But Doc, My Tooth Doesn't Hurt!
We see emergency patients in our Green Hills and Antioch offices on a daily basis. Some of you can identify with this type of dental pain and how incapacitating it can be; intense, throbbing, radiating toothaches that keep you awake at night and are impervious to Advil, Tylenol or dynamite. The discomfort on your face is visible as soon as you come through the door. We know instantly that there are only two options that are available for fast pain relief: extraction of your tooth, or a root canal and crown.
Most Emergencies Can be Avoided – Really!
What most people don’t realize, is that in nearly 90% of these emergency cases, each of the patients, sometime during the past year, were told at their cleaning appointments that the tooth needed to be fixed. They almost always said, “But Dr. Montee, it doesn’t hurt, so I’ll call you back and make an appointment”. Don’t be this patient! You are on your way to painful, unnecessarily expensive and long appointments.
The Real Reason (Delayed) Root Canals Hurt
The horror stories you hear about root canals from family, friends or read online is from something called a “hot tooth”. This condition is basically a tooth that is allowed to become severely infected from untreated decay. Unknowingly to the patient, the nerve of the tooth dies and an infection begins to grow within your bone or gum tissue. Then, the nerve becomes “hyper-inflammed” and extremely difficult to get numb – making an uncomfortable appointment for both you and your dentist.
We don’t ever want to hurt you. However, the infected area is so acidic that it prevents our anesthesia from working properly. In fact, it completely inactivates it. Sometimes, the only option we have to get you comfortable is to drill right into the tooth (remember, it isn’t fully numb) and provide anesthesia directly into the infected nerve. Yikes!
Being Proactive About Treating Problems Earlier
As dentists, we are your oral health doctors and sincerely want to help you keep your teeth. We want to ensure that you can function your entire life with a healthy and pain free mouth. When you arrive in our offices for your cleaning appointment, you are asking (and paying) your dentist to provide you with an honest appraisal of the conditions or diseases affecting your mouth.
Think for a moment. When you see your primary care physician and they tell you that you will need to come back for blood tests or a scan of a lump, do you say, “ But doc, it doesn’t hurt so I’ll call you back and make an appointment?”
Of course not! Neither would we. Yet, when your dentist tells you that you have a cavity or that your tooth needs a root canal, most people are willing to put this treatment off until it becomes a much bigger problem that won’t go away. What could have been fixed with a small filling several months ago is now a lengthy emergency root canal.
Tooth Decay is a Common, Preventable Disease
Decay is an infectious disease that spreads from tooth to tooth. In fact, it is the most common infectious disease afflicting human beings. With every passing generation, we are living longer. You’re going to need your teeth to function for decades. Dentures you say? We’ll save that for another blog, but rest assured you’ll want your natural teeth and not plastic ones.
Maybe it’s The Cost of Care That’s Discouraging
If the medical aspect hasn’t convinced you of the need to get your treatment completed fairly soon, then let’s look at another common problem: the cost of treatment.
The typical cost of a white filling ranges from $135 to $200. For those of you with insurance, your co-pay would be about 20% or $27 to $40 for that filling. Yet, we hear “I’ll wait until it hurts and call you back”.
The cost of your treatment just multiplied by 10 times!
After a root canal and the crown that covers your dead tooth, you are looking at costs of about $2,000 for single tooth preservation. Almost everyone will “max out” of their insurance benefits for the year, just treating one tooth…not to mention have a copay that you’ll need to pay out of pocket, totaling around $1,000.
We know you don’t like going to the dentist, but would you rather spend $40 for a filling or $1,000 and multiple days off work for a root canal and crown?
We’d rather you get the filling too! If you have untreated tooth decay or are starting to feel something a bit “off” with one of your teeth, contact us today to book a visit at your earliest convenience.
Contact Dr. Stan Montee or Dr. Carol Montee
Montee & Montee Dental Co. locations - Green Hills, TN 615-383-4494 or Antioch, TN 615 471-4727 www.monteedental.com