Category Archives: Affordable Dentistry

I think my root canal filling is coming out

Man holding the side of his face - portraying need for an affordable dentist

In 2007, I had an injury that impacted my mouth. My dentist did root canals on two teeth. Above five years ago, the crown broke off one tooth and left a hole in the tooth, which the dentist patched with a filling. I haven’t seen a dentist in several years, but now the tooth hurts. When I eat, it is painful, and the pain travels up my cheek into my eye. The tooth doesn’t feel smooth anymore when I run my tongue over it. I think the cement is coming off. I cannot afford a new crown, but it seems that I need to see a dentist. Are antibiotics an option for delaying a new crown? Thank you. Manny T from Dallas

Manny,

Thank you for your question.

 Dr. Lacy would need to examine your tooth and an x-ray for an accurate diagnosis. But your description sounds like the tooth is infected. So, yes, see a dentist right away.

Painful Tooth with a Root Canal Filling

An exposed root canal filling allows saliva to enter and wash out the dental cement, which keeps the filling material in place and seals out bacteria. Your tooth can become reinfected. Pain or swelling in your cheek or upper jaw can spread to your eye.

Although antibiotics can control the infection, they will not remove it. And taking antibiotics for an extended period can result in an antibiotic-resistant infection. Only repeat root canal treatment can remove the infection. The longer you wait, the more the infection will spread.

A dentist will examine your tooth to determine if a temporary filling is enough to preserve it or if getting a crown is the best protection.

What If You Cannot Afford a Dental Crown?

If you cannot afford a dental crown, talk with your dentist about ways to receive the treatment you need. Many dentists offer financing or payment plans. Keep in mind that if your dentist recommends a crown to protect your tooth and prevent further infection, delaying the crown can lead to more costly problems.

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

Why Would Dentists Recommend a Partial Denture When I Want Implants?

After years of neglect, my front teeth are stained and chipped. Two left teeth – incisor and canine are missing. I found a new dentist two months ago who would not listen to me and was disrespectful about the condition of my mouth. I asked about cosmetic treatment, and she recommended a partial denture. I do not want a partial denture, and I asked her to explain my options. The dentist said that a partial denture is the least expensive way to fix my teeth.

Neglecting my oral health over the years had nothing to do with money. I decided to switch dentists. My appointment was two weeks ago, and again, this dentist recommended a partial denture and told me that an implant is another option, but it is out of the ballpark for me. I am insulted. Although I am not wealthy, I work and can budget to pay for dental care. How can I find a dentist willing to save my teeth and respect me and my preferences? – Thank you. Toya from Dallas

Toya,

Many dentists do not want to try to save teeth. It is easier to extract them and offer a partial denture. An implant is a better option than a partial denture. If you want dental implants, find a dentist with advanced implant training or who partners with an oral surgeon for implant surgery.

If you have a mixture of chipped and discolored teeth, a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training can use a combination of treatments to restore them. But a dentist who is not comfortable with cosmetic dentistry might direct you to a quick solution—a partial denture.

Finding a Dentist to Restore Your Teeth

You can find a dentist to save and restore your teeth by researching two or three dentists and scheduling consultations with them. Look for these factors:

  • Advanced cosmetic dentistry training
  • Post-graduate dental implant training or partnership with an oral surgeon or periodontist for implant surgery
  • A website smile gallery or before-and-after photos to show you
Diagram of dental imlant components, including the root form, connector, and crown
Dental implants are much more effective than partial dentures

A skilled cosmetic dentist who regularly restores implants and provides other aesthetic treatments will readily recommend saving your teeth. After two or three consultations, you can choose a dentist that you think you can trust. And if you need extensive dental work and want to pay for your dental care over time, ask the dentist about financing or payment plans.

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

Do cracks in teeth show up on x-rays?

