Although implants have come a long way and their success rate has been phenomenal, they still require good bone to be successful and effective. Our job as dentists and professionals is to recognize what is best for the patient based on the goals and expectations. We routinely get patients who ask for one thing at the consultation appointment and by the end of the appointment they are convinced they need something else. We enlighten patients with their options and it is upon them to pick what is best for them.
In this case demonstrated here, a patient walked in asking for a flipper (which is a temporary partial prosthesis meant to replace a missing tooth) that was lost. He is interested in implants but wants to replace his missing front tooth temporarily as implants can take a longer time. Upon examination, it was noted that there is no bone in the area where the tooth was lost (to hockey!) and planning an implant would take close to a year as we would have to build bone first. He had no idea about a dental bridge. Dr. Novin discussed his options with him including making him the flipper that would take a few days, fabricating a dental bridge that would take a week and implants that would take close to a year.
Pt has taken the day off work and fortunately we had an hour to spare. Treatment options were presented to him and he chose to go with a bridge that would be done immediately and he would walk out of the office with a temporary bridge today. The teeth were numbed using local anesthetics and bridge preparation was carried out in under an hour. A temporary bridge was fabricated to replace the missing tooth in the meantime. Patient returned a week after and the bridge was inserted! Patient was very happy as he did not know such an option even exists.
Although dental implants have advantages over bridges, sometimes patients cannot wait a year and go without a front tooth for a year to get implants. This case demonstrates this very well.