I had a filling on a tooth that kept hurting me. I took ibuprofen every day straight for over a month and finally just decided something else has to be wrong and went back in to see the dentist. He took an x-ray and said that the tooth is infected. He wants to do an extraction next week. I have a couple of questions. Can you tell me if that is my only option? What consequences are there for that or any other option I may have?
You definitely have other options. However, if you are on any kind of government insurance, they will only cover the cheapest option, whether or not it is the best one for you.
Generally, when a tooth is infected the dentist will want to do everything they can to save the tooth. That can be done with a root canal treatment. That would be the best option for you. If the tooth is beyond saving, then an extraction would be necessary, but that also means replacing the tooth.
If you don’t replace the tooth, the adjacent teeth will shift or tip into the open area. This will throw off your bite. That can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and even TMJ Disorder, so you really will need to replace it.
You have several options for tooth replacements these days, but the hands-down best option is a dental implant. This is the closest to having a healthy, natural tooth because it implants a prosthetic tooth root in your jaw. This makes it a permanent and stable replacement. They are pricey, though.
If a dental implant is out of your reach, here are some other options in descending order of good to “if you must”.
- Dental Bridge: This suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns, which means the adjacent teeth will have to be ground down whether they need it or not.
- Removable Partial denture: There are several ways these can be made, but the biggest downside is the removable bit as well as loss of jawbone structure.
- Dental Flipper: Like a denture, this is removable. In the case of a flipper, it is designed to be temporary, while you work on financing for the better options.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace Dentistry.