Author Topic: What is a tooth worth?  (Read 5451 times)

SmoothSailing

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What is a tooth worth?
« on: October 27, 2017, 06:53:11 PM »
My 23-year-old brother had an adult tooth pulled about ten years ago. The tooth that was pulled is the Upper Left Lateral one. He has otherwise straight, healthy teeth. Up until now, he has had a temporary tooth in its place.

Last night he was telling me that he is going to have to spend $2,000 getting a permanent tooth implant (his work won't pay for it).

He is interested in Mustachianism and has a stash of about $20,000.

So we thought we would ask the forum: what would you do in his situation? Is a tooth worth $2,000?

I'm a red panda

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 06:55:01 PM »
Absolutely it is. I'd pay double or triple that if I had to.

Having a full mouth of non-metallic teeth is extremely important to me.

ejacobson

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2017, 07:06:26 PM »
He can spend a fraction of the amount and get same or better quality implant in Asia. With the ticket he might come out even but at least he'll get an international trip in. And, yes, I would definitely get an implant.

geekette

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 07:08:21 PM »
Without something in there, teeth will shift.  Fine if you're in your 80's, I suppose, but not in your 20's.

Zamboni

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2017, 10:24:48 PM »
I have no idea which tooth is the upper left lateral one . . . but yes, it would be worth $2000 to me to just take care of the situation properly.

Dicey

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2017, 11:04:10 PM »
Getting an implant is a two-part process. Does he have enough vacation time to make two trips overseas? Frankly $2k sounds like a bargain price. Either way, I'd do it, hands down. Unless he wants to be asked about his meth problem for the rest of his life.

My sister's kid is bright and has high career aspirations, but his teeth are messed up. It just kills me that they didn't address it when he was growing up. He has too many teeth. It would have been easier to deal with when he was a child. They are not poor. They are not mustachian either. I am tempted to offer to pay half, but I just don't know how to approach the subject. Also, I expect his sister would feel deserving of equal attention, so I just keep my lip zipped. But if he ever brought it up, I'd do it for him in a heartbeat.

BTW, please congratulate your brother on his lovely nest egg. Unless, of course, he inherited it. I doubt it, because if it wasn't his own hard-earned money, he wouldn't be hesitating.

Do it!

mies

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 11:44:44 PM »
I’d get the implant too. I have congenitally missing upper lateral incisors. When the baby teeth fell out, there were never any adult versions to replace them. So my canine teeth are right next to my two front teeth. My parents never bothered to take me to a dentist, so now I have a jack-o-lantern smile. I’ve been self conscious about my teeth since I was 13 when I realized that there ware no adult teeth to replace them. I’d get them fixed now, but my canines shifted closer to my two front teeth to “fill” the gap. There’s no room for implants now and I could floss between those teeth with yarn.

I don’t have any kids, but if I did, and I noticed their grills getting as fucked up as mine, they’d be at the dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon to get that straightened out ASAP. They might be self conscious about braces for a few years, but at least they wouldn’t have to enter adulthood or start dating with an ugly smile. I’m still a little angry with my parents not providing good dental care in my youth.

Dicey

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 02:08:29 AM »
I’d get the implant too. I have congenitally missing upper lateral incisors. When the baby teeth fell out, there were never any adult versions to replace them. So my canine teeth are right next to my two front teeth. My parents never bothered to take me to a dentist, so now I have a jack-o-lantern smile. I’ve been self conscious about my teeth since I was 13 when I realized that there ware no adult teeth to replace them. I’d get them fixed now, but my canines shifted closer to my two front teeth to “fill” the gap. There’s no room for implants now and I could floss between those teeth with yarn.

I don’t have any kids, but if I did, and I noticed their grills getting as fucked up as mine, they’d be at the dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon to get that straightened out ASAP. They might be self conscious about braces for a few years, but at least they wouldn’t have to enter adulthood or start dating with an ugly smile. I’m still a little angry with my parents not providing good dental care in my youth.
My BFF had this and she got crowns which made her smile lovely. I had braces when I was 30, ($3k) and DH had them when he was 51 ($8k-gah!). We would both do it again in a heartbeat. I highly recommend you at least get some recommendations and do a couple of consultations. Start with your dentist if you like him/her. Many offer extended payment plans, plus you can use FSA/HSA's to pay for treatment, utilizing pre-tax dollars. A word of caution: Avoid braces mills. Your situation is unique and that's not their strong suit.

mies

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2017, 03:01:46 AM »
I’d get the implant too. I have congenitally missing upper lateral incisors. When the baby teeth fell out, there were never any adult versions to replace them. So my canine teeth are right next to my two front teeth. My parents never bothered to take me to a dentist, so now I have a jack-o-lantern smile. I’ve been self conscious about my teeth since I was 13 when I realized that there ware no adult teeth to replace them. I’d get them fixed now, but my canines shifted closer to my two front teeth to “fill” the gap. There’s no room for implants now and I could floss between those teeth with yarn.

