Case 4: Failing Teeth
A mature-aged patient is ‘sick and tired’ of dental emergencies and wants a long-term restorative treatment that isn’t too expensive. Can he regain comfort and avoid more emergencies?
Bob is a pensioner who had been seeing a local dentist and periodontist regularly for many years. He routinely had periodontal (gum) treatment and fillings done. Having chipped another front tooth, he was frustrated and made his first appointment with Dr Lidums to have it repaired. He said that every time he chewed down on it, he experienced a lot of pain.
It quickly became evident that despite Bob’s best efforts, numerous teeth were failing and in fact some were already showing signs of abscesses and advanced decay. Bob was going to lose all his teeth.
Dr Lidums was concerned about discussing the other dental issues that showed on the X-ray, especially since Bob had come to us only wanting one tooth fixed. “It is always difficult to be the bearer of bad news”, said Dr Lidums. However, during discussions, Bob informed us that he was sick of having dental emergency treatments and actually he did want to attend to his whole mouth. Bob had numerous concerns:
- He couldn’t eat meat any more as it would get wedged between his teeth and was very difficult and uncomfortable to remove. It was much easier to just not eat red meat any more.
- Many times, his teeth hurt when biting into food. This meant that in order to eat comfortably, he had to cut his food into very small pieces or have softer meals.
- Bob loves life and laughs a lot; however he often covered his mouth when smiling due to being embarrassed about his teeth.
- Bob hated the thought of wearing dentures – he is a voluntary Chaplain at a nursing home and sees first-hand the difficulties people have with them. He couldn’t stand the thought of having something he would have to remove, and neither did Trudy, his wife.
While discussing options, Bob was very concerned about finances and felt that he probably could not afford to have anything significant done. At this point, Trudy interrupted and advised Arnis that he should do whatever was required to get Bob back to being pain free and eating comfortably. “You let us work out the finances, let’s just get on with it. His comfort and health is too important.”
Planning involved a trial smile to test the final result both on plaster casts and in Bob’s mouth. This provided the blueprint for the final appearance and bite.
Bob’s remaining teeth and infections were removed and Immediate Implant bridges (All-on-4 Technique) were placed. The All-on-4 Technique was used to provide a rapid solution and regain function and appearance quickly.
Bob’s failing teeth were removed and replaced to improve his ability to eat, maintain a healthy diet and once again smile with confidence. Bob delayed an overseas trip by a couple of years so that he could enjoy his smile and eat comfortably again.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.