Last month, I was a passenger in a car that was involved in an acceded. The airbag did not go off. My entire face hit the dashboard very hard. My teeth were hurting, but I couldn’t see any damage. My dentist x-rayed my teeth and didn’t see any damage. She referred me to an endodontist who also did an x-ray. The endodontist said I need a root canal for two teeth that are cracked. I am wondering if I need to get a third opinion and another x-ray. Should a crack in a tooth show up in an x-ray? I cannot afford root canal treatment. – Jennifer from TN

Jennifer- A crack in a tooth will show up only if the x-ray is taken at the correct angle—the exact angle of the crack. So, it is difficult to see on an x-ray that a tooth is cracked.

Although a general dentist may not detect a crack, endodontists are more skilled at reading x-rays. Even if the endodontist could not detect a crack on the x-ray, he likely saw evidence in your tooth that it is cracked.

You may seek another opinion, but it is unlikely that another x-ray will reveal the problem with your teeth.

If you cannot afford root canal treatment, ask the endodontist how long you have before you risk losing your tooth. A crack can progress, lead to infection, and result in tooth loss if it is not treated.

You may have time to save money for treatment. Another possibility to ask the endodontist about financing or payment plans. Low- or no-interest financing is available through CareCredit and other companies to help you pay for dental treatment.

Miranda Lacy, DDS, a female Plano, TX dentist, sponsors this post.

I Can’t Afford a Root Canal. How Long Can I Wait?

Two months ago, I had a flare-up in a molar tooth, so I made a same-day appointment with a dentist that my co-worker recommended. The dentist said I need a root canal, but I cannot afford it. How long can I put it off before the tooth surprises me again?

Thank you for your inquiry. Although Dr. Lacy would need to examine your tooth and x-rays, we can explain some basics.

Delaying a Root Canal If You Cannot Afford It

If you cannot afford root canal treatment and decide to delay it, consider a few signs and symptoms that might help you identify the status of your tooth. But the descriptions below are not a substitute for dental care.

Strawberry blonde woman with glasses with her hand over her mouth - perhaps needing root canal from an affordable dentist
Look for an affordable dentist for a root canal and payment plans
  • Painful tooth – A painful tooth is a symptom of an active infection that is spreading. Without root canal treatment, the infection can spread into your jawbone, other teeth, and your bloodstream.
  • Drainage or a gum pimple – Drainage in your mouth or a gum pimple near your tooth root is a sign of tooth abscess. Although it is not an emergency, you need treatment as soon as possible. Again, the infection can spread into your jawbone and chin and cause more problems.
  • Painless tooth – If your tooth does not hurt at all, the pulp (tissue and nerves inside) died. But the infection can still eat away at your tooth roots and make it impossible for a dentist to save your tooth. If active tooth decay caused your condition, it would grow until it destroys your tooth.

 Options When You Cannot Afford Root Canal Treatment

If you cannot afford root canal treatment but you want to save your tooth, here are some options:

  • Ask about payment plans – Many dentists offer payment plans for treatment. For example, you can pay for treatment over several months.
  • Ask about financing – CareCredit® is a health care credit card that offers low- or no-interest financing for qualifying applicants.
  • –– If you do not have dental insurance, some dental offices offer a dental savings plan to help you save money on care.

What About Tooth Extraction?

If you cannot afford root canal treatment, tooth extraction should be the last resort. When you extract a tooth:

  • Other teeth will begin to drift and disrupt your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth fit together)
  • As your teeth move, they can create orthodontic issues
  • Tooth replacement options are more expensive than root canal treatment

Look for an Affordable Dentist

Look for experienced dentists in your area who offer payment plans, financing, or a dental savings plan. You will be able to get root canal treatment and afford it by paying for care over time.

Miranda Lacy, DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this post.

My Teeth Are Too Sensitive to Clean

No matter how much I have my teeth cleaned, I still have deep pockets between my teeth and gums. My teeth are sensitive and painful. Two weeks ago, I went in for a cleaning and had to leave because it hurt so bad. My dental insurance lapsed, and I can only pay so much for dental care. This dentist works with my budget, but I am concerned that I am going to lose all my teeth before I can pay for another deep cleaning. Maybe it was a mistake to let the office do the first deep cleaning. What can I do? Thank you. Dominici from TN

 Dominici,

You have advanced gum disease, and you need to take care of it. If the dentist you have seen works with your budget and gives good dental care, talk to him or her about it. You may need to ask for a periodontist (gum specialist) to avoid losing your teeth.

