Tag Archives: Dental Implant

Do I Get a Dental Implant or a Dental Bridge?

I lost a tooth. It’s my own fault. I waited too long to deal with it and now I have to replace it. My dentist is suggesting a dental implant, but I’m not too keen on the idea of surgery. Would a dental bridge do something close?

Kevin C.

Dear Kevin,

It depends on how close you’re wanting to get. Both a dental implant and a dental bridge are acceptable tooth replacement options. Both are permanent and secure. There are important differences though. I’ll explain both options. Then, you can discuss with your dentist what fits your situation best. His job isn’t to pressure you into an option, but rather to give you your options and a recommendation. The final decision is yours.

Dental Implants

Dental Implant DiagramYou already knew that a dental implant required surgery. The diagram on the left shows why.

As you can see, the implant is placed directly into your jawbone. The benefits to this are it’s like having your own natural tooth back, it preserves your jawbone, and no other teeth need to lose tooth structure for its placement.

Dental Bridge

Illustration of a dental bridgeA dental bridge is also permanent however, in order to bond them, it requires grinding down the adjacent teeth. Additionally, if part of it breaks the whole unit will have to be redone. They also do nothing to preserve the bone underneath.

When Does a Dental Bridge Make More Sense?

While it may sound like I’m suggesting dental implants are the better option, there is a time when a dental bridge makes more sense. For instance, if the adjacent teeth need to be crowned anyway then it’s like getting two procedures in one. Then, you’re not grinding healthy tooth structure.

The key is good communication with your dentist. He or she knows your teeth. If finances are a consideration as well, many dentists will let you pay out a procedure like dental implants which are a little more costly than simple procedures like a filling.

Who Should Do Your Tooth Restorations?

When you’re looking at replacing teeth, it’s important you choose the right dentist. The especially important when the tooth is in a visible part of your smile. You want it to look natural and beautiful. Not every dentist can pull that off.

Look for a dentist who’s accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). These are the top cosmetic dentists in the country. One other thing to consider. Once your implant crown or dental bridge is made, the color cannot be changed. If you want a whiter smile, be sure to have your teeth whitened before your tooth replacement procedure is done. That way your restoration will match your bright white smile.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Could CEREC Crown Have Saved My Tooth?

I needed a root canal treatment and dental crown. I wanted to do a CEREC crown, but my dentist doesn’t have the machine. I considered going elsewhere, but felt guilty about going to another dentist. So, I thought the traditional crown would have to suffice. After he made the temporary, I had to go out of town for work. While I was gone, the temporary crown broke. I called my dentist and he said it would be fine, though to try and eat on the other side of my mouth. I was super careful. When I got back, I immediately went to the dentist but he told me that a crown would no longer work. First, the crown would no longer fit and we’d have to start over. But, that part of my tooth broke and the rest was brittle, so he’d have to do an extraction. Is this really my only option? Now what? I’m over $2000 into this crown which I can’t even have and now I’m losing the tooth. Should I have gone to a CEREC dentist?

Minnie W.

Dear Minnie,

A tooth receiving a CEREC crown

There are some things that bother me about what you’re saying. I’d like you to get a second opinion to see if your tooth can be saved. Preferably to a dentist who does provide CEREC crowns. Some dentists will even do free second opinions. While certainly, a CEREC crown would have saved your tooth, because it would have been protected from day one, there’s more at issue here.

If he’d have suggested you see an emergency dentist when your temporary broke, this would also have protected your tooth. It would also have allowed your permanent crown to fit. When you leave the space empty, it doesn’t always take very long for your teeth to shift leading to the crown not fitting properly. This was your dentist’s fault.

Something else which bothers me is how quickly the tooth became brittle. That’s uncommon.

If You Can’t Get a CEREC Crown and Lose the Tooth, What then?

If it turns out you can’t save the tooth, I’d first ask for a full refund from your first dentist. Then it’s time to decide on a tooth replacement. The two best options are dental implants or a dental bridge. A dental bridge would make more sense if either of the adjacent teeth need to be crowned.

If they don’t, then a dental implant would be a better option. It’s a great tooth replacement, but you don’t want just any dentist to do it. It’s an advanced procedure. Be sure to ask the dentist how many they’ve done and what their success rate is? It needs to be at least 98%.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Is there a procedure that uses both dental implants and a bridge?

I have a space where an adult tooth never came in, have no insurance, and I need something to fill in the gap. The gap seems a little too small to have an implant but I’m not quite sure. I am wondering if there is another way that I can receive an implant together with a bridge? Or if implants can be placed no matter what the space is?