I don’t have any kids, but if I did, and I noticed their grills getting as fucked up as mine, they’d be at the dentist, orthodontist, or oral surgeon to get that straightened out ASAP. They might be self conscious about braces for a few years, but at least they wouldn’t have to enter adulthood or start dating with an ugly smile. I’m still a little angry with my parents not providing good dental care in my youth.
My BFF had this and she got crowns which made her smile lovely. I had braces when I was 30, ($3k) and DH had them when he was 51 ($8k-gah!). We would both do it again in a heartbeat. I highly recommend you at least get some recommendations and do a couple of consultations. Start with your dentist if you like him/her. Many offer extended payment plans, plus you can use FSA/HSA's to pay for treatment, utilizing pre-tax dollars. A word of caution: Avoid braces mills. Your situation is unique and that's not their strong suit.

I never considered crowns Dicey. That's good to know that's an option too. I also didn't know brace mills were a thing. I guess braces are one of those areas where you get what you pay for.

I asked my dentist about my situation several years ago and he said he could do bonding to make my canines less pointy. I still think that would look weird. He said if I wanted to do implants, I'd need to get braces first to move my canines back where they are supposed to be, then an implant could be done for each missing incisor. I also have an overbite which would complicate things. It would be a lot of money, time, and discomfort to get everything back to a normal looking set of teeth. Fortunately, my wife doesn't mind and it hasn't really messed with any job opportunities. Any lost income opportunities were due to my own incompetence or laziness :D

Fortunately, the composition of my teeth seems to be pretty good. I'm 36 and still have never had a cavity even with the neglect from my childhood. In addition to not seeing a dentist when I was a kid, I also did a lousy job of brushing and flossing. Brushing my teeth was probably a weekly occurrence. By high school, I finally started to brush daily, but I was in college before I took flossing seriously. I got scared straight when I was eating at a Burger King with my parents and one of my dad's teeth fell apart while he was chewing. He spit what was left of his tooth out on to the tray.

I don't take my teeth for granted like I did when I was a kid. Sure you can get implants, bridges, and dentures but nothing is as good as your own healthy teeth. If I were in a situation where everything else in my mouth was good, but I was just missing a single tooth, I'd do an implant in a heartbeat. I know several people that have had implants done and they really like them. It's the next best thing to your actual tooth.

DirtDiva

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2017, 08:26:43 AM »


My sister's kid is bright and has high career aspirations, but his teeth are messed up. It just kills me that they didn't address it when he was growing up. He has too many teeth. It would have been easier to deal with when he was a child. They are not poor. They are not mustachian either. I am tempted to offer to pay half, but I just don't know how to approach the subject. 
Do it!

This reminds me of a little story:  my spouse once interviewed a woman for a receptionist job who was missing her front teeth.  She ended up not being selected for the job based on qualifications, but he and his colleagues really liked her.  However, they felt that her missing front teeth were hindering her job search- she was clearly self-conscious about her smile.

Spouse contacted a dentist who agreed to provide care at a reduced rate.  The dentist contacted the woman and told her that an anonymous donor wanted to provide dental care for her.  The dentist fixed her teeth, we picked up the bill, and she never knew who was responsible. 

Hopefully, we made her life just a little bit better.  And hopefully, she will pay it forward some day.

Maybe you could do the same for your nephew?

BlueMR2

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2017, 08:46:56 AM »
I've known a number of people faced with this situation.  The ones I know that are happiest just went with a bridge, but have to be real careful eating.  The next most happiest group are the ones that just live without it (but they're older, so it's easier to get away with it).  The implant group is the least happy.  It's a long drawn out, painful process, and sometimes it just doesn't seem to end up working after all.

mm1970

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2017, 11:08:26 AM »
Yes, it's worth it, esp at his age.

