PRESERVING NATURAL TEETH
Roald Dahl, the author most famously known for his children’s classics Charlie the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, had all of his teeth pulled at the ripe age of 21.
Why would anyone do such a thing? Well, he is quoted as saying he “thought they were more trouble than they were worth.”
Now we certainly do not recommend having all of your teeth removed in order to shirk the responsibility of maintaining healthy dental hygiene habits. In fact, we are all about helping you keep your teeth! It’s what we do best.
And even in full mouth restoration, our goal is always to preserve as many of your natural teeth as we are able. Whether you need a restoration due to poor hygiene habits in the past or simply because of some not-so-blessed genetics, we can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.
Here’s everything you need to know about the full mouth restoration process.
WHAT IS FULL MOUTH RESTORATION?
Full mouth restoration is also often referred to as reconstruction or rehabilitation, but no matter the wording all three monikers refer to the same process—the complete rebuilding and restoring of a patient’s smile through surgical and cosmetic procedures.
This work can involve a dentist working alongside other specialist physicians like periodontists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, and endodontists depending on your unique needs and goals for your end result.
WHO IS AN IDEAL FULL MOUTH RESTORATION CANDIDATE?
Full mouth restoration is for those who have lost teeth either due to decay or trauma, have injured and or fractured teeth, severely worn teeth due to either erosion or grinding, and those with occlusion instability. Occlusion instability simply means that your mouth is out of alignment.
Most patients who undergo full mouth restoration have multiple missing teeth, several with large cavities, cracked, broken teeth and/or very worn teeth.
Other candidates are those born with conditions such as Ectodermal Dysplasia (where teeth have developed abnormally), Ameliogenesis (small, pitted teeth prone to breakage), or Dentinogenisis Imperfecta (weak, discolored teeth).
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
While each patient’s exact full mouth restoration process will vary depending on their goals, needs, and unique plan, there is a general order of events you can expect. The restoration process will always require multiple visits and can take up to a year depending on the procedures required to meet your smile goals.
THE INITIAL EXAM
Every mouth restoration will start with an initial exam. During this exam we will be looking for any signs of cavities, wear, decay, cracks, root canal issues, or tooth movement. We’ll also look for signs of periodontal disease, deep pockets, excessive or insufficient gum tissue, and bone density irregularities. We will also check your bite to ensure it is aligned and not causing you any pain or uneven wear on your teeth. X-rays and photographs, impressions of upper and lower teeth, and a model of your bite will be created.
All of this information will be compiled to create a well-informed, custom treatment plan for your restoration. Once the plan has been determined, we will sit down to educate you, as the patient, what the processes will involve and confirm that it aligns with your goals for your end result.
After the initial exam is completed and we have agreed on the plan of action for creating your full-mouth restoration we will begin scheduling out any of the necessary procedures you will need to have done before your final dental prosthetics can be put in place.
The following procedures will need to be done to prepare your teeth, gums, and jaw for the final cosmetic enhancements. You may require some or none of these procedures depending on your custom plan.
Orthognathic surgery is also known as corrective jaw surgery or simply jaw surgery. This repositions the jaw to remedy sleep apnea, TMJ disorders, and misalignment related issues.
Orthodontics which is the specialization of prevention and correction of malpositioned teeth. Depending on your goals you may require braces to align your teeth into the ideal position for the rest of your restoration procedures.
Bone or tissue grafting may need to be done to replace any missing bone or tissue from the jaw and therefore stabilize teeth as well as future implants.
Surgical placement of implants. Healing time for your jaw and gums after surgery can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months before a crown or abutment can be placed. However, it is time well worth the wait as it creates a stable base for implants and bridges that will last well over a decade.
Crown lengthening is done to expose healthy tooth structure for the future application of crowns and bridges.
Contouring of gum tissue creates a more aesthetically appealing smile.
APPLICATION OF RESTORATION ENHANCEMENTS
Once you’ve had the necessary prep work done to prepare your smile for the final placement of your dental prosthetics, it’s time to apply them!
During this visit, you’ll still require some preparation work done to your natural tooth structure for crowns, bridges, and veneers to be placed. This requires your tooth’s structure to be altered to fit the placement of any of the above modifications. Veneers require just a small amount of enamel to be removed while crowns and bridges require a more significant amount of the natural tooth to be removed in order to fit the prosthetic enhancement.
Veneers are porcelain shell-like prosthetics that are bonded to the natural tooth. The least invasive of cosmetic enhancements they require a minimal amount of enamel to be removed before being applied.
Crowns, also known as a “cap,” is a prosthetic device that entirely covers the tooth. They require a significant amount of the tooth to be removed to form a post it can firmly sit on. A crown is used to cover either an implant, root-canal-treated tooth, or a tooth that is either discolored or poorly shaped.
INLAYS AND ONLAYS
Inlays and onlays are usually the enhancement of choice for teeth that are too damaged for a filling but not so much as to need a crown. They are often thought of as an indirect filling. The prosthetic itself is made outside of the office in a dental laboratory. When it comes time for placement it is bonded to the natural tooth.
Wondering what the difference between an inlay and onlay is? It’s all in how much, and what parts, of the tooth it replaces. An inlay fits inside the area between the little points, or cusps, of a molar. It is considered an onlay when it covers one or more of the cusps.
If a patient is missing one or more teeth a bridge is used to prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting. A bridge will either be cemented to the surrounding natural teeth or implants. We call these supporting teeth the abutments and can be thought of as the anchors for your bridge. The bridge itself is the prosthetic that will replace your missing tooth/teeth and is known as a pontic. It is attached to crowns which are then placed over the abutments.
Implants involve surgically placing a titanium screw in place of a missing tooth. The screw fuses to the jaw bone during the healing process. Once healed, an abutment is added to the screw and a crown is then placed over the abutment. The titanium screw helps to preserve jawbone stability without damaging surrounding teeth much as your natural teeth do.
BOOKING YOUR MOUTH RESTORATION CONSULTATION WITH BELA FAMILY DENTISTRY OF FLORENCE
If you believe you are a candidate for full mouth restoration, contact us today to schedule your initial exam. We pride ourselves on providing utmost service, compassion, and trustworthiness to every single patient.
We can’t wait to hear from you and look forward to being a part of your journey to a healthier, happier smile.