Tag Archives: dental bridge

Dentist Insisting I Get a Dental Implant

I recently lost a tooth. That is stressful enough but my dentist is insisting I get a dental implant. It isn’t that I don’t want one. I just honestly can’t afford one. They are way out of my budget. He’s insisting it is the only good option. Is that true? If so, do I just have to leave a gaping hole in my smile?


Dear Kelly,

It really galls me when dentists give ultimatums like this or make patients feel like they don’t care about their teeth just because they do not go into debt for a treatment.

I’m going to tell you right away that you will probably be better served by going with a different dentist. You want one who follows his ethical obligation to give you all the options available to you. Not everyone can do the ideal treatment.

While it is true that a dental implant is currently the best tooth replacement option, there are other choices.

The next best option would be a dental bridge. This suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns. That means the adjacent teeth will have to be crowned, but it is a permanently attached solution.

The next option is a removable partial denture. This will have a false tooth and use clips to attach it to your adjacent teeth. As the name suggests they are removable, so they won’t be as steady as a dental bridge, but will suffice.

The cheapest option is a dental flipper, but this is only meant as a temporary option while you save up for a better replacement.

I am going to suggest you do an internet search for an affordable dentist and go to them to get your replacement. Most dentists who promote themselves as affordable try to keep their fees reasonable and also offer some type of payment plan.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Can You Have a Root Canal Done a Third Time?

I had a root canal treatment done about nine years ago. It had to be re-done a few years after that. Now it is bothering me again. Is it possible to do a root canal treatment a third time?


Dear Mary,

You can re-do a root canal treatment quite a few times. However, you may want to evaluate whether or not that is your best course of action. Root canal treatments are tricky under the best of circumstances. It is estimated that even when a dentist does everything perfectly, there can still be a 15% failure rate. Why is that?

While there is between one and four canals in a tooth, depending on the type of tooth, there are branches that stem off from the main canal. These can take crazy twists and turns. In some cases, they are literally impossible for us to clean out and seal properly with the current technology we have. If a dentist can’t reach all the pulp, there is a significant chance of re-infection.

In addition to that, the chances of a successful re-treatment go down with each attempt. This will be your third treatment. A second option is root canal surgery. However, some patients are not candidates depending on where the nerves lie.

While a good dentist always tries to save a tooth, the honest answer is some teeth are not saveable despite everyone’s best efforts. In that case, the only thing left is to get a tooth extraction and then a replacement.

If that happens, the two best replacements to look at are a dental implant or a dental bridge. Both will serve you well. Just speak with your dentist about your particular circumstances and he or she will help you make the right decision.

Best of Luck!

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Can’t Afford Next Treatment

I had a Maryland Bridge, but ended up being allergic to part of it. I can’t use that anymore and my dentist is inisisting my only option now is a dental implant. I priced that originally and couldn’t afford it. Surely there is another option, but my dentist is insisting this is it.


Dear Carol,

A dollar sign hatching out of an egg

I’m sorry that you have had such a hard time with this tooth replacement. It is unfair of your dentist to insist on the most expensive treatment. While everyone wants the best option, sometimes our budget precludes that. What disappoints me is your dentist is ethically bound to at least make you aware of all your options, even if he won’t do them.

You will have more success with a dentist that understands budgetary limitations. If your dentist doesn’t look for someone who advertises as an affordable dentist. They’ll be more willing to offer you the options that work for your pocketbook. Most are even willing to accept payment plans.

Affordable Options to a Dental Implant

The first thing I would suggest to you is a zirconia or porcelain bridge. This is a false tooth suspended between two dental crowns. These are metal-free and won’t give you the same allergy issues that you faced with your last treatment.

If that doesn’t work for you financially, there are allso removable partial dentures. You’ll just need to make certain your dentist knows you will want metal free clasps.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Antibiotics for a Tooth Infection

I’ve had a tooth infection and went to see a dentist. He prescribed me antibiotics that I’ve been taking antibiotics for 11 days. I was fine for a while, but now it seems to have started acting up again. Do I just need to refill the prescription or do I need another visit to the dentist?


Dear Kevin,

A man holding his jaw in pain.

I’m hoping there was some miscommunication between you and your dentist. While the antibiotic is useful until the infection can be dealt with by a dentist, it does not eliminate the infection, as you have discovered. Once the antibiotic is completed, it doesn’t take long for the infection to rear its ugly head.

With a tooth infection, a dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp. This is typically done with either a root canal treatment or by extracting the whole tooth.

It is always better to save any tooth you can, so a root canal treatment would be the better choice if it is still possible.

If the Tooth Cannot be Saved

In the case that it has been too long and the tooth cannot be saved, it is important that you replace the tooth as quickly as possible. The longer that spot is left open, the more you will be dealing with the adjacent teeth shifting or tipping into that spot. This will throw off your bite leading to jaw pain, headaches, and even TMJ problems.

Ideally, you’ll want to have a dental implant for your replacement. It is the closest thing to having a natural tooth again. This will help you preserve the underlying bone. If that is not possible, there are other options such as a dental bridge or a removable partial denture.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dentist Suggesting Implants for Child?

