What to do about a missing incisor tooth

As time goes by we have noticed an increasing number of  young adults turning up at Winning Smiles with..

  • crooked and crowded teeth (especially at the front)
  • narrow upper or lower jaws
  • one or more missing adult teeth (usually front incisors or canines)
  • very unhappy with their smile

The cause

With all the problems we have seen above, the cause is an adult tooth (or teeth) that never grew down in to place during childhood.

The other teeth crowded around the space that was left, and whilst often there has been an attempt at correcting the problem with orthodontics, for whatever reason it didn’t work very well….

One other common factor is that again, some patients tell us that their dentist has told them nothing can be done – or if it could it would involve horrible and expensive surgery….

Does this sound like you? What to do about a missing incisor tooth?

child-teeth-diagram

Here’s the good news

At Winning Smiles we have been successfully treating these cases since the mid 90’s!

Though it is true to say that these cases are challenging – and involve both orthodontics (braces) and one short session with our surgical dentist – the results are very predictable and our patients invariably end up with exactly what they want

  • nice straight teeth
  • wider smile
  • all their own teeth (no implants needed here – your own tooth pulled into the correct position is much better)
  • very happy with their smile!

How does it work?

As always it starts with a free consultation to see if you are suitable for this sort of treatment – (most people with ‘trapped’ canines or incisors are)

We then need to utilise our 3D CT specialist dental CT scanner – this is the diagnostic tool we need to accurately visualise the position of the trapped tooth in the bone.

Once we know exactly where it is (to the nearest half millimetre) the surgery to uncover the tip of the tooth becomes easy and keyhole – the CT scan image shows where to go. Normally we can uncover the tip of the tooth within 40 minutes using the Dental Laser! We then bond a little hook onto the tip of the trapped tooth.

The best thing about using lasers instead of scalpels is the wounds heal up much faster and there is much less bleeding during the procedure – truly ‘minimally invasive’

At this stage the (very minor) surgery is all done.

The patient goes to see our friendly orthodontic team along the corridor and they will fit one of our discreet adult braces which attach to the little hook to pull the wayward tooth back down into its proper position.

The process normally takes from 12-18 months.

And the bonus? The same discreet brace is used to widen the smile, and get all those crooked/twisty teeth back into a nice straight line at the same time as pulling down that tooth no one ever thought could be reached!

We love these treatments because they showcase the best of what we can achieve at Winning Smiles with our friendly enthusiastic multi-disciplinary team backed up with state of the art technology!

We love our job.

The top three reasons why I like Damon System braces, by Almarie Odendaal

Almarie Odendaal is the new orthodontist at Winning Smiles and is an expert in fitting braces using the new Damon System.

Almarie Odendaal, new Winning Smiles Orthodontist

Almarie Odendaal, new Winning Smiles Orthodontist

Here are the top three reasons why Almarie thinks Damon braces are a great treatment to choose if you need a full brace:

1. Damon braces typically provide excellent results in a shorter treatment time than conventional braces, and patients have to make less appointments.

2. Using the Damon System means that it’s very rare that a patient will need to have any teeth extracted, and they won’t have to wear any headgear during treatment.

3. Patients are a lot more comfortable during treatment.

Damon braces use a new passive slide mechanism to maintain the shape of the archwires within the bracket.
This allows the wires to move freely and reduces friction and binding, so your teeth can move quickly and comfortably. Other types of braces use elastic ties or active clips that bind archwires in place, this results in friction, making treatment slower and less comfortable. Elastics ties also attract a lot of plaque and so Damon System braces are also a lot easier to keep clean.

Almarie Odendaal, joined our team in June. Almarie qualified as a dentist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1993. She is a member of the British Orthodontic Society, the Faculty of General Dental Practice and the British Dental Association.

You can book a consultation with her by dropping us a note via the form on the web site, or call us on 08000 90 10 60.  Consultations are currently FREE!

Closing gaps between teeth

I thought it worth jotting a few words down about this one – it’s such a common problem for people, and frankly so easily fixed (without breaking the bank)!

Here at Winning Smiles we’ve been closing gaps between teeth for years, using our Italian composite-filling system (the same white filling system we use for tooth decay) – see our best white fillings blog article.

The beauty of using ‘Cosmetic bonding’ with a top class tooth-coloured filling system (like Enamel Plus) is that:

  • the teeth don’t need to be cut or ground down;
  • it’s over and done with in one visit (no waiting for crowns or veneers to come back from the lab);
  • it’s painless, really, I don’t even use anaesthetic for this technique!

So what are the drawbacks?

Nothing too serious really, I recommend having them polished once or twice a year to maintain their ‘lustre’ and I usually do the polishing during routine 6 month examination appointments (at no extra charge).

They can get chipped/broken, but so can veneers, the difference is that these bonded build-ups can be repaired seamlessly (chipped veneers have to be replaced completely).

And all for around £400. Something worth talking about?  In fact, it’s such a popular treatment I don’t know why I haven’t mentioned it before!

Here’s an example of the before and after pictures:

Immediate Veneers to Close Gap between upper front teeth Immediate Veneers to Close Gap between upper front teeth

 

Perfect smile not required

Someone came to the surgery the other day, and this happens a fair bit, they apologised for their teeth.

It reminded me that I should put ‘something on the website’ about this, as we’re really not here to judge anyone and people should not feel the need to be embarrassed (even if it is human nature).

You see, its only when people really need us that we get to make the most difference.

And if its not too selfish of us, we’d be delighted to see you.

Why we don’t take teeth out unless we have to (orthodontics)

Crooked teeth need space!

If you were lucky enough to grow up with a perfect set of straight teeth it means that they had just the right amount of space in your mouth, right from the start. We’re not all so fortunate these days though.

Our ancestors usually had bigger mouths than we have, and so crooked teeth were much less common than they are today, perhaps we’ll debate ‘why that is’ another time.

For the moment, lets keep it simple and look at 3 ways of getting more space for those teeth.

  • Take some teeth out, the traditional way for the past 80 years or so. Not so very long ago in the UK it was the norm, probably 80 to 85% of the time. In very crowded mouths it’s still necessary. BUT, If there is less crowding, then taking teeth out could give you too much space, which then causes its own problems, see below. Most people hate the idea in any case, especially for their children. So do we.
  • Widen the jaws. Used to be popular 80 plus years ago but fell completely out of favour. Now, with the swing of the orthodontic pendulum, its slowly coming back and we now use it frequently. Narrow jaws are very common and the method can work well for them – the extra width also looks attractive, reducing those dark corners of the mouth when you smile.
  • Make some teeth slimmer. “Slenderising” by filing between selected teeth. In mild to moderate crowding, especially when combined with jaw widening, it’s a very useful technique and really does make non-extraction a reality for many more people.

Remember, there is no going back if you extract teeth when you don’t need to.

Too much space could mean that

  • The arch can become smaller and too narrow, for a less attractive appearance.
  • Loss of lip support
  • Exacerbation of jaw joint/muscle problems.
  • Excess space can be difficult to keep closed and can tend to open up again, which is obviously going to affect the appearance.

The point of this isn’t to worry anyone, but we try to make sure people have all the information they need to make decisions during our consultations, and we believe extractions should be a last resort instead of routine.

Hopefully posting information in a forum like this is useful for our prospective patients! Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.