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Dentistry/Back molar too short for crown to grip


QUESTION: My lower L. 2nd molar at the back (#37) was badly damaged, had root canal treatment and filling and was then fitted with a crown in 2009. In 2012 this crown started to come off very often. My dentist said that my molar (height ~1 mm above gum line) was very short. Each time this crown came off it was recemented, but the last time on 24/12/2014 it was swallowed while eating. There is no LL tooth #38, and LL 1st molar (#36) had root canal treatment and was fitted with a crown in 2007 and has had no problem. The LL second bicuspid is perfect and does not even have a filling.

Will the upper opposing molar grow downward ? Will the tooth in front (lower L. 1st molar #36) shift ?

What are my options ?

ANSWER: I am not certain of your numbering system but I think I get the idea.  The honest answer to your question is that I don't know.  It does happen but if the contact points (where the teeth fit against adjacent teeth) are tight enough then probably not.  I have seen rapid shifting of these teeth but also I've seen them last a very long time without a problem.  Certainly 1 mm is not enough to keep a crown in place.  Since you have a good first molar and premolar I'd take my chances and if they move then have them taken out.  Your other option is implant which is expensive and time consuming.  I think I'd wait and see if they moved and then decide on removing them as long as you can eat well on the first molar and bicuspid.

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QUESTION: Sorry if I got the teeth numbering system wrong. What I meant was that at the back of the lower left quadrant of my mouth, there is no 3rd molar, and from front to back, I have the perfect 2nd bicuspid, the crowned 1st molar and the extremely short 2nd molar.

What are my options to fix the LL  extremely short LL 2nd molar ? If it can put on a crown then all the problems will be solved. Is it that this molar is near to the mandibular nerve and that the dental implant option is not viable ?

To know if an implant is viable there is hard to say without x-rays and study but you do have an option. There is a procedure called a crown lengthening procedure which removes a little gum tissue and artificially lengthens the tooth to make a crown. Other than that implants would work but I doubt you need it as I think that lengthening this tooth will do what you need to have done.


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Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

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