Help me figure out next steps with regard to the mess that is my mouth, specifically my teeth
short version: atrocious teeth. Now that the big stuff is over, what next?
Longer version: I've changed dentists since but not because of this mess
. I have a wonderful new dentist who handles my dental anxiety well and is very good at explaining what he's doing/treatment plan, etc. I've been seeing him about a year and he's fixed the worst of the messes (broken crown, root canals, etc) that were causing pain.
Now we're onto the next steps. Not cosmetic or anything but not immediate. I have a space on my lower left from a tooth that was removed probably 15 years or so ago. It's the 2nd tooth from the back. I have no wisdom teeth. Teeth are shifting so the space is smaller but it doesn't impact chewing. I have some money in my flexible spending account but not enough to cover anything big. He knows this and is very good at working with me to be sure I don't pay too much out of pocket so it's not a question of fleecing. I just don't know if it needs to be done and how to determine which is better, bridge or implant. In either case, something would need to be done with the back-most tooth because there's a ginormous filling.
I'm kind of hesitant to do something this big and costly for two reasons. One, no guarantee that the teeth around it will survive and I'll eventually need a bigger replacement. My teeth are horrid due to genetics, weak enamel, etc. Two, I've been having bite issues over the last few years. Likely due to crowns and having a more "normal" bite. It has made my TMJ flare up. I don't know that this will improve that at all and fear it will make it worse. Dentist has made this clear this is my choice, I just don't feel educated enough to make the choice.
Any ideas/experiences etc? Thanks!