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Q: I have no molars on the top (of my upper jaw). My six front teeth on the top are crowned, with root canals. However, on one of the front ones, the actual tooth beneath the crown is breaking.
Is it possible to get an upper partial with the back teeth and only one front tooth? I do not want to have to pull the other five that are crowned.
A: This is a very good question. The simple answer to your question is, yes.
However, as with many things, you could have circumstances that could make the answer, maybe or even no.
If all of your front teeth are separate from each other it is easy to remove the problem tooth and make a partial around the others. However, there are many times six crowns in the front of the mouth are what we call “splinted” (or joined together in one piece).
If this is the case and there was good enough reason to hold on to all of the remaining teeth, the dentist could section the problem tooth from the splinted ones and remove the tooth along with the crown.
This can be a very difficult thing to do. In most cases, the dentist will not guarantee the success because during the sectioning process, porcelain can be broken away from the rest of the bridge, leaving an unsightly result to work with.
This being said, if time is taken and things are not rushed, more often than not, the result is successful.
But what happens if some of those other teeth are not worth the effort? Maybe they are at risk of being lost soon, or there is decay or even an abscess.
Depending on the particular circumstances, your dentist will give you his or her opinion. It will be your decision on what you should do from that point. Again, if things are explained in detail, you will usually get a feel for how successful your dentist thinks things will turn out.
I would love to tell you the answer is a definite yes; however, you can see it is important to see your dentist so he or she can assess the situation and give you your options.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you already know this: Be sure to listen to your dentist and ask whatever questions you need the answer to in order to make a good decision. Communication is everything, especially in a situation like yours.
I hope this has helped you. Good luck!
Dr. Frank Vascimini is a Homosassa dentist. Send your questions to 4805 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34446 or email them to him at info@MasterpieceDentalStudio.com.