I would absolutely not bring the teeth together to close the space and then file down the canine teeth. I had a patient who had that done and later came to me as an adult to ask me to help make it look normal and there was no way to make the result of that look normal. The canines are thick, fat teeth that stick out in the front and that simply doesn’t work. Furthermore, the canines perform an important function in protecting the back teeth against sideways stresses and if you move them to the front, they can’t do that.
Here is a photo first showing two missing laterals, which is I’m guessing is the way your daughter looks now:
The dental implants would be the best solution, no question. If there is money to do that, that’s what I would recommend.
However, an acceptable compromise, if you have a limited budget, would be a simple flipper partial. I had an office manager for my dental practice that used a flipper partial the entire time she worked for me. You would never know, meeting her, that her lateral incisors were not real. It’s a simple plastic plate with the two teeth attached. It fits up on the palate and there are two wire clips, one on each side, that snap over the back teeth to hold it in. The cost should be pretty reasonable – maybe a couple hundred dollars, more or less. Here’s a photo of what that appliance would look like.
This isn’t the ideal solution. Some people have difficulty eating with these flipper partials and they have to remove them to eat. And over time, the jawbone shrinks where the missing teeth were. For a few hundred dollars more, you could get a more elaborate partial.
She could also get conventional porcelain bridges replacing these teeth, but that would require grinding down the healthy central incisors and canines. I would rather see her do the flipper and save up her money for implants later.
This monkeying with Maryland bridges, I would not do that. Not only do the wings of a Maryland bridge make the central incisors look darker, you can have problems with them staying in. I suspect that your daughter’s Maryland bridges were poorly designed, for all the trouble she has had with them. But even with a good design, they can be some trouble. I would prefer the flipper partial.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
This dentist has obviously never had to live with this nightmare. Flipper my ass! If there is enough space an implant is best. If it’s small a good cosmetic dentist can help close the space. Materials are stronger now. Doc needs to be an artist, though.