Husband has an implant, got it last year at age 48.

If you leave a "hole" there (which was an option), it starts to affect the rest of your mouth negatively.

BlueHouse

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2017, 11:23:58 AM »
I've known a number of people faced with this situation.  The ones I know that are happiest just went with a bridge, but have to be real careful eating.  The next most happiest group are the ones that just live without it (but they're older, so it's easier to get away with it).  The implant group is the least happy.  It's a long drawn out, painful process, and sometimes it just doesn't seem to end up working after all.

Do you mean during the process?  because it would completely make sense that the least happy group has the most difficulty dealing with something.  After all, no pain, no gain.  But after the process is done, most people seem to be happier with a permanent solution that isn't in danger of falling out at inopportune times. 
My BIL got 4 implants after a dentist pulled the wrong teeth before he got braces and age 55.  He was miserable while waiting for the implants to heal, but ever since, he's been happy as a clam and his teeth now look fantastic.  I wouldn't want a solution that might fall out during a meal!

ambimammular

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2017, 11:40:17 AM »
The tooth fairy deems them worth a 2 dollar bill, or 2 gold dollar coins at our house. (sorry, had to)

Our 8 year old is being fitted to correct a crossbite. It will cost us $3400 and 14 months. That is phase 1. Phase 2 happens when she's got all the permanent teeth. I thought this sounded like a bargain until I read other numbers on the forum. Now I might comparison shop with other orthodontists for phase 2.

Ratrem133

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2017, 11:42:46 AM »
That price seems amazing! Is that including the crown after as well. It is a multi step procedure. We have decent dental insurance and it was $2000 after all the insurance. I would absolutely pay that for a tooth, juSt warn him it might be more when all is said and done.

GetItRight

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2017, 11:59:20 AM »
I need two, possibly 3 implants and the affected teeth (shattered/broken from impact) pulled. The broken teeth are serviceable and I've got student loans to pay off so I just make do and minimize use of those teeth. I got screwed out of replacement teeth by insurance company of the person who caused the damage to me and their collusion with the government. They drug it out through the statute of limitations so themselves and the person who caused me the injury were protected. Thanks government, for protecting the aggressor and victimizing the victim twice.

In any event, I was quoted about $3k per tooth years ago when this happened. Good to know prices are coming down. Hopefully I'm still viable for replacement when I'm debt free and can justify spending money on this luxury. If I had no debt now, I'd be inclined to go for it at $2k per tooth.

frugaliknowit

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2017, 02:15:12 PM »
I am "Mr. Titanium", as due to a childhood traumatic accident (I was a crazy active kid who crashed his sled into a mound of hardpack snow/ice...blood and yes I cried like hell!).  In my youth, I went through a series of root canals, crowns and bridges using non-implant dentistry to solve the problem of a cracked root, which eventually snowballed into multiple damaged teeth (from the bridges themselves...yikes!)

 I have had lots of reconstructive work since 2005 (finally fixing the flawed fixes of the past).  The reconstruction, consisting of 3 implants with bone grafts supporting a 5 point bridge was finally completed in 2013.  Besides the reconstruction from trauma, I recently had to have my lower back tooth pulled (another titanium).

Yes, implants ARE the way to go.  They are better than the original tooth/root.  In my opinion, I would not have the implant without a bone graft (adding bone strengthens the grip/hold of the implant).  Yes, this adds to the cost, but makes the chances of long term success greater. 

I found and have been working with a "top drawer" surgeon in the Chicago area. 
Basically his practice charges about $2200 per implant.  Bone grafting (which he's always done with me is extra) varies...
I was charged $1050 for extraction plus bone graft (yes, sounds like a lot, but it was a difficult extraction), $2100 for the implant, then I need to hire a general dentist for the crown.  Assuming the crown is $1,000, that's $4,250.

You WILL find both lower and higher.  All kinds of dentists CLAIM they do implants (how many in the past month?)...  You DON'T want it to fail because the dentist is inexperienced or tried to save you a few bucks by not doing a bone graft, etc.
This is not a filling; you don't want a rookie learning from your mouth!!

As far as dental tourism:  Theoretically possible, the problems being:

1.  How do you know who you're dealing with?  What happens if you get it done in Thailand and it fails after a short period?  Most likely a reputable local surgeon would correct the situation. 

