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What's a Full Mouth Reconstruction?


Dr. Crapo

Q: Dr. Crapo: Three weeks ago I saw a dental specialist. I went because I’ve been having dentistry done, and just when I thought things were fine, snap – another broken tooth! I’m getting frustrated. He (the specialist) took x-rays and molds of my teeth and showed me how I was wearing my teeth away. He said I needed a full mouth reconstruction. When I asked him what that was, he said I needed crowns on all my teeth because many of them were worn down, some were breaking, and some had root canals or needed root canals and crowns to save them. He said it would also help my bite. Quite frankly I was a bit intimidated by the whole experience and when he said crowns, my mind started envisioning days in his chair and a mortgage on my teeth. I don’t think I caught much else he said. What is a full mouth reconstruction? How do I know I need one? Can this be done a little bit at a time or am I going to have to sell my oldest son? I’m scared to say the least. I think he said I’ll eventually lose my teeth if I didn’t do it. Is that possible? I need some

clarification.



A: Full mouth rehabilitation can mean many things. In your case, it sounds like you have a full complement of teeth, but they’re in a poor state of repair. Most likely the masticatory systems of balance, alignment and guidance need rebuilding. If these systems are badly out of balance you could lose your teeth. Getting these systems back into order is even more important than just fixing teeth. Getting these systems right tells us how your teeth should be restored. This is how you can know for yourself that you need a full mouth reconstruction, and the dentist can demonstrate it to you on a bite simulator. The most important of the three systems I’ve mentioned is the guidance system. This system governs the way forces are distributed in your mouth. Get this right and you’re eighty percent of the way to your goal. This is the smallest “bit” you can do and includes very careful crowning of the six-upper front and six lower front teeth. Back teeth can then be “fixed” and built up temporarily in such a way as to harmonize with the new front teeth. As you work your way through these expenses, you’re able to permanently restore the back teeth one side at a time. Yes, this will most likely involve crowning your teeth, but replacing what you’ve destroyed is an integral part of this reconstruction. This strategy is easier on the pocket book and provides wonderful stability, which helps prevent

the breakdown you’re experiencing.



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