Senior citizen dental work can be interesting and rewarding. Case in point:
A 94-year-old patient came in to have a crown recemented. When he arrived and smiled, one of his central incisors was totally missing with very little tooth structure above the gum line. He had the crown with him, but the supporting tooth structure was sitting inside the crown. So recementing the crown was no longer an option.
Implant or Bridge?
I prefer implants to restore missing teeth. But this is a long process requiring the tooth to be extracted, then some healing to take place while the patient is wearing a removable 1 tooth flipper. The patient could get a 1-tooth flipper as his final restoration, but this particular patient is not used to taking an appliance in and out of his mouth. The other consideration is that he’s pretty healthy and told me that he plans to show up at the Department of Motor Vehicles when his driver’s license renewal is due at age 101!
So the solution for him is to make him a 3-unit bridge. His upper anterior incisors are all crowned, so I had to remove the crowns adjacent to the non-restorable tooth and make him a temporary bridge. The broken tooth had to be smoothed at the gum line for a smooth temporary.
With this patient I want an oral surgeon to remove the tooth. Though healthy, I prefer a surgeon to handle extractions with senior citizen dental work in case there is an unlikely complication.
For this patient, we have to wait 6 weeks after he has his tooth extracted to let the gum tissue heal to take a final impression for a bridge. The bridge will then take 3-8 weeks to get the final product back from the lab. Time variations to get this returned depending on how busy the lab is and which lab is used.