2.  If you work, do you have the vacation time?  Some of these places say one or two days, blah, blah....depends on the case.  Normally, this work is done in stages with multiple appointments (gums might need to heal, bone and or titanium needs time to fuse, etc).

3.  You need to account for the airfares and accommodation costs.

4.  For what it's worth, my boss had a bunch of work done in India, and it all failed.  He didn't want to go to "my guy".

The WORST part is the Novocaine needles (about 2 minutes of agony).  Once you're numb, it's all noise and vibration.  If you NEED to be knocked out, yikes it will cost you MORE of a fortune...

Good luck!
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 02:18:19 PM by frugaliknowit »

BlueHouse

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2017, 02:23:26 PM »
My sister had an emergency dental procedure done while she was in Germany.  When she got home and went to her normal dentist, he said  "Hmmmm, interesting", which made my sister crazy demanding to know what he found interesting! 

He said the work itself was fine, but the materials used for stitches haven't been used in the US in decades.  Apparently, Germany still uses catgut?  like real animal product?  And the US uses synthetic everything to avoid any possibility of infection, disease, etc.  I'm sure it was all fine, but definitely made me feel like there's a lot I don't WANT to know about. 

lbmustache

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2017, 03:55:28 PM »
If your brother was 50 or 60 I might be like eh, screw it, but at 23 you definitely want that fixed.

$2k seems like a good price.

I believe that if you leave a tooth missing your other teeth will shift (like others mentioned), you may have difficulty chewing, and probably the most scary is the fact that your jaw bone starts to deteriorate where you have missing teeth. Google bone resorption for teeth... it's a little horrifying.

Anyway. Teeth are important. For $2k this is a no-brainer to me.

doneby35

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2017, 10:02:25 PM »

So we thought we would ask the forum: what would you do in his situation? Is a tooth worth $2,000?

I'm getting an implant in a couple of months, it's a 2 phase process and it will cost me $1000 out of pocket since my insurance takes care of 60% of the cost. To answer your question, yes it's absolutely worth it, because otherwise the teeth will shift.

BlueMR2

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2017, 07:10:16 AM »
Do you mean during the process?  because it would completely make sense that the least happy group has the most difficulty dealing with something.  After all, no pain, no gain.  But after the process is done, most people seem to be happier with a permanent solution that isn't in danger of falling out at inopportune times. 
My BIL got 4 implants after a dentist pulled the wrong teeth before he got braces and age 55.  He was miserable while waiting for the implants to heal, but ever since, he's been happy as a clam and his teeth now look fantastic.  I wouldn't want a solution that might fall out during a meal!

The worse case is a friend who is now several years into the implant process and it's still not complete.  He's had multiple surgeries to reset it, but it just won't take.

On the other hand, my wife got a bridge years ago and while she has to be careful (per instructions) not to bite down sharply on that "tooth", has never actually had any issue.

MrsPete

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2017, 10:00:19 AM »
My kids were both born missing adult teeth (they had baby teeth, but the adult teeth underneath just didn't exist -- one tooth for the oldest, two teeth for the youngest), and we paid more than 2K per missing tooth for them to have a full mouth of real-looking teeth.  No, they aren't as good as real, natural teeth -- but they are the best thing that technology can offer today. 

Having them done was "a process": 

- The oral surgeon put in the implant, which is a bit of stainless steel that sticks straight up out of the gum.  He described it to me as a screw with holes in it; essentially it was screwed into the gum.
- He placed a temporary abutment over the implant so that they could eat comfortably and wouldn't destroy the implant or knock it about while it was healing.   
- We waited 4 months while the bone "grew through" the holes in the implant.  This means the implants are a piece of their bodies and cannot be removed.  After 4 months, the oral surgeon x-rayed and said that the bone growth was good. 
- At that point we went to our regular dentist, who made a crown (a fake tooth) that sits upon the implant.  This took two visits:  One to measure for the new tooth, a second to place it onto the implant.  This crown should last 10-15 years, but eventually it will need replacing. 

Yes, it was a long, drawn-out process, but it was absolutely the best choice.  The implants behave just like real teeth (except that they can't get cavities).  They can eat anything they want and have NO special requirements for the implants.  They require no care beyond everyday brushing, and my kids tell me that they rarely ever think of their implants. 

