Last week, we began the last stage of a dental reconstruction which would not have been dreamed of when I was in dental school some twenty-five years ago. This patient has received the benefits of both new and old technology – i.e., implants and neuromuscular dentistry. She is a wonderful patient who has been eager to restore her worn teeth and replace her missing ones in spite of a long history of fearing dental work. My hat is off to her for her mental fortitude and willingness to do what is necessary to ensure such a great result!
This patient was originally motivated by a desire to improve the appearance of her smile. Her teeth had become so visibly worn that her front teeth were chipping and looked dark at the edges where they were so thin as to be transparent. She also had lost several back teeth long ago causing her jaws to become too close together. People with such bites develop creases at the corners of their mouth due to their being “over closed” and, in short, look older. In addition, just as the front teeth support the lips, the back teeth support the cheeks. Without the support of teeth, the lips and cheeks take on an unflattering sunken look — picture a denture wearer without his teeth.
After a thorough discussion of the alternatives for this patient, she decided to restore her worn teeth and replace her missing teeth with implants. In the process, her entire bite was reconstructed enabling the reposition of her jaw back to its proper position. The process involved her “wearing” a mock up of her finished new teeth for a period of three months before anything was done to her natural teeth. The mock-up (we call it an “orthotic”) was placed over her natural teeth and was not removable. The orthotic looks like regular teeth, and allows us to confirm that the new bite is comfortable, cosmetically pleasing, and will hold up to the forces of chewing.
After successfully wearing her orthotic for the prescribed period of time, we proceeded with the actual dental work. In this case, each arch (upper and lower) was completed in two visits, followed by carefully adjusting the bite to make sure that the “occlusion” was comfortable and stable. The implant-supported back teeth not only look natural, but allowed us to turn back the clock in amazing fashion.
Before and After
In this patient’s words:
“With having teeth which were missing and teeth that continued to chip away I knew that I needed extensive dental work.
Now that I am 90% completed, it was the best decision that I have ever made with an excellent result.
It was much easier and less painful than I imagined. I would highly recommend the dental procedure to anyone who is not pleased with their smile, or with the alignment of their teeth.”
If you have any concerns or questions about your appearance, bite or tooth wear, please feel free to call us to discuss your problem (908.359.6655) or you may email info@DesignsForDentalHealth.com. Also, you may check out the smile gallery on our website for other “before and afters.”
NOTE: Originally posted October 2nd, 2008