Sedation Dentist serving High Point, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and the Triad area.

Control Your Fears, Control Your Costs

Dentistry is one of the areas of healthcare that responds readily to prevention. While many in the population have little dental fear, our culture and media are replete with images of dentistry indicating that dental treatment is bothersome for most people. Phrases like “It was worse than a root canal” or “He is not going to hurt you; he is just going to look” or “You will only feel a little pinch” are common. Jokes abound with references to numb lips and tongue, dentists putting their knees on people’s chest to aid in the extraction of teeth, as well as women who state that they would rather have a child than have their teeth worked on. So how soon should you start taking care of your teeth.

Some parents still believe “If it is a baby tooth, pull it; if it is a permanent tooth, save it!” In adult life, the mantra is “If it is a front tooth, save it; if it is a back tooth, pull it!” Both beliefs lead to extremely bad results for patients and increase the cost for replacing teeth in the proper position. The amount of’trauma and fear that is imprinted on people during these dental experiences adds to the mass of people who fear the dentist.

Baby teeth (primary or deciduous teeth) are very important in preserving the space for the eruption of the adult teeth (secondary teeth or permanent teeth). They are important because early tooth loss could lead to ill-shaped and wrongly positioned teeth, which would require braces to place the teeth in the right position. Later in life, the increased need for crown and bridge restorations to replace and preserve teeth costs more.

It is not always easy to differentiate between baby teeth and adult teeth. Radiographs (X-ray representation) of’teeth will also reveal that some primary teeth do not have secondary successors, and many adults retain primary teeth throughout their lives. Early loss of baby teeth can lead to the non-eruption of adult teeth or their eruption in abnormal positions.

Abnormally positioned teeth are harder to maintain and do not function as well as properly positioned teeth. Abnormally positioned teeth produce a malocclusion (teeth coming together in an unfavorable way) that can contribute to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and the inability to properly clean areas between these teeth. This creates a breeding ground fo

Back teeth were designed to bear the pressure of the clenching jaws, while front teeth are designed for incising or cutting. Partially erupted, unerupted, or erupted wisdom teeth in bad positions may need to be extracted as soon as possible. Your dentist can help you in making that determination. The other back teeth crush food and also keep the chewing muscles in shape, as well as supporting the structures of the face. The better shape the facial muscles are in, the less collapsed the appearance of’the face.

Extracting one of these back teeth leads to a slow drifting of the teeth on either side, as well as movement of the opposing tooth toward the spot where the missing partner tooth was. These movements lead to widening spaces and/or slanting teeth, as well as less ability to chew food properly. Eventually, loss of enough back teeth without replacement means more pressure will be on the front teeth that are not designed for this purpose. Spreading of the front teeth and/or collapse of the opposing teeth leads to Correcting early baby teeth loss can save thousands of’dollars in braces, as well as bridgework and implants. Keeping back teeth by doing procedures like root canals followed by crowns is very important to preventing collapse of the lower face. Procedures such as extractions, followed by bone graft ing and implant placement, help to preserve the integrity of the oral structures. Later in the book, we will show how spending a little more up front can save major rehabilitative expenses later on.

Fear of the dentist in any form can prevent patients from taking advantage of the many new developments in dental care. This can create savings that result from doing small procedures instead of large procedures. One filling, to stop a cavity from getting into the nerve, costs approximately one-tenth the cost to do a root canal, post and core and crown, restoring the tooth once the decay got into the nerve and infected it.

Recent advancement in sedation dentistry allows most people to have their necessary dental work done. The more involved the dental work, the more costly it will be. It is up to patients to take some responsibility in finding a’sedation dentist if fear is what keeps them from having their dental work done.

If patients practiced effective prevention, they would only need major procedures by choice, genetics, wear and tear of the dentition, or as a result of trauma. Microbiologic’studies indicate that the bacterial buildup that leads to plaque and calculus development takes place over the course of three months. If you are really serious about prevention, you should have a preventive visit to the dentist every three months.

In the following pages, you will learn ways of safeguarding you and your family’s dental health in such a way that you will spend less in the long run on dental care. For people who have long since lost the battle to preserve their teeth and supporting bone, there is hope. Extensive research and procedures for growing and grafting new bone, as well as three-dimensional imaging systems, help dentists simulate existing conditions and plan the rebuilding of’the mouth and supporting structures.


Chapter 3: Building a Good Foundation for Good Dental Health