Not enough space for implants?

When I was young, a minor accident knocked one of my teeth out. It wasn’t in an obvious place that could be seen, so I didn’t worry about fixing it. I just recently went to the dentist after not being to one for many years, and I had to have the tooth next to it pulled. Now, I’d like to replace the two missing teeth with implants, but my dentist says I need to do a bridge because there is not enough room for two implants. I don’t understand how there is not enough room and also, the teeth on each side that he would need to crown are healthy, so why would he shave down good teeth?

Sam in Illinois

Sam,

When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth will shift.  Since it has been so many years since you lost the tooth, it’s given your other teeth plenty of time to move around, making the space smaller and leaving less room for two implants.

While a bridge may be an option – it’s not the only option.  Most dentists would likely want to find an alternative solution that doesn’t require shaving down healthy teeth, but if your dentist isn’t giving you any other options, it may be time to look for another opinion.

Mini implants might be an option in your case because they need less space. A dentist might be able to place two mini implants or even a single mini or traditional implant that will support two replacement teeth.

Bottom line, there are many options out there… take the time to do a little shopping around to find a dentist who will offer the best solution for you.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Do I need to have my fillings replaced?

I recently saw my dentist and he told me I need to have my silver fillings removed and replaced with white fillings. Unless there is something wrong with them, do they need to be replaced? I can’t afford $3600 right now.

– Lisa from Illinois

Lisa,
Over time, fillings will deteriorate and become leaky. Amalgam fillings can even crack or become corroded. Today, may patients are opting for mercury-free composite fillings because of their many advantages over silver or amalgam.

With that said, your dentist shouldn’t be telling you to replace your existing fillings unless there is something wrong with them (i.e. if they are leaking, bacteria can seep into the tooth in the crack between the filling and the tooth causing tooth decay under the filling, which can be serious.)

Sometimes patients want to have all their old silver amalgam fillings taken out and replaced with white fillings; however that is a personal choice to do so. Your dentist shouldn’t try to talk you into something like that.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Can my 16-year-old get porcelain veneers?

My daughter’s front teeth are somewhat discolored, crooked, and one is larger than the other. She is only 16, but she has been begging me to let her get porcelain veneers. Is she too young?
— Anne in Michigan

Anne,
There is no set minimum age for veneers; however there are some risks when placing veneers on younger patients if they have not yet reached maximum jaw maturity. If place too early, the veneers may need to be redone a few years later if she experiences a growth spurt.  The bones and gums continue to develop as we age, and that can cause the porcelain edge of veneers placed too early to become exposed. Your 16-year-old may be a good candidate for veneers – it really depends on the condition of teeth, how crooked they are, and if they are fully developed. If you and your daughter fully understand that the veneers will likely need replaced once or twice later down the road, the decision is really more of a personal choice.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Bite does not align with my implant bridge

I recently had four teeth on my bottom right replaced with a new implant bridge, with two implants. When I bite down on the right side, my top and bottom teeth line up, but they don’t on the left. Is this normal?     — Sharon in PA

Sharon,
This is not normal. All your teeth should come together at the same time, and if this isn’t fixed, it could lead to TMJ disorder.

This brings to light a good point about the quality and standards of implant dentistry among dentists today. Implant dentistry is not a recognized specialty, so any dentist can claim to be an implant dentist – even if they have no extra training.

You should have another dentist look at this – one who understands and practices quality implant dentistry and has credentials from either the International Congress of Oral Implantologists or the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

It could be possible that the implants were restored incorrectly or more likely that the implants were placed in the wrong position. Sometimes, when surgery is done by one dentist and the implants are placed by another, there can be a lack of communication and the implants are placed in a position that makes it difficult or impossible to restore them correctly. A restorative dentist skilled in implant dentistry should make some type of surgical guide that fits in your mouth and that fixes the exact position and angle where the implant should be placed.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.