Yep, either that or get a dental implant. Neither of those sounds appealing, and both run the risk of other resulting issues. Here goes….
I’m one of those too-many-teeth-for-my-tiny-mouth people. As an orthondontic patient of the 80’s, the common treatment was to pull permanent teeth to make room for the rest. I’m missing 4 of my pre-molars/bicuspids (#’s 5, 12, 21, 28). I also had all my Wisdom Teeth pulled (teeth 1, 16, 17, 32).
Tooth 18 (refer to the chart) which is my farthest back molar on my left lower jaw….is impacted…which basically means it’s growing like this (not my xray):
Part of the tooth is visible, but most of it is below the gum. It’s hard to keep clean, impossible to floss, and prevents me from chewing anything too tough on that side. Doesn’t really “bother” me because it’s been that way my whole life, but it’s certainly not “easy” to live with either.
At my dental cleaning yesterday, Dr. K. thought it might be worthwhile to talk to the kids’ Orthodontist (Dr. P.) to see if he thinks he can help get that tooth into a more upright position. I had braces when I was a teen and I remember them working extra hard on trying to correct that molar and get it into proper position, but it never really did what they wanted. Dr. K. said I could also opt for a tooth removal and dental implant to correct the problem, but thought I should seek orthodontic treatment first.
As luck would have it, Trevor and Brooke both had appointments today, so at the first one I asked if Dr. P. had time for me at either appointment (they said no), but when I went back for Brooke’s appointment Dr. P. was able to see me.
Xrays taken, pictures taken, tooth tapping- here’s what we discussed.
The “simple” solution sounds like removing the tooth and going for the dental implant. The complication with that is the molar above it (tooth #15) has overcompensated and grown down, so it’s longer than my other teeth. If they replace tooth 18 with a normal tooth, I will need to have tooth 15 ground shorter or removed and replaced with an implant. Ugh.
The orthodontic solution would be to put braces on tooth 18 and the four teeth in front of that one, see if they can get any movement (because tooth 18 is so deep into my bone that it may have fused with the bone at my age)….and if there’s no movement it means I’m stuck- back to the dental implant option. If it DOES move, then I’ll get a full set of braces on the bottom, and a half set on the top. The half set on the top would be to raise tooth 15 so it’s not hanging so far down, which is done by installing one of these:
A bone screw anchor. Ouch. Looks painful! Here’s another example on a model set of teeth rather than a gross mouth:
This would be installed to raise my upper molars so they don’t clash with the lower molars once they are fully in position.
Financially they’ll both end up about the same, probably $3K for braces, $4K for an implant. The process for a dental implant could take 4 months or so. Braces would be about a year. Neither is guaranteed to work, both have the risk of needing something else done with tooth 15.
See what I mean? Nothing sounds appealing anyway! I HATE going to the dentist, I HATE the thought of getting braces again.
I guess there’s a third option. Do nothing. But at some point tooth 18 or 19 will get a cavity, and that cavity won’t be able to be filled, or there will be root issues due to the deep pocket between the two and they might BOTH have to go. And then I’m back to not being able to get a dental implant without something being done with tooth 15 above.