I have a broken front tooth that I have saved up money to get fixed. I have gone to two dentists for consultations. The first one said I could have it fixed by dental bonding. He said it is pretty easy and none of my natural tooth structure will need to be reduced. I liked his ideas, but thought a second opinion would be wise. The second dentist said that dental bonding was a bad idea. She said they have to be redone regularly and eventually that could lead to needing a root canal. The procedure this dentist recommended is a crown, which would mean my tooth would have to be shaved. I’m not sure what to do. I preferred the dental bonding, but not if it means it will need to be redone regularly and it can lead to root canal. What do you recommend?
Marc- Pine Bluff, AR
Which procedure would be appropriate would depend on the extent of the damage to your tooth. However, even if you go with the porcelain crown, I am wary of the dentist that is recommending that. First, it appears she is trying to scare you into her preferred treatment, by threatening the possibility of a root canal. I have never heard of a patient needing a root canal as a result of dental bonding. In fact, you are more likely to need a root canal from the crown placement than the bonding procedure. Secondly, she is implying the more expensive treatment is your only option. That is rarely the case and may be a sign that her business is hurting and she saw you as potential for making some extra money.
You can have a porcelain crown placed over your broken tooth and it will work just fine. However, there are some things to consider. Your tooth will need to be shaved down and the crown will become a permanent fixture in your mouth. There is a chance the pulp of the tooth will become irritated during the procedure, which could lead to needing a root canal. A crown generally takes two appointments that are a couple of weeks apart, and the crown will be more durable and stain-resistant than the bonding.
If you go with the dental bonding, it can be done in one appointment. It is less expensive than getting a crown. None of your tooth structure will need to be reduced. However, you have to make sure that the dentist who does the work is really qualified. It is easy to do tooth bonding. It is difficult to do it in such a way that your tooth looks beautiful, seamless, and natural. It takes a great deal of artistic talent to pull that off. One of the ways you can tell if a dentist is qualified for such a procedure is by obtaining before and after pictures of previous patients who’ve had bonding done. If there are no such pictures, I would move on to another dentist.
There is another option that neither dentist seems to have mentioned. You may also want to look into getting a porcelain veneer on this tooth.