April 26, 2010
Today I would like to discuss the wide range of treatment choices available to patients today. As I discussed in an earlier post, all treatment decisions must begin with an appropriate examination and diagnosis. After a diagnosis has been made, a discussion should now ensue between the patient and the dentist which should outline all the treatment options available , the implications of the various options, and the implications of no treatment.
One of the important aspects of treatment choices is the priority of the problem. A cornerstone of our practice is that we must treat and control active disease and/or pain. Unfortunately, dental diseases are progressive, which means they will continue to get worse without treatment. Tooth decay, gum disease and bite instability(tooth wear, jaw joint pain, mobile teeth) all get worse without intervention. Obviously, the earlier the dental team can address these issues, the easier and less costly the treatment will be. So, in our office, these areas must be addressed. It should be noted that a patient does have the right to refuse treatment but only after being informed of the problem and the implications of no treatment.
After we have addressed our active disease issues, we now get into areas that allow more choices to treat an individuals concerns. If a patient is unhappy with their smile, a number of options are available usually. Some might be simple, such as bleaching and/or cosmetic bonding and others may be much more comprehensive such as essentially rebuilding a dentition that has been severely damaged. The most important point that I would like to conclude with is that any treatment decision should be made only after the patient is educated about their particular problem so the patient can make the proper treatment decision for themselves.
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