Tag Archives: tooth replacement options

Delayed Pain with a Root Canal Treatment

My dentist told me that pain from a root canal treatment will peak in 48-72 hours so don’t worry if there is still pain after the procedure. However, I recently read a blog post on a dental website that said pain after a root canal treatment meant the treatment has failed. Which is it?


Dear Laura,

I’m wondering if the wording of the blog led to the confusion here. There will usually be some pain after a root canal treatment. Plus, as the Novocain wears off the pain will gradually increase. This is normal and, as your dentist mentioned, should peak somewhere between 48-72 hours, though some are pain-free sooner.

When you need to be concerned is if the root canal had completely stopped hurting and then several days later (or even longer) begins to hurt a second time. That would be a sign of a failed root canal treatment. In that case, you would need to see the dentist again in order to have it redone and hopefully save the tooth.

What If You Can’t Save the Tooth?

Sometimes, despite the dentist’s best efforts, a tooth is unsavable. When that happens there is nothing that can be done except to extract and replace it.

Hopefully, this will not become an issue. But, if it does, then the best tooth replacement option will be to get a dental implant. These are the closest to having a healthy, natural tooth again.

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

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.

Will Medical Insurance pay for Dental Implants

I have serious dental issues on my front teeth, including two missing teeth and a 20 year old bridge. I’m having trouble with other teeth as well. I’d like to take out all my upper teeth and replace them with dental implants. I have tried to use upper dentures on those missing teeth but the dental plate was too much. I couldn’t keep wearing it. If I don’t do something, I won’t even be able to eat. Do you think medical insurance will cover it as not having them will affect my health?


Dear Becky,

You brought up a good point about dental plates that I think others need to be aware of when making decisions about their tooth replacement options. Dental plates can be a nightmare for people with a strong gag reflex or a sensitive palatte. With dental implants, you do not have to worry about anything extraneous like that.

In the case of medical insurance, almost all of them have a dental exclusion clause. That leaves you looking to dental insurance to pay for this. While it is unlikely they will pay for all of it, they will have a percentage they will cover.

If money is really tight, I would look for a qualified implant dentist who also advertises as an affordable dentist. Just do an internet search using that term.

While in most cases you pay out dental implants in two stages, once after the surgery and once after the crowns or supported dentures are placed, affordable dentists may allow you to break up those payments even further.

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.

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.

Are All Dentists Judgmental?

I’ll admit I don’t get to the dentist as often as is recommended. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just I can’t afford it. Not only do I not have dental insurance, so everything must be paid for out of pocket, but I lose income by going. I’m paid by the hour and dentists only seem to be open during normal working hours. I have to miss work to go. Essentially, I’m charged twice if you think about it. Even though I don’t go very often, I do try to go every two years. I rarely have a problem with my teeth, but I get a lecture every single time. I’ve switched dentists every couple of years for that very reason, but no matter who I go to, there’s still that lecture. Why are they so judgmental? Why can’t they seem to understand it’s a sacrifice for many people to get to the dentist?

Avery L.

Dear Avery,

I can understand your frustration. Here you are trying your best, making sacrifices to even get to the dentist and when you do, they treat you like someone who doesn’t take care of things. First, I want you to know that not all dentists will lecture you. In fact, some dentists will just be grateful you came and tell you so. Both sets, judgemental and non-judgmental, likely have the same mindset behind their response. They care and want you to get the proper care for your teeth. They go about it different ways, some more productive than others, but they mean well.

It sounds to me like you want dental care, but you need an affordable dentist. There are dentists who work to keep their fees down. They may even work with your schedule, so you don’t lose income. Explain your work situation. It may not be that they hold regular Saturday or evening hours, but would be willing to meet with you twice a year at less than peak times so you don’t lose income to get your teeth cleaned. They wouldn’t want you to advertise they’re doing that, but would be willing to help.

Another option is to consider using a program such as Care Credit. It’s a medical “credit card” of sorts. It allows you to go ahead with treatment and then slowly pay out the bill for the services you receive. Depending on what type of credit you have, you may even be able to get zero interest payments.

Something patients don’t generally consider is how much going to the dentist regularly saves them money, health, and time. If you get your teeth cleaned regularly you’re less likely to develop a cavity. If you do happen to develop one anyway, they’re often caught so early that a simple, small filling will be enough. When things are left to progress without early intervention you end up with a more invasive (and costly) procedure, such as a root canal treatment, or worse, an extraction and the need to get a tooth replacement.

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