I would not go overseas for this.  First, it's just not practical:  You'd have to have the surgery done without meeting the doctor ahead of time, without checking his or her credentials.  Second, you'd have to be put to sleep for the implant, which means you'd be groggy and "out of it" for at least a day.  If you were unfortunate enough to have any complications, you might have trouble going back to see the dentist who'd worked on your teeth.  The cost to travel for such a procedure (and for a trusted person to take you to /from the overseas dentist too) would end up being more than just having it done here at home, and I don't think any trip that included minor surgery would be fun.

You WILL find both lower and higher.  All kinds of dentists CLAIM they do implants (how many in the past month?)...  You DON'T want it to fail because the dentist is inexperienced or tried to save you a few bucks by not doing a bone graft, etc.
No, no, any dentist CANNOT do an implant.  Though, yeah, any dentist might CLAIM he can do implants. 

Our regular dentist told us from an early age that my kids were missing those teeth ... and when they were old enough for the implants, he referred us to the oral surgeon, explaining that this is a specialist's job, and he isn't qualified to do it.  We've been his patients for years, and if he'd been legally qualified, we wouldn't have gone elsewhere.  He -- our regular dentist -- did the crown on top of the implant though.

The worse case is a friend who is now several years into the implant process and it's still not complete.  He's had multiple surgeries to reset it, but it just won't take.
Based upon my knowledge of the process, this doesn't make sense.  I wonder if he's using a less-than qualified oral surgeon.

« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 10:20:35 AM by MrsPete »

SmoothSailing

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2017, 02:46:46 PM »
Thank you so much everyone for your replies! They have been very thoughtful.

This really helped, now we have a sense that $2,000 is not unreasonable to spend on a tooth and that people are happy with their implants.

I will tell him to find someone experienced, and make sure that he knows all the costs associated with it.

And thank you Dicey, for your compliment on his stash (which is all his). I told him what you said and he replied "it's actually a bit more than that!" Haha :)

reneeh63

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2017, 03:19:53 PM »
Implants are probably triple the cost of a crown so I doubt $2,000 would cover it...and it probably takes about 6 months for the full 2-step process.  I'd not turn my nose up at a crown - also a good percentage of the time the implant doesn't "take" because the bone didn't fill in well.  So there are complications possible.

SmoothSailing

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2017, 04:39:20 PM »
Implants are probably triple the cost of a crown so I doubt $2,000 would cover it...and it probably takes about 6 months for the full 2-step process.  I'd not turn my nose up at a crown - also a good percentage of the time the implant doesn't "take" because the bone didn't fill in well.  So there are complications possible.

Thanks! He can't get a crown because there is no tooth to attach to, but that's a good point that it might be more expensive than what he was initially quoted and that there could be complications.

civil4life

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2017, 06:09:53 PM »
I know my situation is a bit different but thought I would put it out there.  I did not have one of my front lower incisors neither baby or adult. When my parents took me to the orthodontist they suggested an implant or they could shift my teeth to fill the gap.  I opted for the latter.  I have only 3 lower incisors that are centered in the front of the mouth.  I have had future dentist that cannot even tell which one was the missing one.  One completely missed that I was missing a tooth.  I know for me I was like I did not want to have to worry about an implant somewhere down the road in my life.  I was 12 at the time.

It sounds like the $2 is worth it.  I would definitely get a few quotes.  Also is he planning to stay in his current job? 

I'm a red panda

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2017, 07:04:50 PM »
Ask for a quote for a bridge, not a crown.

My dentist told me bridges are rare now due to implants.

Dicey

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #27 on: October 29, 2017, 08:33:11 PM »
I know my situation is a bit different but thought I would put it out there.  I did not have one of my front lower incisors neither baby or adult. When my parents took me to the orthodontist they suggested an implant or they could shift my teeth to fill the gap.  I opted for the latter.  I have only 3 lower incisors that are centered in the front of the mouth.  I have had future dentist that cannot even tell which one was the missing one.  One completely missed that I was missing a tooth.  I know for me I was like I did not want to have to worry about an implant somewhere down the road in my life.  I was 12 at the time.

It sounds like the $2 is worth it.  I would definitely get a few quotes.  Also is he planning to stay in his current job?
Ha! DH had the same thing done, for different reasons. The four lower incisors were extremely crowded, and one had issues and needed a root canal. His dentist suggested removal of the tooth + orthodontia. It worked well. No one ever notices and his teeth look great!

