Tag: periodontal disease

Put Your Health First

Why do you see a dentist?

Is it because you think you should?

Are you worried about loosing your teeth?

Do you want a beautiful white smile?

Everybody sees a dentist for their own reasons. Today I would like to talk a little about what every dentist should do first and foremost – Protect and restore your whole body health.

This seems like an obvious “duty” of a dentist, as there is nothing more important than your body. BUT, I see new patients weekly that have many fillings, crowns, veneers, you name it but their oral health, and consequentially their body health, is very poor. When I explain to them that we need to take a step back and look at the infections, including the gum disease, first, they are surprised – nobody has mentioned this before and they just had their teeth cleaned not too long ago, and everything was fine.  How sad is that.

All new patients in my office go through a very thorough exam and presentation. Then I present treatment plans based in a simple 3 step process:

1: Infections: Gum disease, bone infections, hopeless teeth, etc.

2. Decay: Tooth decay, fractures, broken fillings, etc.

3. Esthetics and Function: Veneers, nightguards, etc.

I never veer from this order as that would be unethical. It seems that #1 above, especially gum disease, gets neglected most of the time. It is no surprise that the #1 reason for malpractice lawsuits is the failure to diagnose periodontal (gum) disease.

So, after you had a consultation with your dentist make certain #1 above comes first, your health depends on it!

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…