Tooth transplantation in dentistry.
Tooth transplantation is the transplantation of a tooth from one place to another.
A tooth transplant is a biological method of replacing lost or missing teeth. In cases where young patients suffer from incomplete root development the chances are good that the tooth will grow normally after therapy.
The risk of a nerve in a tooth dying and the required root treatment correspond closely to the how the root has developed. The further developed the root is the more likely that the root treatment will include tooth transplantation.
Adults with fully developed roots can also have teeth transplanted. However, a root treatment of the transplanted tooth will be required after the operation. An x-ray offers the best method of explaining completed root development: The tooth on the right (red arrow) shows completed tooth development with the root converging in a concial manner and ending in a point (green), the dark shadow (blue) is the nerve. The tooth beside this tooth (white arrow) is the wisdom tooth and here root development is not complete. The tips of the root do not converge in a conical manner (green) and the nerve (blue) ends in a broad base – these are all signs for incomplete development.
The patient should be free of oral infection before undergoing a transplant (e.g. parodontitis) and/or caries. During the operation the tooth which is to be transplanted (here the wisdom tooth in the upper, left corner) is removed and placed in the position in which it is required. Usually, the tooth is fixated using a suture after the operation.
After 2 years the gums are light pink and the tooth has healed well and reacts to cold, this is a sign that the nerve was not damaged during the transplantation – see the video cold stimulus for more information. Tooth transplantations are a pillar of modern dentistry and offer a alternative to prosthetic, mandibular surgical or implantological treatments – Ask your dentist for more information!
Alternatives to wisdom tooth transplantations are implantation, a dental bridge, a prosthesis or mandibular surgical closure, all depending on each individual patient’s situation.
The risks relating to tooth transplantation are minimal when a experienced surgeon is at work. Of course, in individual cases complications may develop which then require further therapy. And each additional treatment carries risks which could turn out to be life-threatening. Below we have listed the special complications which could develop during tooth transplantation:
- The transplanted tooth doesn’t take root
- Bone infection (Osteomyelitis)
- Injuring of adjacent structures such as the tongue, cheeks, nerves, blood vessels, adjacent teeth or roots with the following complications:
- Wound infection
- Broken jaw
- Opening of the maxillary sinus which in turn can lead to a maxillary sinus infection
Luckily, such complications are exceptionally rare nowadays thanks to the positive advances which have been made in modern medicine.
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