Oral Surgery/root canals

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Question
Hi,  I am 63 and eating some popcorn and a tooth in my upper left cracked, the filling came out.  I went to my dentist and he said the tooth broke below the gumline.  He said I couldn't get an implant because of this, the only thing to do was to get a root canal, a post and a crown.  He said it would cost over $2000.  I told him I would find it hard to find that money.  He said I could get the tooth pulled but then all my other teeth would be crooked and it would be a shame to lose the tooth.
  I have spoken to people who say a root canal does not last long and then you have to have it done again.  I can't afford to have that done but also can't afford to have all my teeth crooked as well.
  I don't have dental insurance.  What worries me is the possibility of infection.  This is how my father died at my age when he had teeth extracted.
  What do you think of root canals, posts and crowns?

Answer
Don - A root canal treatment, when done properly, can last a long time.  I had root canal done on a couple of teeth when I was much younger and before I was a dentist and the teeth are still good.  I cannot say that the amount of tooth structure remaining is enough, but if the fracture is so low that the tooth cannot be fixed after the root canal treatment.  

Look, infection is possible, but a skilled dentist who understands root canal treatment knows how to reverse any infection that might occur.  

So I personally think that root canal treatment done correctly, a post and crown is a good restoration of the tooth.  If your dentist is not skilled, then changing to a better dentist is an option.

Oral Surgery

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.

Experience

Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

Organizations
American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Education/Credentials
BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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