When I was little. my brother and I were goofing off and somehow I got hit in the mouth with a brick. It sounds worse than it was, though there was a lot of bleeding and screaming on my part. However, the tooth was traumatized. Over the years it has turned brown. Now, I’ve got a horribly ugly brown tooth. When I was in for my latest check up, my dentist said it no longer has a tooth root and needs to be replaced with a dental implant. I also need two other fillings and a dental crown on a cracked tooth. No, this one wasn’t from a brick. He thinks that is from me grinding my teeth. My problem is. I don’t think I can afford a dental implant and still get the fillings and crown. Are there any creative solutions you can think of? I hate that the thing I can’t afford is the one which would help my smile not be ugly. The brown tooth is right in the front! I’m trying not to be vain, but it’s not working. Are there affordable dental implants? Help.
I’m seriously concerned about some things I’m reading here and think you’d be much better served with a different dentist. He is negligent, at best. First, let’s go over the traumatized tooth. Your injury (and I think the screaming was justified there) was enough to cut off the blood supply to the tooth. This would have led to the tissue inside the tooth dying and an infection which needed a root canal treatment. If one had been done, it could have saved the tooth, though it is possible even with the root canal you would still have this same problem. The root is gone because when a tooth dies your body resorbs the minerals to use elsewhere in your body.
Now that there isn’t a root, the tooth cannot be saved and does have to be replaced. While a dental implant is the best replacement, it is not the only replacement option. Your dentist was ethically obligated to give you all your options. He or she didn’t do that and I will be frank that it concerns me. If you told your dentist the implant was not affordable to you and he still didn’t give you your options, that is even worse. To me, that means on top of being negligent he doesn’t care about his patients.
Options When You Can’t Afford a Dental Implant
When dentists and others talk about affordable dental implants, they’re referring to options when you need complete removable dentures. This is not your particular situation. You need to replace a single tooth.
The second-best option, in those cases, is to get a dental bridge. There is a picture above which illustrates a bridge. It suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns. If your cracked tooth is adjacent to the dead tooth, this should have been a no brainer for your dentist to suggest. However, it will save you money, even if the tooth which needs to be crowned is in a different area.
If that is out of your budget, there is also a removable partial denture or even a dental flipper. Your dentist should have told you about all of these options.
More Neglect by Your Dentist
I think there is an additional sign of neglect by your dentist here too. You said he thinks your tooth cracked because you grind your teeth. That can happen. But, it only happens when that person isn’t provided with a mouthguard. If he knew you were a tooth grinder, he should have told you the serious consequences which result from that if you don’t protect your teeth at night.
Not only can it break or crack or tooth, as you’re experiencing. It is also slowly grinding your teeth down to nubs. If that continues, you will end up needing every tooth crowned. This is known as a full-mouth reconstruction and will cost tens of thousands of dollars, while a mouthguard is hardly any money.
Please get a new dentist. This is a great time to do that because you need to get a second opinion on your treatment options anyway.
This blog is brought to you by Huntsville Dentist Dr. Steve Murphree.