Ben and Gary Show - Episode 56

Aug 01, 2019

Keeping Contact

We are a bit neurotic about making sure contact between teeth is maintained in our patients' mouths. Good contact prevents food from getting stuck in between teeth making them easier to clean and less susceptible to decay.

The trouble is that teeth move. And when they do, spaces may open and contact between teeth is broken.

When this happens, food collects in the open spaces inviting decay, gum problems, and tooth loss. The affected person also finds it irritating and inconvenient.

Common causes of broken contacts

Spaces can occur where there are implants. Once placed, implants never move. If other teeth move, spaces may open and contact between them is lost.

Other causes:

  • Teeth may drift forward causing spaces
  • Grinding can separate teeth leaving spaces
  • An adjacent tooth may be chipped opening a space
Closing spaces and keeping them closed can be perplexing

For example, consider the case of an 81 years old patient. Prior to seeing us, two different dentists had replaced her crowns to close a space.

We replaced her crowns and don't you know it the space opened again. We discovered that a deep root of an impacted wisdom tooth was probably the culprit. 

What to do. Perhaps removing the wisdom tooth would do the trick. But at 81, we don't think so. We'll leave it to her and an oral surgeon consult.

We might replace the crowns bonding them together. Not ideal. Sometimes, there is no perfect solution. Darnit.





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