Crown - do we really need all this dental work?

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Crown - do we really need all this dental work?

Post by citygal on Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:28 pm

Couldn't find the recent thread on dental work so I'm starting a new discussion.

This morning went to dentist for semi-annual and - guess what - they said several are on a crown watch and two should have crowns soon. In fact they have already contacted my insurance to check prices, benefits, etc.

Hmm ... a few things bother me about this. Obviously I have insurance so I can afford it, although there might be out of pocket expense. But you know how it's all a matter of opinion whether it's really needed. The dentist said it's not critical right now but it's an old filling which can't be replaced and if the tooth starts breaking they would have to remove the tooth, which is not appealing.

I don't know, for some reason just the fact that they contacted my insurance to make inquiries just bothers me a bit, although I'm sure it's standard practice. Like, they're presuming that I will be willing to have the crown done, which of course means a lot of income for them.

I'm wondering whether I should get a second opinion. But then of course that means finding someone trustworthy and a co-pay and another appointment.

Crowns are not fun. I had one a few years ago, and in addition to the novacaine shots and lots of drilling (your tooth needs to be drilled into a stump to attach the crown), it's getting used to feeling weird and possibly some sensitivity. And I have about 6 that they're watching!

A few years ago I had some sensitivity between checkups so I went in and at that time they said it's nothing critical but said eventually a crown could be needed, so I guess this isn't a complete surprise.

Sigh. Decisions, decisions, decisions. And hassle.
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Re: Crown - do we really need all this dental work?

Post by Kathi- on Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:49 pm

I have four crowns and am not even 50 yet. Keep in mind I only have 8 large molars (no wisdom teeth) and so that's half of them. In some cases the tooth had broken, and in others there was pain in the tooth. In one instance it was more like you are describing; an old filling which was on its last legs.

My fillings are all really old, so it's no surprise that they are wearing out. Some were replaced, but the replacements don't seem to last as long as those original fillings. In any case, decay can still happen under old fillings.

I've found it's pretty common for dental issues to emerge in clusters-- probably because the original fillings were all around the same time. All 4 of my crowns were in a 3 year period, but nothing since.

I guess in your case it depends whether you believe or trust this dentist. It doesn't sound like you have many crowns yet, so hopefully that means he hasn't been pushy about it.
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Re: Crown - do we really need all this dental work?

Post by citygal on Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:09 pm

You're probably right, Kathi. I had lots of fillings as a kid. I did some quick online research and crowns are indeed pretty standard; I'm sure it's very obvious from looking at the tooth and old filling that it's messed up. I definitely want to save it, so when they contact me with the info from my insurance, I guess I'll go get it done.
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Re: Crown - do we really need all this dental work?

Post by Luna on Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:12 pm

Well I'm probably not the best person to ask considering my recent experience with the dentist! It's hard because you want to believe them but you also feel like you can't trust their opinion 100% because they may be prescribing treatments or procedures that aren't 100% necessary and because they see dollar signs.

Like you citygal, I felt uneasy when they first told me to wait and see and that they would give me the number of the oral surgeon and I could contact them if I experienced any problems. But once I got to the desk they had already contacted the oral surgeon and they called me within an hour to schedule the surgery. In my case the pain has gone away and I've decided I don't want to go through all that if it isn't necessary. Yes, it can be good to do preventive measures so you don't run into issues down the road but as someone else said to me, if you aren't in pain and it's not causing issues then don't go for surgery.

I think in your case it sounds a bit more standard. I don't know too much about crowns but it sounds like it probably could be something you (and most people I suppose) may have to get down the road. In my case my wisdom teeth aren't causing major problems but they said might as well yank em out in case they do down the road which didn't sit well with me.

I wonder if you have concerns if you could talk them over with your dentist before going ahead? I know getting a second opinion is a hassle but just make sure you feel comfortable with things before saying yes. It does sound to me like lots of people do get crowns and while no dental work is ever pleasant at least it isn't an extraction or something they put you under for... Good luck with your decision!
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