When I was young, I took a part-time job as a stable-hand. It was a great gig, but I got a little too complacent and got kicked by a horse and lost a tooth. The missing tooth wasn’t obvious when I smiled so I let it go. I also went without dental care for many years and I recently had to have the tooth next to it extracted. Now I want to replace those teeth with implants, but my dentist says there isn’t enough room to place two and he wants me to get a bridge instead. First off, how can there not be enough space? If there was room for teeth there, why won’t implants fit? Secondly, the teeth on each side that he would need to crown are healthy. Why would he want to shave down good teeth?
Complacency doesn’t only settle in with stable-hands, some dentists succumb to it as well. When you perform the same tasks every day, it’s easy to treat every case as if they are the same. Perhaps replacing your teeth with a bridge is all he feels comfortable doing, but if his solution smells like manure to you, it might as well be.
To address your first concern, when a tooth is lost, your other teeth will shift to fill the empty space. Since your first tooth was probably lost many years ago, it’s given your other teeth plenty of time to move around, which is why there isn’t enough room for two implants now.
However, that doesn’t mean that a bridge is your only option. Most dentists take pride in finding solutions that don’t involve reducing tooth structure on healthy teeth, but if this isn’t the case with your current dentist and he isn’t giving you other options, it’s time for a second opinion.
You may be a candidate for mini implants. As their name suggests, they need less space to be embedded and are often a practical option. It may be possible for the dentist to place two mini implants in that space or as an alternate option, your dentist can utilize a single mini or traditional implant that will support two replacement teeth.
You may find solutions involving orthodontics to enable you to us a full sized dental implants. The point is, there’s no need to treat healthy teeth with so many options out there. Once you get saddled up with a second opinion, you’re sure to find the one that’s right for you.
This blog is brought to you by LIbertyville, IL Dentist Dr. David Potts.