I Can’t Afford a Replacement Tooth After Extraction

My right bottom first molar is severely infected and decayed. I need a root canal or extraction, but my second molar on that same side is missing. If I get an extraction, will a snap-on smile be less expensive than a dental crown while hiding the missing tooth? – Thanks. Gracie


We understand your concerns about the cost of tooth replacement. Hopefully, the following information will help you understand what’s best fo your oral health.

Snap-On Smile After Tooth Extraction?

A Snap-on Smile is the worst option for concealing a missing tooth after extraction. Its purpose is to make your smile look better for a special occasion, but it does not look good. And it is not strong enough to function as a tooth replacement for a molar. If you wear a Snap-On Smile daily, it will wear out quickly.

Effects of Extracting a First Molar When the Second Is Missing

You mentioned that you already lost your second molar. If your dentist extracts the first molar, you will have no molars on the right side.

  • Chewing – How will you chew without molar teeth unless you stick to a soft diet?
  • Unstable oral appliance – Without a tooth behind your first molar, even a partial denture will not be stable because it needs to clasp adjacent teeth for stability. It’s like a table with legs only in the middle and one end. The table’s weight will make it fall toward the end, which has no support. An oral appliance will add twisting force to the supporting teeth and weaken them.
  • Tooth loss – Early tooth loss will cause your teeth to shift. And although orthodontic treatment could realign your teeth, you would also need dental implants with many missing teeth.

Root Canal Treatment to Save a First Molar

Root canal treatment saves your natural tooth, avoids an uncomfortable oral appliance that will not have enough support, and saves the expense of extraction and a dental implant.

Ultimately, a dentist will examine and x-ray your teeth before explaining your treatment options. If saving your natural teeth is an option, we recommend doing so. Ask the dental office about making dental treatment affordable with options that may include payment plans or completing dental work in phases if possible.

Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.