Dear Dr. Crapo: I have a lot of crown and bridge work in my mouth. I’ve had root canals too. Two months ago my upper right front side tooth that was root canaled broke – I mean it just came away from the tooth. There’s a post sticking out of the crown and I’m left with a black stump with a hole in my gums, or I guess it’s the root that’s left in my gums. I saw my dentist and he said the root was decayed, so it’d have to come out. I asked him what I could do and he said I’d need to get a bridge or an implant. He doesn’t do the extractions or implants, so he said if I get an implant I’d have to see someone else. He wasn’t sure how it was done. He said if I got a bridge I’d have to remove a crown on my right front tooth, next to this broken one, and then because the eyetooth on the other side of the broken one is already hooked to a bridge, that would have to come off and a new bigger bridge put in. It all sounded so complicated and expensive. All my upper teeth have either crowns or bridges that have worked fine. Another thing I’ve noticed is that my lower front teeth are getting worn down so I’ve thought they’d need work too. I’m also missing three teeth on my lower left, so I’ve got this big gap and then my wisdom tooth, which is crowned and I chew reasonably well on it. I have gotten by until now but I seem to be falling apart. Is it as complicated as it sounds or is it my imagination?
It can sound complicated but if the bridgework on each side of this broken tooth is sound, it is best to extract the root and place an implant. In some cases, a temporary tooth can be put on the newly placed implant or a replacement tooth can be bonded to the teeth on either side, so that you’ve got a tooth while the implant is healing. The final result looks just like the teeth beside it when the final crown is installed.
Your lower teeth are wearing because porcelain is seven times more abrasive than your teeth. When the porcelain wears through the enamel to the dentin, your wear goes even faster. A good bite analysis needs to be done so that you have a clear idea of how to proceed, the time and money involved. As you have been in the habit of taking care of yourself, you’ll find these procedures straight forward and attainable.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.