What Preventive Dentistry Means To You

You go on a regular dental visit and discover you need some restorative work to keep your teeth healthy. You were hoping to get your teeth whitened, but your dentist suggests placing a crown first. You might feel confused, after all, whitening is easier and doesn’t take as long, so why get that crown first?

Phoenix Dental Care“It’s always a good idea to ask your dentist if you don’t understand a procedure or how something will be handled,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix cosmetic dentistry office. “If you don’t understand the procedure, your dentist wants you to talk about it. Most dentists work from the idea of appropriate restorative treatment,” and that is a series of steps you need to know about,” she continues.

Appropriate restorative treatment starts with the basic of every medical decision, “First, do no harm.” This is part of the Hippocratic Oath, a version of which almost every doctor and dentist takes as part of the ethics of healing.

“Preventive medicine is about planning a good outcome for the patient,” says Dr. Ford. “’Preventive’ means more than not having any problems. Preventive means making decisions along the way that do the most good over the long run,” she adds.

Your dentist sees a problem in your mouth and the first thought, even before figuring out how to repair the tooth that needs the crown, is the idea that steers the decision-making process – how not to create more problems than can be solved. The dentist considers the least invasive procedure that can be done to provide the patient with a healthy tooth that will last for a long while.

When looking at decay, your dentist will first consider the most conservative treatment that can have the longest-lasting effect. Can this tooth be restored adequately with a filling? If the work of placing a filling requires so much of the tooth structure to be lost that the tooth structure is impaired, an inlay or crown may be the best choice.

Before the dentist speaks to you, the thought process is complete—this is a tooth with decay so extensive it needs a crown to keep it intact. Removing the decay and protecting the use of the tooth is more important than whitening and ignoring the state of the decay.

The same decision is made whenever a tooth is removed. Will an implant work not only now but also in the future? Will this implant be the anchor to a bridge?

Preventive dental care not only helps you stay healthy in the short run, but also “includes the detection of disease in asymptomatic patients with screening or diagnostic testing and preventing the spread of communicable diseases.” When your dentist practices preventive medicine, he is not only protecting you, but also your family and the community.

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