I have to have one of my molars removed, because it has decay that is below my gumline. Both my regular dentist and the specialist he sent me to assure me that the tooth can not be saved, and so we have to remove it. I am on a fixed income, and all of this is very expensive. How long can I stall before I have to get a dental implant?
Augustus in Little Rock
You shouldn’t wait TOO long. Within a couple of weeks, the teeth that surround the empty socket will begin to “drift” into the space. Our teeth move naturally to touch their neighbors, and to meet another tooth when you bite down. This phenomenon will also cause the tooth that should meet the now-missing tooth in the opposite jaw to super-erupt (grow to try and reach the missing tooth). All of this movement can seriously disrupt your bite, which in turn could lead to TMJ problems. All of these problems will add to your costs to correct if you let the situation get out of hand.
You’ve made a good choice to go with a dental implant to replace your tooth, but in the meantime you are going to need some kind of temporary tooth to act as a placeholder. Your dentist should fit you with a temporary partial denture (called a flipper).
Your dentist won’t be able to place the root form for the dental implant until the area is free of infection and fully healed. After that, the root form will need several weeks at least to become fully fused with the bone of your jaw, and only then can the permanent tooth be fixed to the root form.