People who avoid the dentist for many years may sometimes believe that their situation is hopeless. They may have pain, swelling, broken teeth or a variety of other dental conditions. Dental fear, phobia or financial limitations may compound the problem. In my experience, patients often overestimate the extent of their dental problems. A broken tooth on one side of the mouth and a lost cavity filling on the other side can seem overwhelming, even though treatment could be relatively simple and require only a visit or two. Of course there are those who have multiple dental problems and will require comprehensive dental care.
If you are concerned about the condition of your teeth, you should first see a dentist for a complete dental exam. The dentist should let you know what treatment is required, including: alternative treatment options; approximate number of visits; potential for discomfort; expected outcome of the treatment; and the treatment cost. If you have dental insurance, you may want to have your treatment proposal sent to the insurance company for a better estimate of how much of your treatment is covered. If you are not comfortable with the dentist or the office staff, you should consider getting a second opinion.
In most cases, infected teeth (those requiring a root canal or tooth extraction) and gums should be treated first. Deep cavities and teeth that require dental crowns and dental bridges should then be treated. Removable partial dentures should be treated next. Dental implant surgery can often be done in the preliminary stages of treatment because several months will be needed for them to heal prior to using them to replace teeth. Proper planning and sequencing of treatment is one of the most important aspects of dental care.
In some cases, the amount of treatment may be extensive and beyond the financial reach for the patient. These patients should consider getting treatment performed at an area dental school or hospital based dental residency program. The cost of treatment in these programs is usually substantially lower than a private practice dentist, but it also takes much more time for treatment to be completed.
Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.