An Oldie but Goodie Solution
Q: Dr. Crapo: About eight years ago I had a crown done and a new partial denture. I lost my six upper front teeth due to a number of things and I’d been wearing a flipper partial for years. My dentist said the flipper was putting too much pressure on my gums and I should get a proper partial to stop receding gums and bone loss. He said I needed the crown to support the metal part of my partial. In the last couple of years, I’ve grown unhappy with the partial because…well, I have to take it out just like the flipper – foods gets under it, so I was wondering if I could have implants. I saw a dentist and he said my bone where the teeth have been missing is too thin, so implants couldn’t be put in. Then he said maybe a graft would give me enough bone but he’d have to refer me to a specialist. He said it would be a lot of money so I got discouraged and didn’t follow up on his suggestion. I have only one other tooth missing on top. I think it was my first molar. I get a bit of food jam in another spot, but the dentist said I’ve got good roots. I just want this partial to go away because I know I’m going to break it, or forget it somewhere, or I’ll get sick and flush it down the toilet. Can I get implants? I
need something that won’t come out.
A: You do have several options. Implants must have enough bone and if you don’t have enough, then there are only two ways to provide it. The first way is the most common. It’s as your dentist said, a bone graft. Bone may be taken from the chin area below the roots of your lower front teeth or from the area where your lower wisdom teeth once were. Both provide
good amounts of viable bone to augment what you’ve already got. After five
months, the site is ready for implants. The second option is to split the ridge
and widen it enough for implants to be placed. There are several techniques
that successfully do this, but these surgeries require greater skill, plus specialized
instrumentation and equipment.
A non-implant option may work as well. If you have both bicuspids (teeth between your eye teeth and molars) on each side of the front space where you’ve lost teeth, you may well be able to place a bridge. Using the strength of two bicuspids on each side of the space will make beautiful functional teeth that are cemented (glued) in place and never come out. If you have dental coverage you
will get more help with this bridge option than the implant options.
If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.