I think I understand why my new dentist’s fees are lower than most in the area. I’m 52 years old. After my second cleaning and exam appointment, my dentist told me that there is a large cavity in my lower left wisdom tooth. The tooth isn’t impacted, sensitive, or painful. My dentist says that the cavity is so large that she needs to extract it. She didn’t give me an alternative. Can I trust her diagnosis? Dana from Tulsa, OK
If your dentist didn’t show you a picture of the large cavity in your wisdom tooth, you should ask to see it.
Large Cavity in a Wisdom Tooth – Restore or Extract?
Consider a few facts about large cavities and wisdom teeth.
- Although it’s usually best to save a natural tooth, wisdom teeth are often the exception.
- Sometimes it can be difficult for a dentist to access a wisdom tooth because it’s far back in the mouth.
- If your dentist doesn’t have full access to a tooth, he or she won’t be able to the tooth well. If the tooth is impacted, complications increase.
- It’s often difficult for dentists to access wisdom teeth because they are far back in the mouth.
- If you wait until you feel pain, the tooth can crumble as your dentist removes it—making it more challenging to extract.
A dentist can use a large filling or a crown to restore a tooth. If the decay is extensive, your dentist might recommend root canal treatment. It isn’t easy to restore a wisdom tooth with a crown. The crown might need to be replaced more frequently than a crown on a tooth that your dentist can easily access.
Trusting Your Dentist
If you don’t trust your dentist, you’ll be unlikely to be satisfied with any of her treatment recommendations. Affordable dentistry doesn’t mean that a dentist has questionable practices. Speak with your dentist to understand why the is recommending extraction and ask to see your x-rays. If you need further reassurance, you can get a second opinion.
Miranda Lacy, DDS, of Plano, TX sponsors this post.