As you can imagine, when I heard the lack of work due to front teeth, my interest piqued. I needed to find out what problem forced the decline of employment. I knew that my patient enjoyed working, and refusing a job was not consistent with his personality. All of us who work or used to work relish the feeling of accomplishing something or creating something. A job will help create this feeling.
The moment before he made that statement, my oral exam finished. I didn’t notice anything about his front teeth that would create something unsightly. His front teeth were perfect because they functioned to a minimal degree. Allow me to explain what I observed during my exam.
The way the mouth develops, the upper jaw is slightly larger than the lower jaw in width. If you take a moment to look in the mirror, most of you will find that your upper teeth overlap your lower teeth. Not only do they overlap, but the upper teeth touch all the bottom teeth. Some people deviate from this norm and find that the upper teeth are even or behind the lower teeth. Unless we see problems with this setup or anticipate problems developing over the years, I will not recommend any correction.
Our patient had another type of deviation from the norm. His upper front teeth did not touch his lower front teeth. There was a visible gap present in his mouth. Since his upper and lower front teeth did not meet, the teeth showed no signs of wear or chipping. These front teeth did not function or participate in the chewing process. Imagine trying to bite into a sandwich or an apple if your front teeth do not touch. The simple act of taking a bite becomes a challenge. He did not volunteer this information to me and only mentioned it when I asked him.
The decreased chewing and biting ability did not bother him. The shape of his front teeth was perfect. Now we return to our question. Why did he not take the job offer? It was only after a little bit of conversation that he told me that he was a model for an advertising agency. A company approached him to do an ad for a mouthwash—his refusal centered around the fact that no one could see his front teeth when he smiled.
Since his upper teeth do not touch his lower teeth, they are higher in the upper jaw than in a typical situation. The upper lip covered teeth due to their position, that it looked like he had no teeth. Excessive tooth wear will also create the illusion of no upper front teeth. A patient who has a lot of wear is a candidate for veneers or crowns. I had another and more straightforward idea than veneers.
I recommended that we use Invisalign treatment to move his teeth downwards. A simple and uncomplicated procedure is always a winner in my book. The lack of visible front teeth is a strange look for most of us. We associate missing front teeth with infants or extreme aging. In terms of the latter, there are many ways to give those patients a smile to enjoy.
If this sounds like your mouth, please pick up the phone and call us at 440-892-1810. We will help you schedule a visit with us. I am confident that I can help you smile again.
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 • www.jeffreygrossdds.com