It Felt Like a New Shoe
Q: I’m 90 years old but in very good health. Three weeks ago, my bridge on the upper right fell out of my mouth. It has only been there four or five years. I had it made after many years of chewing on the left side because I lost several teeth on the left side making it useless to chew there.
The dentist said if I did a bridge on the right side it would give me a side to chew on and would be less expensive than fixing the left side with implants and bridges. I said yes so before I knew it I was getting a bridge on the upper right. When the bridge came, he had to do a lot of grinding to make it fit. I said to him I think the lower teeth have shifted upward. Then I asked if it wouldn’t be better to straighten the lower teeth or lower them somehow. He said no he could make it fit so I thought well OK!
The teeth that the bridge fit on have root canals so I didn’t feel anything and after he finished it sort of felt like a new shoe. I’ll get used to it I thought. Well now I don’t have pain but I don’t have teeth either---what to do. I saw one young fellow and he said I needed implants and that would take months so I thought isn’t there a faster solution? Couldn’t a new bridge be made? The young dentist didn’t know if the anchor teeth would hold. He said the bone around the roots looked health. What do you say?
A: No new dentistry should feel like a new shoe that needs to be broken in. In the mouth teeth move, teeth break, crowns come loose, joint and muscle pain occurs just to name a few problems of “breaking in a bite”.
In your case, you are experiencing an over eruption (over growth) of you lower molars. They will have to be shortened through the process of crowning. Sometimes root canals have to be done and even surgery around the teeth to return the teeth to their proper level. Your age is not as important as your quality of life, well being and health.
If there is good tooth structure in the top anchor teeth new strong foundations need to be built into them and possibly another tooth added to the bridge for strength.
It is possible to give you a strong, comfortable bite. You should be able to have your cake and eat it too!
Based on actual patient cases
Calvin Ross Crapo