How did this start?
As a child, Frank had a bicycle accident that broke four of his upper front teeth. They were repaired with crowns at the time but Frank knew they weren’t going to last forever. In 2017, the teeth began showing signs of infection. Dr. Elizabeth referred him to the endodontist who determined that the teeth couldn’t be saved and would need to be extracted. Dr. Elizabeth suspected that in addition to the history of trauma, part of the reason for the infection was that Frank’s lower teeth were crowded and putting a lot pressure on his top teeth. Before having the teeth extracted, Dr. Elizabeth recommended Frank go through the records process to determine the best option for replacing them.
What did Frank want?
Frank’s main concern was getting his mouth back to a healthy state and preserving the function of his teeth. He had been hoping to keep his natural teeth for as long as possible, but he understood that the infection had developed to the point where extracting the teeth would be the only way to successfully treat it. It was also important to Frank that he be able to eat and speak normally after his teeth were restored.
What was involved?
At the records appointment, Dr. Elizabeth took photos and x-rays of Frank’s teeth and did a thorough muscle and joint evaluation. She used the information gathered at that appointment to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for Frank. She presented him with several options for replacing his upper front teeth and Frank decided to do an implant bridge as it would offer the most long-term predictability and look and function the most like natural teeth. The first step in Frank’s treatment plan was having the four infected upper teeth extracted and two implants placed by the oral surgeon, Dr. Karl Andreasen. Dr. Andreasen then made a temporary bridge for Frank to wear while the implants healed. While his implants were integrating, Dr. Elizabeth recommended that Frank start Invisalign to fix the crowding in his lower teeth. Straightening out Frank’s lower teeth would help get his bite to a more stable position and decrease the excessive force that he was putting on his upper front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth didn’t want Frank to put his planned all-porcelain implant supported bridge at risk like his teeth had been. Frank completed his Invisalign treatment after 14 aligners and was ready to move on to the final phase of his treatment, restoring his upper front teeth. Dr. Elizabeth took impressions and worked with a local lab to fabricate Frank’s final bridge, which he had placed recently this year.
What does Frank think?
Frank is very excited to have something that looks and functions similarly to the four natural teeth he had to lose. He is also happy to be infection-free. Frank said that he understood going into this that it was going to be a long process. “I know things don’t happen overnight, and the details of the procedures were explained very well.” When asked what he would say to someone considering going through a similar procedure, Frank said, “I would tell them to bear with it. It takes as long as it needs to take to be done the right way. You’ll be well taken care of.” As for what Frank thinks of his new smile? “I am very happy! I’m looking forward to eating a hamburger!”
We’re so grateful to have you as a patient, Frank – thank you for putting your trust in us!