Two of my husband’s front teeth have broken off. The roots are still in place. I am trying to figure out if there are other options than a dental bridge? Would a root canal and crowns be good? I know dentistry has improved over the years and am wondering if there is a better option that I don’t know about to replacing his missing teeth.
Any help you have would be greatly appreciated.
-Leslie in Texas
Thank you for reaching out about your husband’s broken front teeth. The good news is that it is possible to save a front tooth that is broken off, but it depends on a few things. You mention that the root is still in place. That is good. But, it depends on how much of the tooth is actually broken and if the root is fractured. If the root is still in tact, then it is possible to save the tooth with a root canal treatment by putting a post into the root canal. Then, the porcelain crown would be placed onto the post.
Another thing to consider is your husband’s bite in relation to how much of the tooth is broken off. If a dentist determines that the amount of force placed on the compromised tooth will be too much, it may not be the best treatment plan. Also, it will depend on the dentist’s philosophy for replacing teeth. The majority of dentists will do whatever they can to save a tooth. While others may choose to replace the tooth with other treatments.
There are dentists that would prefer to replace the missing teeth with dental implants, which are a permanent solution to replace missing teeth. Again, it depends on the condition of the tooth and the root, as well as the general philosophy of the dentist.
The logistics involved in fixing a front tooth also require an eye for aesthetics. And depending on the extent of the work required to fix your teeth, you may want to consider consulting with a cosmetic dentist. Since we are talking about front teeth, they will be visible when your husband smiles. So, the way they look, blend in and appear natural-looking and lifelike will be important too. Not every dentist is a skilled cosmetic dentist. So, be sure to research their credentials and ask to see photographs of cases similar to your situation. Both implant dentistry and cosmetic dentistry require extensive training than what is taught in dental school.
It’s also worth understanding that the mechanics of fixing a front tooth are tricky. The rotational force on the tooth and the shape of the front tooth present some challenges. If the dentist moves forward with a root canal treatment, the strength of the tooth may not hold up well and and may loosen. Some dentists will actually end up placing two posts in the root. But, that’s not always a good thing even though it sounds like it provides more strength. This presents another possibility that the root may become damaged or cracked by the force that the rod places on the root.
Your situation is not a straightforward diagnosis and depends on many factors, including budget. Dental implants are likely the most expensive treatment option. However, you’d be happier in the long term than with a dental bridge.
The best course of action would be to get multiple opinions from implant dentists and even a couple cosmetic dentists to see what your options are for treatment. It is difficult to give you anything specific without having seen you in person.
Hopefully, this information is helpful as you consider your next steps.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.