Painful deep teeth cleaning

Photo of a woman in a dental chair with a dentist and hygienst on either side of her; for information on affordable dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Find an affordable dentist you can trust

Often before deep cleaning, a hygienist will apply local anesthetic to minimize your discomfort. Infected and inflamed gums must be cleaned deeply—to where your teeth and gums are attached. But the pain you described sounds more severe.

Sometimes deep cleaning can provoke an active infection, which increase inflammation and pain. Your dentist can prescribe antibiotics for you to take until you complete deep cleaning appointments. And you can phase the deep cleaning. Schedule two appointments and wait a week or two before completing treatment—but take the antibiotics until treatment is complete.

Time to switch dentists

We recommend that you find another dentist who will work with your budget by offering payment plans or financing. Your dentist has not readily referred you to a periodontist to control your gum disease. Treatment from a periodontist will be effective and more comfortable.

Aggressive gum disease leads to tooth loss

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, aggressive gum disease (periodontitis) causes your gums to detach from your teeth and leads to jawbone loss. You must resolve the issue promptly to avoid losing your teeth.

Miranda Lacy, DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this post.

Is tooth extraction my only choice?

Two of my left molar teeth are infected. Both teeth have old fillings in them. After over a month of pain that I managed with Advil, I went to the dentist. The dentist took an x-ray and said both teeth have an abscess, and he wants to extract them both. I asked him about my options, and he said there aren’t any. Is this a standard solution for molar teeth with abscesses? – Thank you. Noah from Austin

Noah,

A dentist is ethically and legally obligated to explain your options. Unless your dental insurance is government funded, your dentist must explain your options. Government programs will pay for the cheapest option, which is extraction.

Treatment Alternatives to Tooth Extraction

Side-by-side diagram of an infected tooth being cleaned out with root canal treatment (left) and a healthy tooth to the right.
An endodontist can resolve previous root canal issues

If your teeth are infected, root canal treatment is the best treatment option. An abscess at a tooth root is a sign that the tooth pulp—living tissue—is dead. Tooth nerves are in the pulp, so your root canal treatment will be painless and more comfortable than tooth extraction. When third molars, or wisdom teeth, are infected, tooth extraction is best because wisdom tooth anatomy is complex.

Faulty Fillings and Tooth Pain

Faulty fillings can cause tooth pain and lead to infection. If your dentist did shoddy work on your fillings and knows it, he may want to extract your teeth without explaining your option.

What Happens After Tooth Extraction?

If a dentist extracts a second or first molar, the upper tooth will probably drift into the space and hit the lower gum. You can lose the upper tooth also. If there are no teeth behind your second molar, you probably won’t have complications.

Keep in mind that Dr. Lacy has not examined your teeth, and we cannot provide an accurate diagnosis. We recommend that you get a second opinion from an experienced dentist who will explain your treatment options. It would be unusual, but if you require extractions and dental implants, you can speak with the dentist about financing or payment plans if needed.

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

My New Porcelain Veneers Inflamed My Gums

I received porcelain veneers in September, and my gums are still tender and slightly inflamed. I’ve seen my dentist about this issue three times, and his consistent answer is that I don’t floss between my teeth. But I floss between my teeth twice daily. I am partially blaming myself for this problem because I chose the dentist with the lowest cost for porcelain veneers after consultations with five dentists. My teeth were so damaged that I thought veneers were the right solution. Last week, my dentist told me that one of my incisors is infected and might need a root canal. I feel like he is taking advantage of me. Why discuss a root canal when the problems with my gums are not resolved? I want to cry, but I need to keep calm and think about what I should do next. What is your opinion? Thank you – Anika from Dallas

Anika,

Thank you for your inquiry. We are sorry that your porcelain veneers are a new source of anxiety. Gum inflammation after you receive porcelain veneers is a clear sign that your dentist did something wrong. Gum tissue after veneers should be as healthy—or healthier—than before treatment. Although choosing a dentist with the lowest fees often comes with low-quality results, your dentist is responsible for your care.

