Need the cheapest and fastest fix to a broken tooth.

My front tooth broke off clean right at the gumline. I need it fixed fast and as cheap as possible. I am not paying for dental implants.

-Mike in Florida


Well, the cheapest and fastest way to fix a broken front tooth is called Superglue. But come on. That’s not what you want. A cheap repair will only last a day or two at most.

You didn’t ask for it to look good either. In which case, having a dentist rebuild the tooth with dental bonding would be a quick, cheap fix. But it would look terrible.

So, lets change your thinking. Sometimes the cheapest fix ends up being much more expensive and more painful in the long run. You should be considering something that looks nice, that’s durable, and long-lasting.

A dental crown is a possibility if the tooth still has the root intact. But this would mean there is a lot of stress being placed on this tooth. It isn’t out of the realm of possibilities, but may not be the best fit. A root canal treatment on the remnant of the tooth would be a good treatment, then having a post placed to add strength to the remaining tooth. A carbon fiber post or fiberglass would work better because there is some flexibility with the stress it will endure. A metal post won’t remedy the stress and may end up fracturing the root. Two posts are better than on in this case.

It sounds like you are not interested in dental implants. Although implants are more expensive, they truly are the best alternative. They are a permanent fix that looks, feels, and functions just like your natural tooth.

You need to get into the dentist to have the situation evaluated. If cost is a concern, be upfront. Discuss your options. Consider phasing treatment out over time or setting up an affordable payment plan. Cheaper isn’t always best, especially when we are talking dental care.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.


Is the Encore bridge old fashioned?

Awhile back my dentist was telling me about an Encore bridge. We’ve moved and I can’t find anyone in the Atlanta area to tell me more about it. Is it outdated and not used anymore?

-Victoria in Georgia


The Encore dental bridge wasn’t widely used or accepted for individuals missing teeth. Not too many patients had successful outcomes because it is very difficult to get all the steps done correctly. It wasn’t as strong as other alternatives and it truly wasn’t the best option when compared to other treatments.

It is still available. But you should look into a the zirconia Maryland bridge. This is a very popular option and is much more aesthetically-pleasing. Zirconia is a very durable ceramic material that looks life-like. Patients have had many successful outcomes, when compared to the Encore.

What is the more important than the type or brand of restoration you choose, is selecting the right dentist. Make sure your implant dentist has placed other successful bridges that are similar to your case. You don’t want to walk into any dentist and tell them you want this type of bridge. Be confident that they have experience in both implant dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. Some dentists may make the assumption that this procedure doesn’t require tooth preparation. So, an expert cosmetic dentist would have a better all-encompassing understanding of the bonding materials and technologies to make this a success. Since it isn’t run of the mill, you may want to even ask upfront, if the restoration fails, could you be refunded. Best of luck and thank you for your question.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Will my health insurance cover dental implants?

I have some serious problems with my teeth and existing dental work. It’s time for dental implants. I’m missing several teeth in back and I have a dental bridge that’s over 30 years old. I would love to get one of those dentures that is permanently placed with implants for my entire upper arch of teeth. Also, I have gum disease, so I am currently getting scaling and root planing. I was interested in a partial dental appliance, but I ended up gagging when I tried it. I also hated that I couldn’t eat normally with it.

I was wondering if I could have this dental work covered by my medical insurance? I think it would be considered a medical condition, since I am in such terrible shape.

-Betsy in Washington


Dental implants have many benefits over other treatments like the removable partial denture you have mentioned. Gagging isn’t something that is talked about too often, but it is not uncommon for denture-wearers or for partial dentures. Dental implants are surgically placed into the jaw bone, so there is no extra hardware in your mouth. If you have a heightened gag reflex, having anything with a plate will not be ideal.

It sounds like you recognize the pros of choosing dental implants. Unfortunately, it is not likely that your health insurance would cover the treatment. Many times people will pose the question and pursue the thinking that their teeth are indeed affecting their overall general health. So, it is understandable that you would request that your medical insurance cover the fees.

But, almost all medical insurance plans have exclusions. Dental problems, issues and conditions are almost always excluded from your health coverage. Although this may feel unfair, if it was included, even a small cavity could be considered affecting your overall health. There are some instances where medical insurance would cover dental problems or damage that occurred from an accident. For example, if you broke a tooth during a fall, it is possible that your medical insurance would cover that cost. But other than that, you are likely going to have to personally cover the cost. Some dental insurances will help offset the cost of dental implants, but even many dental insurance exclude dental implants because there are lesser expensive alternatives available.

