Thursday, May 19, 2011
Some people that come to see me for the first time are a wreck. They're in pain and they're fearful. They know they waited too long to have their teeth cared for.
So I ask them, "why DID you wait so long?" The answers are always one of three: 1.) I was afraid it would hurt 2.) I was afraid it would be expensive, and 3.) I don't have insurance.
Sadly these concerns ALWAYS turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Most big problems start out as something small. A cracked filling probably doesn't hurt (most people don't even realize they're cracked) and might cost $200 to replace. Untreated, bacteria will enter the crack and over a few months encroach on the nerve. NOW it hurts! But now a simple filling is no longer an adequate solution. At the very least, the inflamed nerve has to be removed (root canal) to stop the pain, and the now weakened tooth will need a crown. Our fearful patient has made his concerns a reality … his $200 replacement filling has become a $3000 reconstruction. Oh, and did I mention the pain?
The only way to know if you have little problems that need to be caught early is by regular dental examinations. TEETH GENERALLY DON’T HURT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE! I can’t overstate that. The mouth has a very poor "early warning system." But exams and radiographs are pretty affordable, maybe $150 – 200 for complete screening. And it’s not just the teeth we examine, but also the health of the gums, the ligaments that hold teeth in place, bone health, PLUS we screen for oral cancer and oral manifestations of systemic issues, such as diabetes.
We, and by this I’m speaking for quality oriented, patient-centered dentists, are trained to protect your health, keep you comfortable, and ultimately reduce your costs. Let us help you! We love keeping our patients happy.
As a final thought, which would you think more prudent, changing your oil every 3000 miles, or replacing the engine every couple years?