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Need a Tooth Extracted But Can’t Afford a Dentist? 3 Facts to Consider

Last September, one of my bottom right molars cracked. A corner of the tooth came off, but I didn’t go to the dentist because I don’t have dental insurance and can’t afford to pay for services upfront. Now the tooth is crumbling piece by piece. The backside of the tooth is intact, and the tooth is hyper-sensitive. Will my tooth fall out without me going to a dentist? – Thanks, Jen

Jen,

If your tooth is sensitive and decayed, it will eventually fall out. Although Dr. Lacy would need to examine your tooth for an exact diagnosis, the sensitivity in your tooth means that it’s irritated. And the pulp (living tissue) in the tooth can become infected. It’s best to have a dentist extract the tooth to prevent the infection from spreading into your jawbone or elsewhere in your body.

Three Factors to Consider If You Think You Need an Extraction

We’ll share a few scenarios with you to help you decide if you want to wait until the tooth falls out or find a dentist willing to work with your budget.

  1. Sensitivity in your tooth – You didn’t mention when or to what your tooth is sensitive. When tooth pulp is infected and dead, your tooth is sensitive when you bite. If it’s sensitive to cold or air, the pulp is still alive.
  2. Swelling – You didn’t mention swelling, but if your jaw area isn’t swollen, you can wait and hope the tooth decays away. Swelling indicates and infection that a dentist needs to treat right away.
  3. Tooth location – It’s easier for a dentist to access lower tooth nerves and treat the tooth without injected anesthetic into the tooth pulp. Upper teeth have more risk. You said the tooth is a molar, but you didn’t mention wisdom tooth. If it’s not a wisdom tooth, when the tooth is missing, the surrounding tooth will drift into the space and affect your bite. You can develop TMJ disorder, including jaw, neck, and ear pain, headaches.
Photo of woman holding the right side of her face, who might need Plano affordable dentistry from female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Although you don’t have insurance, you can find an affordable dentist

Although it can be challenging to receive quality dental care without insurance, we suggest that you look for a dental clinic or dentists who will let you pay for care over time. At least have a dentist examine your tooth and explain your options. The dentist might be able to save the tooth and protect it with a crown. At least you’ll know what to expect and how the tooth will affect your oral health in the future, even if you decline treatment.

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

Dentist Wants to Replace Bonding with Crowns? 3 Reasons to Run

About 7 years ago my dentist put bonding on my six center upper teeth to cover stains. The bonding chipped on several teeth. I live in TX now and my new dentist said that my teeth are stained on the inside. She recommended internal teeth bleaching or porcelain crowns. I was expecting more dental bonding but not crowns on six teeth. My anxiety is going off the charts with the thought of needing crowns. I need nitrous oxide to get dental bonding. Is there any way I can avoid crowns even if I have to switch dentists?   Thanks – Leanne

Leanne,

We’re glad that you mentioned switching dentists. It’s our suggestion that you find an experienced cosmetic dentist and ask for a second opinion.

Your description is stains on your teeth that were concealed with dental bonding. If you don’t have root canal treatments on your teeth, we are unsure of why our dentist would recommend internal bleaching or crowns.

Each tooth needs to be ground down for a crown to fit over it. A trained cosmetic dentist treats teeth conservatively with a focus on saving healthy tooth structure. It sounds as if your dentist doesn’t know much about cosmetic dentistry.

Three Alternatives to Dental Crowns

A skilled cosmetic dentist will examine your teeth, take some digital x-rays to ensure they are internally healthy, and recommend treatment. You can make a quick getaway from your current dentist because there are alternatives to grinding down your teeth to place crowns. Treatment recommendations might include one or more of the following:

  • Teeth bleaching – Before any cosmetic work is completed on your teeth, if you want to brighten your smile, bleaching will be completed first. The dentist will match the cosmetic bonding or other treatment to match your whitened natural teeth.
  • Dental bonding – A cosmetic dentist can skillfully remove the old dental bonding and replace it.
  • Porcelain veneers – If there is damage to teeth that bonding won’t conceal, your cosmetic dentist might recommend porcelain veneers for one or more teeth.
Photo of female patient sitting and relaxing in a dental chair, for information on sedation dentistry from Plano female dentist, Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask your new cosmetic dentist about sedation options

Schedule consultations with at least two cosmetic dentists in your area. Don’t mention your current dentist’s recommendation. Just let the dentists examine your teeth and offer treatment recommendations. During your consultation, you can ask the dentist about his or her options for sedation and helping you relax throughout treatment.

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

3 Things to Remember When Choosing a Sedation Dentist

You can schedule the appointment, but you also keep rescheduling it. You drive to the dentist’s office, but you can’t get out of the car. If anyone in the dental office comes near your mouth, you grab their hand. All of these factors likely indicate that you have dental anxiety or dental phobia. A sedation dentist can help.

If you really want to take care of your oral health, but dental appointments make you nervous, a sedation dentist can help. Don’t have one? Before you select a sedation dentist based on an online search or how close the dental office is to your home or office, there are three things to remember.

1. You need to like and trust the dentist

If you don’t like or trust a dentist in general, you probably won’t trust him or her to provide you with sedation before a dental appointment. Choose two or three experienced sedation dentists, schedule time to check out the office and meet the dentist and staff members. Pay attention to how they treat you and treat each other. If you’re comfortable, schedule an appointment for an exam.

2. What levels of sedation are offered?

There are three levels of sedation—nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral
conscious sedation, and IV sedation. An option is chosen based on your anxiety level, the length or complexity of the dental procedure, and what levels of sedation the dentist offers. Find out which levels a dentist offers. Ask for details about how the dentist administers sedation and what you can expect. Also, ask about his or her training in sedation dentistry.

3. It gets better

Head-towaist photo of a brunette woman outdoors and stretching backward with her eyes closed; for information on relaxing with sedation dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Many patients who receive sedation dentistry find that over time, they are less nervous for future appointments. Some patients require sedation less frequently or are able to switch to a lower level of sedation.

Cooperate with your sedation dentist by sharing the history of your dental anxiety. Ask questions to learn about your options. Remember that it is possible to relax, keep your dental appointments, and maintain good oral health.

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