You may be interested in discussing more affordable options with your implant dentist. Many will work with you on an affordable payment plan or you may possibly be interested in financing the treatment plan. Thank you for your question.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Seeing Sedation Dentist for Extractions- Will I choke on Gauze?

I’m scheduled to see the sedation dentist to have my wisdom teeth extracted in three weeks. I just had my initial consultation and x-rays and they went over most of the instructions with me.  They also sent a sheet home with me that had post-op instructions and it talked about using gauze after the extractions are done. I’m a little worried, since this is a sedation dentist and all… is there a possibility that I could fall asleep and choke on the gauze or, worse yet, choke on it just because I’m not mentally with it after? Is the gauze absolutely necessary or are there alternatives?


Julia in Nebraska

Dear Julia,

The gauze is only needed while you’re actively bleeding. The pressure helps stop it and will help protect the blood clot as it forms. The clot is important because it protects the socket. Without it, your bone is exposed and that can be a very uncomfortable experience. So, you really want to do everything you can to protect the area and promote healing right after the tooth extractions. Gauze is a great choice because it’s gentle, absorbent, and can be changed out easily. The gauze you’ll receive from the sedation dentist will also be sterilized, so you don’t introduce bacteria into the socket.  In other words, the gauze is a huge benefit that you don’t want to overlook.

You will be groggy after you leave the sedation dentist and you’ll probably want to sleep off the meds. Even still, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have an issue with the gauze. You should have a responsible adult with you after surgery and that person should stay with you until the meds are out of your system. You can talk to that person in advance about your concerns and make sure that they understand the importance of their job. They really do need to look out for you and also make sure you’re not up and walking around while you’re still disoriented. They can help keep an eye on how you’re doing with your gauze, too. You shouldn’t lay down with it in and you’ll need to change it out about every 45 minutes until it’s only light pink when you’re supposed to be ready for a change. At that point, you can take it out without worry. This could happen as little as one hour after surgery, or about the time you’re getting home, or it could be about five hours later.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Can Dental Implants Leave Me Permanently Numb?

I had multiple dental implants placed in my lower left side three days ago. The whole procedure was a nightmare. The dentist was running behind and it took him almost an hour to get to me. When he came in, he was in an obvious hurry. He normally puts gel on my gums and lets it sit for a while before he tries to numb me, but this time, he just wiped it on and jammed the needle in. It hurt like the dickens. I literally jumped in the chair. Instead of apologizing, or even reassuring me, he goes into a lecture about how I need to be able to sit still if he’s going to do dental implants. Well, I toughed it out, but I was in the chair for hours with him drilling, tugging, and pulling. He really did a number on me.  I feel like I got into a fist fight. I expected there to be some soreness after all that and there certainly is, but I can’t feel my tongue. I thought at first it was just that the anesthetic wasn’t wearing off, but it isn’t going away. Is this the result of the dentist being rough or can dental implants do that? Will I be stuck like this forever? If so, I’m going back and having these things taken out. It’s not worth all this.


Dear Frank,

It sounds like you have some nerve damage, which can be an unfortunate side-effect of any dental procedure. Given the location of the dental implants, and where the injection was given, your lingual nerve could have been damaged. While the implant could be responsible for it, it sounds more like it occurred during your injection. Many people feel what they describe as “lightning” when their nerve is hit. Everyone’s anatomy is slightly different. So, when you’re being given an injection, the doctor is looking for standard landmarks and surmising where the nerves might be so they are avoided, but because everyone is unique, there’s really no way to be 100% accurate. This couldn’t have been avoided.

The good news is that this type of nerve damage generally isn’t severe. The needles are so small that a very small portion of the nerve is injured. When someone hurts a nerve in a car wreck or other serious accident, they often tear it or sever it entirely. In your case, the nerve is very likely to regenerate, which means it will heal entirely. Most people in your situation heal within three weeks, but there are times when it can last up to 18 months. There are also times when the numbness is permanent.

Please report this to your doctor and go in for an exam. He may recommend that you go on a course of anti-inflammatory medications, that you see a specialist, or just that you follow up with him so he can monitor your progress. With the damage being done, removing the dental implants won’t help, but you’re likely to make a full recovery regardless.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Should I See an Emergency Dentist for Dental Implant Tenderness?

