Q: I need back lower teeth replaced with lower implants. My face has become sucked-in and I can’t chew well. I was told I don’t have enough bone for even the shortest implants. What is plan “B”?
A: Eighteenth-century doctors practiced a concept called “doctrine of signatures”: The belief that giving the patient a substance that resembles the disease can cure the disease. Example: Turmeric, which is yellow, treated jaundice, fox lung tissue treated asthma. (I wonder what male problems bananas would treat?)
When insufficient height of bone challenges us, we can place the screw-like threaded implant as deep as it safely can go, short of nerves or sinuses, but leave the remaining portions of it sticking out above the crest of the jawbone. Then we cover the exposed threads with a graft material made of a mixture of the patient’s own bone from the surgical site and, in certain cases, plasma rich growth factors, or PRGF. (This is the “substance that resembles the disease.”) Five months later the entire implant is now covered in new bone, ready to attach permanent crowns or bridges. Pretty cool!