Tag Archives: tooth extraction

How Long Can I Wait for a Dental Implant?

I have a tooth where decay grew under the crown. My dentist doesn’t feel he can get it all out and recommended I see an oral surgeon to pull the tooth and then come back for a dental bridge. I’m not too keen on that so I’m thinking of seeing someone else about the decay. I’ve also been doing some research and it looks like a dental implant will be a better option for replacing a missing tooth. I’ve got fairly new dental insurance which has six more months of a waiting period before I can get any coverage for work done. If I pull this tooth, how long can I wait before there are problems?

Catherine

Dear Catherine,

illustraition of a dental implant next to natural teeth

I’m going to be blunt and tell you that you are not being well served by your dentist. Most skilled dentists will do everything possible to save a tooth. What does he mean he can’t get all the decay out? Has he tried and failed? Based on what you said, he didn’t even bother trying.

Next, he suggested a dental bridge instead of a dental implant. Your research is correct. Yes, it is a much better tooth replacement than a bridge. The one exception to that would be if the adjacent teeth already need dental crowns. If they don’t, then you are just grinding down healthy tooth structure.

I’m sorry, but this dentist seems too willing to get rid of teeth. You can do better. I’m going to highly recommend you get a second opinion on this tooth.

Don’t Wait before Getting a Dental Implant

If, after getting a second opinion, it turns out the tooth cannot be saved, I wouldn’t recommend waiting more than a week or two (at the most) with that space empty. The teeth around it will start to drift or tip into the space, making a replacement difficult.

In fact, it can lead to serious bite problems, which can cause TMJ Disorder. Just like cleaning out the tooth properly with a root canal treatment before getting your original dental crown would have saved you the problems you are facing now, making sure that space is kept open will save you a lot of pain down the road.

I’d recommend something simple and inexpensive, such as a dental flipper, to hold the space for you until your insurance will cover your dental implant. Truthfully, even if you received the implant today you’d need a temporary tooth anyway. The site where the implant is placed needs both time to heal and for the bone to integrate around the implant before it can support an implant crown anyway, so this isn’t an unnecessary step.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Affordable Tooth Replacements for Patient with Traumatic Brain Injury

My cousin had a traumatic brain injury. I’ve taken over his care while he’s not able to care for himself. I was surprised to discover he hadn’t had dental care in quite some time. I took him in worried what the prognosis would be. Most of his teeth can’t be saved. I don’t have a lot of money, but I don’t want to leave him without teeth. Is there an affordable way to replace teeth?

Benson P. – Seattle

Benson,

It’s great that you’re stepping up to care for your cousin. And, you’re right, he doesn’t need to be left without teeth. It will cause more problems. The ideal tooth replacement is dental implants, but they’re quite pricey. Depending on the severity of his brain injury and his prognosis for quality of life, that may not be your best option anyway. The most affordable replacement option for him will be dentures. Though, they’re not anchored. ¬†If his brain injury is severe you may want to consider anchoring them, even with just mini implants.

However, make sure you work with a dentist who has experience with traumatic brain injuries and patience. ¬†Sometimes their personality changes and not always in the easiest ways to deal with. You want your cousin’s experience to be as pleasant as possible.

With the extractions, he’ll need sedation dentistry. I know you’re trying to save money. Many dentists offer payment plans. I don’t know if you’ve applied for disability for your cousin, but there are resources for you. You’re not on your own, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk with someone who knows the best and fastest way to access those resources.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.