Full mouth reconstruction is just as it says, it’s the reconstruction of the teeth so that the patient can eat and talk comfortably. While full mouth reconstruction takes on many forms and can include several complex procedures, the change of materials in dentistry and new techniques have made it easier than ever before. Patients who suffer from oral health problems, or are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth can receive a full mouth reconstruction at the San Antonio, Texas practice of Dr. Brian Shaffer and the Alon Dental Care team.
What Is Full Mouth Reconstruction?
When most people think of full mouth reconstruction, they think of patients who have lost some of their teeth or have teeth that are badly broken or worn down. For the most part these people look older, with more wrinkles around their mouths because the have lost the “vertical dimension” of their mouth and face. What is needed for these patients is actually a two-step approach to restore the teeth and lengthen the face to give them a more youthful look.
The first step of mouth reconstruction at our San Antonio practice is the placement of an orthotic, or a piece of plastic that people wear to open their bite and repair their joints. After use of the orthotic appliance has returned the mouth to its state prior to tooth-loss, Dr. Shaffer works with patients to choose the best materials and treatment options to restore the beauty and comfort of their smile. Usually, reconstruction is accomplished with full dental crowns, but may also require fixed bridgesor dental implants. These other options are recommended for patients who are missing teeth or those who want a more natural-looking smile.
Reconstruction with Dentures
When patients have lost several or all of their teeth, they may receive dentures as part of their mouth reconstruction. Full dentures without the use of implants to stabilize and help retain the position of the dentures are considered old school by some. However, the old style of impression-making using zinc oxide pastes gives the best results of suction and fit. Unfortunately, this type of impression is a lost art in most practices, as speed seems to take priority. But as so often is the case, haste can make waste. In Dr. Shaffer’s San Antonio practice, he uses the old type impression materials for dentures to achieve a better fit without the use of adhesives. With this method, adjustments to dentures are usually rare after deliver.
Dr. Shaffer uses an old, “new” way of denture fabrication called the Staub-Cranial technique. This is a mathematical calculated approach that restores how wide patients can open their mouth normally, and helps limit office visits to two simple appointments after final impressions are made. After the second visit, patients go home with a great-fitting pair of dentures.
Today’s dentures are often supplemented with implants especially in the lower arch to stabilize and help retain the denture. Dr. Shaffer offers a variety of attachments and devices to help the patient retain their traditional full dentures once the implants have been place. Another type of denture is a non-removable full denture. This is a truly fantastic procedure because the dentures are fixed to the dental implants by tiny screws, and are only removed once a year during a routine cleaning appointment. Implants are placed and dentures are custom-milled of titanium, covered with plastic to simulate the gums and teeth, all in one day. Implant-supported dentures are the next leap in full mouth reconstruction with dentures.