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Dentistry/Adjacent Implant Crowns - Issues?


QUESTION: Hi Dr Finnk,

Posting this question on behalf of my wife.

She's had a lot of periodontal work done the past 3 years along with having several teeth removed and getting implants.

Overall, her dental condition has improved a lot according to her dentist and periodontist. The implants she has received have done well.

Now, she is in process of getting a crown for the implant that was put in 6 months ago. This implant is next to another existing implant.

While getting the impression made for the new crown, the dentist warned her there might be a problem with food getting between the crowns and causing problems, due to the space between the crowns. This could result in having to remove the first crown and redoing it.

My wife thought this seemed very odd, as he knew for a long time about her getting the implant in this location and said there would be any issues with this situation.

So, the questions....

A) Why would the dentist make such an issue of this all of a sudden and

B) Wouldn't dentist make allowances for spacing when taking the impression?

C. My wife has been extremely disciplined the past 3 years about daily dental hygiene. She uses an electric toothbrush, floss, water-pik, and those little devices that look like miniature pipe cleaners, but have tapered profile. So, it seems like there should be not much issue of having food stay for long time between the two implants, correct?

Thank you for your input and advice. Greatly appreciate it.


ANSWER: Dear Mark,

A)  I don't know.  You would have to ask her dentist that question.

B)  Teeth, whether natural or dentist-made, should touch each other such that food does not get caught between them.  In cases where there has been a great deal of gum loss around the necks of the teeth, due to periodontal disease, recession or gum surgery, the space between teeth that normally is filled with gum, is no longer filled with gum.  So even if the teeth are butted against each other properly, the triangle-shaped areas under where the teeth contact may collect food.  These areas should be easy to clean due to their open nature.

C)  Correct.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dr Finnk,

My wife got her new implant crown installed today.

This was after visiting dentist yesterday and the crown that was made was too short height-wise. So, needed to be redone.

While the crown seemed to fit OK when the dentist installed it today, now when my wife tried to floss either side of the new crown between the adjacent teeth, the floss material would not fit between the teeth/crowns.

So, now, my wife is very upset, realizing that she has to make another visit next week to the dentist to get this fixed. Unfortunately, he's closed on Fridays.

Also, she's very concerned now about what are the risks involved with removing the new crown without putting too much pressure on the metal post in her jawbone.

How difficult is it to remove the new crown without putting too much pressure on the bone and creating damage?

Thank you for your input!


If the crown was cemented with permanent cement, it will be nearly impossible to remove safely without destroying the crown.

The good news is that this crown will likely NOT need to be removed to adjust the contact between the teeth.  Usually there is cement in the contact area that is gluing the teeth together.  This can be corrected with a tiny blade that is run between the teeth.  If the physical contact is too tight, this can be corrected with fine sandpaper strips run between the teeth.  Meanwhile, try using Go Betweens in place of floss.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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