We see thousands of patients at our clinic every year for their routine dental care and maintenance. We also have many patients attend our clinic with dental problems that require advanced dental treatment to restore the patient’s dental health.
Most of these advanced problems can be prevented. In this blog I will discuss the real life example of a patient we have treated to ensure her long term dental health is maintained.
The main reason why patient’s attend the clinic with a ‘problem’ is due to a broken tooth, more specifically, a broken tooth which has had a large restoration previously. With such heavy tooth fractures, it is usually not possible to repair these teeth and they can also become infected. Unfortunately, tooth removal is required which leads to another problem of having a missing tooth.
Routine Dental Care – Prevention and ‘Upkeep’ of general dental health
The patient in this case attended the clinic with a severely fractured upper molar tooth which could no longer be repaired. The tooth had a large restoration previously however, as can be seen in the picture below, some large fillings can fracture over time. large amalgam fillings can also cause cracking within the existing tooth structure over time as can be seen below:
These cracks can slowly propagate and result in the complete fracture of a tooth as shown in the picture below. If these restorations are replaced and improved in the initial stages then the long term survival of these teeth is significantly improved.
Once teeth fracture this way, it is not possible to rebuild the tooth and removal is often required to prevent the development of an infection.
If a tooth has to be removed then important consideration must be made for the missing tooth space. In most cases, leaving a tooth missing will result in irreversible changes to the neighbouring teeth that can compromise the long term health of other teeth. These changes are termed ‘over-eruption’ and ‘drifitng’ which is discussed in another recent blog which you can find here (click link). Simply replacing missing teeth will prevent such problems from developing and help maintain the long term health and stability of the whole mouth.
Repairing a fractured tooth (Restoration) and replacing a missing tooth (Dental Implant)
In our patient we prevented the problems described above by simply repairing the tooth which was fractured and replacing her missing tooth with a dental implant. The fractured tooth had an old amalgam filling which had deteriorated over many years. This tooth did not cause any pain however, if we had left it then it is very likely that it would have broken or become infected – resulting in the loss of this tooth as well. An aesthetic composite restoration has improved the function and aesthetic of this tooth as seen in the pictures below.
The missing tooth was replaced using a dental implant and as a result of this treatment, the risk of further problems developing in the neighbouring teeth is significantly reduced.
The series of pictures below show the main stages of treatment that have resulted in a permanent replacement of the missing tooth and a full repair of the fractured tooth (grey amalgam filled tooth). We always provide screw-retained implant teeth to replace missing teeth as this is the most effective way of providing long term ease of maintenance for your dental implants. The alternative approach is to have cement-retained implant teeth however, these are ‘glued’ to the implant and cannot be easily removed for maintenance if and when required.
By treating dental problems early, we can minimise the risk of developing serious and costly dental problems in the future. We take great pride in ensuring that our patients are informed of these developing problems at each routine dental assessment – this gives our patients the option to maintain their dental health with easier and simpler dental treatments.
Thank you for reading
Mohsin Patel BDS MJDF RCS (Eng)