I need some advice. I don’t know if the problem is the dentist or the lab, but my dentist cannot get my dental crown white enough to match my teeth. I’m new to the state and am using a different dentist than I normally would. However, this is my first dental crown so I don’t really know what to expect. I only came to him because of a dental emergency and he was available. I was in a car accident and had serious damage to a canine tooth as a result. He says he is using the whitest shade possible. I do whiten my teeth, but they don’t look unnaturally white. Just whiter than what he’s offering. It’s a noticeable difference though. Is it worth it for me to drive to my old state to get this to match or am I asking for the impossible?
I don’t think you’ll have to do anything as drastic as going to another state. I think I know what the problem may be here. Understand that this is mostly guess work, but I feel fairly confident with it. This dentist is probably a great bread and butter general dentist. He knows how to fix teeth and he does it well. However, he is more interested in the engineering factor than cosmetic work. He probably doesn’t really do any cosmetic work. This is the problem.
General dentists use a shade guide to help them match the crown they are making to your current shade of teeth (see above). He is probably using the same shade guide he’s always used. The problem with that is the popularity teeth whitening gained in the 90s. Teeth whitening does not just remove stains. It can also make your teeth whiter than even their original shade. That means the old shade guides were no longer as useful. Dental supply companies realized this and soon came out with an updated guide that included shades for whiter teeth (see below).
I would ask this dentist for a refund and then go to a dentist who does more cosmetic work. They will have the updated guide and can match your teeth.
I have a tooth that needs a root canal treatment. My wife thinks it is urgent and I need to get it checked right away. There is absolutely no pain from this and I think it can wait, especially since I’ve been laid off. If I absolutely had to, I could take money out of savings and deal with this, but I would rather wait until I had some income again. Is that possible? My wife is absolutely certain I am going to die from this if I don’t see a dentist.
I cannot give you hard and fast numbers, but there are some general guidelines that apply here. First, though, let me explain why your wife is so worried. Believe it or not, there are still people who die from tooth infections. There was a fairly recent case that made the news about a truck driver who died from his tooth. He’d planned on getting an appointment but was too late. That being said, not every infected tooth has to be seen right away. It depends on if it is an active or latent tooth infection.
Signs of an active tooth infection:
Current or recent pain
Drainage by the infected tooth
A pimple on your gums
Any of the above tells me you need to be seen by your dentist and have the root canal treatment done. On the other hand, if your tooth has no pain at all and has not for a while, then you have a latent infection and can afford to put off your root canal treatment for a bit. If the pain returns, call your dentist right away to schedule an emergency appointment.
Is there a risk in waiting?
There are a couple of risks here. One is that the tooth infection blows up quickly causing you to need a more invasive treatment than would have been necessary. A second issue is that your tooth doesn’t hurt for years, but because of what was going on in the background you end up with root absorption and your tooth can no longer be saved. Then, instead of a simple root canal treatment, you end up with a tooth extraction and the cost of a tooth replacement, such as a dental implant.
If you’re in no pain whatsoever, wait and see if the job situation turns around. If it looks like this may be a long-term problem, go ahead and get the treatment while it is simple.