Bridge or Implants

In the 70s I had a dental bridge put in to replace three missing front teeth. I have been very happy with it all these years. I can eat anything I want, apples, cob corn, you get the picture. A few weeks ago I got hit in the mouth with some metal and it has fractured my bridge. I’m faced with a decision. Replace this one with a five unit bridge (because apparently one of my good teeth was turned into a post) or dental implants.

I really want dental implants, but my dentist swears up and down that is a bad idea. I’ve spoken to a couple of oral surgeons. They both think I’d be fine either way. If I really want the implants, is that OK? Am I making a bad decision? My dentist is quite determined it’s a bad idea.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Tony from Orlando

Tony,

When you’re talking about a a bridge for one missing tooth versus a dental implant, a bridge is equally useful and in some cases better, but once you start getting into larger units (as you are) the scale tips greatly in the favor of dental implants.

Your arch in the front of your mouth is curved. When you have a front four unit bridge it is pretty close to a straight line. At the fifth tooth you begin going around the curve. So if you have a bridge there and you place biting force onto those front teeth, the force you are exerting is off center from the line of support of the teeth on which the bridge is anchored. This is bad for your supporting teeth. You more than double your risk.

It could be that your dentist is so opposed to dental implants because he is not very experienced with them. I wouldn’t press him to do a procedure he is uncomfortable with, because you could end up with a disaster. I do think dental implants are your better choice, but I would look to another dentist ┬áto do the procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette Dentist Dr. John Theriot.

Do I need to replace my fillings for whitening?

I have silver fillings on my teeth, but want to get them whitened. How do I go about it?

Drake L. from El Dorado, AR

Drake,

First, I need to double check something. Are you saying you want to whiten your fillings or your teeth? ┬áThere is no way to whiten fillings, but you can change them and whiten your teeth. You can get your silver (amalgam) fillings changed for mercury free fillings, also known as white fillings. They can be made to match your tooth color exactly. However, you’ll want to whiten your teeth first so that your dentist can match the color you’ll want to keep permanently.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette dentist Dr. John Theriot.

Bleaching crowns

I have two crowns placed on my front teeth. Now there’s some dark line on the teeth by the gumline. Do I need to get them replaced or can I just have them bleached?

Sylvia S. -Sheridan, Arkansas

Sylvia,

The reason for the dark line at your gumline is your dentist placed porcelain fused to metal crowns on your teeth. I don’t like those on front teeth because of the inevitable black line. Instead, I prefer to use all-porcelain crowns.

Unfortunately, teeth whitening will not solve this problem. In fact, whitening doesn’t work on dental work at all. My advice is to get them replaced, but with the all-porcelain crowns. If, however, you were wanting whiter teeth, I suggest you whiten your teeth first and then have your dentist match the new crowns to the whiter color.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette dentist Dr. John Theriot.

You may also be interested in learning about CEREC crowns.