I’m compelled to write about the most common situation I’ve come across in the past few weeks which is discussing with patients how to replace missing teeth. In reality, the best approach is to try and avoid losing teeth. In the first place, I have seen more cracked and split teeth recently requiring extraction and in almost every case its directly due to patient clenching and causing the fractures. Just the other day, a patient came in and had all the classic symptoms of severe clenching and after discussing what’s going on in his life, he gave me a laundry list of things he was dealing with that had dramatically increased the stress he was experiencing and this has a direct relationship to his clenching- He was heading toward micro cracks in his teeth which potentially could cause him to lose some teeth. I couldn’t reduce his stress but I could make him an occlusal splint to control the force he placed on his teeth, and hopefully prevent the fractures and loss of teeth.
So the moral to this story is, to prevent talking about how to replace teeth, we need to discuss how to prevent the loss of teeth. If you feel you’re clenching and want to discuss an occlusal splint, please call us and maybe we can avoid discussing replacing missing teeth and keep the teeth you already have.