We could also perhaps name this…..”How do I know if my dentist and I are on the same page?”
While there are an infinite number of variations on this theme, you can break it down into 2 basic groups of dentists. While both can serve you well, given how important the doctor-patient trust relationship is, I recommend you be willing to ask questions of your dentist and his/her team to make sure that you have the same goals for your mouth and dental health. Here are the 2 basic breakdowns:
(1) “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Dentists who subscribe to this theory generally don’t recommend any treatment until something actually hurts or breaks or is obviously decayed. In other words, let’s say you have a tooth with a crack in it, such as the ones I showed in this post from January ’09: Cracks in Teeth. This group of dentists generally won’t say anything about these teeth unless it actually starts hurting you or the tooth breaks. Given that it is impossible to actually predict when a tooth like that will break or hurt, you may go for many years with teeth in that condition, so the ADVANTAGE of this philosophy is that you don’t spend any money until it actually happens. The DISADVANTAGE is that – when the tooth finally breaks and/or hurts, it is generally in much worse condition than if treated earlier, which means that it will probably be more expensive to fix. Plus, of course, you might have to deal with the pain, and for some reason, these things always happen on nights or weekends when the dentist isn’t available.
(2) “Here’s a potential problem; let’s go ahead and fix it now before it breaks and hurts.”
In this philosphy of care, the dentist will evaluate you for all current and potential problems, inform you, and give you the option of choosing to have the treatment done before the tooth breaks and/or hurts. Of course, the dentist should NEVER try to force you into anything – always remember that you are the ultimate decider of when to have your treatment done. But if you have some trouble brewing in your mouth, wouldn’t you prefer to get it fixed before it gets really bad? Before it gets more expensive? Before you have to suffer?
It’s probably pretty obvious which philosophy we choose at Smiles by Payet Dentistry – #2. We will inform you of any and all problems that we see. We’ll give your our recommendations based on the years of experience and advanced training and available research. We’ll tell you what treatment options you can choose. And then we will sit back and let you decide how much to do, when to do it, and how you want to do it. Please ask us questions until you feel completely comfortable, and don’t worry that you’re hurting our feelings if you decide to wait.
We understand that you will be ready when you’re ready, and we are here to help you when you are. Our goal is simply to make sure that you are fully informed so that you can make the best choice for yourself. Call us for an appointment, or request one through our website by clicking here: Request an Appointment.