Correct treatment for a dens in dente

Dr. Hall,
I had a case called dent in denti (tooth within a tooth). This strange tooth got an abscess and wasn’t subsiding with antibiotics. I had a root canal done and then had the tooth extracted. Now what are my options?
Victoria, from Victoria, Australia

Victoria,
You refer to a condition called dens in dente, which in Latin means “tooth within a tooth”, and what happens is you have a deep pit, almost like an inverted small tooth, that grows within another tooth, almost always a lateral incisor. A dentist should pick this up on routine x-rays and fix it before it gets to be a problem, and if so, it will require a simple filling. In my practice, I would clean out the pit really well and then fill it and seal it over with a white composite filling, and the issue was done.

But if it isn’t caught preventively, the pit can decay, and since the pit goes very deep into the tooth, the cavity will progress quickly to an infected tooth, requiring a root canal treatment.

Anyway, this tooth has been extracted, and you need it replaced. That can be done with either a dental implant, a dental bridge, or a removable partial denture. The cheapest replacement would be with a dental flipper.
– Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

Can I use a flipper to make my teeth look straight?

I have teeth that are not straight. I was wondering if I could get a flipper that could go over all my teeth and make my smile look straight. I don’t want to go and pay a lot to go and get braces when it takes a long time … and is more painful. thanks
– Taylor from New York

Taylor,
A dental flipper is used to replace one or more missing teeth, and it snaps onto your existing teeth with a small wire clasp.

What could work for you is a Snap-On Smile. This snaps over your teeth, and could work if you have crooked teeth – it will make them look straight.

But especially if you have teeth that stick out a little, the Snap-On Smile would have to be made even a little extra bulky. It might not look great for you. I’d recommend going to an excellent cosmetic dentist so you get an honest opinion about how this would look.

If it’s the pain of braces and the long time it would take, the best thing may be Invisalign invisible braces. It takes about half the time of conventional braces – most cases can be done within 9 months to a year. And there are no painful brackets or wires. I’d check that out.
– Dr. Hall

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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