From the age of nine, and until she was 16 years old, Katharina Schendel lived with a set of braces that supported two highly-visible crowns in the spaces where her permanent maxillary lateral incisors should have come in, but never did.
Because the braces were a provisional solution, she was instructed to always remove them before eating. She didn’t always comply.
“That would have meant having missing front teeth!” she exclaims.
For most teenagers, in most social situations, that’s simply not an acceptable alternative, which is why she rarely took them out of her mouth.
“I also couldn’t bite into anything hard,” she says, “or chew properly, because that would have damaged my crowns. They were not particularly strong.”
In fact, on a trip to England with her school class from Hamburg, she lost a crown while chewing. She neither smiled nor laughed for the remainder of the journey.
“I tried to keep my mouth closed since I was really embarrassed by the gap,” she explains.
The crown was ultimately replaced and her orthodontist advised her that implants would provide a good long-term solution once her jaw was fully developed. For Katharina, 16, this was the milestone she was waiting for, and it came not a moment too soon.
“I have a boyfriend,” she tells us. “When we first met, I still had my braces. Initially, I was too embarrassed to tell him that I was missing two front teeth. Whenever we kissed he would always ask why I didn’t remove my braces.”
Katharina dodged the question until after she met Dr. Ole Richter, who treated her with implants. “In the past, the classic solution for the agenesis of Katharina’s lateral incisors would have been a dental bridge,” says Richter, “but this requires grinding down two healthy adjacent teeth in order to replace a single tooth.”
Dr. Richter could not in good conscience recommend this as the treatment of choice, which is why he suggested a solution based on Nobel Biocare implants instead.
Katharina tells us that when she and her father first took implants under consideration, the dentist explained the entire procedure to them in detail.
“He told me exactly what would be involved, and my father and I were immediately convinced to go ahead with the procedure.”
Richter explains that in her case, there were two main challenges. “The first one was that she had to be treated provisionally until she was 16, the earliest age at which we thought it would be prudent to place a dental implant, and the second challenge consisted of the narrow gaps.”
This is where the NobelActive implant proved decisive. “Due to its special design, we have excellent control over the axial inclination and positioning of the implants,” Richter says.
“This is important because, on the one hand, the neighboring teeth should not be affected and, on the other hand, exact positioning of the dental implant is vital for good esthetic results.”
Katharina now has permanent ceramic crowns, which in principle are no different than natural teeth in regards to function and appearance.
“For Katharina, they are used, treated and cared for as normal teeth,” says Richter, “and — if well cared for — will last for decades.”
Katharina says that she feels much more self-confident now: “I can laugh and smile more openly.” Then she adds with a cheerful grin, “… and, of course, I look much better than I did with braces!”