Please Call Before It Hurts...
Anyone who has had a toothache will tell you it is never a pleasurable experience. Tooth pain is intense. Infected gums are extremely uncomfortable.
The Murphy’s Law of Dentistry is that teeth have a tendency to break at the worst of times.
Emergency dental care is more expensive, less convenient, and more uncomfortable than routine preventive care. On the flip side, it costs less and hurts less to fix teeth before they become a problem. Unfortunately, human nature makes it easy for us to put off preventive dental care. Add to that estimates showing nearly 75% of U.S. adults have some dental phobia and there are a lot of teeth out there NOT getting fixed.
Why go through the cost and trouble of dental treatment on a tooth that doesn’t hurt? If it ain’t broke, why go fix it?
Life would be easier for dentists and patients alike if small cavities, microscopic fractures, failing silver fillings, and early stages of gum disease caused a little more patient discomfort. Technology is helping to detect these problems at earlier stages where they can be treated less invasively, more affordably, and with less pain. If all those injured teeth could be fixed before they hurt, then dental visits would be more pleasant and more affordable.
There is no one solution to this epidemic of failing teeth. In dental school, dentists were taught to educate their patients. The days of the flip chart have passed and we now have the ability to show patients their own cracked teeth with digital photography. Digital x-rays can be zoomed and cropped and colorized to show flossing cavities to the untrained eye. Specialized videos, 3-D models, and tablet computers can be used to show the effects of gum disease up close and personal. Today, we can educate our patients to the hilt.
Still, many failing teeth go untreated.
On a broad scale, dentistry must fit into your needs, your life, and your budget. The job of a good dental team is to show you what is going on in your mouth and to present you with some options to keep your mouth healthy and pain free. At the end of the day, dentistry must fit into your life and your priorities.
When the time comes, your dental team will be there with open arms. We got into this profession to help people and to prevent pain. If possible, though, please call us a day or two before that tooth starts to hurt.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.