A Fistful Of Dollars
Dear Dr. Crapo: I’m a forty-five year old man with an upper partial denture that’s been there for fifteen years. I lost my front teeth in a bar when a guy going for someone else, planted his fist between my front teeth. Three of the teeth were beyond repair and I never did find the fourth tooth. I was in the military at the time and they made me a partial which I’ve worn since. Two years ago, just before I got out, they talked of placing implants because they said they didn’t want to cut down my good eyeteeth to make a permanent bridge. It didn’t happen, so I’m investigating what to do. I’ve learned that dental plans will only cover the crowns on the implants and not the implants themselves, and that’s only about 15% of the whole cost. The plan will pay much more for a bridge. It’s frustrating because the implants are best, right? I’m fed up with the partial, in and out...in and out...sometimes I forget it’s not in, then I’m in my car halfway down the street, look in the rear view mirror, only to see a big black hole. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to turn back for that blasted thing. Anyway, can you suggest something? I think I want implants and be done with it.
About three months ago, I saw a man with a similar problem. He’d been told that implants to replace his four front missing teeth were the answer. When I examined him carefully, I found that he had a slight underbite between his upper and lower right eyeteeth and first bicuspids (the teeth behind his eyeteeth). It was significant enough that excessive forces would have been placed on the new implant crowns causing wear and perhaps breakage of the porcelain on those crowns. He had the choice of braces to move the teeth into a better bite, to use crowns and a bridge to correct his bite and give him a permanent set of front teeth, or to correct the crossbite on his right side with crowns and place the implants. To him, braces were going to take too long, so crowning two lower teeth and two upper teeth to straighten out a crossbite (like an underbite), then doing the implants was the answer for him. Because four implants placed in dense bone can be splinted (linked) together with temporary crowns, he had immediate teeth. When everything is finished, he’ll have a very well balanced bite and implant teeth that will give him a lifetime of service.
If your bite is right and you have adequate bone, you may be able to go directly to the implants. Be careful though, your bite must be right. The gentleman I mentioned had been told that he only needed the implants. If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation. Back to the column