What Are The Risks & Rewards To “Teeth in a Day”?
At least once per week we have a patient inquire about “Teeth in a Day”. If you ever have the television on during the workday you have probably seen at least one commercial advertising this potential treatment. It promises to fix all of your dental problems and restore you to the beauty of your youth. What exactly are they advertising and how does it work?
Places like Clear Choice are advertising a treatment modality known as fixed hybrid implant therapy or “hybrids.” The general idea is that you come in the office, a surgeon removes all of your remaining teeth and strategically places several dental implants in the bone. You leave with a temporary denture that is anchored in with screws. You then return after healing to have a final prosthesis fabricated. This prosthesis is fixed and cannot be removed, except by a dentist.
The truth is, when properly done, hybrid restorations can last for many, many years and can be a gorgeous solution to a set of hopeless teeth. In addition, they can restore people to the chewing function they once had when they had a full set of teeth.
These restorations, however, are not for everyone. If you have a mouth full of healthy teeth with good bone support you do not want to give up on your dentition. Sometimes people say, “Well Doc, should I just have them all pulled?” The answer is almost always no. Occasionally, I do find myself having a discussion with a patient where they need to know that their teeth have reached the end of their lifespan and we need to make a plan for the future. This is generally where I have the conversation about fixed hybrids. Teeth only have so many chances, from the first cavity to the crown to the root canal, and only so much can be done before the tooth is out of chances.
When we are dealing with a single tooth problem, a single implant is a great solution. When we are talking about a mouth full of failing dental work, unsustainable periodontal (gum) disease, or decay on the roots of the teeth, I start to consider a full arch of teeth supported by strategically placed implants. This gives me and/or the surgeon the freedom and control to establish a cosmetic and functional solution.
People will often ask if they have enough bone for a fixed hybrid. Perhaps they have been told in the past that they lack the quality or quantity of bone to get implants where they have missing teeth. This is a common problem. Generally, we see this issue in the back of the mouth, where the molars once were. Due to the position of nerves or sinuses, we are limited by the height of bone present to place single implants. The good news is that, although you may not be a candidate for single tooth implants, most people have enough bone (somewhere) to place implants for a fixed hybrid. Since we replace the esthetics of both the teeth and the gums with a fixed hybrid, it doesn’t matter if the implants are centered under the teeth, and we have much more freedom in where they can be placed.
If you are considering this treatment, my advice is to get multiple opinions. If you go to a center specializing in fixed hybrid therapy, you will only be given one option. At Forest Hills Dental, we offer this service as part of our general dentistry practice. We utilize local specialists for the surgery and work with exceptional dental labs to create a comfortable, functional, and beautiful prosthesis. But we offer this treatment within a much broader spectrum of procedures, and therefore can help our patients decide if this is truly the best option for them.
I am always available for questions about treatment options and can easily have a phone conversation or a face to face discussion about your specific situation.