I asked my dentist for teeth whitening, but he doesn’t want to do it because he recommends a root canal and crown on a second molar. My point is that teeth whitening is much cheaper. If I can’t afford a root canal and crown, why should I do it? I have dental insurance, but it will only cover half of the cost. And then if the root canal doesn’t work, my dentist will have to extract the tooth anyway? Why not just get rid of the tooth, eliminate the future problems, and whiten my teeth? I’m thinking about switching dentists. – London
Thank you for your question. We understand your concerns about your budget and want to improve your smile without creating debt.
Extracting a second molar tooth
Extracting a second molar tooth causes the least complications. A second molar does not have a tooth behind it that will drift after the extraction.
Some facts to consider:
- Lower second molar – The upper molar opposite to the tooth you want your dentist to extract will have no tooth to meet it. It will begin to drift, bite into your gum, and eventually require extraction.
- Chewing efficiency – If you have your premolars and front teeth, you can chew adequately without your upper and lower second molars.
- First molar – If you later lose a first molar, it will disrupt your bit on that side of your mouth and reduce your chewing efficiency.
It’s Still Best to Save Your Teeth
But we understand your budget is limited. If your dentist is skilled with root canal treatment and crowns, the risk of it failing is minimal.
We recommend that you have another discussion with your dentist about the pros and cons of keeping the tooth or removing it. Ask about the urgency of root canal treatment and determine if you have a little time to save money. Some dentists offer no-interest financing that allows you to pay for care over time.
If you and your dentist cannot reach an agreement, you can get a second opinion on your second molar and teeth whitening options. Some dentists offer free or discounted whitening to patients who keep regular dental cleaning and exam appointments.
Michael Szarek, DMD, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.