The Importance of Saying Yes to the Dental Work You Need
Early detection and early treatment of dental issues is the best approach.
When dentists recommend dental work to be done, it is because we are responding to a patient’s pain response or because we anticipate a tooth becoming a problem in the future. However, as much as we’d like to, we simply do not know when the latter will happen. Dentistry is one of those gray areas of medicine where there aren’t blood tests or other indicators that patients can rely on to identify a problem. We use our skills to anticipate a problem and educate the patient to address the issue before it progresses to the point where the dental problem is both costly and painful.
A proactive approach will save the patient time and money and help them to avoid painful dental issues.
The longer a patient waits, the higher the likelihood of him/her experiencing pain. Once a patient is in pain, it is a sign that the dental problem has spread and has worsened. As the issue becomes more extensive, so too does the cost. Let’s take early decay, for example. We as dental practitioners can see decay both clinically in the mouth as well as on radiographs. The patient may not seek treatment for the decay because it is not bothering them. Fast forward a year: the decay has spread, and it is now starting to bother the patient. The patient is experiencing discomfort now because the decay has either gotten close to, or reached, the nerve itself. What would’ve needed a simple (and economical) filling a year ago now needs a crown at a minimum, and perhaps a root canal as well.
Decay is much like termites in the foundation of your home. You can’t necessarily see the evidence of their presence, despite having been made aware of it by professionals. Once it becomes apparent to the naked eye, the extent of the damage has become much more significant and costly to address.
A cracked tooth is much like a crack in the foundation of your home.
Along those same lines, a cracked tooth is also much like a crack in the foundation of your home. People often only seek treatment once the evidence of the damage has become great. Early detection and restoration (in this case with a cracked tooth, a crown on the tooth) will limit the overall damage to the tooth and give it the best long-term prognosis with the least invasive option for treatment.
No one wants to be in pain. We don’t want our patients to be in pain either. By scheduling treatment to be done prior to dental pain or a broken tooth, the patient benefits by working on their own timeline. By waiting until they are in pain, the patient is then working on the dentist’s timeline which adds to the unnecessary discomfort the patient is already experiencing.
Early detection and early treatment are equally important!
Written by Dr. Christopher King
Dr. King has been leading King Dental since 2000. In the 20-plus years since opening King Dental, his experiences have only strengthened his excitement for his chosen career. Dentistry is Dr. King’s life’s mission.