Your oral health is complicated involving hard tissues such as your teeth and the underlying jawbone, and soft tissues such as the gums and tongue. Connective tissues tie it all together, creating your bite. When everything is working well and your oral hygiene is good, your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with the team at Arcadia are probably all you’ll need to do.
But when one or more of those areas begin to have problems, it can impact your entire mouth. You may have delayed dental treatment for years, and you now have multiple teeth with extensive decay. You may have gum disease. Your bite could be off, and the corresponding temporomandibular joint disorder is creating chronic pain.
Now you’ve passed the need for routine dental care such as placing a filling or creating a bridge to replace a missing tooth. When the problems entail many or all the teeth in the upper and lower jaw, what may be needed is a full-mouth reconstruction with Dr. Pappas.
What Is Full-Mouth Reconstruction?
Full-mouth reconstruction addresses the issues involved such as jaw alignment and tooth replacement using a variety of options: dental implants, porcelain crowns, porcelain bridges, and porcelain veneers. This requires a combination of expertise in both neuromuscular and cosmetic dentistry and will give you a healthy, beautiful smile that can last the rest of your life.
What’s The Difference Between Full-Mouth Reconstruction And A Smile Makeover?
Some of our Arcadia Dental Arts patients mix up our smile makeovers with full-mouth reconstruction because both treatment combinations address the entire mouth.
Smile makeovers are only cosmetic. That means they intend to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile, but they do nothing about underlying oral health problems, such as decay or gum disease. Smile makeovers use porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and other tools to give patients a beautiful smile, but the teeth need to be inherently healthy first.
Full-mouth reconstruction isn’t an optional thing. The procedures involved are usually necessary to save the patient’s teeth and overall oral health. Full-mouth reconstructions will use some cosmetic treatments, such as gum contouring, where necessary, but these are wholly more involved treatments.
What Procedures Would Be Included In A Full-Mouth Reconstruction?
Full-mouth reconstruction with Dr. Pappas is an involved commitment. This will involve multiple visits to our Phoenix offices: the entire process could take up to a year. After your consultation, Dr. Pappas will create a treatment plan and discuss it with you. Full-mouth reconstruction can include any combination of the following procedures:
- Restorative dental treatments — Dental crowns, bridges, fillings, inlays, and Onlays
- Implant dentistry — Implants to replace missing teeth, and to provide anchor points for appliances such as bridges
- Cosmetic dentistry — Porcelain veneers, bonding, teeth whitening, gum re-contouring
- Neuromuscular dentistry — Correction of TMJ related problems and realignment of the bite
- Bruxism treatment — Measures to end bruxism (tooth grinding)
- Orthodontics — Traditional braces, Invisalign, spacers, expanders, and retainers, all with the intent of moving the teeth into the proper locations
- Oral Surgery — Root canals, soft and hard tissue grafting, extractions
- Periodontal treatments — Gum scaling, root planing, and periodontal surgery to address gum disease
What Are The Benefits Of Having A Full-Mouth Reconstruction?
It’s hard to quantify how much these procedures can change a person’s life. Those needing these treatments have a shattered smile and decreasing oral health that is in danger of spreading infection throughout the body. It’s likely the patient has lost confidence due to his or her damaged and missing teeth. They probably have some degree of continual pain due to decay or gum disease.
What’s the value of a beautiful new smile for a patient with these problems? It’s immense. Suddenly the person feels comfortable and confident smiling and talking without worrying about how others are judging their battered smile. A whole range of foods can return to a person’s diet. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts have likely been avoided because they are difficult to chew. Now they can return to the diet and improve the person’s health.
These are life-changing procedures with Dr. Pappas.
What Are The Risks Involved With A Full-Mouth Reconstruction?
There isn’t much risk with these procedures. As with any dental procedure where extractions and gum tissue treatment are involved, there is a risk of infection, but Dr. Pappas is careful during these procedures and he prescribes antibiotics as needed.
The real risk is not having these procedures. If your oral health is such that you are even considering a full-mouth reconstruction, you’re headed down the path to complete tooth loss, gum disease, and deteriorating jawbone mass.
Who Is A Good Candidate For A Full-Mouth Reconstruction?
There isn’t a procedure or a specific number of issues that denote a full-mouth reconstruction. The process is about returning a badly damaged smile to full function and making it beautiful at the same time. The term is used to describe an oral health situation that has progressed past just a tooth or two needing attention. Problems involve large numbers of teeth and possibly your gums — your whole mouth needs restoration.
These are some issues that can lead to a full-mouth reconstruction:
- Multiple teeth are missing
- Multiple teeth have severe decay
- Multiple teeth are injured or fractured
- Your jaw and bite are misaligned leading to chronic pain
- Your teeth are worn down by bruxism
- Your jawbone is deteriorating creating a sunken lower face
How Long Does A Full-Mouth Reconstruction Take?
The time it takes Dr. Pappas to fully remake your oral health varies by the patient. These are completely customized combinations of treatments. For instance, placing dental implants takes up to six months, as the jawbone needs to fully grow around the implant base before the post and artificial tooth can be attached. Treating gum disease can take a couple of months to fully remove diseased tissue and reverse the infection. Other procedures, such as placing porcelain veneers, take just a couple of appointments. Bonding and teeth whitening only takes an hour or two.
Once Dr. Pappas gets a better idea of your situation and your needs to restore your oral health we can give you an idea of your timeframe.
Is Full-Mouth Reconstruction Painful?
At Arcadia Dental Arts practice, we strive to make every procedure as comfortable as possible. Modern anesthesia and techniques make most procedures very comfortable. There may be some pain during recovery, but we help you manage that. And if you’re apprehensive about any treatments, we offer sedation to help you overcome those fears.
How Long Will My Results Last?
These are permanent changes to your oral health and your smile. Dental implants usually will last the remainder of your life. Porcelain veneers usually last for 10-15 years, and then you’ll have a new set created. Composite tooth-colored fillings will last for decades. The same is true for porcelain crowns and inlays and Onlays. If you up to your home oral hygiene game, you won’t need root planing or scaling again.
You can see where this is headed. Obviously, to need a full-mouth reconstruction you haven’t been exactly diligent in your home oral hygiene or in keeping your twice-yearly professional dental cleanings and exams. If you want to maintain your results, that needs to change. You’ll need to brush twice daily for two minutes, probably switching to an electric toothbrush. You’ll need to floss once a day. And you’ll need to keep your regular appointments with the team at Arcadia Dental Arts so we can keep your new smile looking and feeling great.
How Long Before I Start To See The Changes In My Smile?
Dr. Pappas usually needs to begin these reconstructions with some of the heavy liftings, so to speak. If you have gum disease, that’s job one — stopping the infection and remove diseased tissue. Implants start with the placement of the titanium implant base into the jawbone. The jawbone then grows around the implant for a period of months before a post can be attached and an artificial tooth.
Some of these procedures deliver instant results. But there will likely be some groundwork to do first before you start seeing the cosmetic changes. Of course, this is completely unique to the patient. Dr. Pappas will give you an idea of how this process will unfold during your consultation.