By Dr. Robert Wolanski, Lakeside Dental Clinic
Everyday I see a patient in our office who has booked an appointment because they’re in severe pain. The majority of these patients have not had an examination by a dentist in many years.
The two most common reasons they have not visited a dentist are dental phobias and fears, and the perceived cost of treatment. In our office we do not judge these decisions, but rather understand their decisions.
The purpose of this article is to describe the disadvantages of waiting until things hurt, and potential solutions for both circumstances.
First, there’s the dental phobic patient. These patients exhibit a wide spectrum of fear and anxiety about having dental procedures done. In most cases this is a form of PTSD related specifically to having had an unpleasant experiences in a dental office.
Many such patients can be treated with understanding and kindness to allow them to get past their fears. With more severe cases, the only way to provide treatment is with pharmaceutical techniques, including the use of intravenous sedatives, which we are capable of doing in our office. For highly fearful patients this is the only solution that will help them get the dental treatment they need. We have been able to help many patients in this regard over the years for which we are very grateful at Lakeside Dental Clinic.
Second is the perceived cost of dentistry. Without question, the cost of dentistry becomes greater as the dental disease and damage progresses. It’s very much like having a car that never gets its oil checked or changed, ultimately resulting in expensive repairs, and in some cases the engine cannot be saved.
The cost of a dental examination is low in comparison to waiting until things hurt and require more extensive treatment. In some cases, patients wait too long and we’re not able to save the teeth at all.
A long-term dental treatment plan can also be created that allows for dental expenses to be spread across a longer time. Financial plans are also available to help manage the expense. The cost of repairing a tooth when it becomes painful versus a tooth with early decay can be more than 10 times as much. We encourage people who have not had a dental examination for a number of years to visit a dentist to reduce the risk of pain and suffering, time off from work, and to minimize the cost.