Two Common Questions Dentists Hear

Feb 8th, 2017

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Two Common Questions Dentists Hear


A patient comes in for a regular 6 month hygiene appointment.  I discover a crack in one of their teeth.  The tooth isn’t broken. YET.   I take a picture, pull it up on our computer monitor, and begin to discuss the benefits of a preventative restoration (crown). The patient commonly responds with one or both of these questions:


“But it doesn’t hurt, why do I want to fix it?” 


“If it’s not broken, why fix it?”


My response is simple.  


“If it starts to hurt, it’s too late.”

In 13 years of practicing dentistry, tooth pain never shows up when you want it to.  It shows up on holidays, right before major vacations, and the weekend.
When pain is present in your mouth, this means the nerve is effected.   You may experience pain every time you eat, drink and on occasion every time your heart beats.
Pain is experienced when bacteria gain access to the nerve in your tooth. Each tooth has a nerve living within it.   Bacteria can make it close to a nerve by way of decay or a physical fracture or crack in a tooth.  This crack can wedge apart when force is applied and microscopic bacteria can be induced into the insides of a tooth causing even more discomfort and pain.  When this happens, more treatment such as a root canal in addition to a crown will be required to get you pain free.
Every tooth has a story. When I examine a mouth and find an area of concern, left untreated the story will continue.  The outcome of that story is very predictable. The tooth decay or crack eventually make it to your nerve requiring more extensive treatment.   This will jeopardize the longevity of the individual tooth and may even impact the adjacent teeth and supporting structures- not exactly a happy narrative.  But, the earlier you intervene in the  story, the greater chance we have at changing the ending in your favor.
Be proactive and preventative in with your oral care.  It will give you predictability in treating conditions related to the teeth, gums and oral environment.  Life is crazy and hectic.  Teeth never break on your timeline and honestly, no one ever plans to have excruciating tooth pain. Schedule a predictable treatment plan when you are NOT in pain. You get to pick the date and the time that is convenient for you and it will be a very straightforward fix. By intervening earlier in the story, you make treatment predictable and easier for you and your pocket book which is always a happy ending.  

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