Should I Keep My Teeth?
Q: I’m fifty-five, have most of my lower teeth but only six top teeth. I had two implants put in with teeth so I have six front teeth and two molar back teeth---six of my own and two implants with front crowns. That is until I bit into a granola bar and heard a snap. My upper left side tooth (between the front tooth and my eye tooth) snapped right off. So now I’ve got a big gap right in front.
I know I’m not going for a denture because I’ve got two great teeth on implants but I’ve got a problem that my own teeth seem to dissolve. I mean I’ve got a strong bite, so I’m told, and when I grind through the enamel I start to lose the dentin underneath rapidly. My teeth are eroded so badly there’s a noticeable depression into the edges of my teeth.
When the specialist put in the implants I asked the him about the other spaces and he said I’d need some extra bone put in but it was a straight forward procedure so I think I’m good there but my question is, should I keep the teeth I’ve got left or have them out and get implants. I do have long roots and my teeth don’t come out easily. Suggestions please.
A: Implants are wonderful-a true God send. However, if your remaining teeth have long roots and good bone around them it’s wise to use crowns to protect and preserve them. Teeth broken off can often be fused with adjacent teeth so the strength of it’s root and bone is added to the tooth or teeth it’s fused to. This process is better than a weld. In fact, the crown material is all one piece shaped to look like individual teeth.
Once you’ve decided on keeping your own teeth by crowning them make sure your finish the job with implants in the spaces so they (the implants) can receive crowns that will share the load now on the last seven teeth. This is very important for your front teeth and the last two teeth on top.
Would all implants be stronger? Perhaps, but teeth with long roots with solid bone require great force, skill and time to remove. In the process, the good bone may be compromised, requiring grafting, extended treatment time and increased cost.
My advice is to restore your own front teeth that need crowns, the two molars and then have implants with crowns added for strength and improved function.
Based on actual patient cases
Calvin Ross Crapo
Victoria Implant Centre