Taking Your Lumps
Dear Dr. Crapo: A year ago I decided to get my teeth capped. I had the dentist cap my six upper front teeth. I wanted to get the lower front six done too but the doc said I had some gum and bone problems, which I kind of knew because a couple of the teeth were a bit loose, but what the heck, I figured yank those and put in a bridge. Well, we decided to do just the top to start. My teeth were always a bit rectangular and flat. When the new teeth came in the doc said they looked real good and I’d like the new lighter color. He put them in and then showed me the new teeth. The color was great but they didn’t look like me. They looked rounded on the edges and there was this lump on the front up by the gums on each tooth. When I asked the doc about that, he said it was part of the natural tooth anatomy that the lab man had put in. He said in a few days you’ll get used to them and love them. When I left the office I felt like I had a fat lip. I thought maybe I’ll get used to it but I didn’t, so I went back to have him check them. After several visits I gave up – but a year later my lip still feels like it’s sticking out. What do I do? My lowers need attention and those two teeth are getting looser.
There are times when making a transition is very difficult. After a year of feeling the same you may have to come to the realization that the dentures need replacing even though they’re only a year old. Proceed carefully by having your dentist shave the “lumps” down to mimic your natural teeth. Have him shave just the two front teeth first and have him square the sides so they look and feel more like your own teeth. If your lip feels natural, you may need to replace just those two. If you need more, have the side teeth (lateral incisors) treated in the same way. This is irreversible and will affect strength and color, but the benefit is finding exactly what feels good. That information will help the lab tech make the new crowns.
Lower front teeth that are loose may have to be removed. If you go with a bridge, make sure the extraction sockets are grafted with bone so that you prevent shrinkage of the bone. Wait three or four months so that the bridge can be constructed to the healed gum and bone level.
You might think about implants in the sockets of the extracted teeth. They will give you great service and save cutting down of other teeth for a bridge.