I’m wondering if some tenderness around my dental implant is cause to see an emergency dentist this weekend. I’m about three months into the healing phase of the dental implant process and everything has been going fine so far. However, I woke up yesterday and something didn’t feel right about the implant. I can’t put my finger on how to describe it… perhaps sponge-like? Transient? I don’t know. Well, today that developed into a bit of soreness- not just around the implant itself, but my whole jaw. I’m not really able to eat today without it causing actual pain. I’m inclined to think that I banged it or bumped it while I slept, but I’d hate to let it turn into something if I need to see an emergency dentist now. Is this cause for concern? I’ve never had a dental implant before, so I’m really not sure if I hurt it or if this is normal healing.


Gabby in California

Dear Gabby,

This is worth a trip to the emergency dentist. It sounds like you’ve developed an infection where the dental implant was placed. This can manifest itself in a lot of different ways, but the fact that your pain is progressive and affects your whole jaw is very concerning. Moreover, any time you have dental pain that stops you from eating, that’s deserving of a visit to the emergency dentist as well.

This is something that you’ll want to get checked out right away. With any kind of oral infection, the worry is that it will spread throughout your body. If it reaches your heart or brain, it can become deadly fast. When it comes to dental implants, there are additional concerns that if the infection takes hold, it will cost you all your progress. Sometimes, the infections do so much damage that the post has to be removed and bone grafting must be done in order to have a new one placed. If you catch it early enough and begin antibiotic treatment right away, you may be able to prevent this from happening.

You can check in with your regular office and see if they have advice. They should have an on-call number for times when the office is closed.  If they don’t have a number for urgent matters or they don’t respond to you within an hour or two, book an appointment with an emergency dentist.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Is there any way to get past my dental fear without sedation dentistry?

I have always had a really nice smile and was proud of the way I looked. Now, times have changed. I’ve had some difficult health problems and treatments that have really messed up my teeth. Someone said I should see a sedation dentist to get the work I need. But that thought totally freaks me out because I get anxious at what could happen while I’m out. I am so scared to even schedule an appointment because I’m dreading hearing how bad my teeth are now. I feel like my anxiety is getting out of control and now it’s the thing that’s keeping me away. Is there any way I can move past this without using sedation dentistry?

-Tina in Utah


Even thought it sounds like the thought of any kind of dental appointment scares you, sedation dentistry really may be the best fit. You may not agree right now, but once you learn more about what it is and what it’s not, you may change your mind. Sedation dentistry is completely safe. A sedation dentist must pursue extensive training to be certified. Most dentists that offer sedation are specifically interested in helping and working the fearful patients. They will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Music, movies, going slow, and being gentle are all things you can expect from a dentist that wants to help fearful patients. In some cases, a simple distraction is all that it takes.

Other patients are completely freaked out. These patients benefit most from oral sedation. There is a misconception that you will be knocked out with conscious sedation. So, let’s clarify what the appointment will look like. A sedation dentistry appointment simply involves taking a prescribed medication prior to the procedure. You will still be conscious, but will be indifferent to what is going on around you. The good news for most fearful patients is you probably won’t remember a thing. Yet your protective reflexes like breathing and coughing are still fully functional. You will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment, so you won’t be alone. Also, there will be a trained professional that accompanies the dentist the entire time. So you will never be alone while under the medication. When, the treatment is done, you will feel like no time has passed. Most say it feels like they slept.

Maybe it’s time you at least had a consultation to learn more about what your appointment and treatment plan will look like. Thank you for your question. Hopefully this will encourage you to explore your options and get the dental care you need.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How come I’m not a dental implants candidate? Are they pushing me into All-on-4?

I have been considering dental implants for years. I was originally told that I have low sinuses and that I’d likely need surgery, if I decided to get dental implants. The dentist expressed much concern about piercing my sinus cavity during the procedure. With the additional surgery, I couldn’t afford to move forward with treatment. I am missing even more teeth now, because it’s several years later. This new implant dentist is telling me that all-on-4 dental implants is the best option for me now. How is that possible? How come I’m no longer considered a dental implants candidate? Should I seek another opinion?

