Healthy Smile: “You’ve Never Written About Me”

by Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD of The Healthy Smile

My patient then said that she has been with me for over 40 years to add icing to the cake. Well, Marcia, this column is all about you. I saw her twice this week. The first visit was a scheduled visit to follow up on the health of a healing implant. I placed the implant a few months ago and waited for the body to lock into the implant. This concept is called osseointegration. It is a big word and describes the process in which an implant becomes one with the body. New bone cells grow in and around a dental implant after I place it. This process is analogous to broken bone healing. As part of any healing process, we produce special growth cells to welcome the implant into ourselves.

On that visit, she told me that her mouth was a disaster. She pointed out her fractured lower front teeth. There are four flat teeth in the mouth that we call incisors. On the upper teeth, the incisors give us a sparkling smile. The lower incisors are not so exciting, but they play an essential role in our chewing activities. The lower front teeth meet the upper teeth in a cutting function. When we bite into an apple, the lower teeth slide along the upper teeth’ backside and cut the food. We call them incisors because they make an incision, so to speak, and cut away a chunk of the food. The food then goes to the back of the mouth, where we chew it into smaller pieces.

Marcia showed me that the majority of her lower incisors had fractured down to the gum line. When she smiled, we saw large gaps that were not attractive at all. Cosmetics require that we have teeth all lined up and not spaces between teeth. I knew that I needed to do something fast for her; the sight in front of her mouth was a source of anxiety and embarrassment.

The fastest procedure that I can do to correct a cosmetic calamity is a bridge. Although dental implants are an excellent choice to replace missing teeth, a permanent bridge is the proper and most appropriate procedure in certain situations. I remove the broken and hopeless teeth in one visit and place a provisional bridge for function and cosmetics. The whole process was quick and, of course, painless. After the extraction area heals, I will proceed to make a permanent bridge that will withstand chewing function and look great for many years to come.

When I look at a case, I have a variety of treatment options. Sometimes the choice is dependent on cost. Other times it may depend on longevity. In this case, speed was the most overriding consideration. All of my readers know that I will give you options to consider for your individualized treatment. If you are not sure of which direction to proceed, please call us at 440.892.1810. I look forward to seeing you.

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

The Healthy Smile • 27239 Wolf Road, Bay Village, OH 44140 • 440-892-1810 •

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