top of page

Mind the Gap

Dr. Crapo

Q: Dr. Crapo: Yesterday I went to see my dentist for a cleaning. As the hygienist was working she said “you’ve got a loose bridge”. I said “can the doctor tighten it up for me”? She said “I don’t know let me get an x-ray”. After the x-ray was taken, the doctor said “I’m afraid that one end of your bridge is decayed all the way through, it will have to be replaced. When I asked him why it had happened he didn’t have a real clear answer because the other end of the bridge was okay. Can you get decay on one part of the bridge and not the other? While I was there I asked him about an implant. He said he didn’t know if I had enough bone but he could refer me

to someone who could tell. If I can have an implant and get one, will I get a tooth

on it right away or will I have a gap? If I have to have a gap I’ll just have another bridge, although he said it would be tricky because the tooth in question – my upper right eye tooth, didn’t have much left for a new bridge to attach to. I got crowns behind the bridge – some are pretty old. I got a really big bridge on my upper left front side and I hope this doesn’t happen to it. What if I have to get the right eye tooth out too – what will I do for teeth? I’m

confused. Can you give some straight forward answers?

A: Decay under fillings, crowns or bridges occur because of bacterial invasion – period! Micro leakage under that eye tooth allowed bacteria to eat right through your tooth.

If the remaining root of your eye tooth is long and strong, certain techniques allow us to reuse it to fabricate a new bridge. However, if you like the idea of an implant, you could have the implant placed and have a temporary bridge made to give you teeth while the implant is healing. When it comes time to put the crown on the implant, new crowns will be made for your right front tooth, the implant beside it and the eye tooth. This is a nice solution because you don’t have to worry about a gap during the four to six months it takes for the bone to heal around the implant. If the eye tooth root is not strong enough for a permanent fix, the tooth behind it can be used for additional strength. The eye tooth occupies the key position in regards to bite and function. If the root is not strong, you will ultimately need an implant in that site. Done

with careful planning, your transition will be sure, comfortable and beautiful.

If we can help, we’d like to. Call 778-410-2080 for a consultation.


Ask The Dentist

Dr. Crapo gives his readers free dental advice.

Blog Entries

Read more on various topics relating to dental and oral health.

bottom of page