Medically Reviewed by: Thomas K. Hedge, DDS
Full mouth reconstruction, rehabilitation and restoration are terms often used interchangeably to describe the process of rebuilding or simultaneously restoring all of the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.
Full mouth reconstruction typically involves general or restorative dentists (performing procedures like crowns, bridges and veneers), and can incorporate dental specialists like periodontists (specializing in the gums), oral surgeons, orthodontists (specializing in tooth movements and positions) and endodontists (specializing in the tooth pulp).
The need for full mouth reconstruction may result from:
- Teeth that have been lost due to decay or trauma.
- Teeth that have been injured or fractured.
- Teeth that have become severely worn as a result of long-term acid erosion (foods, beverages, acid reflux) or tooth grinding.
- Ongoing complaints of jaw, muscle and headache pain requiring adjustments to the bite (occlusion).
How the Process Begins
If you think you need reconstruction, see your dentist for a comprehensive examination. Your dentist will examine your mouth to determine the extent of the problem and the treatment options that can be used to correct it. In particular, he or she will examine the condition of your:
- Teeth: The condition of your teeth will determine what restorative procedures may be needed, such as porcelain veneers or full-coverage crowns, inlays or onlays, bridges or implants restored with a crown. In particular, your dentist will make note of any cavities and decay, tooth wear, cracks, short/long teeth, root canal issues and any tooth movement.
- Periodontal (gum) tissues: If your gums are not healthy, you will most likely need scaling and root planing to treat periodontal disease. You may require more intensive treatments from a periodontist to ensure that your newly reconstructed teeth will have a solid foundation. Such treatments could involve soft tissue or bone grafts to build up your gums and underlying jaw bone. Your dentist will look for deep pockets, excessive or insufficient gum tissue, periodontal disease and bone density irregularities.
- Temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles and occlusion: A stable bite – one in which you are not in pain when you close your mouth or chew and one that does not cause wear or destruction of your teeth – is important to your overall oral health. Occlusal changes need to be taken into consideration when your dentist plans your restorations. In fact, you may require orthodontics or some other type of treatment (night guard or bite reprogramming orthotic) to correct occlusion before additional restorative procedures can be performed.
- Esthetics: The color, shape, size and proportion of your teeth, and how they appear in relation to your gums, lips, mouth, side profile and face, are also important factors in full mouth reconstruction.
The examination process requires records of your mouth, such as X-rays and photographs, impressions of your upper and lower teeth, models of your teeth that are made from the impressions and a model of your bite. Your dentist may also refer you to specialists (periodontist, orthodontist, oral surgeon) for a consultation in order