I only recently got dental insurance. I’ve been going to the dentist anyway, but being cautious about what type of work I had done. Mostly I kept up with my checkups and cleanings. Quite a few years ago, a dentist put a crown on a tooth that needed a root canal treatment and put the crown on before doing the root canal. Because I wasn’t in pain anymore, he opted not to do the root canal through the crown. I’m wondering if that was a bad decision because the tooth under the crown has developed decay. The dentist doesn’t think he can get all the decay so he wants to pull the tooth then replace it with a dental bridge. I’m not crazy about either of those options. I’ve read that a dental implant is a much better option and I don’t really want to crown the other two teeth. I’m guessing my insurance will have a waiting period for either tooth replacement. How long is it safe to get a dental implant placed in the empty space?
I am seeing some real warning bells here about your dentist. At the risk of being too blunt, he is coming across to me as either lazy or incompetent. Neither one is a quality I want in a medical practitioner. Let’s start with this tooth extraction. While there are some teeth that can’t be saved, I’d like to at least see him try. He seems a bit too eager to me to just extract a tooth. I’d like you to get a second opinion with a periodontist before moving forward.
Second, you are correct about the right type of replacement as well. A dental implant is a far better tooth replacement than a dental bridge. Again, he is unnecessarily sacrificing tooth structure. Not okay.
As for the original, root canal, he should have done it even after he placed the crown. Many dentists have done root canal treatments trough dental crowns. Your dentist seems in the habit of taking the easy way out.
How Long Can You Wait Before Getting the Dental Implant?
Let’s say you have the worst-case scenario and your tooth cannot be saved. You don’t want to leave the empty space for more than a few days. The other teeth will start to drift and tip into the empty place. The good news is that won’t prevent you from waiting for your dental implant to be covered. Even a dental implant needs a healing period and time for the bone to integrate with the implant. Because of that, a dentist will put a temporary replacement like a dental flipper in there while the area heals.
Bottom line: Get a second opinion from a periodontist. If the tooth absolutely has to be extracted, you can have a flipper placed until your insurance coverage for a dental implant kicks in. I’d also start looking for a better dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Atlanta Periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey.