I am in trouble because I don’t think I can afford a dental implant on top of all the other work the dentist said I needed.
Here’s the problem. When I was little, I had two accidents where I was hit in the mouth. Once I fell off a swing and the other time a baseball hit me in the front tooth.
As I have gotten older, the front tooth has turned brown. It is so ugly and embarrassing. The dentist told me that the tooth root is gone now and the only option I have is a dental implant.
During the exam, he also told me that I need several fillings and a couple crowns. I am not sure what to do because I cannot afford to have all this work done. But, I cannot bring myself to continue living with my ugly brown tooth.
Do you have any suggestions? Please help!
-Cynthia in Washington
It sounds like the front tooth is not salvageable. The accidents that took place when you were younger damaged the tooth bad enough that the nerve died. Therefore, over the years the blood supply was cut off and it was likely infected. It should have probably had a root canal treatment done, which might have saved the root. However, even if you would have taken action back then, the root still may have deteriorated over time. The technical term is called root resorption and it is a result of an infected tooth or a traumatic injury to the tooth. Regardless, the tooth needs to come out.
If a dental implant is the only option the dentist gave you to replace a missing tooth, you may want to find a new one. Every dentist is obligated to provide you with all of your options for different treatments and it sounds like that didn’t happen.
There are several ways to replace a missing tooth. A dental implant is the best, most permanent option. However, it is also the most expensive. If you told your dentist that you couldn’t afford it and he or she still didn’t give you other options, that is a problem.
A missing tooth can also be replaced with a dental bridge, which is the traditional method for tooth replacement. It does require getting crowns on the two teeth that surround the missing one. So, if the teeth are otherwise healthy, it may not be the most ideal for you. The false tooth is secured on an appliance that is attached to the crowns and it fills the gap. This tooth replacement option is less expensive than a dental implant.
Another option is a removable partial denture. This treatment will suspend the tooth into the gap and is attached to a removable clip. So, the appliance can be taken out too. It has it’s drawbacks, when compared to a dental bridge or implant. Patients complain that it isn’t as comfortable and doesn’t feel secure. But, it is the least expensive option.
The bottom line is that you need to work with a dentist that is open and honest about all of your options. Be upfront about your situation. It is possible that they may work with you on payments or even phase the treatment out over time. Then, the most urgent needs can be addressed first and the others can be scheduled as you’ve had more time to save.
Hopefully, this helps you find the best dentist for your specific needs.
This post is sponsored by a cosmetic dentist in Barrington, James T. Gavrilos, DDS.