This is one of the most common questions patients ask me. Very few people get up in the morning excited about their upcoming dental appt, right? Its a question that needs an honest and clear answer. Here’s the scoop: The body isn’t wired with an automatic alarm system of pain every time something is out of balance or in the beginning stages of disease. It it were so, we’d all be setting up house in doctors’ offices and hospitals. Our bodies do give us early signals that protect us against more dangerous and irreversible outcomes. The early signals include bleeding or tender gums, a bad taste, ringing in our ears, sensitivity to temperature and/or sweet food and drink, and discomfort when chewing. If we don’t pay attention to these early signs and need pain to motivate us into action, the potential for infections, tooth loss, root canal treatment, disease of the jaw joint, become much more probable outcomes.
Dentists are in the business of preservation–not only of tooth, jawbone, gum, and muscle tissue, but also of vitality, heart health, brain function, digestion, and sleep. When a dentist tells you that your large 20 year old mercury filling is cracked and needs a protective crown, he’s not going to wait for you to have pain to help you preserve the tooth. He’s recommending that you proactively cooperate with your body to help you save a valuable organ–your tooth. If you need a toothache to get you to receive needed dental care, you’re also the patient who waits for chest pain before you head to the ER! Your body is a fantastic machine and your mouth is a vital part of all it does for you!! Take care of it proactively, not re actively. If it doesn’t hurt YET, that’s an opportunity to help you receive the gift of great value-health.