I have a cracked tooth on my top arch, one of my premolars. The dentist quoted me and told be it’s tooth #5. Also, I have a really old crown on one of my front teeth. I have had that crown for decades, and that is tooth #7. My regular dentist quoted me ~ $4,700 for tooth #5. The fee includes the tooth extraction, bone grafting and a Lava Crown with one implant abutment. I was told that the quote includes some of the various fees from the implant dentist too.
Then, for tooth #7, I received a quote right around $4,700 again. It includes similar fees for the tooth extraction, bone grafting and also installation of a Maryland Bridge. It is my understanding that the bridge is supposed to stay in place for three months, while the surgical area heals. Then, after they have both healed, the crowns and implants will be placed to complete the procedure for both teeth.
I’m starting to become a bit concerned though. It has been three weeks since the Maryland Bridge was placed. I have had to return three separate times to have it replaced. They act like it’s no big deal when I go in for the replacement. But, I really don’t feel like this is normal, or they would have prepared me for the possibility. Is it possible that my general dentist is in over his head?
Is it possible to find another dentist for a second opinion once I’ve already started the treatment plan? I am wondering if this dentist is capable of placing the dental implant correctly. Or is there benefit to staying with my original dentist since he is more familiar with my situation?
I’m starting to lose confidence since the Maryland bridge keeps breaking. In my opinion, I am paying way too much money for this to keep happening.
Any information or recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated.
-Carol in Missouri
Well, you are smart to start questioning the skill level of your current dentist, if the Maryland bridge keeps failing. It is not normal for the bridge to keep breaking and may mean he doesn’t have the necessary training or experience to be successful in your treatment plan. It would be in your best interest to get a second opinion and consider switching dentists. You don’t want to end up getting stuck with with a dentist that will put your dental implants at risk.
If a Maryland bridge is repeatedly failing, there is likely a problem with the design of the appliance, the technique used to place it or both. The bridge supports a false tooth between two metal wings. The wings are etched on the back, and a bonding composite is used on the backs of the teeth. If the flaw isn’t fixed, then it will continue to fail. It is also possible that the etching on the metal needs to be redone at the lab. It could be an issue with the bonding process too. And if the dentist hasn’t figured out the issue by now, it is time to find a new dentist who is more experienced in replacing missing teeth.
Another telling sign that your dentist may be in over his head is that he didn’t use a reliable temporary implant appliance. It sounds like it is in your best interest to listen to your gut and try to find another reputable implant dentist in your area.
Ethically speaking, your dentist must cooperate if you would like to change even if you are in the middle of treatment. He has an ethical obligation to provide the information on your case and anything required to properly treat you. It sounds like you are at a good stopping place in the dental implant process, before the surgery has taken place.
Your new implant dentist may not want to use a Maryland Bridge, so it is possible you may have some additional cost for the costs associated with a new temporary tooth treatment. Many implant dentists will choose to use a dental flipper as a temporary replacement for your situation instead. So, you’ll just have to see what the new dentist recommends.
Be sure to check out the new dentist’s credentials, training and ask to see examples and photographs of cases similar to your own. Ask about their success rate and if they agree with the treatment plan and what other recommendations they have. The good news is you aren’t obligated to stay where you’re at.
Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully, you are able to make the change before you are at a risk for dental implant failure.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.