Your dentist looks at your x-ray and with a sad face explains, “You need an extraction today.”
“Great! An extraction. Wonderful. I was hoping it would be something easy,” you respond.
“The extraction should be relatively easy, I expect you’ll be fine,” she says.
I Need An Extraction?
Extraction? I’m not happy, you think to yourself.
Sure, she can probably remove the tooth with little if any discomfort, but you are still losing a tooth.
If it is your first tooth removal there is a huge emotional component. After four or five tooth removals some people don’t seem to care as much.
The little voice in your head is carrying on a dumb conversation with you.
“You’re breaking up a set. It was complete until now.”
“It’s not my fault,” you respond.
First And Last Extraction If I Have Anything To Say
But this is your first, and you vow, if you have anything to do with it, your last.
The blame game with yourself, whether it goes on for a few seconds or a few minutes really won’t change the situation.
Your dentist isn’t happy about your predicament either. Frankly, it stinks that it has to happen at all. I get it. But, in this situation it’s got to be removed today and that’s it.
I Feel Your Pain
I see this situation way too often and can feel a bit of what it’s doing to you. Most dentists feel what you are going through. Really.
Right now your anxiety’s going through the roof because it’s one of your front teeth.
“Oh gawd, how am I going to hide that?”
These are the toughest ones for a dentist to handle too. Emotionally, I don’t want to contribute to a messed up smile either. But given the circumstances, there is no good alternative to you losing your tooth today.
How Can I Get By With A Missing Front Tooth?
You’ll have to smile for a while without showing your teeth until you can take steps to get a replacement. That’s assuming of course that you don’t want to live with a missing front tooth. Not ideal situation but sometimes it happens. But if it it does, hopefully it will be for only a short time.
In my mind there is no way I would live with a missing front tooth. Talk about being self-conscious.
It Even Happens To Dentists
I had an orthodontist friend, a “braces” dentist that had to have a big upper front tooth removed. It was right in the middle of his smile.
And it was as traumatic for him as it would be for any of us. He knew he would have to continue working through the tooth removal and final replacement so something had to done to hide the hole. Fortunately there are remedies for a missing front tooth like his.
It didn’t come as surprise because he knew he had a tooth that was dying, causing pain and he did not want a root canal. He was emphatic about that.
I Want An Implant To Replace That Tooth
So he planned on an eventual implant with a fake tooth attached. The implant is really like an artificial tooth root that after some time has a fake white tooth attached to it.
For the short term he had to wear what’s often called a “flipper,” to hide the fact that he was missing a front tooth. He wore this until the artificial tooth root or implant was fitted and healed enough so it was ready to attach the fake front tooth.
The Infamous “Flipper”
His “flipper” was a custom made dental appliance made of pink plastic fitted alongside the inside of his other teeth with one white plastic fake “front tooth” sitting in the hole.
Did it look as good as the original equipment? Nope! Did it initially make him sound a little funny? Yup! But it sure looked a lot better than the missing front tooth.
He quickly popped the ”flipper” out and back in again, showing me his predicament when I was in his office for an appointment with my children. He made sure they weren’t looking.
What A Predicament
I grimaced, rolled my eyes, shook my head and commiserated with him, thinking to myself I’m glad it’s you and not me my friend.
So, would I live with a missing tooth for long? Nope. Would I want the closest thing to a natural tooth I could have? You betcha!
I smile too much to change that part of me for long. I don’t want people thinking I’m a grump…at least not all of the time.
The Final Solution
An implant can make for a solid, chew anything reasonable, decent looking replacement for a missing front or back tooth. So if it’s technically possible, that is where I would be heading. Is a missing tooth a reasonable alternative to a dental implant?
By the way, the orthodontist was real pleased with his final result. It looked much better, and he sounded better than with the “flipper” clinging to the roof of his mouth giving him the “kid with a new retainer” lisp.