Well at first glance that should be an easy one. Permanent teeth are the best choice for everyone. Isn’t that the way that we were created? We have arms, legs, fingers, and toes that do not come off.
Of course, due to trauma or disease, we could lose some of these permanent extensions of our being, but we know that we need to replace them. We strive for permanent fixes.
What does permanent mean?
Let’s take a moment and define permanent. We tend to think of permanent as being the same as forever.
First of all forever is not really forever. Forever, when used in a human context, usually means as long as I am around. Forever for a 20-year-old is not the same forever as a 75-year-old. So forever can have different meanings depending on the situation.
So if permanent does not mean forever, what does permanent mean? It usually means that once something is in place, no one has any intention to remove it.
Is it possible to remove it?…yes. It is removed on a consistent basis?…no.
Permanent in the context of dentistry
For example, in dentistry, we refer to a filling as being permanent. There is also a temporary filling. What is the difference? The temporary filling will fall apart relatively quickly and replacement is planned. A permanent filling will last much longer and I have no intention to remove or replace it when I put it into functionality. So it really depends on my thoughts and plans at the outset. Even though permanent is not forever, it implies a long-term solution or a fix to an issue.
The less that I have to deal with a dental appliance, then the more it becomes part of me, so to speak. Framed in the context of what I just mentioned, it is more permanent.
Different types of teeth replacements
For a variety of reasons, we could be forced to lose all of our teeth. If we choose to have them replaced, we need to choose between different approaches.
The oldest and “simpler” choice is a full set of teeth that sit in the mouth. We call this a full denture.
When I need to, I can take out my teeth. Why would I need to take them out? There are a number of reasons. Why do I take off my shoes? There are a number of reasons. It feels better when they are removed, cleanliness, when in place pain is present, etc….
This is the easiest way to replace missing teeth. The kind that comes in and out at will. They are not permanent because they don’t stay in place all of the time.
The other way to replace missing teeth is with permanent teeth. When we deal with just a few missing teeth, a permanent option can be very simple. We have different types of choices. They could be cemented bridges, bonded bridges or dental implants. They are all good solutions to the problem of replacing missing teeth with a permanent solution. When we are faced with losing all of our teeth, we only have one permanent solution. This is permanent teeth supported by multiple implants.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not see a commercial talking about this. The approach has been around for a couple of decades but only in the last 10 years or so has it exploded. It is the closest thing that we have to turn back the hands of time for many patients.
The techniques keep on evolving and improving
It is not an invention. It is a technique. As with all techniques, improvement is the constant mantra.
I have done root canals for decades. The way that I do them now is so different than the way that I did them years ago. They are better and faster. The result is a happier patient coupled with great results.
The same is true with permanent teeth. The procedure keeps on evolving. Many times the teeth in a day procedure literally takes a day. There are so many variables and intricacies in the technique that predictability and repeatability have been a challenge.
One of our local laboratories has pioneered a technique which makes the entire process modular. This technique is called Guided Smile Chrome and truly guides the smile. The result is less stress for all of those involved and a reduction in the total procedure time.
Teeth in a (half a) day
Teeth in a day have now evolved into teeth in a half a day. The technique is computer driven and involves multiple modular pieces that fit together. The result was great and we corrected teeth that were spaced, decayed and broken. We even added teeth to places that were missing teeth for years. Best of all this patient did not have to learn to wear an upper denture. Learning to deal with a set of teeth that come in and out can be a challenge for us as we get older.
If you want to learn more about this breakthrough in permanent solutions to broken and decayed teeth, please call me at 440.951.7856 I look forward to speaking with you.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.