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There have been great advances in the world of technology over the years…and the world of dentistry is no different. Dental Implants being just one such example.
Dental Implants were first placed in the jaw decades ago and to this day, the concept is similar to what it was then; a metallic screw placed into the jaw bone to replace the root of a tooth: it’s the same principle used today!
What has changed however, are the materials, size of the implants, imaging techniques, amongst other things.
Due to their high level of success and predictability, dental implants have become the standard when replacing a tooth.
Unfortunately, some people may be in a situation where they want to have an implant, but can’t afford it at this particular time of their life.
Insurance companies are not very generous in terms of their coverage for them. They tend to cover for a root canal procedure, but not an implant, which is good if the tooth can be saved. But many times a tooth can’t be saved and an implant is the best solution.
It may be a good time to review the blog “Hopeless teeth…knowing when to call it quits.” This blog will reacquaint you with the situations in which a tooth cannot be saved.
The ideal treatment for a tooth with a deep cavity that goes into the nerve is:
1) Root Canal
2) Post and Fill
But, there are times when there’s been too much destruction of a tooth to consider doing step three. A crown just won’t work.
Instead, we may choose to do up to step B. We do a root canal and then put in a post and functional filling. In this way, we accomplish three things:
1) We maintain the biting surface, as opposed to if no tooth were present at all. Though biting with the tooth is limited because the tooth is more fragile now that it has a large filling and a root canal. We actually advise people to not eat on ‘these’ teeth.
2) It keeps the ‘gap’ filled so there will be no drifting of other teeth.
3) It preserves and maintains the underlying bone for a future implant.
The Purpose of Holding on to These Teeth
In many situations we’re just trying to hold onto the tooth and the underlying root as long as we can. This is so that we preserve and maintain the bone (for a future implant) which is holding the root in the jaw. At times, it’s a bit of a stretch to try to save the tooth, but it’s well worth it.
What we’re basically trying to do is maintain and hold on to the ‘weakened tooth’ for as long as we can.
I always let the patient know that the tooth, in this weakened state, is just a temporary ‘fix’ and they should just hold onto it until they can get something more permanent like an implant.
A dental implant is the ideal solution in most cases!
Is a dental implant the right choice for you? To learn more, read my latest article titled are dental implants for me?
About Dr. Axelrad
Practicing dentistry for more than 23 years, Dr. Robert Axelrad has owned and managed his own dental practice since 1997. Affectionately known as ‘Brampton’s Gentle Dentist’, he moved his practice to its current, state-of-the-art dental office in Brampton in 2002 to accommodate his growing list of happy patients.