Real Tooth vs Fake Tooth
March 25, 2006 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I'll be getting a false tooth. What are the noticeable differences?

One of my molars is on its way out. I'll need a replacement.

From what I've been told, the dentist will secure the false tooth by screwing it into my jaw (in my case, the lower jaw). How will this feel? Will there be any noticeable difference between my new tooth and my old one? Might this new tooth compromise the structure of my jaw?
posted by popcassady to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
I've had this done. In my case, the new tooth feels no different from any other. And it's more likely that the replacement will improve the structure of your jaw, since it makes it less likely that your other teeth will shift around.
posted by SPrintF at 10:37 AM on March 25, 2006

Do you mind if I ask... how much does this cost?
posted by dobbs at 10:51 AM on March 25, 2006

I have several such teeth (well, crowns, which is what I think you're talking about, but I'm not sure). They are mostly indistinguishable from the surrounding teeth.

You don't want to leave a gap behind -- putting something in its place is better, almost always.
posted by teece at 10:52 AM on March 25, 2006

dobbs: I have no idea what the cost will be. I'm in the UK and as of yet, I have no dentist. At a guess, I'd say a couple of hundred on the NHS. But I might be wildely wrong.
posted by popcassady at 10:59 AM on March 25, 2006

i have a one can tell, but under black lights, the crown is a slightly different color than my real, natural teeth.
posted by mmascolino at 11:31 AM on March 25, 2006

I got one last month after I broke a tooth off on a popcorn kernel at the movies. The only way I can tell which one it is, is because it's the one without a filling! It was sore for a day or two, but fine after that. Just take some Advil.

dobbs: I'm in Boston, and have Delta Dental. I had a three-part process: Root canal, post, and crown. The root canal was $672 (copay $174.40), the post was $281 (copay $140.50), and crown $1004 (copay $502). Totals out to $1957, with $816.90 being out of pocket. Expensive trip to the movies, eh?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:32 PM on March 25, 2006

I got one last year. It's great. As far as the actual procedure goes, it's definitely easier than a root canal or two (or three, in my case). They're expensive as hell, yeah, but after reading the denture post from a few days back I'm convinced that I got my money's worth.
posted by makonan at 12:58 PM on March 25, 2006

I knew someone who had a false front tooth in college. It glowed bright white under black light.
posted by Ostara at 1:08 PM on March 25, 2006

The $1000 crown is really astonishing..

A crown over an existing tooth must be custom molded, but there really isn't any similar need for full teeth.. How much does a denture cost per tooth?
posted by Chuckles at 1:28 PM on March 25, 2006

I've had one for over ten years, same procudure, screwed into my jaw. Functionally, I've never noticed it at all. Aesthetically, it's stayed the same color while my other teeth changed a bit, not enough for me to complain about thoug.
posted by rschroed at 2:55 PM on March 25, 2006

I have a tooth that had a root canal and is now covered with a crown. My gums have receded from that tooth. I don't know why, it's happened slowly over time. The tooth itself is solid, though. Good luck with your procedure!
posted by 45moore45 at 3:02 PM on March 25, 2006

I've had a bridge, comprised of two crowns with a 'floated' third tooth suspended between them for something over 30 years. It was replaced a couple of times through my teens and then once when I was in my thirties when an abscess formed under one of the crowns.

I don't think it is terribly noticeable by others and the only times I'm reminded of it is when I notice the smooth metal that binds the three pieces together on the backs of the teeth.

It sounds like your dentist is recommending an implant as opposed to a bridge (there wouldn't be anything to 'crown' if the tooth is removed). My mom has had a full set of implants as an alternative to dentures and it has turned out fantastically. Alternatively, a mate of mine has a history of osteoporosis and implants have been contra-indicated as it could compromise the integrity of the jaw.
posted by michswiss at 4:16 PM on March 25, 2006

What you're talking about sounds like an implant. A crown is a cover of enamel fitted over the remains of a tooth (often after a root canal). A bridge is a series of 3 or more teeth. The "post" teeth have crowns on them, but they are attached to a false tooth, or teeth, to replace missing teeth. An implant consists of a screw fixed in to your jaw bone, into which they screw a false tooth. These procedures vary wildly with insurance costs. Confirm which procedure you are undergoing, and what your insurance will cover, before you consent to anything.
posted by kamikazegopher at 6:38 PM on March 25, 2006

Should have added: the implant is usually the best restorative procedure, but also the least likely to be covered by insurance.
posted by kamikazegopher at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2006

It does sound like an implant. I'm nota dentist, but I do manage a dental practice. $1,000 a unit for the implant crown is not out of line. You will also see fees for the implant surgery and the abutment. Depending on whether the tooth is an upper or lower, any infection you might have associated with the tooth coming out and other factors, you may need to heal anywhere from 4 weeks (that would be a best case scenario on a lower with no infection in the bone whatsoever) to more than 6 months (the upper teeth often have "involvement" with the sinus cavity.

Good luck. be careful with your healing... ifthey tell you not to eat a list of foods, be serious about that. I can't tell you how many failed implants we see because someone wanted an almond. Is that almond worth 3 large? Never.
posted by bilabial at 6:32 AM on March 26, 2006

$1,000 a unit for the implant crown is not out of line.

Well, I didn't mean to imply that it is out of line with respect to the existing market.

It is very likely that the price is not justified by the manufacturing cost. The discrepancy might be outmoded practices - like custom molding of every tooth even though one might guess that a couple of dozen standard sizes for each tooth position would supply 95% of the population - or it might be something more shady, but there is no reason a piece of high-end tooth shaped ceramic needs to cost $1000..
posted by Chuckles at 6:46 AM on March 26, 2006

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