What happens when your real teeth give up?

On The Horizon

Dr. Justin Moody discusses solutions for a difficult diagnosis

The hardest decision for any patient is whether to remove all of his/her teeth. Communicating the diagnosis of a terminal dentition and how you approach this dilemma with the patients make all the difference in their solution — whether they lean toward a denture or a fixed apparatus on implants as a true tooth replacement. We all succumb to the “break a tooth-fix a tooth model” at some point in our careers, and our patients can be very persuasive in getting us to fix these teeth or just buy them some time by patching them up. If we really look at our patients’ time as money, you quickly notice that the cost of all these appointments for the patients adds up to many times over the most prudent solution.

What is real tooth replacement? It’s placing enough dental implants to maintain bone throughout the arch as well as teeth that are secure enough so that the patient can eat for proper nutrition. The removal of the terminal dentition and placement of a secure treatment prosthesis held in place with dental implants is for many the ideal treatment. In order to provide these treatment plans, clinicians must understand the patients’ desires and their own skill set. In my practice, the use of the BioHorizons® TeethXpress® protocol for immediate loading has streamlined this process and allowed me to treat more patients efficiently. The use of 3D imaging, proper treatment planning, and good prosthetic planning allows for reliable and predictable results.

Prosthetic solutions range from hybrid acrylic screw-retained restorations to full arch hand-stacked zirconia bridges. I have been using Pro Zirconia from Prosmiles Dental Studio for my final restorations; the results have been so much better than acrylic as I just got tired of dealing with broken acrylic and worn teeth. It’s nice to tell the patient that we have a more permanent solution with less wear and breakage and increased esthetics!