Skip to Content

I’d Warned Sue

Winterset Dental Care Logo

While chewing on almonds at the end of her work week, Sue heard a crack and felt pain on her lower left molar. She dialed my office as I was leaving, but my heart told me to stay and help her. I knew which tooth had broken. It was the one with a large amalgam (silver filling). I’d recommended a crown for it during the last few exams, just for this reason.

Sue walked in and said that she was ready to do the crown, amid her shower of “thank you” exclamations. The new x-ray showed that the tooth had cracked completely in half, including the root, and the only treatment option was removal. She started crying and blaming herself.

The silver lining to this story is that I’ve followed all the research and studies conducted on dental implants for years. Because it was a recent break and the blood supply was fresh, I placed a material in the socket which would bind together and adhere to her existing bone. Then I sutured the gums together to close the extraction site and let nature take over. Sue had taken her first step toward an implant to replace the broken molar. Once the new bone was established, I placed an implant.

When I was Sue’s age, implants weren’t yet an option. Patients had teeth removed and wore a partial denture or a “bridge” of connected teeth that closed the gap. Some just left the space and lost some of their chewing functions. Then, teeth on either side of the new space just drifted into it, often tipping into an unusual position. Sometimes, a tooth from the top jaw drifted downward to partially fill the space, because it had no opposing tooth to stop this movement.

This is why dentistry is still so exciting! Advances in materials and technique give people, like Sue, a solution that mimics nature and lasts for years and years.

Contact Winterset Dental today to find out which treatment is right for you.