Q: I’m in a state. My son is going to school in Europe. We immigrated to Canada twenty-five years ago and have a good life. We have worked hard and been rewarded. I say this because we’ve saved and are going to take him and have a holiday as he gets oriented and installed. That’s coming up very soon and two days ago my upper right bridge connected to my eye tooth and molar behind broke right off.
I hurried to my dentist and they said I needed the roots taken out and implants put in.
I asked how long does that take. When they said about six months, I was just sick. I can’t go to Europe with no teeth on that side. I can’t have pictures taken. I don’t want my son to see me looking self-conscious and unhappy.
I asked the dentist if he couldn’t fix it up with a post or something that would last. I can see the roots of both teeth and I thought something could be done to put my bridge back in.
He said he didn’t think it would stay. I don’t remember where this bridge was done but he said because he couldn’t guarantee it, he wouldn’t attempt it. He said one tooth was root canaled but the eye tooth wasn’t so fixing that tooth wouldn’t be strong enough.
Is that right? I need help now, the tickets are bought and tuition paid. I’ve got to go but I can’t go this way. I need help – is there any way to do something fast?
A: When teeth break off at the gum line, a decision of whether to try and save them or remove them for implants is certainly an important consideration. Crowns or bridges made for your natural teeth require at least two to three millimetres of tooth structure combined with foundation material to make good anchors for the crown and bridge work.
Your eye tooth broke for a number of reasons; excessive force, death of the nerve making the tooth structure brittle, long-term grinding, etc. The molar may have had similar problems.
The immediate solution to get at least good short-term stabilization is a root canal on the eye tooth with a post–post placement on the molar as well. Once the posts are in place and the bridge shows a precision fit, the teeth are filled with foundation (bonding material) as well as the bridge. Care is needed to seat the bridge exactly in place as it was originally seated. Once the bonding material is set, the excess is cleared up and you will have an excellent short-term fix.
These may last for several years if done correctly. Enjoy Europe and your son’s send-off.