They Told Me That I Need…

I don’t care who you hear that from, doctor, contractor, auto mechanic. It makes no difference. “You need” is a very confusing term. Do you need it? Or would it be a good idea to have it? Or might it be something that you might “want” rather than need?

It’s a battle to determine needs. In dentistry, the primary need is the removal of infection. Those needs come in three forms, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and the results of tooth decay, the dental abscess. And yes, there is the fourth need: to get out of pain, the result of decay. 

The least expensive portions of dentistry are the most straightforward treatments. Tooth extraction is the least expensive treatment for all of the above. I’m not saying it’s the best treatment. It’s the cheapest treatment to remove a toothache and an infection. 

The wants are different. “I want to save my teeth.”  “I want to decorate my teeth.”  “I want to restore my broken down teeth.” “I want to treat the periodontal disease and save my teeth.” “I want dental implants rather than dentures.”  All of those procedures require time and technical expertise to do them correctly. And yes, there are varying levels of training by the dentists who do these procedures. There are specialists in every one of the fields above who have trained well beyond dental school to provide exceptional levels of expertise to accomplish those procedures. 

So look at needs and wants. When presented with a large treatment plan, ask what is needed and what might be wanted. You may choose to do it all or subdivide it based on the answer to “Can we separate this into needs and wants?” --

Dr. Lee Sheldon

   Oral Diagnostician