I’ve had a dark, discolored tooth for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure what caused it because I don’t ever remembering bumping it as a kid. During high school, I didn’t let it bother me because there was really nothing I could do about it. My family didn’t have much money so fixing it was out of the question. I’ll be graduating college in a few weeks, and as I think about my future and starting a career, the tooth is really starting to bother me. Will it hurt my chances at a great job? Is it the first thing people will notice? When I talked to my dentist about it, he said the only option would be to pull the tooth and replace it with an implant. I’m on a college student’s budget and there’s no way I can afford an implant right now. Surely there are other alternatives he’s not telling me about that would cost less. Any advice? — Lynette
Whether you remember it or not, it sounds like something happened as a child that cut the blood flow off to your tooth and the tissue inside died. In most cases, infection will eventually set in and the root will be resorbed by the body. For now, it sounds like you still have enough root left to hold the tooth in place, but there’s no guarantee how long that might last.
A dental implant is certainly the best option long-term and it will look and feel the most natural, but it’s by far the most expensive. There are other options, and your dentist should have shared those with you. You could be a candidate for a bridge or a partial denture, but the quickest and most affordable way to replace the tooth would be a flipper. It’s typically a couple hundred dollars to pull the tooth and make the appliance, but you should check with your dental insurance because it should pick up a good portion of the cost. After you graduate and get settled in a good job, you can work on saving up for an implant down the road.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.