By Gerald P. Curatola, D.D.S.
1. Don’t Wait ‘Til It Hurts. This old adage continues to ring true today. So many patients procrastinate a checkup or treatment simply because of the false notion that “nothing hurts.” Gum disease is a silent, painless, progressive killer of teeth that is also a source of chronic low-grade inflammation to the whole body. Tooth decay is also painless until it becomes deep, which puts you at risk of needing more extensive dentistry such as root canal treatment.
2. Plan your work and work your plan. Always get a prioritized treatment plan for the problems that may exist in your mouth. Even if you cannot do all the treatment at the same time, you can get your treatment done in order of importance or necessity to minimize incurring unnecessary costs from disconnected “patchwork” dentistry.
3. Good dentistry may be expensive, but not as much as bad dentistry. Many patients try to “shop” for the cheapest dentist they can find. Often, unknowingly these patients can find themselves in inexperienced hands or with a dentist who uses inferior materials or laboratory services, resulting in ill-fitting dental appliances or dentistry that fails or breaks down quickly.
4. Change the oil. The same way that you need to maintain that new car that you drive off the lot, many patients finish large treatment plans and do not understand the need for follow up care or maintenance. Besides the obvious benefits of prevention, the periodic maintenance is a key component of your ability to function with any restorative treatment you may receive, and the ability of this dentistry to last – including fillings, to veneers, crowns, implants and dentures.
5. The head bone’s connected to the neck bone. In other words, your mouth is very much a reflection of what can be going on in the rest of your body, and the oral/systemic link is a major topic of interest in medical research. In fact, oral disease puts you at greater risk of diseases of your heart, brain, liver, and pancreas to name a few. Conversely, good oral health is linked to living a longer and healthier life. Keep those regular dental checkups and cleanings.