A Different Approach – People First

Today I saw a new patient, let’s call him Tom to protect his identity.  Tom has been seeing a dentist routinely for the past several years.  Nobody had pointed out any problems to him.  Tom was getting “regular” cleanings, which his insurance covered.  Now, after a thorough new patient exam, it is very clear that Tom has significant gum disease, the #1 reason for tooth loss!

If left untreated, Tom would most certainly loose many teeth not too long from now.  It is also important to note that Tom is in his 40’s and not aware of any problemsSeeing Tom every 6 months with his generalized gum disease is what I call “supervised neglect”.

This frustrates dentists like myself.  Had I seen Tom 5 years ago he would have a significantly better prognosis.  Now we need to quickly treat his gum disease to get it under control, then manage it for the rest of his life.  Even then, he has lost a lot of bone and will never have an easy time taking care of his teeth.  Tom already has multiple health issues that are exacerbated by periodontal (gum) disease.  Diabetes, heart disease, and many other killers are closely linked to gum disease.

We as dentists need to look at the person first.  Teeth are part of the person – you treat the whole body, not just the one hurting tooth.  Insurance companies limit what dentists can do in too many ways.  That is a whole different blog entry.  If you rely exclusively on your insurance company to cover what is needed, then you could end up like Tom.  If Tom decides to only do what the insurance company will cover at this point, then Tom will loose his teeth.  Does that sound fair?  I don’t think so.  You own your mouth, you own the gum disease, you loose the teeth and have to face the consequences.  Insurance companies do not care. 

At Ideal Dentistry you come first.  It does not matter who you are, you will receive the same treatment that I would choose for myself.  You deserve it.  Tom will be given the same options I would accept for myself if I was in his shoes.  Let’s see what happens…

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