Dmy0013

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #28 on: October 29, 2017, 10:55:45 PM »
get it fixed before the rest of his teeth start to move and 2 grand will be the least of his problems

pigpen

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2017, 10:14:40 AM »
I had a tooth pulled on the bottom right a couple years ago -- the next to last tooth (whatever that's called). I was 43 at the time. The quote I got for an implant was for something like $4,000. Since the spot isn't visible, I decided not to do anything.

I asked my father (a retired dentist) about the possibility of shifting teeth, and he didn't think that was an especially big deal at my age. I also talked to a couple of other people who had been in similar situations, did nothing, and didn't have any issues.

There's also a type of bridge that can be bonded to the adjacent teeth rather than drilled into them. These are cheaper than an implant and much less invasive. The common wisdom is that these aren't good for very long (5 years-ish). However, I have one that I had put in somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 years ago, and it's still there and looks like a normal tooth.

partgypsy

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2017, 10:42:08 AM »
Well I spent 5K on a dental implant. Honestly having an implant in there that is getting pressure from eating in addition to being esthetically pleasing, will prevent shifting of other teeth and keep your jaw stronger. Both my dentist and an oral surgeon referral highly recommended the implant as superior to a bridge for the health of surrounding teeth as well as jaw.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 10:44:45 AM by partgypsy »

GuitarStv

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2017, 11:02:12 AM »
About 25 cents.  At least the stingy tooth fair never gave me more than that for one . . .

frugaldrummer

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2017, 02:48:25 PM »
Yes, at his age, he should do it. Think of the cost over the course of his lifetime for bridges (which break and have to be replaced) and for the additional wear and tear the bridge puts on the supporting teeth.

Lanthiriel

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2017, 05:58:38 PM »
I broke one of my front teeth in half when I was 11 and had a crappy composite on it until I was about 23. I finally ponied up and got a real crown/veneer and it's made a huge difference in my confidence. I would pay for the implant, but make sure he finds a good dentist. My MIL had one crack her jawbone during the process, which involved a painful healing process and delay of getting the tooth done.

elaine amj

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2017, 06:44:31 PM »
I had a tooth pulled on the bottom right a couple years ago -- the next to last tooth (whatever that's called). I was 43 at the time. The quote I got for an implant was for something like $4,000. Since the spot isn't visible, I decided not to do anything.

I asked my father (a retired dentist) about the possibility of shifting teeth, and he didn't think that was an especially big deal at my age. I also talked to a couple of other people who had been in similar situations, did nothing, and didn't have any issues.

There's also a type of bridge that can be bonded to the adjacent teeth rather than drilled into them. These are cheaper than an implant and much less invasive. The common wisdom is that these aren't good for very long (5 years-ish). However, I have one that I had put in somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 years ago, and it's still there and looks like a normal tooth.
I had a tooth in a similar position pulled. Turned out it was a baby tooth and no adult tooth ever showed up. I was 36/37 and my dentist said most likely I would be fine. She suggested keeping an eye on it every 5-10 years in case my teeth shift. I was happy to save the money.

This year I had a problem with an old root canal and did spend the money to get it fixed. Was tempted to just pull it but ended up deciding to save it since I felt two missing teeth was too much.

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TrMama

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2017, 07:41:50 PM »
No experience with implants specifically, but my 11yo has an entire dental team, including an orthodontist and an oral surgeon. I'm looking at the invoice for the last round of work and it cost us $438/tooth to have adult teeth extracted from her jawbone. It will cost $6800 for braces when the rest of her adult teeth finish coming in.

So $2K/tooth to keep them from shifting into weird arrangements sounds perfectly reasonable. If he's got decent insurance from work, he may be able to maximize the payout by doing one tooth in one calendar year and the other the following year since policies often have a max/year payout.

I also wouldn't do dental tourism for something like this. We had to go back to the oral surgeon after that last extraction to ask about continued numbness in her lower jaw. I'm glad it was a short trip across town and I trusted his training. Of course, I'm more protective of my minor child than I might be for myself.

draco44

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2017, 10:06:33 PM »
Best of luck to the OP and the OP's brother for making the decision that's right for them.  I personally also side with the crowd saying this type of dental expense is worth it in the long run.

