Little Guys Matter

August 1, 2017 Glenn Kidder DDS

Why Focusing on the Lower Anterior Teeth in Restorations is Important for Esthetics and Function

If you ignore the lower anterior teeth in a restoration, you may be sacrificing a significant amount of potential case benefits.

The process of improving dental techniques is one of constant refinement throughout our careers. We build upon techniques and begin to see our blind spots with each new case.

This blog is about specificity and detail-oriented technique. Excellent clinical dentistry balances the patient’s desire to improve their smile esthetics with effectively conveying the overall importance of planned changes to their health.

Incorporate the approach I discuss below into your restorative work and you’ll see the benefits extend widely to both final case esthetics and patient satisfaction. After all, those twin goals entwine throughout everything we do in the dental practice.

Restore Lower Anterior Teeth for Esthetics and Function

Have you ever noticed cases in various dental publications where nice restorative work has been completed on the upper anterior teeth, but the lower incisors were completely ignored? Oftentimes the lower anterior teeth (the little guys) are crowded, uneven, worn, and/or damaged.

This discordant aspect is visually jarring and detracts from the perceived beauty of the final result. The pristine nature of the upper anterior teeth throws the correspondingly less appealing look of the lower anterior teeth into greater relief.

The little guys are important for esthetics and function. They show considerably more on speech as we age, something very few patients realize. They are also critical for distribution of forces as we move into protrusive and excursions. The Pankey Institute recognizes the importance of lower anterior teeth as a vital aspect of complete dental care.

This is a periodontal case where a simple equilibration substantially improved esthetics and force distribution. Patients really appreciate an enhanced smile. They immediately feel better function and stability.

What commonly overlooked areas or techniques do you use to improve restoration esthetics and function? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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About Author

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Glenn Kidder DDS

Dr. Glenn M. Kidder has served on the visiting faculty at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, Florida for the past 23 years. He facilitates several courses which deal with occlusion, TMJ disorders, splint therapy, and equilibration in restorative dentistry. He also serves as the Essential II Coordinator in the Department of Education at Pankey. He is past president of the Greater Baton Rouge Dental Association. He was instrumental in the start up of The Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic which has provided over five million dollars of free medical and dental care to the working uninsured in the Baton Rouge area. He is past president of Cortana Kiwanis where he has 33 years of perfect attendance. He has been married for 35 years to Stacey Kidder, a psychotherapist. They have three sons who are LSU graduates—two are dentists. Dr. Kidder is in private practice in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where his practice is limited to the treatment of temporomandibular joint and occlusal disorders. He is a Diplomate with The American Board of Orofacial Pain, a Fellow in The Academy of General Dentistry, a Fellow in The Pierre Fauchard Academy, a Fellow in The International College of Dentists and is a 32 year member of the American Equilibration Society. He is an assistant clinical instructor in the Department of Prosthodontics at LSU School of Dentistry.

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