AL­TER­NA­TIVES FOR TOOTH BRIDGES

Friday - - FASHION -

I’m miss­ing an up­per mo­lar tooth and was told that I need to re­place it with a bridge. I don’t want to grind my teeth down for a bridge. Is there any other so­lu­tion?

AA miss­ing mo­lar is a very im­por­tant tooth to re­place as it does most of the grind­ing. How­ever, when one waits too long be­fore re­plac­ing a miss­ing tooth, then very of­ten, the jaw bone that was hold­ing the tooth melts away – a process called bone re­sorp­tion. It’s very sim­i­lar to what hap­pens when a mus­cle shrinks when it doesn’t get used or ex­er­cised reg­u­larly. Use it or lose it, as they say.

Hav­ing said that, most bone re­sorp­tion takes places within the first year of tak­ing the tooth out – al­most 40 per cent. But there are op­tions in case of lost bone as well.

One op­tion is the place­ment of nar­row or short im­plants in ar­eas with lim­ited bone. We have im­plants as short as 5mm and as nar­row as 3mm and they per­form as well as their big­ger cousins.

A sec­ond op­tion is to use grafted bone. Grafted bone can be of syn­thetic or an­i­mal ori­gin or from a donor. Small grafts can be placed eas­ily and will not add sig­nif­i­cant time to the pro­ce­dure. Larger grafts when there is lot of bone miss­ing can add a few more months to the over­all time.

A third op­tion is to go for a pro­ce­dure called a si­nus lift where the si­nus floor is moved up a lit­tle to make room for an im­plant.

A de­tailed con­sul­ta­tion can usu­ally re­veal a lot more in­for­ma­tion and mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions. An im­plant is usu­ally the best op­tion by far in most sit­u­a­tions.

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