How many teeth do you want to save?

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Sometimes patients avoid the dentist out of fear or shame. They have let themselves go to a point where they cannot fathom anyone looking into their mouth and judging the condition of neglect.

Finding someone who will not judge but being excited about an opportunity to help another human is how most dentists should view the patient. However, this is not always true.

Some dentists will come up with an ideal treatment plan that could lead to tens of thousands of dollars on the initial meeting. This can be completely overwhelming for a patient who just meet you. They have two questions in mind.

Are you going to hurt me?
Are you going to take advantage of me?
In all cases, a calming, non-judgmental spirit should be kept.

Initially, when a dentist evaluates the mouth, they will look for infection – tooth and gums. They will look for abscesses, signs of periodontal disease and obvious decay as well as oral cancer. Not all signs are obvious so x-rays are essential to see what the condition of the mouth is at that current state.

The big question is, how did the patient come to find themselves in this condition? The next big question is if fixed, what will prevent it from starting again.

We love to do a “catch-up” session in order to just get back to base zero and then build upon that depending upon what the patient CAN and WILL do otherwise it is pointless.

Gaining momentum at the dentist is what we strive to do. Many times decay can be like a flat tire – there is an optimum time to fix it where it is relatively inexpensive compared to the other alternatives – getting a new car.

So, how many teeth do you want to keep? If it is just the front teeth, it won’t be long before they are gone as well. Teeth need each other for support. Even though we all want to look good and chew, there will be a time that replacements are necessary. Sometimes it is essential that certain teeth are kept as anchors to replacement teeth. Sometimes just because a tooth is fixable doesn’t mean that it will be there in five years.

How long will it last? Well, that depends on how well you take care of it and when is the next time that it will be checked.