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Question:
I have ground my teeth since early childhood and am now in my early 50's. Due to this fact I have lots of damage in my mouth and my new dentist has gotten me night guards now. I had a broken tooth in the front. The front one that a few years ago broke and the dentist at that time did a repair without a crown. Just built it up but I don't remember if he did a root canal on it.

Well a couple of days ago, I was eating and the toorh broke off at the gum line and now I have a big hole in front. It doesn't hurt and my dental office is off till after the holidays so I can't get to see him till then. In the meantime at work I have been wearing my night gaurd so the gap is not as noticeable. I have been doing some research and don't know what would be better for me - a bridge or an implant.

The two teeth to the other side both have crowns on them that I have had for over 18 years and have never been a problem, so I would hate to lose them to a bridge. The tooth next to the the other side has also broken off at the gum line last year and has not bothered me so I have basically 2 front teeth that are missing now. I know I need to see my Dentist to get his opinion on treatment, but I just wonder at my age which would be better.

I want to make the right decision for me but am a little apprehensive about the procedure of implants. Do they give you a temp something during the time it takes to get the implant to heal and the bone in the jaw to heal so you don't walk around with the gaps? I have always been told by any Dentist who have had to pull a tooth that I have a very strong jawbow so I guess it would be ok.

I guess I'm just a little afraid of it, and would like to know if at my age (52) implants would be a better thing for me to do. Is it also possible to get one done now and the other later even if the take the roots out on both sides?? Do they need to pull both or could a root canal be done and still do implants? ... Visitor from NM

Answer:
It sounds like you need a long term plan to get your mouth healthy and restored to it's maximum comfort function and aesthetics.

I personally would be concerned about whether or not that will happen (the planning part) with a dentist who is willing to discount over half the regular fee.??? You can not stay in business that way.

I think you need to resolve to find the best dentist for you (and that may be the dentist you currently have) and ask for their help in developing a plan to save your teeth that you can find a way to afford.

If you allow the insurance company to decide what you can have done then you may not get very much. Their job is to spend as little money as possible and that does not sound like that is best for you now. You are telling me that you have two of your front teeth broken to the gum line and I wonder what the rest of your mouth looks like??? I would bet that you need much more than $1,500.00 worth of work done now.

To the implants... Yes implants are wonderful and some can be done so that you have the tooth back the day the implant is placed... I just do not know if that will work in your case without a complete evaluation and plan. That is why I said you need to get with someone who can help you develop a treatment plan that works well for you and that has you completely informed about what is wrong with your whole mouth and what it will take to get it back to great shape.

By the way... The "average" insurance crown according to the insurance companies will need to be redone in 5 years....

I have crowns in my practice that my dad did 50 years ago that still look great... Good dentistry well taken care of by the patient is a great investment in time and money.

Best of luck to you. I know this may sound harsh but it is not intended to. It is intended to give you something to realistically think about and to help you keep from spending money on something that you will end up throwing away like you did on the build up that now must be re-done if it can be done at all. Doing that without the crown may have caused you to lose the tooth. If you had spent the time and money on the crown soon enough your own experience tells you that you may be in good shape even now.

Editorial Staff

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