I have a lot of dental work

I’m trying to find out how much dental work I can have done at one time? I already know I am in major need of many treatments. I have several cavities, seven root canals, I need a tooth shortened, and I want to get my teeth whitened. It would be really nice to get it all done in one visit. Any advice?

– Jess from Tennessee

Dear Jess,

Every dentist feels a bit differently about how much work they are comfortable performing at one time. You will need to pose your question to your specific dentist.

Generally speaking, a dentist that offers sedation dentistry would be willing to perform all of the types of procedures you are requesting. I’m sure you can find many good sedation dentists in your area online.

For teeth whitening, you probably don’t need a sedation dentist. A general dentist can most likely do that for you.

If you are not interested in sedation dentistry, then it’s really up to you. How comfortable are you in the chair? Do you get nervous for dental appointments? If you can handle it, a dentist may be willing to schedule a four-hour appointment. And if they are speedy, a lot of it will be taken care of.

The root canals can be completed in one appointment, if they are on your front teeth. If they are in the back and you feel strongly about getting them completed in as few appointments as possible, you may try a root canal specialist – called an endodontist. They can work much more quickly since that is their particular area of expertise. For comparison sake, it may take a general dentist up to two hours for a molar root canal and an endodontist may be able to get everything done in an hour.

I hope this information was helpful.

This post was provided by Lafayette dentist Theriot Family Dental Care.

Options for a fractured tooth

I have a sensitive tooth that I’ve been putting up with for too long. The tooth that is bothering me is on a lower molar and it has a large amalgam filling. The dentist hasn’t been much help. Basically, I was told that the tooth is cracked between the roots and they recommend a tooth extraction.

Is there any chance it will heal itself? Do you think I may need a root canal or some other procedure? Or do I need to go ahead with removing the tooth?

– Scott in Nebraska

Dear Scott,

It is difficult to make recommendations without actually seeing the tooth. From what you have described it sounds like the tooth is salvageable but will not heal itself. If the tooth is still intact and hasn’t broken into two parts then you have what is referred to as a fraction between the roots. Many dentists hesitate to try to repair it. A dental crown is a possibility, either a gold dental crown or a porcelain fused to metal crown. Again, if the tooth is still in one piece that should take care of it, but if it is indeed split then things become more difficult. If it is caught within the first couple days there are things that can be done to save a tooth with a vertical crack by knitting it back together.

Although, many dentists are very cautious since this concept isn’t textbook. There are some studies available that research this topic but it has not become widely accepted.

Good luck.

This post was provided by Lafayette dentist Theriot Family Dental Care.