My son had several failed root canal treatments on a tooth damaged in an accident. He’s going to lose the tooth and I was looking into replacement options. My dentist suggested dental implants were the best tooth replacement. My son’s only ten-years-old so I’m not too keen on the idea of another surgery for him after an extraction. Couldn’t I do something like a dental bridge instead?


Dear Abigail,

A woman and her dentist smiling

I’m a little concerned here. Are you certain your dentist understood this procedure was for your ten-year-old son? While a dental implant is a fantastic replacement option for an adult, children are absolutely NOT candidates for dental implants. They can’t get them. Their jaws are still growing and developing. The implants stay fixed and will not grow and shift with their jaw the way their natural teeth will.

The standard procedure is to get a temporary tooth replacement until the child’s development is completed and then switch it out for a dental implant when his body is ready.

What’s the Right Temporary Replacement for a Child’s Tooth?

What about your suggestion of a dental bridge? You’re correct that it wouldn’t require surgery. However, it does require your dentist to grind down your son’s two healthy adjacent teeth. I’d hate for him to lose tooth structure unnecessarily. This wouldn’t be a temporary solution. A dental bridge is a permanent restoration, though it will likely have to be replaced many times over the years as he grows.

dental flipper
A Dental Flipper

Ideally, you’d want an inexpensive solution which won’t affect any of his other teeth while he finishes growing. In that case, I’d recommend a dental flipper. It’s a respectable restoration. His friends won’t know it’s fake unless he thinks it’s cool and shows them. Yes, it is removable and he could lose it. But, truthfully, you could purchase several dental flippers for the cost of one bridge. If your son does misplace one, it could be a good lesson in responsibility where he has to mow neighborhood lawns to pay back the money he owes you for the replacement.

Then, when he’s stopped growing, you can take him to a skilled implant dentist. If your dentist actually was suggesting a dental implant for a ten-year-old, it means your dentist is incompetent. Following through with his advice would have put your son at great risk. You need to find a new dentist—double quick.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Affordable Solutions for Teeth Falling Out

My mom is almost 87. She recently had to have a filling and then later that day when I went to check on her two teeth just fell out. Her dentist never even mentioned they were a problem. I can’t just leave her that way. She needs to replace them, but I don’t know if a bridge is a good idea at her age. Maybe her other teeth are too old? What would be an affordable solution for her?


Dear Bridgett,

I need to say up front it sounds like your mother needs a different dentist. If she has teeth just falling out from no obvious issue, it means she has an advanced periodontal disease. He should be checking her gums at her regular check-ups and warning her about the state of her gums. There are steps which can be taken to treat gum disease.

If I’m right and she has gum disease a dental bridge is out of the question. It will just pull out the remaining teeth it’s attached to. Ideally, you’d replace missing teeth with dental implants, but that’s also out of the question with gum disease. Plus, you asked for an affordable solution. Dental implants can cost upwards of $40,000.

An image of complete dentures

Normally, I wouldn’t recommend dentures because of their complications with bone resorption. However, your mother is 87. I don’t think that’s going to be an issue for her. It usually takes between 10 and 20 years for it to become a problem. Now, if your family has a history of centenarians, you may reconsider. But most don’t.

Cu-Sil partial denture

If you go to another dentist who thinks he can save quite a bit of her teeth, please do that. You don’t have to lose all your teeth to get dentures. There is something called a Cu-Sil partial (pictured directly above). It will leave holes for her healthy teeth. It uses little rubber rings to keep it secure to her teeth. It actually makes it more stable. Then, if the tooth is lost in the future, it’s simply a matter of closing up the hole and adding another false tooth.

Affordable Dentists Will Work with You

Most patients, especially elderly ones, don’t have the funds to just pay for large procedures outright. However, most dentists are willing to work with patients giving them payment plans. If you can’t find a dentist like that. Sign your mother up for Care Credit. It’s a medical credit card of sorts, which will allow her to pay off her treatments slowly. In fact, depending on the state of her credit, she can even get 0% interest as she pays it off. They also have no penalty for early repayment, so it’s a win-win situation.

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Affordable Full-Mouth Reconstruction?

I never got to go to the dentist as a child. As a young adult, I couldn’t afford it. Now that I’m in my thirties, I decided to bite the bullet. I wasn’t surprised to be told I needed a lot of work. The dentist said he usually recommends a full-mouth reconstruction. He explained what it was, but the price was well out of my ability. It sounds like something that would really help me though. Is there some way to get an affordable full-mouth reconstruction?


Dear Elaine,

A smiling blonde with a beautiful smile

Even if you had the money for a full-mouth reconstruction, I’d recommend you get a second opinion. There may be a better way to repair your smile without crowning every tooth. That alone will give you more affordable dental care.

Go to another dentist and ask him to first list out all the work your mouth needs. It’s very likely you have teeth which don’t need work. You didn’t mention having any pain, so it doesn’t sound like you’re losing any teeth and need something like dental implants.

