Q: Two and a half year ago I had a bunch of implants placed to replace some missing teeth. I find I am now getting food stuck between the teeth which is very annoying. Why is this happening? Was something not done correctly?
A: I have a feeling this anonymous letter is coming from my Uncle Howard; now living a life of retirement from the glamorous life of selling dinettes and roll-a-way beds in the posh village of Greenpoint Brooklyn. HBO filmed a TV series in the old store (Josephs Furniture) a few summers ago. Martin Scorsese and Bobby Cannavale were running around the old store that I used to play in as a kid, and where my dad and his brothers grew up in the apartments above.
Food Trap Gaps between Dental Implants
Many patients, not just my relatives, experience this problem. Craniofacial growth and development are continuous throughout life, creating a dynamic bite. Natural teeth adjacent to titanium implants will migrate a bit, allowing open gaps to arise. You will notice your floss no longer makes that snapping noise it used to between the teeth. (One of my favorite sounds along with bubble paper, Jethro Tull and my eleven pound dog’s footsteps.)
One thing that we can do to lessen the chances of this scenario is to remove any adjacent teeth which have a poor prognosis due to bone loss from gum disease, periodontitis. These will drift and open up gaps next to your implant teeth which do not migrate. Get rid of them and replace them with dental implants. Additionally, we can design a set of permanent teeth that are retrievable; meaning they can be removed with a special tool and sent to a lab to have porcelain added to close any gaps in the future.
I hope this helps. Feel free to email me any questions and follow me on Instagram at @drjosephs.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.