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Full Mouth Reconstruction



What is full mouth reconstruction?

Also called full mouth restoration or rejuvenation, full mouth reconstruction involves a treatment plan for completely restoring oral health, comfortable oral function, and, in some cases, esthetics. Treatment can include restorative, cosmetic, prosthetic, periodontal, and TMJ procedures, as well as specialized care, such as root canals, orthodontics, oral surgery, and implant placement. Each full mouth restoration treatment plan is unique, because it's based upon the patient's needs and desired outcome.

Who offers full mouth reconstruction?

Many general dentists offer full mouth reconstruction. If your dentist does not provide comprehensive full mouth treatment plans, he or she may refer you to a colleague who does. Often, treatment involves particular procedures performed by a dental specialist, such as an endodontist, periodontist, prosthodontist, oral surgeon, or, for children who have experienced oral trauma, a pediatric dentist, called a pedodontist.

What type of dentists offer full mouth reconstruction?

General, restorative, and cosmetic dentists can offer full mouth reconstruction, though not all do. Your dentist may send you to a trusted colleague if you need full mouth reconstruction.

Can my general dentist perform full mouth reconstruction?

Often, a general or family dentist will offer full mouth reconstruction. In some cases, however, a dentist may refer a patient to a colleague for full mouth reconstruction, simply because the general practitioner believes that the patient would be better served by a doctor who has more experience and training in full mouth reconstruction.

How long does full mouth reconstruction take?

Treatment time depends upon the scope of the treatment plan, patient compliance, and how quickly a patient recovers after procedures. After a thorough oral evaluation and discussion, your dentist should be able to provide a treatment timeframe. If you need treatment completed in a particular amount of time, be sure to let your dentist know your expectations at your consultation.

Will I have to take time off work?

Of course you'll have to be available for dental appointments, though many dentists will schedule procedures after regular office hours. If your work schedule is an issue, be sure to discuss it with your dentist. Chair time required for treatment will depend on the procedures in your full mouth reconstruction treatment plan. Should you need multiple procedures performed in a short time period, your dentist may suggest a sedative so that you can relax during extended appointments. The dentist may be able to combine multiple procedures in one, or a few, long appointments.

If your treatment plan involves oral surgery, you may need to take time off work for recovery. Tell your dentist about your work commitments so that he or she may factor that into your treatment plan.

How much does full mouth reconstruction cost?

Because each patient's treatment plan is unique, cost of treatment varies greatly. If finances are an issue, consider a phased treatment plan or financing. Some patient financing companies offer low- and no-interest loans for qualified applicants. You can use dental insurance and health savings accounts to help with full mouth reconstruction costs. If finances are an issue, be sure to tell your dentist. The doctor may have the option to use dental materials and procedures that can make your treatment more affordable. Of course, less esthetic materials (metal instead of natural looking) and alternate materials (bonding instead of veneers) come with some concessions. Discuss the pros and cons of various dental materials and treatment options with your doctor before undergoing treatment.

Will insurance cover full mouth reconstruction?

Dental insurance may pay for part of your full mouth reconstruction plan. Your dentist's financial coordinator can help you find ways to pay the portion not covered by insurance, if you don't have available funds on hand or in your health savings account (HSA).

What are my payment options?

Choices may include phased treatment or using third-party or in-house financing. Phased treatment plans allow a large treatment plan to be divided into affordable, practical segments. Third party or in-house financing may be available for qualified applicants. In some cases, low- or no-interesting financing options exist.

Am I too old for full mouth reconstruction?

No one is "too old" for good oral health and comfortable oral function. Age can, however, be an important factor in treatment planning, because elderly patients often have health issues that must be considered in a full mouth reconstruction plan. For instance, if the doctor determines that a patient may not do well undergoing surgery, he or she may recommend mini dental implants, instead of traditional implants, for denture retention. Don't allow age to keep you from a healthy mouth and comfortable oral function. A competent dentist will be able to work with you to develop an appropriate, effective treatment plan, regardless of your age.

Graphic showing full mouth reconstruction procedures

Your doctor can address questions on your unique full mouth reconstruction so you know exactly what to expect.

What if I'm afraid of the dentist?

Dental phobia is a common, and very real, problem for many patients who need full mouth reconstruction. Years of avoiding professional dental care due to dental anxiety, stress, or phobia can result in deteriorated oral health. Regardless of your oral health condition, if you don't like dental visits, tell your dentist. Today, anxious dental patients have access to nitrous oxide (laughing gas), anxiolysis (oral sedation), oral conscious sedation (nitrous oxide with oral sedation), and IV sedation (intravenously administered drugs). These sedation options can make an anxious or extremely phobic dental patient find peace of mind and body during dental procedures. Don't allow being afraid of the dentist to stand between you and optimal oral health.

Does full mouth reconstruction hurt?

