Cosmetic Dental Implants Used in Full Mouth Reconstruction for Patient with 50 Percent Missing Teeth
A patient by the name of Kim came to us, quite distraught about her severe case of missing teeth. She was 47 when we met her, and she had suffered tremendous dental problems since she was 12 years old. She had crashed her bicycle one day, and had broken off her front teeth. Since that time, she reported, she not only experienced missing teeth, but suffered from constant infections in her mouth.
She had been through many episodes in her mouth where a variety of dental ailments afflicted her. Severe swelling would arise in her mouth, accompanied by intense pain. She would develop toothaches that were so sudden, and so severe; she would have to be rushed to the emergency room at midnight. Dental emergency treatment almost always ended with teeth being pulled because of the degree of pain and infection in her teeth and gums. This only resulted in more tooth loss, and seemed to never resolve the root cause of the infections which appeared mysteriously linked to her childhood accident.
By the time more than half of her teeth were gone; Kim had all but given up on dentistry. The heartache of being young and attractive, but having so many missing teeth, made her shy about smiling, or even opening her mouth at all in front of people. Years went by, and she never went to a dentist, believing nothing at all could be done to restore so many missing teeth or cure the infections that kept developing in her mouth.
Then, by some strange twist of serendipity, Kim learned of the Medical Center Dental Group through a newspaper ad we ran in the Houston Chronicle. She read about our commitment to patient care and comfort, and how we have helped so many people with complex and challenging problems, including severe cases of missing teeth. This gave her enough hope and courage to schedule an appointment with us.
We used a combination of treatments to restore Kim’s lost teeth and remedy the constant bouts with infection. Our intraoral camera revealed advanced periodontal disease, which appeared to have been the cause of so many teeth becoming infected to the point they had to be pulled. Whether or not this periodontal disease resulted from her bicycle accident as a child remained a mystery. Nevertheless, were able to successfully treat her periodontal disease with LANAP. We also performed a series of root canals to ensure that all diseased and dying nerve and tooth root tissue were completely removed from Kim’s mouth.
Once her mouth had completely recovered, and there were no remaining symptoms of toothaches or periodontal disease, we then began the cosmetic phase of dental treatment. We used a total of 5 cosmetic dental implants to replace missing teeth in key areas of her jaws that needed strength and support. (Sometimes, advanced periodontal disease and deterioration of the bone limits the number of implants we can use.) The remainder of her full mouth reconstruction was done with fixed porcelain bridges and crowns, creating a new, healthy, natural looking smile she had not enjoyed since childhood.
Besides the obvious cosmetic improvements, Kim can now eat more comfortable, speak with more confidence, and be proud of her smile instead of holding her hand over her mouth all the time.
Labels: alternative to dental surgery, cosmetic dental crowns, cosmetic dental procedures, full mouth reconstruction, LANAP, missing teeth, root canal
What is LANAP?
LANAP stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure and is a synonym for LPT, also known Laser Periodontal Treatment. The use of the specialized ND: YAG crystal laser has revolutionized the treatment of gum disease by making it possible to target both soft and hard tissues suffering from bacterial infection. Most of the 66% of Americans suffering gum disease never do anything about it because of misgivings about dental surgery. LANAP offers them a virtually painless and much more convenient alternative.
Is the laser painful?
It is hot, but not painful. The ND: YAG emits a stream of cool water or air to prevent the gumline from being damaged by its heat. Its precision focus and bright red beam make it very easy for the dentist to target only the diseased tissue, leaving healthy tissue alone and minimizing discomfort to the point that the procedure requires no anesthetic.
What steps are involved in LANAP?
First, a probe is used to determine excessive pocket depth and the amount of infected tissue. The dentist then removes the diseased tissue with the laser, killing bacteria in the process. Prior to closing off the pocket, the dentist also removes tartar from the tooth root with special instruments and an ultrasonic scaler. Finally, the pocket is cleaned with the laser one more time and sealed to prevent future infections from developing.
What advantages and benefits do LANAP offers over traditional surgery, and is it truly as effective?
Yes, it is just as effective as traditional surgery. In terms of its advantages and benefits, there are several. First, patients can expect a much quicker recovery time because laser dental treatment minimizes damage to healthy tissue. Also, because the laser does not cut tissue gum height is better preserved around the teeth, resulting in considerably less post-operative stress to the mouth. Minor pain that patients sometimes experience is easily treated without a prescription with over the counter pin medicine. The NG: YAG laser also causes minimal bleeding, and the patient feels little pain during or after the procedure.
How long does LANAP take?
Generally, it only requires two, 2-hour visits followed by two short follow-ups. Since there are no stitches to remove, a typical recover, in many cases, can take less than 24 hours. People with busy schedules can get back to work much more quickly with laser assisted new attachment procedure.
Is there any possibility of tooth loss afterwards?
No. Tooth loss will actually be prevented by this procedure. The treatment is so friendly to healthy hard and soft tissues that it actually encourages the formation of new cementum and collagen on the roots. This strengthens them further inside the newly-treated periodontal pocket and solidifies their position within the gumline.
Labels: alternative to dental surgery, LANAP, laser assisted new attachment procedure, LPT