When one’s tooth is in need of repair it’s interesting to see how as doctor & patient, we each have different concerns when faced with a cracked/chipped tooth restoration procedure.
I’m Leaving Town Next Week. What Can You Do For My Broken Front Tooth?
This was asked to me by a patient that I have been privileged to serve for 38 years. Yes, we know each other very well and I am proud to say that she has all of her teeth. This is the result of she and I working together to maintain her oral health.
Her particular dilemma last week was that she was going away for a few weeks and her front tooth had fractured. She thought that time was the biggest issue in this case. “How will you get this done in time?” I had some other concerns. Let’s talk about her anxiety and later on my thoughts and worries on the matter.
Dental treatment and Tooth Restoration repair times
At times, certain types of dental treatment can take a long time to accomplish. If I can fix something in the office, then I am usually done in one visit.
Problems of time develop when I need to collaborate with one of my dental treatment partners. Most notably, this is the dental laboratory One of the biggest things that slow us down can be laboratory time to make a dental replacement. Tooth restoration could involve crafting a crown, a denture or a variety of other dental devices that are custom made for your mouth. They could require a multitude of visits, impressions, phone calls and emails to the lab. This just slows everything down.
However, new digital technology can speed up a number of procedures and make long waits not relevant to many cases. They are not for everyone and every situation but when we can use them, they are fantastic.
This was actually the case with my patient. We were able to use a special type of metal-free material and in just a few days get our final beautiful result.
A temporary and permanent solution
In the office, I tended to her needs and immediately began to fix her broken front tooth. With new in-office materials, I was able to obtain an acceptable temporary result before she left.
The final, long lasting and highly aesthetic result needed my dental laboratory’s involvement. We chose a type of very cosmetic crown which can be made in a day.
It turns out, that time, which she thought was a major issue, was really not a concern at all. Her new front tooth came back from the lab in plenty of time for her to catch her flight.
What I as a cosmetic dentist worries about when repairing a front tooth
I began this column with the comment that I had other concerns besides the time factor. My biggest worry was due to the fact that we were dealing with one of her smile teeth. Let me rephrase that. We were dealing with her very front teeth.
Matching a front tooth to its ‘twin’
One of the hardest things to do in dentistry from a cosmetic standpoint is matching a front tooth to its paired tooth. What do I mean by a “paired tooth”? Let’s draw an imaginary line right through the center of our nose in a vertical direction. Half of our teeth are on the right side of this line and half of the teeth are on the right side of this line. We call this line, the “midline”. All of our front teeth have a pair or a twin. One of these teeth is on the left side of the midline and one is on the right side of the midline. These two sides meet smack dab in the center. Our large front teeth, which we call central incisors are right next to each other.
When we need to fix one of them, the slightest difference between them in color or shape will be very noticeable. This is because this tooth’s partner or twin is right next to it. We spend a lot of time brushing our front teeth and see this pair of teeth the most. Matching them can be a real challenge. Sometimes, we are forced to treat both teeth in an effort to create a stunning result.
Both our concerns were resolved to our mutual satisfaction
When I finally tried in her new front tooth, she said that I had a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face. She knew that I had successfully dealt with my concern. I had created a natural look that both she and I were proud of.
The longer that I practice and see new innovations in the field, the happier I am for my patients. Dentistry can offer so many solutions to problems of the past.
If you have a cosmetic or tooth restoration concern, don’t hesitate to educate yourself. Call your dentist or call me, and let’s talk about your issues. I can be reached at 440.951.7856 and look forward to speaking to you.
One last thought.
I will be conducting another educational seminar that is open to the public on Thursday, August 24, 2017. Watch this column for more information, click here to register online, or call us to register over the phone.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.