What Causes Gum Inflammation After Porcelain Veneers?

Photo of a single porcelain veneers, from affordable Plano TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Healthy veneers do not cause gum inflammation

After getting porcelain veneers, a common cause of gum inflammation is excess bonding cement that your dentist did not remove. The cement irritates your gum tissue and causes inflammation and infection. And the infection can spread and affect your teeth, which is likely why you need root canal treatment.

How to Get a Refund from Your Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, so it will be challenging to get a refund from your dentist based on your veneers and gums’ appearance.

Schedule an appointment with an advanced cosmetic dentist for an exam and second opinion. After the dentist gives you a diagnosis and explains your treatment options for veneers, talk to your current dentist about your complaints:

  • After receiving porcelain veneers, your gum inflammation is persistent.
  • Your dentist has not treated the issue.
  • Mention excess cement left behind—or whatever cause your second-opinion dentist finds.
  • Explain that the issues with your gums are causing discomfort and anxiety.
  • Request a refund and mention that you will consider filing a complaint with the state dental board.

If your current dentist does not promptly offer a refund, ask your new cosmetic dentist if they are willing to help you negotiate. Consider hiring an attorney if your dentist continues to be uncooperative.

Please try not to be overly concerned about the cost of regaining your oral health. Talk with your dentist about financing, payment plans, and how to make dental treatment affordable for you.

Miranda Lacy, DDS, of Plano, TX, sponsors this post.

If I don’t like my porcelain veneers, can they be reversed?

I think that I want porcelain veneers. I found a dentist who is offering them about 25% cheaper than two other dentists that I met for consultations. My husband is warning me not to go cheap on something as important as my smile. I do love a bargain, and if this dentist can get it right, I am all for it. But what if I change my mind. Can porcelain veneers be reversed if I decide I don’t want them? Thank you. Claire from Houston

Claire –

Our first concern is shopping around for the lowest cost for dental care. Quality care and a beautiful smile are not cheap. It’s okay to look for a dentist with reasonable fees, but that should not be your basis for choosing a provider.

Results of Cheap Porcelain Veneers

If a dentist takes shortcuts just to give you a lower price, problems with your porcelain veneers can result, including:

  • Low-quality veneers that don’t look natural or don’t last
  • Poor bonding techniques that cause veneers to fall off
  • Leakage behind your veneers that promotes decay

Are Porcelain Veneers Reversible?

Photo of a single porcelain veneers, from affordable Plano TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Don’t choose the cheapest dentist for porcelain veneers

Generally, after you receive porcelain veneers, they cannot be reversed. But some dentists might place veneers without preparing your teeth at all—or with very minimal preparation. In those cases, a skilled cosmetic dentist might be able to smooth and polish your enamel or use dental composite to restore the shape and gloss of your teeth.

But if a dentist aggressively prepares your teeth, if you decide you don’t want porcelain veneers, your teeth will have an unnatural shape and appearance. And you won’t like your smile.

Porcelain veneers are not meant to be removed. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before you ask a dentist for veneers.

Select a Skilled Cosmetic Dentist

Select a cosmetic dentist with advanced training in dental aesthetics. The dentist will be concerned about the function and appearance of your smile. Even at a 25% discount, you can expect to pay almost $1000 per veneer. That’s an investment. Why not choose a dentist who will enhance your smile?

True cosmetic dentists involve you in the process of designing your smile. You should expect the following from the dentist:

  • Show you a wax model of your new smile
  • Allow you to wear temporary veneers for about two weeks to see if you like how they look and feel
  • Use a try-in paste to secure your porcelain veneers to your teeth and ensure you love them before bonding them on

The process takes time, and you should not rush it. It helps a cosmetic dentist ensure you love your new smile and don’t want to reverse it.

 If you need to make the cost of porcelain veneers more affordable, speak with a cosmetic dentist about financing or payment plans. But don’t choose a dentist just because his or her fees are the lowest.

