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I recently went to the dentist, and it looks like I have a tooth that needs to be removed. My dentist is suggesting that I get an implant to replace the extracted tooth, but I’m not sure this is the right choice. I’ve heard some not-so-great things about implants, and I know they’re really expensive.

Are implants a good idea?

My jaw hurts — or maybe it’s my tooth (or maybe it’s several teeth). I know I should go see someone about it, but I’m not sure who I need to see. Is this a case for a doctor or a dentist? It seems too severe to be something that a dentist can fix, and I think it’s probably something serious to do with my jaw. What if I need surgery? Do dentists do surgery? I really don’t know where to start, experts, so please give me some help.

When I was a kid, I had all kinds of orthodontic work done. I had it all: braces, expanders, retainers, you name it. I hated all this stuff, but my mother always used to say that it was better to get dental work done young. “You don’t want to be wearing this stuff when you’re older,” she said.

Well, guess what: I’m a freshman in college, and my orthodontist thinks I need yet another round of braces. What is with this? How can I need braces now if I already had them (and a bunch of other stuff) as a kid?