The molar second from the back on my right hand side has decayed underneath the gumline and my dentist says it has to come out. It is in my upper jaw. My dentist and the specialist I went to for a second opinion both say that I need to get a dental implant to replace the molar.
I don’t have dental insurance, and it is really expensive! Do I really have to replace that tooth? How long do I have to decide? I am only 45, and all my other teeth are in pretty good shape.
Brad in Mesa, AZ
Unfortunately, even if you had dental insurance, you would likely have to pay for the cost of the dental implant out of pocket. Most dental insurance plans do not cover the cost of dental implants, even when they are the recommended course of treatment.
You definitely should get the tooth replaced, and the sooner the better. When a tooth is removed, it takes just a few weeks for the surrounding teeth to begin to shift towards the resulting gap. The tooth in the opposite jaw that used to line up with the now-missing tooth (the “opposing” tooth) will “super-erupt”, or grow to try and meet with the other tooth that is now absent. All of this shifting around is the body’s natural response to the missing tooth. Your teeth will shift to meet when you bite, and touch their neighbors. When there is a missing tooth, these movements will create problems with your bite alignment, which may lead to TMJ problems, including headaches.
The longer you let this situation continue, the more damage will be done, and the more costly it will be to correct.
A dental implant is the best choice to replace a missing tooth. You are too young to contemplate living with a missing tooth and the resulting problems with your remaining teeth.
If the socket is infected, you will have to wait for that to clear up to proceed with the implant procedure, but your dentist will be your guide in this. The root form will need several weeks to integrate with the bone before the replacement tooth can be placed, so in the meantime you should wear some kind of temporary “placeholder” such as a dental flipper.
Best of luck to you.