As a Kitchener Dentist, I see patients every day with decayed teeth, infected teeth and badly broken teeth. There is always a solution for bringing these teeth back to a state of health. However, sometimes fixing a tooth does not guarantee that the investment will last long-term.
For example, I saw a patient last week at my office who had a large cavity that had grown into their nerve space. Treatment to save the tooth included a root canal. It also required a large filling to repair the cavity and a crown to reinforce the compromised tooth. In Dentistry, patients often assume that a treatment will last a long time and, perhaps, forever. And I think this is because we could be doing a better job to let patients know how long we think treatments will last.
Do I want the patient above to spend $1,000 on a root canal treatment, $300 on a filling and another $1,000 on a crown if I think the tooth might break or fracture within 5 years? More importantly, do they want to spend that money for 5 more years with their tooth? They may or they may not. But, it's worth having them know about expected longevity following treatment. This way, they can make a wise decision. They should expect that kind of thorough treatment discussion with their Kitchener Dentist.
I think it will be most useful to you if I list some factors that limit long-term success with treatments designed to save teeth. This will give you a list of questions that you can ask your Kitchener Dentist about how worthwhile treatment is likely to be.
So, again, we're talking about saving teeth, here. Teeth that are infected, teeth with large cavities and teeth that are fractured. We need to establish a threshold past which we say, "it probably doesn't make to try to save this tooth". And the reason would be that treatment is costly and the tooth is not likely to last for much longer post-treatment.
Don't get me wrong, I love teeth and I think they are important. But, we have to consider value whenever we talk about embarking on treatment together. Here's a list of the factors that limit long-term survival of teeth:
Ultimately, the decision to embark on costly treatment or remove your tooth is your decision. And, that's the way it should be! Your Dentist's task is to provide you with as much relevant information as possible so you can make the best decision. And the best decision is different for different people. I've had patients that look at $2,000 of treatment to save a tooth for 3 years and say, "let's go for it and hopefully, it lasts longer than that!". Others will say, "I don't think it's worth it". So make sure to exercise your right to information and autonomy. Ask good questions that will help you to make a good decision. And then, relax and let your Kitchener Dentist take care of the rest!
Thanks for reading!
Our Kitchener Dentists are conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener and we are a short drive away for families in Kitchener, Waterloo, Breslau & Stratford.
This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.