Full Mouth Rehabilitation
Full mouth restoration, reconstruction or rehabilitation are interchangeable terms used to describe the same process, whereby all the teeth are replaced or restored. The procedure can involve the expertise of a number of specialists including restorative dentists who perform procedures involving crowns, bridges and veneers, periodontists who work with the gums, orthodontists who specialise in tooth positioning, and oral surgeons.
The need for full mouth rehabilitation is usually necessitated by:
- The loss of teeth, caused by trauma or decay; such as a motor vehicle accident.
- Fractured or injured teeth.
- Severely worn teeth, caused by food, tooth grinding or acid reflux.
- Ongoing pain in the jaw or muscles, or ongoing headaches caused by incorrect occlusion or bite.
The Process of Full Mouth Rehabilitation
The first step is a comprehensive consultation with your dentist. He or she will examine:
Teeth: The restorative procedures that are needed will be determined by the condition of your teeth. Will you need bridges, implants, veneers or crowns? Your dentist will register signs of decay, cracks, tooth wear and teeth movement.
Gums: There is no point in providing you with new teeth if they will not be based on a strong foundation. If there is any sign of gum disease, you will need periodontics treatment such as root planing or scaling to provide a strong foundation on which to build full rehabilitation.
Your bite: Malocclusion or an incorrect bite may have to be corrected first before additional full rehabilitation can continue. This might involve lengthy orthodontic treatment.
Aesthetics: The colour, size and shape of your teeth is also an important consideration in full rehabilitation.
What Should You Expect?
Your dentist will need to capture complete records of your teeth and mouth before commencing with the full mouth rehabilitation. X-rays must be taken, impressions of your teeth taken and a model made from those impressions. A model of your bite will also have to be taken. Further specialists such as an oral surgeon, periodontist or orthodontist may have to be consulted to plan the complete treatment needed in your full mouth rehabilitation.
If you decide to go ahead with full mouth restoration, you should be prepared for a lengthy process that will probably take in excess of 12 months, and will involve many visits to your dentist. In the case of oral cancer, reconstructive surgery involving tissue or bone grafts might be necessary.
Because of all the treatment, that could be involved, it is also not a cheap process. You will have to check to make sure what is covered by your medical aid and what is not, before making a final decision on whether to proceed or not.
It would be impossible in the space of this short article to explain all of the procedures and treatments that might be necessary for full mouth rehabilitation. Suffice to say that it is not a step to be taken lightly, and that one must be prepared for several treatment phases to restore your mouth to anything approximating normal. Luckily, with the advances in modern dentistry there is no reason why the restoration should not be successful.