Thanks, Tony

Dear Tony,

There are instances when a dental implant is connected to a dental bridge, however this is not necessary in your case. You have one  missing tooth so your dental options would be either a dental implant or a dental bridge, but not both. However if your space is too small for an implant or a bridge you might be a good candidate for Invisalign, depending on the space location. Invisalign is clear braces and if your teeth are not quite perfect this might be your best option to close the space and have straight teeth. Without insurance a dental bridge can cost up to several thousand dollars and usually takes two appointments completed over a three week period of time. A dental implant from start to finish cost anywhere from $4000 on up and takes approximately six months from the initial placement of the implant to having the crown put on the implant. Invisiline treatment is anywhere from 18 to 24 months and can cost roughly $5000. We recommend you consult a dentist about what treatment options would be best for you, your budget, and your time.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

 

 

My tooth really hurts, but I don’t have any money

I’ve got pretty bad teeth. I am missing several of my back teeth, and now I have an infection or something in one of the only molars I have left. The swelling along my jaw looks terrible! It is really embarrassing.

I don’t have a job right now, or any insurance. I am estranged from my family, so there is no one I can ask to help with any kind of medical or dental expenses. Is there anything I can do on my own to treat the infection? I am in a lot of pain.

Maria in Grand Haven

Dear Maria,

Before we offer advice on what to do, we want to make very sure we tell you what to avoid. Don’t take oral antibiotics to try and get rid of the infection without FIRST having the tooth treated. Here is why that is so important: the infection is inside a tooth, where antibiotics can’t reach it. If you treat the tooth without addressing the source, you will simply make sure that the bacteria that survive are stronger and more resistant to treatment.

An infection in a tooth is a potentially serious situation. An untreated infection could spread to your brain, or cause dangerous swelling in your throat. You really must have this addressed before it becomes far more serious and even potentially life threatening.

The infected tooth needs a root canal treatment, after which it may need to be protected by a dental crown. If that is too expensive, or if the tooth is too damaged, it may need to be extracted. When your fortunes improve, you might consider a dental bridge or dental implant to replace the missing tooth.

Ask at your local social assistance agencies if they know of a clinic where you can get this work done. Many communities have a method of connecting people in dire need like yourself to dentists who will complete the work for free or at a greatly reduced price with a payment plan. Be persistent – it is very important that you get this work done!

Good luck to you.

This blog posted courtesy of the office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone.

No dental insurance and an infected tooth

I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth. I am missing most of the teeth in the rear of my mouth, and now I have an infection that is really painful. It looks like I have a golf ball stuck in my cheek! I am out of work right now, and don’t have any kind of insurance at all. Where can I find someone to help me with this tooth? I asked the doctor at the Free Clinic, but he was not aware of any dental clinics that offer free treatments.

Is there anything I can do to treat this myself?

Thanks for your help.

Darren in Cleveland, OH

Dear Darren,

You’ll need help to get this infection under control. Especially do NOT take oral antibiotics without first treating the source of the infection within the tooth. If you do, you’ll never address the source of the infection and will make the bacteria that remain resistant to antibiotics. You could find yourself with an infection that NO drugs will effectively deal with, and that can be a very serious situation.

A tooth infection can spread to your brain. That is a sobering statement, but we want you to take this situation seriously. Infections in your teeth can also spread to your throat and cause swelling that could interfere with your airway. You have a couple of options here to address this. You can have the tooth extracted. It sounds as if you are missing a lot of teeth, so you may want to start looking into options to regain some functionality. Dental implants are great for replacing missing teeth, but they are expensive and never covered by dental insurance. Dental bridges might work for you, depending on the position of the missing teeth.

Your community may have a clinic where you can go to get the tooth extracted. If they don’t, check at the Free Clinic to see if any of the doctors know any dentists in your area that will help.

The office of Lafayette Louisiana cosmetic dentist Dr. Malone provides this blog as a courtesy.

Front teeth loose after an assault—will they fall out?

I was recently the victim of an assault, and was punched quite hard right in the mouth. I had to go to the emergency room to get stitches because it tore the corner of my mouth. While I was there they did a CAT scan, and said there are no fractures, but my front teeth are loose. One is more loose than the other.

I don’t have any kind of dental coverage and am worried sick that I might lose my front teeth. From what I have described, does it sound like my dentist will be able to save them? I’ve been online, researching what treatments there are for lost teeth. If they fall out, I don’t think I can afford dental implants or a dental bridge, and it doesn’t seem like a partial denture would look good or be comfortable. I am trying to find out if I can sue the guy that hit me if the cops catch him, but that is kind of a long shot.

Eric in Sault St. Marie

Dear Eric,

We’re sorry that this happened to you. Hopefully the police will find the person who did this, and justice will be served.

In terms of your teeth, if the CAT scan was accurate and there are no fractures in the roots of your teeth, they should be stabilized in the correct position in the day or two following the injury. Your dentist should bond the teeth into place, fixing them in the correct position. The bone will then heal, and your teeth should be fine.

Two or three weeks from now, you should go back to the dentist and have him check for nerve damage on either tooth. If either of the nerves are damaged, you will need root canal treatment. If that is the case, tell your dentist that you do not want a dental crown. Some dentists will place a crown on any tooth that has had a root canal, as a matter of course. In this situation, a crown will actually cause the tooth to be structurally weaker. Also tell them not to leave any root canal cement or adhesive in the crown of the tooth, or the tooth will get quite dark in time.

This blog provided as a courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist.