Dentistry Dilemma Decision

Now, where was I? I, yes, that’s right: last time I mentioned this, I’d just had a second opinion and was wondering which way to turn.

(To summarise, it had been years since I’d been to a dentist. Dentist 1 said there most of my old fillings needed replacing, and my crowns needed monitoring would likely need attention soon. Dentist 2 said only one crown needed immediate attention, and he wouldn’t want to do anything else yet without seeing later x-rays to compare. I liked him, but his estimate for doing the crown was over £600. I speculated that I might go back to dentist 1 and ask her to only do that crown, the NHS price being considerably less.)

I went back to Dentist 1 this morning. When I’d last visited her, we’d only really talked through pricing and options for replacing the fillings, as that was her priority work. We’d not looked at the crowns in any detail. So she had a look at the loose crown – and almost immediately declared it unreplaceable. The only remaining option for that tooth was to pull it out (at £45.60). Which then leads to four options to deal with the gap…

1. Do nothing, and leave a gap. Costs nothing, but the adjoining teeth will then slowly ‘lean’ into the gap, leaving bigger spaces either side, and the opposing tooth might slowly start to protrude. Lovely.

2. Have a denture plate. A denture! Aarggh! I’m only 41! I am not ready for dealing with dentures. This is, however, the only option funded on the NHS, so brace yourself for some pricing shocks for the next two options…

3. Have a dental bridge. This is a bit like a crown, but instead of being attached to what’s left of the tooth, it’s attached to the two adjoining teeth.  What I’d never realised is just how it’s attached. They actually shape the adjoining teeth into posts and put crowns on those with a tooth in between. A hugely intrusive technique. Oh, and would cost between £1300 and £1800 depending on the materials used.

4. Have an implant. Her favoured option, and I can see why. Basically replace the removed root with an artificial one, and put a crown on top. Medically, I can see that’s the best option. Should last at least 20 years, affects only the one tooth, closest replacement for the real thing, and so on. But the downsides? Six to nine months of treatment (they have to wait for the gum to grow into shape around the implant before going on to do the rest) and, of course, the cost. Overall, in the region of £3,500! Three and a half flipping grand!

So I left, somewhat shellshocked. And soon decided to go back to dentist 2, whose £600 quote for putting a new crown on suddenly felt a little more approachable. I rang him this morning, and he could fit me in this afternoon. His temporary crown is now in place, while the new one is being made up in a lab somewhere. He did say that it was ‘last chance saloon’ for this tooth. But I’m glad he was willing to give it a shot rather than just extract the damn thing too hastily. I liked him.

Now, here’s question: Is there enough gold in my old crown to make it worth taking to a “WE BUY YOUR GOLD” place?

A gold crown. Not mine.

 

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