My left front tooth broke below the gumline. I scheduled a same-day dental appointment to make sure it was okay. It was bleeding a little, and the dentist stabilized the tooth. I can’t leave my front tooth like this. The dentist asked me to schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss my options. But I’m not sure I want to return to this dentist. I want the cheapest, easiest fix. And I prefer not to have a dental implant. Can you tell me my options before a dentist tries to talk me into treatment that I don’t need? Thank you. Aubrey
Cheap, easy fixes—for just about anything—usually don’t last. And a cheap, easy fix for a tooth is likely going to cost you a lot of time and money in the long term.
Solutions for Tooth Broken at the Gumline
Long-term solutions for a tooth broken at the gumline are neither cheap nor easy. The healthiest, long-term solutions are a dental crown or a dental implant.
Although Dr. Finley would need to examine your x-ray and tooth to see the extent o damage, it may be possible to protect the tooth with a dental crown. But several factors affect if it will work. If you have a gentle bite—not a deep overbite or a firm bite—the crown will stay on.
A dentist would need to perform root canal treatment on the tooth and cement a flexible post into it to absorb biting stress. Two side-by-side posts will resist rotational forces that might weaken the bond between the tooth and crown. Your dentist can build up post and tooth with dental bonding and attach a crown.
If you have a strong bite or deep overbite, the only lasting solution is a dental implant. Although an implant costs twice as much as a root canal, posts, and crown, it will last. The dental implant process takes longer because after an implant dentist places the artificial tooth root, your jawbone needs about four months to fuse with it. If you choose to get the posts and crown instead, they will likely fail, and you will need a dental implant anyway.
Your tooth has a severe break. And you will regret choosing the fast and cheap route. You can check the credentials of the dentist you visited for an emergency appointment to stabilize the tooth. If he has cosmetic and dental implant training, he might be a candidate for restoring your tooth. But we recommend scheduling a consultation with a second dentist to compare your options.
David Finley, DDS, of Monroe, sponsors this post.