-Jed in Kansas

Thank you for your question. You may not be understanding each dentist’s recommendations fully. The all-on-4 dental implants procedure are dental implants. But there is a big difference in these procedures. Many dentists refuse to place all-on-4’s because they feel it is too risky.

A traditional dental implant, which you were evaluated originally for, is anchored straight into the bone. It is approximately 16mm long, giving it excellent stability. It is a permanent solution to missing teeth. For that reason, the first dentist was recommending sinus surgery to avoid any complications with the implant penetrating the sinus cavity.

All-on-4 is different. The implants do not going in straight up and down. They go in at an angle, which directly impacts the number of implants required. So, there are only four placed. They can be placed closer to your sinus cavity because the implants do not penetrate as deep. But, using shorter implants comes with risk. There is a higher chance that you will have problems with them because they are not as secure.

It wouldn’t hurt to seek another opinion from an independent implant dentist. Each individual’s anatomy is different and each dentist’s treatment plan varies. It is most important to seek an experienced implant dentist that has had success with other patients that have low sinuses. You can get as many opinions as you’d like. It’s all about trust and experience versus the lowest fees when it comes to a successful dental implant experience.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Do cavities disqualify me from whitening?

I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s been way to long since I went to the dentist for an oral hygiene appointment. But I’ve always had good teeth. So, I was shocked when I heard I had a few cavities at my last appointment. Then, the dentist explained that fillings can’t be changed later, so now was the time to get teeth whitening. Are they just trying to sell me on whitening? When I looked online, it says you’re not supposed to get your teeth whitened when you have cavities. I’m confused.

-Paul in New Mexico


That’s interesting that they recommended teeth whitening. Did you pose the question, or how did it come up?

Generally speaking, the dental office is correct. Once composite fillings have been placed, the color cannot e changed. Replacing them at a later date would be the only way to lighten the color of the filling material.

Teeth whitening ingredients are very powerful. Sensitivity is common with teeth whitening treatments. So, if you have cavities, it is possible the sensitivity may be heightened because more the nerves are exposed when there is decay.

Getting the cavities filled should be your first priority. You can get the whitening done at anytime. It would be difficult to anticipate the exact shading of your whitened teeth. But, how much of the filling will show? Many people have cavities filled and they are not visible 99 percent of the time.

It can also be assumed that the dentist wouldn’t have even suggested teeth whitening, if you weren’t a good candidate. Therefore, it is quite possible that your cavities are small and probably shouldn’t be an issue. So, there is probably nothing wrong in getting the whitening done first, unless the doctor recommends against it. You just need to be cautious and aware of the possibility of experiencing sensitivity.

You can use a fluoride rinse prior to whitening to dull the sensitivity. The dentist may have some recommendations on a specific brand, or you may be able to find one at the drug store. If you are still concerned, the dentist may be able to provide fluoride treatment in the office to help protect the certain areas where the cavities will be filled.

Most people don’t have any sensitivity when whitening teeth. But, it’s good to know how to take the best precautions.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How long do I have to wait to smoke after dental implants?

I’ve been really good about not smoking during this dental implants process. I had all-on-4 dental implants placed nearly five months ago now. The entire process has been over a year. So, I quit smoking just like the doctor said. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Since the healing process is complete, can I start smoking again? I’ll try to do it moderately and not go overboard.

-Gerald in Wisconsin


Congratulations on quitting smoking! That is an incredible accomplishment. I know it’s easy for us to say, don’t start up again. But here are some things you need to take into consideration regarding the dental implants you had done. Smoking can increase the risk of failure. The surgical phase and bone integration phase are imperative that you avoided smoking, but there is always a risk.

Also, smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease or gum disease. Complications can arise and increase the risk for infection. Bone loss is also a possibility around the implant areas. It is also important to realize that smoking causes blood flow to decrease, which makes it difficult for your body to keep oxygenated blood where it needs to be. All of this issues will negatively affect your all-on-4’s.

It is possible that periodic, light smoking may not cause damage and you may be able to get away with it. But, it is uncertain and highly recommended that dental implant patients of any kind, stop smoking for good. We don’t have to tell you how, just one cigarette with your buddies can turn into a few, then eventually you will fall into your old habit.

You have been a non-smoker for a year. That is an accomplishment. There are so many health and dental benefits to not smoking. Stay strong. Or discus the possibility of other aides to help you.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.