So much of what we are able to do as dentists is incredibly rewarding. Providing beautiful smiles for people whose oral health condition may have kept their smile hidden leaves us with a sense of accomplishment that is difficult to explain.

How a smile is transformed can vary tremendously depending upon the nature of a patient’s underlying oral health condition. But just like building a strong house, no matter what we do for your smile, it is vital that we begin with a strong foundation!

That means we need to ensure that your periodontal health is as good as we can make it! In the absence of good periodontal health, any crowns, implants, veneers or other steps we take to improve your smile is likely to fail.

Now some of you might wonder why the fact you may not have healthy gums could impact upon procedures that appear to target just the teeth. Well, just like your house, strengthening a wall will not guarantee that your house will remain standing if the foundation underneath remains weak.

Your gums and the bone beneath them are part of your foundation. When you come to our office and we tell you that you have 5 or 6 millimeter pockets that means the structure supporting your teeth may be compromised.

Perhaps you are experiencing an abscess and may require a root canal. Upon completion of the root canal, it is common to put a crown over the treated tooth. But if you have significant periodontal disease, the chances that the crown may fail down the road are dramatically increased.

Why is that?

Quite simply, putting a crown on a tooth where the connective tissue has been weakened may temporarily help the exposed surface of the tooth. But it does nothing to address the weaker foundation. As long as that foundation remains weak, there is no way to guarantee that a crown will remain in place.

Given that, how we proceed to look after your oral health will vary depending upon your needs. Often, one of the first things we need to do is take diagnostic radiographs. While you may not yet be experiencing any pain or discomfort, x-rays may tell us that you have a tooth that has decayed to the point a crown is required.

However, we may recommend first trying to improve your periodontal health. This will definitely entail some specific instructions on proper home care, including flossing, brushing and perhaps the use of other tools to remove debris from the gum line.

We may also recommend that you see us a number of times in the immediate future. For example, we might suggest you return for a series of 3 or 4 perio-maintenance appointments once every week or two. That could be followed by appointments every 3 or 4 months.

Once we are satisfied that we have done all we can to strengthen your foundation, then we may be able to proceed with the crown. At that time, we will be doing so knowing that we have done all we can to make sure the crown is being put into a mouth that is as healthy and strong as possible. Because strengthening that foundation is a healthy habit…and healthy habits lead to healthy lives.

Dr. David Lui

Dental Surgeon