With modern dental anesthetics and sedation, no dental procedure has to hurt. Your dentist will recommend the appropriate level of medication for your comfort. Some patients experience short-term oral discomfort following a procedure. Your dentist may suggest over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers to take after treatment, for your comfort.

What if I have a sensitive gag reflex?

Tell the dentist if you know that you have a sensitive gag reflex, clinically known as laryngeal spasm. The dentist can take measures to reduce your risk for gagging, and to optimize your comfort.

What if local anesthetic doesn't work for me?

If you know that local anesthesia does not sufficiently numb your mouth, tell your dentist during your initial consultation so that he or she can note your chart accordingly. The dentist can administer nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or oral conscious sedation to keep you comfortable during dental treatments.

What if my back pain won't allow me to sit in a dental chair for more than a few minutes at a time?

Discomfort in the dental chair is a common issue, but it can be easily overcome with medication. Nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or oral conscious sedation can help you remain comfortable.

Can special needs patients, including Alzheimer's patients, undergo full mouth reconstruction?

Yes. If your general dentist believes that you would be better suited under the care of a doctor with more experience treating special needs patients, he or she may refer you to a respected colleague. Often, a dentist administers sedation so that a special needs patient can comfortably undergo treatments for full mouth reconstruction.

How long will full mouth reconstruction last?

The longevity of treatment results will depend greatly upon your oral health, overall health, oral hygiene, and compliance with doctor's instructions. Dental materials are also a factor. Porcelain veneers, for instance, may last two decades or more; dental bonding to correct the same issue may only last five to ten years.

Will full mouth restoration address my jaw pain and stop my headaches?

If you suffer from chronic migraines, headaches, pain in the jaw, head, neck, shoulders, or back, tell your dentist. He or she can assess your occlusion and jaw joints to determine whether TMJ disorder (TMD) is causing your symptoms. Other common symptoms of TMJ disorder include: popping or clicking jaw joints, inability to open and close the mouth completely, tingling fingers and toes, chronic teeth grinding (bruxism), and unexplained tooth wear.

How can I stop grinding my teeth during my sleep?

Habitual teeth grinding is clinically known as bruxism and is a common affliction: according to the NIDCR, an estimated 10 million Americans suffer from the condition. Commonly, bruxism is caused by stressed jaw joints or when a person's upper and lower teeth don't fit together, which we call malocclusion. Over time, teeth grinding takes a tool on teeth by wearing down molars or causing chips and fractures. Therefore, bruxism should be treated so that the results of full mouth reconstruction are preserved. A simple oral appliance called a mouth guard can prevent teeth grinding, but the underlying cause should also be treated. Your dentist can identify the cause of your teeth grinding and prescribe treatment.

Do kids ever need full mouth reconstruction?

Children can require full mouth reconstruction. Common causes are baby bottle mouth (decay across front teeth) and injury. A child who needs full mouth reconstruction should see a pedodontist (children's dentist).

What will happen if the dentist finds oral cancer in my mouth?

Oral cancer is a serious and common disease that can affect people with no high-risk factors. If your dentist finds cause for an oral biopsy, he or she may refer you to an oral surgeon. Rest assured, your dentist will answer all of your questions and explain next steps if you ask.

What will happen if I have gum disease?

Your dental hygienist or dentist will suggest appropriate treatment, based on your level of gum disease. Also called periodontal disease, gum disease is a chronic condition that has no cure, but it can be treated.

Early gum disease is known as gingivitis, and few symptoms are expressed. In fact, some patients with gingivitis experience no symptoms. Treating gingivitis may simply involve changing your oral homecare routine and using special mouthwash. However, a deep cleaning may also be suggested if gingivitis has progressed.

Deep cleaning takes a few hours and is often performed in two visits. It involves scaling, which is removing hardened plaque (tartar or calculus) from below the gum line, and root planing, which is smoothing rough areas on teeth roots. Root planing eliminates areas where plaque tends to accumulate on teeth roots. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to fight infection in periodontal pockets. You will attend periodontal checkups every few months, at which time the dentist or hygienist will chart your gum pocket depth. Gum pockets are the pockets of infection that form at the gum line. After deep cleaning, gum pocket depth should be reduced, as gums heal and reattach to teeth.

If you have periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease, you may need surgery. Necrotic (dead) gum tissue must be removed so that new, healthy tissue can grow in its place. If a significant amount of gum tissue has been lost, gum grafting may be required. A periodontist is a dental specialist who treats the supporting structures of the teeth: gums, bone, and connective tissues. Often, a general dentist will refer patients with periodontitis to a periodontist for treatment.

Do dentists use laser surgery during full mouth reconstruction?

Some, not all, dentists employ lasers for minimally invasive dental and periodontal procedures. A soft tissue laser can treat periodontitis, reduce gum tissue for cosmetic purposes, and perform biopsies. Hard tissue lasers can prepare teeth for restorations, clean a tooth's root canal, and trim bone tissue. Patients tend to heal promptly following laser surgery, and lasers offer an unparalleled level of precision.

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