I learned recently that I have a dead tooth that is underneath a broken porcelain crown. When my dentist examined the tooth, he didn’t think that all of the decay could be taken care of from a root canal. So, his recommendation for treatment was to have the tooth pulled and then come back in a few months to get a dental bridge.
I decided to get a second opinion from an endodontist to see if they agree about the root canal. From what I’m learning, if the tooth is pulled, it sounds like a dental implant is the better solution over the long term.
Knowing all this now, I just started dental insurance. I understand that the crowns will not be covered for a year. And I haven’t had a chance to learn if dental implants are covered by my dental insurance.
My questions are more about the timing since I just got dental insurance.
How soon do I need to get the tooth pulled?
If I delay, will I run into other complications?
If I get the tooth pulled, can I wait a year to get follow-treatment?
If it helps, I am in my fifties and have overall healthy teeth. I have just had a lot of issues with this one tooth where the crown came off. That treatment took place 10 years ago. I was supposed to get a root canal done on the tooth then. But, the dentist placed the crown too quickly and didn’t want to do a root canal through the crown. The pain went away, so I didn’t think about it much after that. They never did anymore tests after that to see if it really needed one or not.
-Pam in Texas
Unfortunately, some dentists recommend to pull teeth too soon. Saving your natural tooth should always be priority. Something isn’t sounding accurate regarding the dentist’s reasoning. It is unclear why the decay couldn’t be removed from the tooth. So, it’s a good thing that you are seeking a second opinion. Hopefully, the endodontist will be able to provide more information and some other treatment options.
Regarding your research on dental implants. Yes, dental implants are a permanent solution to replace a missing tooth. They look, feel and function just like your natural tooth. If you end up going that route, you need to make sure you find a reputable implant dentist in your area. Not every general dentist has the skills to be successful with dental implants. Check out the dentist’s credentials, ask to see examples of their work and find out how many successful cases they have done.
As for the question about how long you can wait to get treatment after the tooth is pulled. This is something you don’t want to put off. In fact, it wouldn’t be wise to wait any longer than a couple of weeks to get the space filled. The teeth shift around quickly and will cause all sorts of other problems. However, based on the what you have shared, it doesn’t sound like you need to feel too rushed to get the tooth out. If you aren’t in pain and it’s not bothering you, then it is okay to explore your options. You never want to feel rushed into any type of dental treatment.
If you did move forward with a dental implant, there is a healing period between when the implant is placed and when the permanent crown is placed on the implant. While you wait, there is a temporary piece that will fill the vacant space, so your teeth don’t shift.
As mentioned before, it would be wise to seek a second opinion. There are dentists out there that work hard to explore all possible options to save your natural teeth. That is the kind of dentist you should try to find. There are situations where a tooth cannot be saved. But, some dentists seem to jump to extraction sooner than others.
Here are my thoughts regarding what you shared about the original treatment of the tooth and how the root canal treatment wasn’t done many years ago. If that is indeed what happened, and the tooth really did require further treatment, than that dentist didn’t do the right thing. In dentistry, if there is decay present, it needs to be treated. It won’t get better. The rational of not drilling through a crown isn’t a sufficient reason for not getting it treated during that original treatment time. Root canals after a crown are not uncommon. And if the problem would have been addressed right away, it likely would have avoided these issues you are experiencing now.
But, that doesn’t help you. Hopefully, this gives you some more information and encourages you to get another opinion or two other opinions. Best of luck to you.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.