If it turns out you do need a full-mouth reconstruction, you need to verify the training and credentials your dentist has. This is a serious procedure which is well beyond what a dentist learns in dental school. It requires an advanced knowledge of both aesthetics and reconstructive dentistry. If they don’t get the aesthetics right, your smile will look horrible. If they don’t get the reconstructive done properly, you’ll end up in pain for the rest of your life from a misplaced bite.

How to Afford Dental Care When You Need a Lot of Work

It’s hard when you haven’t been able to go to the dentist because of the amount of work you end up needing. It sounds like you’ve been fortunate and haven’t needed any emergency dental care. As I mentioned earlier, you want to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible.

When he lists out the work you need, have him list it from most urgent to least. A good dentist will also give you all your alternatives. So if you need a tooth replaced, which I hope you don’t, and the teeth on either side of it need crowns, it would make more sense to get a dental bridge instead of a dental implant. It’s like getting three procedures in one.

The reason for the list is to allow you to separate out your treatment into affordable bites. Make sure he tells you about any procedures you can double up on to save money.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Dentist Said I Only Have One Option

Hi, I’m annoyed with my dentist. He’s one of those people who think because he went to dental school I shouldn’t have to many questions and should just do his recommendation. This isn’t working for me. I have a tooth I’m trying to save. If I can’t save it, I want to know what options I have in replacing it. He says I only have one option—dental implants. I’m a believer that there are always options. What are other procedures available in this situation?


Dear Carl,

There are too many dentists who work that way. Unfortunately, the dental school promotes the attitude that the dentist always knows best. However, we are also taught that we’re ethically bound to give our patients all their options and never move forward with treatment without their express permission. Your dentist seems to have forgotten this. Feel free to show him this post as a simple reminder.

First, let me say I’m glad you’re trying to save the tooth. It’s always best to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible. If it doesn’t work out, you have several options:

Dental Implants

illustration of a dental implantThis is the option your dentist mentioned. It is at the top of the line, the ideal option. In fact, it’s a lot like having your natural tooth back (when it was healthy). The downsides are the cost and the fact that it requires surgery. The surgery is actually its benefit too. It implants a root form into your jawbone which protects you from losing essential bone structure. Click here to learn more about dental implants.

Dental Bridge

Image of a dental bridgeThis is a second good option. It suspends a false tooth between two dental crowns. The downside is it does remove tooth structure from the adjacent teeth to make room for the crown. This makes more sense if those teeth already need crowns. Then you’re getting two for the price of one. The upside is it’s less expensive. Click here to learn more about a dental bridge.

Removable Partial Denture

Removable partial dentureThis is my least favorite option, but sometimes it’s all a patient can afford, so I help them make the best of it. It just uses a partial denture and clamps to your teeth. There are various types of clamps, all of which come with ups and downs, as well as varying price tags. Your dentist is obligated to tell you about them if you decide to go that route. The obvious downside to these is they’re not fixed in your mouth and can move around. Plus they put pressure on the teeth to which they’re clamped.

Have a Frank Discussion with Your Dentist

It sounds to me like you and your dentist need to have a pow-wow. If he’s not willing to help you navigate these options and give you all their pros and cons, you’re better served by going to a completely different practitioner. I’m sorry he’s making you reach out elsewhere for information. I hope you’re able to save the tooth and won’t have to bother with any of the above, but it’s always good to be prepared just in case.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

My Dentist Won’t Listen to Me

My dentist has in mind the type of treatment I need for a tooth that I would prefer to save, but he wants to replace with a dental implant. The tooth starting hurting me last week.  I went in to see my dentist.  He said the tooth is unsavable and wants me to get a dental implant.  I can’t afford a dental implant and he won’t listen to me.  I can’t believe that a tooth that JUST started hurting could be unsavable.  What do I do?

Samantha J. – Washington


It sounds to me that you need a second opinion. I agree that it would be unlikely a tooth couldn’t be saved if it had just started decay. Of course, there may to decay you never noticed. Another dentist might look at the tooth and have other ideas.

However, even if the tooth cannot be saved, dental implants aren’t your only choice. There are more affordable options for a tooth replacement.

A dentist has an ethical responsibility to tell you all of your treatment options.  For a tooth replacement, you can get a dental bridge, or even a removable partial denture. .

This blog is brought to you by Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.

Dental Implant verses Dental Bridge

I have a missing tooth and I’m trying to decide between a dental implant or a dental bridge. Any thoughts?

Brooke S. – Louisiana


The better tooth replacement is a dental implant. Though it is more expensive, it’s like having your own natural tooth back.  There are times though, when a dental bridge would make more sense.

The teeth adjacent to the false tooth have to be shaved down to make room for dental crowns. If your adjacent teeth need work, then that treatment makes sense.

If, however, the adjacent teeth are healthy, it doesn’t make sense to shave them down thereby removing healthy tooth structure. In that case, I would recommend the implant. I’d speak with your dentist and see what he recommends in your case.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentists Drs. Kevin and Hillary Peck.