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Old 09-03-2011, 08:35 AM   #1
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Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

I recently had a lost filling replaced, and the cavity was so deep that the filling I needed was pretty big. The dentist said that because of the size, I have to get a crown put in, and I might need a root canal as well. But unfortunately, money is tight, and I've heard that crowns usually cost around $500, and root canals can cost upwards of $1000.

So I was wondering, is all this necessary? Is there anything else I can do? If nothing else, can I merely have the tooth pulled and forgo all of this expensive dental work? It'll mean I'll have wasted $200 or so, but it's better than spending $1,500 or more on a single tooth.

By the way, what the hell did people do in the old days? Was there an epidemic of tooth related deaths before the rise of dentistry? I've never seen my grandfather brush his teeth, and despite his sub-British dental hygiene, I don't recall him ever needing any dental work.

Last edited by PleaseKillMe; 09-03-2011 at 09:27 AM.

 
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

Yes, you could get the tooth pulled instead. Then you'll have a space in your mouth, which could put the neighboring teeth at risk. A bridge covers up the space and supports those neighboring teeth.

Have a frank discussion with the dentist about cost. If you live near a dental school, they can sometimes do the work for much lower cost than a private dentist.

In the old days? Yes, people occasionally died of tooth infections. Or, more often, they developed toothaches and then had the bad tooth pulled with only some alcohol kill the pain. Some people like your grandfather were lucky, others (like George Washington) had no teeth at all by middle age.

On the other hand, tooth decay WAS less common, because people didn't eat so much SUGAR. Sweets were very rare and expensive.

 
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:40 PM   #3
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

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Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
Yes, you could get the tooth pulled instead. Then you'll have a space in your mouth, which could put the neighboring teeth at risk. A bridge covers up the space and supports those neighboring teeth.
Define "risk". Are we talking near inevitable serious complications, possible minor complications, or something in between?

Over a year ago, I had an infected tooth pulled, and the dentist never said anything about this putting the neighboring teeth at risk. He did mention a bridge, but from the way he put it, I assumed this was more for cosmetic reasons. So far, I haven't had any problems.

Quote:
If you live near a dental school, they can sometimes do the work for much lower cost than a private dentist.
I don't know if I want to go that route... for reasons that are too tedious and personal to explain.

Quote:
On the other hand, tooth decay WAS less common, because people didn't eat so much SUGAR. Sweets were very rare and expensive.
That reminds me. I stopped drinking soda because I don't want any more cavities, and that seemed like an easy, half-assed lifestyle change that even someone as lazy and apathetic as me could make. Instead, I've been drinking homemade iced tea which still has sugar in it. How significant a difference would it make if I exclusively drank water?

Assuming I were to cut out all sugary drinks, brush 3 times a day (as opposed to 1), floss, use mouthwash, and find out what a dental pick is, do you think I could prevent any future dental complications despite my exposed cavities? That is, of course, after having this tooth pulled (which I'm going to have to do since the alternative is too expensive).

I'm too poor to have dental problems.

Last edited by PleaseKillMe; 09-03-2011 at 01:26 PM.

 
Old 09-03-2011, 09:50 PM   #4
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

I don't know how large the risk to neighboring teeth is, just that it exists.

Sugary beverages are sugary beverages. Stay away from them, and definitely don't drink them between meals. If you eat something sugary or starchy, brush, and if you can't brush, at least rinse your mouth with water.

Trouble is, if you've got an exposed cavity, that's enamel that's completely gone. No matter how clean your teeth, it can still get infected.

 
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:56 PM   #5
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

From what I understand, the other teeth around a missing space are at "risk" because, since they don't have that tooth that should be there, they could shift and move out of place, affecting your bite as well as other things.

 
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:56 AM   #6
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

If the tooth is not visible then extraction would seem sensible. The problem is more with the tooth in the opposite jaw when it will over-erupt. Your problem could be solved with a bridge but this will cost much more than the proposed crown and an implant yet more.
Go back 150 years and people did die from untreated dental infections unless they died sooner from infections such as tuberculosis. Go back 70 years and for most people extractions and dentures were standard for the working classes. Treatment such as crowns and bridges would be for the rich only, and implants did not start until the 1960's.

 
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:11 PM   #7
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

How long do you think I can hold off before my next trip to the dentist? At the moment, getting the work done is an impossibility, but sometime soon (I'm not sure exactly when), I might be able to get the money to pay for insurance. Should I hold off until then, or should I have the tooth pulled as soon as possible? What would be the consequences be if I were to wait too long?

Last edited by PleaseKillMe; 09-11-2011 at 11:11 PM.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 01:07 AM   #8
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

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How long do you think I can hold off before my next trip to the dentist? What would be the consequences be if I were to wait too long?
Impossible to say how long you can wait, but tooth could develop an abscess if you do. This would involve a root canal treatment which would increase costs or make extraction inevitable.

 
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:38 PM   #9
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

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Impossible to say how long you can wait, but tooth could develop an abscess if you do. This would involve a root canal treatment which would increase costs or make extraction inevitable.
Assuming I wait, and risk an abscess developing, are there any other complications that could arise? Because it seems to me that if the worst case scenario is that I'll need to have the tooth extracted, I may as well wait because I would have to have it extracted anyway since I can't currently afford the alternatives.

Last edited by PleaseKillMe; 09-13-2011 at 03:39 PM.

 
Old 09-13-2011, 06:25 PM   #10
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

If you develop an abscess, that will be a dental emergency needing prompt treatment. There will be a LOT of pain, and once the abscess develops, it can possibly spread into the jawbone or weaken other teeth.

If you can't afford to do anything now, so be it. But if you develop severe pain, get it fixed within a couple days.

 
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:54 AM   #11
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

Thanks. In that case, I suppose I should have the tooth pulled.

It's not a big deal. I'm not too concerned about my looks. And if the missing tooth eventually starts to bother me, I suppose I could always save up for a dental implant.

Last edited by PleaseKillMe; 09-16-2011 at 01:48 AM.

 
Old 09-19-2011, 08:12 AM   #12
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

Since I'm going to get it pulled anyway, do you guys think I should wait and see how long the filling will hold without any complications? Or do you think I should get it done as soon as possible?

 
Old 09-19-2011, 10:36 AM   #13
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Re: Do I need to get a crown and root canal?

Honestly, you don't have an abscess right now, so you might as well wait. Who knows, the filling might hold out until you have enough money to get the crown!

 
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