John C. Chao, D.D.S.

Research Associate Professor, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Ostrow School of Dentistry, USC

(626) 308-9104

News & Press



Don’t Want Implants? Hopeless Teeth Can be Saved

A combination of traditional techniques and latest technology can save teeth previously diagnosed as hopeless. This innovative approach can often save seemingly loose, hopeless front teeth and prevent tooth loss.

If a patient presents with teeth that have hardly any bone left due to “periodontitis” (gum disease), this new approach would offer the “stabilization” of the loose teeth with the traditional method of “splinting.” The latter calls for bonding (gluing) wiring on the back (lingual) side of the teeth and making them, in effect, one unit. This splinting process is like tying loose boards together to make them stronger. Once the teeth are not loose, but stable, they can be “deep cleaned” without having to do surgery, as it traditionally indicated. However, with the use of “endoscopy” dentists and hygienists can now remove “tartar” sticking to the roots of the teeth under the gums without surgery. Endoscopy calls for the use of a miniaturized cameras that is inserted under the gum to broadcast magnified images of the tartar on the roots. Using special ultrasonic instruments, the tartar is removed thoroughly. Thus the roots become infection-free.

With the teeth stabilized and source of infection removed, it has been found that gums will likely heal and be free of infection long term if the patient follows strict standard maintenance and special homecare instructions. In many cases even bone will grow back.

In some cases the bite has changed because of drifting of the teeth. Gapes open between front teeth. Some teeth my look longer. The good news is often the teeth can be brought together in the first visit and then “splinted” together. The original smile can be restored in one visit, in many cases. Sometimes spot adjustment of the longer teeth may need to be done to provide a more normal bite and a normal smile line.

Most patients must return for follow-up care every 3 months indefinitely. And they must follow strict homecare instructions in between visits. So if you want to explore conservative alternatives to extractions, followed by implants or bridge work, contact your dentist and discuss your options thoroughly.


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