Working in an urgent care dental setting, I can tell you that the number one reason people are in my chair is pain. These patients, for the most part, have known for a while that something was not right, but "it didn't hurt until now". Patients ask me all the time when to expect pain or why one tooth hurts when another doesn't. The answer is that teeth play by no rules. I have seen people with large cavities, broken teeth, infection and not one bit of pain, and others with small cavities that are super sensitive to cold. What I will tell you is that is is far more common for me to encounter those with big problems and no pain than those with small problems and some pain.
This is why it is so important to have your teeth checked and treated before the pain starts. For the most part, when you start having that kind of discomfort or toothache that motivates you to get in my chair, we are usually looking at more extensive and more expensive treatment. For example, you come in with a throbbing toothache, infection and the tooth is broken. If this tooth is a molar and requires a root canal and crown to fix - the cost could easily be upwards of $2,000 to fix this tooth. Now if this was caught before the pain started, before the infection formed, before the cavity grew into the nerve of the tooth, that tooth could have potentially received a filling for $200- $400 - a fraction of the cost. If I were to ask you to pick -
1. spend $2000, several hours of treatment and a couple days of extreme pain before being able to see a dentist or
2. a few hundred dollars, an hour in the dental chair and no pain
- which would you choose. Of course you would choose to save your money and have no pain.
So my questions is why do so many patients choose pain? I suppose most of my patients would say they don't choose this pain. Yes, I get that dental care is not available for everyone, or the cost can prohibit one from seeking care. I also realize that fear is a big motivator to keep people from coming until they feel like they have no choice. What I want my patients to realize is that by putting off treatment, it actually worsens the two major reasons you are avoiding the visit. First, they cost of treatment go up over time because the treatment is more extensive, also the treatment can be more invasive causing more fear of the treatment. The answer is PREVENTION.
Prevention starts when you aren't in pain. You actually may have no idea that you have a problem brewing. Cavities like to start in or between teeth, and most cause not a single symptom when they are small. By having a comprehensive exam, which includes x-rays and the dentist looking at all your teeth, small cavities can be diagnosed and treated. This conserves more natural tooth structure from being lost, strengthens the tooth, prevents pain and avoids larger more costly procedures. So find a dentist you can trust, one you aren't fearful of and have this exam done. At least you will know if there is something that needs treatment, and you will have the opportunity to address it before it forces you to come in by being a huge pain in so many ways.
At Simple Dental Urgent care we can provide you with a comprehensive exam, x-rays and a plan for your dental health. Just click the 'Contact Me" link at the top of the page to get started.