Q: As a kid up till I was out of university I saw the dentist and hygienist faithfully. Mom insisted we all go regularly. Even in university, Mom made sure, when we got home from school, we saw the dentist. I had great teeth.
Once I was off the plan and on my own it wasn’t a priority. I was just too busy for my teeth.
One day as I was home visiting, Mom asked, “how long has it been since you’ve seen the dentist?”
It had been five years.
I had started smoking on the job and even got into a marijuana habit. The money was good and I was having a good time. I promised I’d go… but didn’t. Then one day, for the first time, I had a toothache. I couldn’t believe it! It surprised me so I found a dentist.
He said, “You’ve got a couple of molars that need root canals.”
“Can’t you feel holes in your teeth when that happens,” I asked? “Your decay went straight through the top of your teeth into the nerve,” he explained.
Well, I had to have the root canals so I did. “Those teeth should be crowned,” he said, “Next month, ok?”
Next month turned into next year when one day I bit down and heard a great crack. “What was that,” I thought! I sifted through what I was eating and pulled out most of one of the root canaled teeth.
“Can’t fix it,” said the dentist when I went back, “and the other one is gone too. They’ll have to come out.” That was a shock! Out they came. “How will I chew on that side,” I asked?
“Implants, except you don’t have much bone.”
That was ten years ago but I’ve been told implants can’t be put there. Is that right? I’ve cleaned up my act and go regularly to the dentist and hygienist but it’s the pits that I lost my teeth!. Anyway – no to implants? Really?
A: You’ve experienced what some other patients have when upper teeth are extracted. That is – very little bone between the ridge where your teeth were to your sinus. Historically, bone thickness there needs to be at least five millimeters thick for the shortest of implants to be placed to avoid the sinus.
In the last five years, however, great breakthroughs have advanced in sinus bone grafting. New technologies let us place implants into the sinus cavity the same day as bone goes in. In effect, a pathway to the sinus is made, the delicate sinus membrane freed so that bone can be inserted then the implant placed.
This bone becomes your own and holds your implant fast.
Final word, yes to implants and the crowns that follow.