First of all, my dental assistant, Edie, who has been my right AND left arm for 23 years, has told me that my Blog articles are too long; so here goes a short and sweet observation.
Mary is just a delightful patient who has a very demanding job and , as a consequence, grinds and clenches like nobody’s business. She had her mouth restored, cosmetically, 10 years ago and has loved the result. However, when she came to see me last week, her teeth on the right side of her mouth were throbbing and keeping her up at night. After some xrays and an exam, it was apparent that several of her back teeth, both upper and lower, were in trouble. These teeth were showing the effects of excessive force and several root canals were indicated.
But how did this happen in the first place? After all, her mouth had been restored and the result pleased both her and her dentist. The answer became evident by evaluating her bite and grinding patterns. Due to the way that her teeth naturally come together, there is literally no contact on many of her teeth on the left side. Combine this environment with a heavy clencher and you have a recipe for trouble.
And this, after all, is what Complete Dentistry is about- restoring teeth to health in an environment of healthy gums and bite. In other words, restoring the teeth without accounting for the bite and gums is doing only half of the job. Sure, the teeth may look great when they are restored, but if the other factors aren’t accounted for, the work will ultimately fail due to extreme forces or periodontal disease. With Complete Dentistry, the patient can be assured that the investment in his/her teeth will pay off in terms of minimal maintenance and a comfortable, attractive smile for many years.
As for Mary, she is much more comfortable. She had 2 root canals to treat the affected teeth and is now having porcelain onlays made to add/restore biting surfaces on the left back teeth so that her bite will be even and the clenching forces equally distributed among all her teeth. If only we could get her to downshift from her demanding job to selling pottery in Colorado……
How’s that for short and sweet, Edie?