As summer approaches many people will be setting out for their summer vacations.This is meant to be a time to kick back, relax and enjoy some time without the stresses of everyday life. However, as many people find out every year, a toothache can quickly ruin a good time. I just saw a patient this week, that was planning his honeymoon. He came in with an infection but did not want treatment until after he returned from in vacation. My advice - don't put off your dental work. The risk people run into is that teeth are very unpredictable. They may not hurt for years and years,even when there is an active infection, and then out of no where BAM!!! Swelling, severe pain, agony.
We are taught in dental school that one choice every patient has is NO TREATMENT. In the dental field we see this everyday. We make a diagnosis, advice the patient of their condition, and the patient goes home with antibiotics, never to return. Unfortunately, this rarely works out to be the better option for patients. Whether it is vacation, a wedding, or a holiday break, it seems that teeth like to flare up at the most inconvenient of times. Most of this can be prevented and is a good reason why you should have a dental check up even if you don't have any tooth pain.
At a new patient examination appointment, a patient should expect a x-ray and clinical exam performed by a licenced dentist. The dentist will be evaluating any condition that is causing a problem, as well as those the patient is not even aware of. The dentist will then present their treatment recommendations to you. If you ask, the dentist can even help guide you through which things are top priority and the highest risk of causing you pain and problems in the near future. These are the things you want to get treated right away. If you cannot afford the recommended treatment, ask if there are any alternative treatment options. While you may not want to have a tooth extracted, sometimes its the most affordable answer to keep you out of pain. By leaving the tooth untreated I would fully expect to end up with a toothache at sometime. Don't let that be during the most inconvenient time. Treat it and be done with it!!! You will be much happier being on the side of prevention than waiting until pain dictates your treatment.
So go ahead, plan that vacation but also take a trip to your dentist. I know it is the last thing on your mind when you are looking forward to your adventure. Make sure everything is looking god so you can enjoy that time and money you have invested in your trip.
- Dr. Grooms