Plano, TX, female dentist, Miranda Lacy, DDS, sponsors this post.

Her Dentist Used the Wrong Color Bonding – Can It Be Fixed?

I visited three dentists for consultations and quotes for composite filling on 15 teeth. I chose the most affordable dentist because the bonding cost more than I expected. The dentist did the bonding for sensitivity near the gumline, not for cosmetic reasons.

Immediately after the dentist finished the work, I could see that she chose the wrong color bonding. And the fillings look pasty and rough. I no longer get compliments on my white teeth.

Do I have the get the boning on all 15 teeth removed and reapplied? Or can new boning be added over the old? What are the risks? I should add that several of the teeth already had bonding on them that started to chip. So, for those teeth, this would be the third round of bonding. – Thanks. Kasey from Albany, GA

Kasey – We’re sorry that you’ve had a bad experience with bonding. The lack of technique isn’t necessarily because you chose a dentist with affordable fees. A good family dentist should be able to get the color, textures, and polish right for fillings at the gumline.

Do your composite fillings need to be replaced?

Your composite fillings might need to be replaced depending on the shade and the extent of correction required.

A few facts:

  • A dentist might need to replace your fillings if the color is significantly off.
  • A dentist can remove some of the surfaces and resurface them with another color.
  • It’s not difficult to tell where the composite ends and the tooth structure begins, so replacing the fillings is easy.
  • Dental burs will selectively remove composite without harming your tooth structure.

Sensitive areas at the gumlines of teeth

Front tooth showing a wide notch at the gumline
Tooth abfraction lesion

Sensitive areas at the gumlines of teeth are called abfraction lesions. In the photograph, tooth enamel near the gumline is worn and leaves a notch that is often sensitive to air or touch. Research reveals that the primary cause of abfraction lesions is clenching your teeth. Clenching causes the tooth to flex and weaken at the gumline. Eventually, the tooth in that area wears away.

An experienced dentist will determine the cause of sensitivity at your gumline and select durable and flexible materials for clenching. Stiff composite materials will pop out under the force of clenching. But flexible materials like Silux Puls and Renamel look natural and are strong enough to stay intact.

If your dentist cannot correct your composite fillings, you can find a dentist who is skilled in bonding techniques and has affordable fees.

Plano, TX, female dentist, Miranda Lacy, DDS, sponsors this post.

How to get a refund after paying the dentist upfront

Two years ago, I found an affordable cosmetic dentist to do some extensive work for me. The treatment was going to take about 18 months. About seven months in, I realized that the dentist didn’t know how to make crowns or balance my bite, so I stopped treatment and asked for a refund. I paid for the service through Care Credit®. The dentist hasn’t refunded me yet. Does the dentist have the money, or does Care Credit, and what should I do to get a refund? Zaida from TX

Zaida,

After you sign the contract, Care Credit deducts fees from the total and pays the remainder to the dentist upfront. If the dentist didn’t complete your work, he must refund the balance from his funds.

How to Get a Refund from Your Dentist

You have several options to get a refund from your dentist, depending on the conversations you’ve already had with the dental office. You can also consider what you know about your dentist and his ethics.

  • Threaten to leave negative online reviews – If your dentist has mainly positive online reviews, he might be concerned about negative ones.
  • Complain to the state dental board – Contact the dentist’s office and let them know you will file a complaint. They might be willing to pay you promptly.
  • Contact a consumer rights attorney – A single phone call from a consumer rights attorney might be all that’s needed to get your dentist to see that you’re serious about a refund.

While you’re settling the issue with your dentist, find two advanced cosmetic dentists and schedule consultations with them. Let them examine your dental records and x-rays and examine your teeth. Don’t mention the difficulty you’re having with your current dentist.

During the consultation, you can get treatment options from each dentist and find out how much time and expense are needed to restore your smile completely. Payment plans are still an affordable way to get the dental care you need, and Care Credit is a reliable source.

Before-and-after photos of porcelain crowns, which are available from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
An affordable crown should still look and feel natural

Miranda Lacy, DDS, an affordable female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this post.