Tooth Pulled

Preacher

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Three weeks ago I was having some pain in the back of my mouth around a wisdom tooth. I had one surgically extracted ten to fifteen years ago, it was so bad the oral surgeon said to not mess with the other one until it starts causing problems.
Fast forward to three weeks ago and I have an ache there. I am assuming that the wisdom tooth is pushing against the last molar and surgery is required.
I have always had hard teeth so going to the dentist has never been a re-occurring thing for me so I did not have a local dentist since I moved to Texas. I got my first filling in my 40's and the dentist told me they were really small.

So I looked around locally for a dentist and found one. Scheduled an appointment and they got me in right away. Took a bunch of xrays, did an examination and commented that I needed some serious gum work, my wisdom tooth needed to be extracted and my rear molar was cracked in half (that was what was causing my pain) and I would need to go to an oral surgeon to get fixed up. They gave me a card of someone else and said to call them and set up an appointment for the extractions. I made the appointment with the surgeon that afternoon for the next day. The dentist office presented me with the $4K estimate of what my bill would look like AFTER INSURANCE once I had all of the dental work done at their office, this did not include the oral surgeon.

In the meantime my wife is calling her friend in another state who works for a dental agency. She gets my xrays sent to her office and tells me to cancel that oral surgeon appointment and she wants to get me hooked up with a different dentist in my area who is not a chain store dentist. She gets me an appointment with the new dentist that day.

I go in and the new dentist tells me I have an infection of the gum right behind the wisdom tooth which is causing the problems. He does not think the wisdom tooth is the issue at all but something got lodged in that space between the gum and the tooth and infection took hold. He then does an assessment and tells me I have a pretty good mouth and all I needed was a cleaning since I had not had one in 10 years and that it would be covered under my insurance as preventative.
I get some antibiotics, go back three days later feeling much better and get my teeth cleaned and I am golden. With NO OUT OF POCKET EXPENSE.

So people, don't just assume these yahoos have your best interest at heart. Some of these dentist and doctors are all about padding the pocketbook instead of taking care of patients.
 

Hamstein

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I was in a similar situation over new year, a tooth I'd chipped ages ago on a bony sausage got infected, after a week or so I managed to get a temporary filling, it's the only filling I've ever had! :( A couple of weeks of eating only soup have done me no good at all, I had no fat to fall back on and feel (and look) like a living skeleton! I'm back to eating real food carefully again now, gotta get some weight put back on before I do anything else about the tooth!
 

'64 Tele

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Unless you find an "older" dentist, you probably won't find one willing to do a bridge these days.
My father and grandfather were both dentists, and I've had to have a couple extractions over the last 5-10 years due to motorcycle accident (2011) during which I hit my teeth together with enough force to crack (at least) a couple molars and also bit the edge of my tongue off at the time of the accident.
Like the OP, I hadn't had much dental work/issues with the exception of a couple fillings and wisdom teeth removed.
After the MC accident, I ended up having to have a root canal/crown which lasted about 4 years before I ended up with problems (ended up having a fractured root) and an extraction, then a couple years later, another tooth was cracked (this time it was cracked BELOW the jaw bone line, precluding a root canal/crown) and also had to be extracted.
These days, the options are implants or implants.
My extractions were molars directly in front of where wisdom teeth had been (one on top, other on bottom on opposing sides) and I chose (at my age) to not go with implants.
 

Greggorios

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Been there and empathize with you. Once I got over the initial shock and realization that my body wasn't going to last forever and just "got on with it", it wasn't a big deal. Implants in my experience, while a bit expensive, were the answer. The process is a little drawn out but virtually painless. Once done you never even know they're there. Just like natural teeth. It'll be OK.:)
 

telepraise

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Milspec, at your age, I'm guessing an implant is a worthwhile investment. As a night grinder, you should get fit for a mouth guard if you haven't already. I have at least seven crowns in my mouth @ $1000 a piece (mostly from old cavities from my errant youth) and they work very well.

One other thing that may not apply to you: After getting both of my daughters through orthodontics, I was able to get my own teeth straightened. Besides a more confident smile, I found that having teeth that meshed properly largely eliminated my teeth clenching (and saved me from losing more teeth down the road according to my dentist).

Best of luck to you in your dental adventure, it'll be expensive but things could be worse.
 

chris m.

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My wife just re-did two crowns and also did orthodontics with Invisalign. Not cheap! But she is really happy with her nicer teeth and smile.

I went in for my semi-annual teeth cleaning and found out that my left upper wisdom tooth has a cavity in it. When I was in my 20s I had my lower wisdom teeth removed, but not the uppers. The dentist recommended I just get both the uppers pulled since they aren't actually chewing against anything and are starting to drop a bit. This creates a food trap that even with religious flossing threatens to harm the molars in front of the wisdom teeth. So I will be seeing an oral surgeon to get them both out. Fingers crossed that it goes smoothly.

Cost is one issue, but getting it done right with minimal pain and minimum probability for complications is probably more important in my mind. I think as with any surgery it is pretty important to do your homework, get referrals, and make sure you are going with someone who is extremely good at what they do. As with anything else, there are people who are at the top of their game, and others who are not nearly as good. You want to go with the A-team for sure. And I certainly agree that A-team level dentists can be found in other countries. I lived in Brazil for a while and the dentist I had there was excellent.
 




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