And re. this thread's tooth fairy jokes, in case anyone missed it there's actually relatively long-term data on the price of teeth thanks to a survey run for fun by the Delta Dental insurance company.  Planet Money ran a brief segment this March about it: http://www.npr.org/2017/03/17/520576902/how-the-tooth-fairy-helps-explain-the-rising-cost-of-parenting

Delta Dental claims that an average tooth these days is pulling in almost $5 and that for the past decade, tooth value inflation has averaged over 10 percent per year.  $5/tooth sounds like far too much to me!


SunshineAZ

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2017, 08:51:40 AM »
My kids were both born missing adult teeth (they had baby teeth, but the adult teeth underneath just didn't exist -- one tooth for the oldest, two teeth for the youngest), and we paid more than 2K per missing tooth for them to have a full mouth of real-looking teeth.  No, they aren't as good as real, natural teeth -- but they are the best thing that technology can offer today. 

Wow, my mom had this issue of no adult teeth, except for her two front teeth. (She is 69 now.)  At the age of 23, she had to have all of her teeth pulled and has worn dentures ever since.  Until now, I have never heard of anyone else having the issue with missing adult teeth.  (Both me and my brother have all our adult teeth.)  Did the dentist give you any reason for the issue?  Is it hereditary? 

/don't mean to threadjack, it is just interesting to me to finally hear of someone else with the issue.  I have always wondered about it since nobody else in my family has had this anomaly. 
 

dcozad999

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2017, 12:14:48 PM »
My bottom first molars never came in either. Had to have one of the baby teeth pulled in my mid 20's and the other in my early 30's when they started cracking (obviously they weren't intended for permanent use).

I didn't have crowns or implants put in. It's not visible so doesn't really bother me. 41 now and the dentist hasn't mentioned any bone deterioration.  Teeth are straight since I had to wear braces in my mid 30's to correct TMJ issues. Wearing the retainers at night prevents shifting.

Jenny1974

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2017, 12:32:55 PM »
I'm going through the implant process right now.  It's $2,000 and that's AFTER insurance paid half so I'd say your brother is getting a pretty good deal.

And, it's totally worth it.  Dental is one area where I would not suggest cutting corners. 

civil4life

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2017, 08:53:31 AM »
@Sunshine I am not sure of genetic component.  Neither my parents or other siblings are missing teeth.  Additionally, my upper canine teeth were impacted in the roof of my mouth.  I had to have oral surgery to remove the baby ones and chains attached to the impacted ones.  Then over about a year the 2 teeth were slowly pulled into place by tightening the chain each month with my braces adjustment.  I only developed 2 of my wisdom teeth.  Both of them impacted and removed with oral surgery.

FLBiker

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2017, 11:13:01 AM »
Having a full mouth of non-metallic teeth is extremely important to me.

Hmm, I'm not sure.  I've long wanted the maintenance free lifestyle that would come with a mouth full of metal teeth.  Sadly, I'm not joking. :)

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2017, 02:49:29 PM »
I had this recent dilemma with knee surgery. In summary, I tore my ACL and I had one of two options: (1) get knee surgery, and life would be pretty normal in 12-18 months; or (2) don't get surgery and I couldn't ever play sports or quickly move my knee without it "shifting" and being very uncomfortable. It was a similar question: what's a knee worth?

My knee surgery was going to cost $7-8k, and the decision was easy: get the surgery. I want to be able to play sports in the driveway with my kids, go on long hiking trips when I'm older, etc.

Ultimately, money comes and goes; houses come and go; material stuff comes and goes; etc. The only thing you have permanently, no matter what, forever, is your body. Take care of it as best as you can.


GuitarStv

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2017, 02:54:19 PM »
Having a full mouth of non-metallic teeth is extremely important to me.

Hmm, I'm not sure.  I've long wanted the maintenance free lifestyle that would come with a mouth full of metal teeth.  Sadly, I'm not joking. :)

I don't think it would be as maintenance free as you believe.  You would still get accumulation of biofilms in your mouth and gum disease with metal teeth, so would require pretty much the same maintenance to prevent your mouth from stinking.

NeonPegasus

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Re: What is a tooth worth?
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2017, 08:40:02 AM »
If I were in your brother's position, I'd absolutely get the implant. That is very visible.

I had a tooth pulled last year and the dentist brought up getting an implant. I decided against it but that's because it was my upper right back molar where the gap would never be seen and it due to its location, wouldn't really cause issues with teeth shifting. So far so good.