Dr.Crapo: Over many years I’ve had bad luck with my teeth. In fact, I hate dealing with teeth, so I put it off till last thing and it gets my lowest priority – honest enough? Well, a month or two ago, I started noticing a gap between my upper right front tooth and a fake tooth beside it that is attached to my partial. As it got bigger my vanity got the better of me and I sought the advice of a dentist. Let me say that I need a partial because most of my back teeth are gone. My partial hooks onto two back teeth, one on each side, at the very back and onto the two teeth behind the eyeteeth. When he looked, he couldn’t see much wrong, so he took an x-ray and found that my right front tooth next to the fake tooth on the partial had a fracture in its root. He said it had to come out. This was a bit shocking to say the least because I’ve had no pain whatsoever. He showed me the x-ray and then pointed and showed me in the mouth, that there was redness and swelling around the inside where I hadn’t noticed. I guess I didn’t feel it because the partial sits on top of it. When I asked what could be done, he said the easiest was to take the tooth out and add a tooth to the partial. I’m all for easy answers but my front teeth look a bit chewed up – pardon the pun. I’ve heard of implants but I don’t know what that will cost and I don’t know how that improves my other teeth. I don’t know what’s best.
You have many options, so it depends on what’s most important to you. Adding a tooth to your partial will ultimately add more stress to your other teeth. Just adding implants, one for the tooth to be extracted and one for the tooth that’s been missing for a number of years, does not help the appearance of the others.
Ideally you would fix the “chewed up” teeth with crowns and replace the lost teeth with implants and crowns. That may be the ideal way for your front teeth. If your partial is still supported by teeth in the molar area, eliminating the front tooth that exists now, may be all that is necessary, however if you’re going with implants you may want to consider implants for your missing posterior teeth as well.
That said, a well placed fixed bridge in the front will replace the missing teeth and restore the “ratty looking” ones to a beautiful pristine look. The socket of the tooth to be extracted should be grafted to maintain long-term stability and esthetic appearance of the bridge.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.
Based on actual patient cases.