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Dentistry/Cavity under fairly new bridge


I had a bridge done in the back 3 years ago. I went to a different dental office ( not the one that did the bridge) for a cleaning. The dentist said he highly suspects a cavity under the crown of one of the supporting teeth. He suggests replacing the crown or cutting off the crown entirely & fixing the supporting teeth with no bridge. Both costs were almost equal of $1,500. no dental insurance. I just bought a new upper denture a year ago from him. I had a very hard time adjusting to the bridge the first time because it was so sensitive that I could not bite down. It took about 18 months before I could actually bit down & even now it is sensive. I am somewhat adverse to a new bridge for that reason. I really would like to not go through all that again. The dentist did say that the bridge failure was nothing I had done, but for what ever reason the cement came lose or was not done right. Having the 2 supporting teeth pulled & putting in implants for at least 10 grand sounds pretty awful to. Do you have any suggestions? I am not a rich woman but middle class at best. 65 years old, which is another thing. I bet between my husband & I we have spent about 15 grand on dentists in the last 5 years. I would appreciate a realistic answer. Thanks

Hi Judy,

The dentist that did the cleaning....did he take an x-ray?  Maybe he can see the cavity under the crown a little better that way.....perhaps there will be more certainty in identifying the problem....less guesswork.

Your description sounds like a lot going on there.  How about this....why not tackle the issue it in pieces.  Start by just addressing the primary cavity issue under the crown, and then put back the bridge that has been there.  Maybe the sensitivity you have been experiencing is because of that cavity??

And don't worry about having no dental insurance.  Most dental plans are worthless anyway.  If there is a $200 deductible and a $1,000 cap, then paying the premium every year, never made sense to me.

So again....I think I would do the job in pieces if it were me.  That way you can make  better decisions along the way.  Plus, it will also help to spread out the costs of the job.

What I would also do, is first ask the dental office how much it would cost to do the work.  Once you have the cost of the work, you can then ask if you can spread the costs over 6 or 12 months.  Most dental offices have a benefits/money person that you can talk to that can help figure out how to pay.

Hopefully this has been a "realistic" answer.

Best regards,
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Jonathan at PatientBabble


My area of expertise from the patients point of view would be TMJ plus the speech challenges that these jaw and bite problems sometimes represent. Over the years I have seen a multitude of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, speech therapists, neurologists and other health professionals who all had an opinion about my bite problem. I am not a doctor, but would purely be a patients point of view type person. I "get it" when people say they tried to explain to their dentist what their bite problem is and that they are misunderstood. I can listen to people's trials and tribulations and there is a good chance I have been down that road before. I can make suggestions as to what people can do at home, or what questions to ask their doctor or dentist when they visit. ////// I come from a family of dentists. My first house growing up was one of those residential/dentist combination homes and I was around the dental practice all the time. My teeth had always been perfect, and in many respects they still are. I have never had a cavity and my teeth are straight. About 25 years ago, I had my wisdom teeth out and since then my bite has never felt "normal." I have learned a lot over the years as I tried to figure out my problem from the Dentists, Speech Pathologists and assorted doctors that I have visited. I will try and recall information or experiences that may be helpful to you.


Twenty-Five years ago after my wisdom teeth were removed, my bite did not feel right and then had trouble speaking. For whatever reason, the first sensation I remember was not that my bite was off.....but rather that my normal tongue and speech patterns had been impeded. The years of searching for proper treatment has underscored the importance of understanding the relationship between dental and speech methodologies.///// To this end, and to further my research, I recently attended the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention (ASHA) in Atlanta. At ASHA I learned about a specialty within Speech Pathology termed “Orofacial Myology”. In laymen's terms Orofacial Myology Disorder (OMD) deals with the establishment of correct functional activities of the tongue, lips and jaw. OMD is a motor speech disorder that impacts the normal flow of speech, chewing or swallowing.///// If you believe that your struggles with your teeth also present speech, chewing or swallowing challenges, you may want to seek out a licensed Speech Language Pathologist.....preferably one that has training with Orofacial Myology Disorder.

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Abridged Version of a Letter I Sent to a Health Care Professional (3/14/13): "..In my early 20's I had my wisdom teeth out. Almost immediately within a few days, something did not feel right in my mouth. I had trouble speaking. When I raised my tongue to try and touch my palate, I felt mostly just teeth. It is very cumbersome to talk and my bite also became a little bit off. If feels almost as if someone put a fork in my mouth and said "now try and speak." Very difficult. My articulation is fine, so to an observer I sound normal. But it takes a monumental effort, so I hate situations like talking on the phone or when somebody asks me to "tell them a story." ..I spent years going to different dentists, who lumped me into their generic version of what they knew about TMJ. They just automatically gravitate to what they have heard about TMJ and assume I am either stressed, or just imagining it. Years later, I look back at all those dentists and doctors and I am amazed at how little they really knew about my condition. I have seen the best dentists, including my dad who is a Orthodontist in New York, to TMJ Dentists in Atlanta and Florida. No one ever suggested that Speech Pathology may be a direction I should explore. ..And I was frustrated by the fact that several MRI's over the years, showed nothing. How could the MRI’s show nothing, and at the same time, I know something does not feel right? I do wear a night guard to sleep in, but it does not fix the trouble that I have when I try to talk. ..I went with a Speech Pathologist friend of mine to the American Speech Language Hearing (ASHA) Convention last October in Atlanta...There was a Speech Pathologist at ASHA who was saying that sometimes when you have your Wisdom Teeth taken out "late" that it could possibly cause damage to the Trigeminal Nerve and surrounding muscles.” POSTSCRIPT: At ASHA, I discovered OROFACIAL MYOLOGY (OMD) which is a specialty in Speech Pathology that addresses Oral Muscular Issues.

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