Trusting your Bartlesville Dentist

Question: It's been about a year since I have been to see a dentist. I recently moved, and my new dentist told me that I have 6 cavities and need several crowns. I had no idea this was the case, because I thought everything felt great, and I haven't had any pain. I am not sure if I should go back to this dentist, because I'm not sure I believe that I have any dental problems. What should I do?

Answer: This is a very common question from new patients, and the answer is not a simple one. There are several possibilities for why patients question the validity of their dentist's diagnosis. The patient could be apprehensive of having the treatment performed, may not completely understand what needs to be done or why (perhaps because of an insufficient explanation), or may not like the chair-side manner of the dentist or staff. For whatever reason, the patient does not trust the dentist.

When a patient has qualms about recommended treatment, they should always ask questions. A good question for the dentist in the example given would be to ask how it is possible to have so many cavities and need several crowns yet experience no pain.

This gives the Bartlesville dentist the opportunity to explain that the majority of cavities do not have any symptoms. It is not until the cavity has been left untreated and progressed to the point of being fairly deep that patients begin to experience sensitivity to temperature extremes or to touch. By the time the cavity has reached the point of pain, it will often require a root canal to be properly treated. It is relevant at this point to remember that pain is not always an accurate gauge for the onset of dental or medical problems. Much like dental disease, medical conditions like heart disease and numerous cancers often develop in an unsuspecting person who does not experience any pain.

If a tooth has extensive damage, has a large filling that is broken, or has undergone root canal therapy, a crown is the recommended course of treatment on most back teeth. The crown is mounted over the tooth that is damaged to help restore its previous appearance and strength. In most of these cases, the tooth will not have any symptoms that are realized by the patient.

An open dialogue about what dental problems the patient has, and what treatment alternatives are available to them is the best approach for a good patient-dentist relationship. If you are still skeptical about the problems that your dentist has diagnosed, ask them to show you the problems on your x-rays, with an intra-oral camera, or by some other method.

If you are apprehensive about the treatment needed, ask what things the dentist can do to alleviate your dental fears and make your visit as comfortable as possible.

Last but not least, you should always trust your instincts. If you sense that something just doesn't feel right about what your dentist is telling you, you should get a second opinion. Your dentist will not mind that you want another opinion if he or she is honest and has integrity.