1 dentist recommends a dental implant and the other a root canal

I saw 2 dentists about a tooth that has been giving me a lot of problems. 1 dentist recommends a dental implant and the other a root canal. Which would be better? Marcel

Marcel – If a natural tooth can be preserved without causing you pain and discomfort, or compromising your oral health, that’s always the better option. Do you have information on the condition of the tooth? Were you told what to expect in two or three years—or even less time—if you choose to have your natural tooth restored?

These are factors that can help you make a decision. It may also be helpful to know that a 2008 study published in the Journal of Endodontics shows that a dental implant is more likely to need maintenance that a root canal treatment.

The three-year study followed 129 dental implants and 149 root canal treatments. While only 1% of the root canal treatments needed further attention, 12% of the dental implants needed intervention.

Of course there are times when dental implants are the best option. In fact, they are the most natural looking, feeling, and functioning form of tooth replacement.

In addition to statistics, you can consider getting opinions from specialists—perhaps an endodontist (specializes in root canal treatments) and a prosthodontist (specializes in tooth restoration and dental implants) or a dental implant surgeon. Taking a little extra time to explore your options will give you confidence in making a decision about your treatment.


This post is sponsored by Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Teeth whitening trays cut my gums

I got a free teeth whitening kit. They trays are supposed to be one size fits all but for some reason they cut my gums either when I put them on or take them off. They haven’t cut my gums every time, but last night the cut was pretty bad and it bled for about 15 minutes. My gums still hurt and now I am afraid to put the trays back on because I think the gel will burn on the cut. Is there a way I can smooth out the edges on the trays so they fit right? Thanks. Aleis

Aleis – We don’t recommend that you try to adjust or smooth the trays. If you trim the trays too much, even after your gums heal, the bleaching gel can burn your gums overall because the gel will spill out over the edges.

We do recommend that you discontinue using the trays and get properly fitting trays from your dentist. The trays from your dentist will not be one-size-fits all trays. They will be based on impressions of your teeth and be customized to ensure that you get maximum results from bleaching gel.

Many patients hesitate to ask for teeth whitening from their dentist because of the cost. But you don’t know until you ask. You may be surprised at how your dentist will work with your budget to make teeth whitening affordable for you. Some dentists even offer free teeth whitening. Find out what options your dentist offers patients to safely brighten your smile.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.


What can I use to fill my own cavities if I can’t afford a dentist?

At my last visit to the dentist I found out that I have 2 cavities that need to be filled. I put off the appointment for the fillings because I don’t have dental insurance anymore. Also since then we’ve had some emergency home repairs and I have to put off the dental appt again. The place I go to is a pretty big practice and they are always trying to upsell me on something so I am not about to ask for any favors on paying for my tooth fillings. What can I use to fill my own cavities? Thanks. Titus

Titus – The techniques, materials, and tools that are needed to successfully remove decay from your tooth, clean the tooth, prepare it for filling, and place the filling are unique to skilled dentists.

Even if you had access to the necessary items to fill a cavity, you would not be able to complete the procedure on yourself. Please don’t attempt it. You can cause damage to your teeth, or inadequately complete the procedure and cause more problems than the cavities present.

Cavities that are left untreated, or that are improperly treated, can result in further decay or infection that becomes more difficult and more costly to treat. If your current dentist is unable to provide you with ways to make the treatment you need affordable, find a dentist who will.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.