The terms full mouth restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction are often used interchangeably when describing the process of simultaneously restoring or rebuilding all the teeth in the lower and upper jaws.
Full mouth reconstruction usually involves restorative dentists (performing procedures such as veneers, bridges, and crowns) or general dentists. It can incorporate dental specialists such as oral surgeons, periodontists (gum specialists), endodontists (tooth pulp specialists), and orthodontists (tooth position and movements specialists).
Full mouth reconstruction may be necessary due to:
Fractured or injured teeth
Teeth lost due to trauma or decay
Teeth that have become worn severely due to tooth grinding or long-term acid erosion (acid reflux, beverages, or foods)
The constant complaints of muscle, jaw, and headache pain that require readjustments to the bite
How Does the Process Begin?
You should visit your dentist for a comprehensive examination if you believe that you require reconstruction. Your dentist will examine the mouth to assess the situation and determine the treatment options that are most suitable for treating it. In particular, the dentist will examine the condition of the:
Teeth: The condition of your teeth determines the most suitable procedures that can be used such as Onlays and inlays, porcelain veneers or full-coverage crowns, bridges or implants restored using crowns. In particular, the dentist will note any cracks, tooth wear, decay and cavities, long/short teeth, any tooth movement, and root canal issues.
Periodontal Tissues (Gum): If the gums are not healthy, you will most probably require root planning and scaling for the treatment of periodontal disease. You might require more intensive treatments from a periodontist to make sure that the newly reconstructed teeth have a foundation that is solid. Such treatments may involve bone or soft tissue grafts to build up the underlying jaw bone as well as your gums. The dentist will be looking for deep pockets, insufficient or excessive gum tissue, bone density irregularities, and periodontal disease.
Jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and occlusion: A stable bite, which refers to one where you don’t experience pain when closing your mouth or chewing and one that does not cause the destruction or wear of teeth is critical to your overall health. Occlusal changes should be considered when the dentist is planning your restorations. It is highly likely that you will require orthodontics or a different type of treatment such as bite reprogramming orthotic or night guard for correcting the occlusion before any additional restorative procedures can be undertaken.
Aesthetics: The size, shape, color, and proportion of teeth as well as how they appear in relation to the mouth, lips, gums, face, and side profile are also important factors when it comes to full mouth reconstruction.
The process of examination requires records of the mouth such as photographs and X-rays, impressions of both the lower and upper teeth, models of teeth made from impressions and a model of your bite. The dentist might refer you to a specialist such as an oral surgeon, orthodontist, or periodontist for a consultation to develop a treatment plan that will work best for you.
Once the dentist obtains all the information pertinent to your case, he or she will then develop a comprehensive, systematic treatment plan for correcting all the problems in your mouth and finish the reconstruction. If you don’t understand the procedure that is described to you, ask for a detailed written description of the treatment plan proposed for you to review. This can be particularly useful when seeking a second opinion. Ensure that you understand all the benefits and risks associated with the recommended treatments and procedures.
What Procedures are Required?
It is only the dentist and the team of specialists who are working on the full mouth reconstruction that can determine the procedures required for your individual case. Other treatments could also be available and you should, therefore, ask the dentist about all the possible procedures that could be required for your case and under what circumstances.
Full mouth reconstruction usually involves multiple office visits and phases. You can reasonably expect treatment to take as much as 12 months or more depending on your situation. Here are the procedures involved depending on your needs:
- Soft tissue or bone grafting for enhancing the stability of proposed implants, your teeth, and/or any other restorations.
- Implant restoration and placement for replacing missing teeth and/or anchor bridge restorations.
- Orthodontics to move the teeth into the optimal position for reconstruction.
- Placement of permanent restorations such as veneers, crowns, Onlays/Inlays, made from ceramic, ceramic supported by metal, or a combination of both.
- Placement of temporary restorations to help you become accustomed to the new teeth and the feel of your new bite or mouth alignment.
- Preparation of the natural tooth structure to allow for placement of veneers, bridges, or crowns.
- Contouring of gum tissues for creating harmony and balance in your smile.
- Orthognathic surgery for re-positioning the jaw.
- Crown lengthening for exposing healthy and sound tooth structure for possible bridges or crowns.
- Periodontal care and prophylactic teeth cleaning.