Delaying needed dental treatments is almost becoming the general rule instead of an exception these days. The responsibilities of raising a family and assuring care for family members almost routinely causes the head of the household to get needed treatments last.
Older adults surprisingly tend to accumulate many similar conditions for nearly the same reasons. Common, untreated tooth decay leads to tooth breakage which can further cause other healthy teeth to fail due to odd occlusal factors caused by missing or broken teeth.
Severe Decay and Erosion
Pictured here is a middle aged woman who was unable to keep up with routine dental maintenance for a number of years due to responsibilities of caring for others.
The cumulative tooth breakage was affecting speech and her ability to eat normally and comfortably. Socially, she had successfully trained herself not to smile.
Healthy teeth and root structures are mother nature’s required elements for maintaining healthy bone with a specific height and width. Untreated extractions inevitably lead to significant bone loss due to the loss of stimulation.
Taking Advantage of Advanced Technologies
Our patient wanted to restore or recreate, as best as possible, what was lost during the several years of delayed treatments.
Her goal was to augment missing or deficient quantities of bone that would recreate a strong foundation for a normal, level bite. Dental implants placed in strategic locations throughout the upper and lower jaws were used to replace the bone stimulating qualities of teeth that were already lost along with the removal of all other diseased teeth.
As our patient was undergoing preparation for implant surgery, intra treatment diagnostics revealed a hidden issue of a compromised sinus cavity floor. A thin layer of bone separates the sinus cavity from the upper levels of the maxillary jawbone.
Untreated dental needs and even routine tooth treatments, including extraction or implant surgery can cause this thin layer of bone to become breached or perforated. Unfortunately, too many dentists and implant dentists don’t assess this probability adequately, leading to re-treatments and added costs.
The adjacent picture shows Dr. Winters injecting a bone grafting product into the weakened area that will initiate rapid bone regeneration to an ideal thickness required for implant placement.
Lower Jaw Mandibular Implants
Pictured here is the configuration of dental implants that were carefully placed in the healthiest areas of the lower bony ridge and angled, as needed, that will provide a solid foundation for a fixed porcelain bridge.
Several implants assures a lifetime of stimulation that will promote ideal bone health (implants replace mother nature’s tooth roots).
Although some implant dentists, oral surgeons and implant periodontists are promoting bridgework with only 4 implants, the bone preserving function of only 4 implants is considerably less than having 6 or more implants (the ideal) in place.
Upper Jaw Maxillary Implants
The upper implants are placed following adequate healing and regeneration of bone and tissue grafting products, including the sinus lift. The implants are placed in positions that provide the best bite characteristics that complement the occlusal factors of the lower arch.
Final Adjustments and Cementation
Following several days of using temporary bridgework “try-ins” that enable the patient and Dr. Winters to assure proper tooth shape and sizing characteristics, color shading, translucency effects, appropriate bite height (vertical dimension), the permanent bridgework is fabricated and cemented to the implant abutments.
Vertical Dimension – Facelift Effects
Our patient achieved precisely what she had in mind. The amount of deterioration she had caused her bite to collapse significantly. The loss of bite height causes what is commonly known as “granny mouth” where it is obvious that the upper and lower jaws are closing too much, thereby caused an aged appearance.
Opening the bite literally increases the distance between the nose and chin, making premature skin wrinkling disappear.
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