off right at the gums still be used for bridges? Will I have to have the roots out and will I need more implants? What are the best options? I don’t want a denture but I guess I’ll have to consider it, especially if a whole mouth of implants and crowns comes in way beyond my means. Could you outline ideas? I’ve got four good molars left, no front teeth, two side teeth and the other four are broken off at the gums as I said. I have all my own lower teeth.
I’m really sorry about your accident. As you say, it’s left you with a complex problem and it’s hard for me to give you a definitive answer without seeing you. The length of the roots of the broken teeth, and the gum and bone condition around them, would have to be assessed carefully if they are to be serviceable. Long roots can sometimes be kept. If we look at simple solutions of tooth replacement, a denture might do, but the draw backs are loss of taste and getting used to the denture. A general rule is that young people make the adaptation much quicker than older folks. If you are in your seventies or above, it’ll be a full year before the denture will feel acceptable. If you are in your twenties or thirties, usually six weeks to three months will see you adapting comfortably.
The best simple solution is an implant bridge that can be made for you in a four hour operation. It would probably not be out of your financial range as you were already contemplating several implants and some bridges. It is fixed in your mouth and never comes out. You would not lose significant bone as you would with a denture, especially with your lower natural teeth putting pressure against it (the denture). Decay would never be an issue and chewing and tasting would occur as if nothing had been done. You may feel compromised now, but once your lip and other cuts have healed, a straight forward solution is possible.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.