Monthly Archives: July 2018

Disparity in Emergency Dental Care?

My husband and I ended up having simultaneous toothaches. We don’t usually go to a dentist, which is probably why we ended up with toothaches to begin with. We saw separate emergency dentists because we both wanted to be seen right away. Somehow, even though we had the same symptoms, I ended up with a root canal treatment and dental crown and he just received a simple filling. What’s up with the disparity of treatment? Did I get an overtreatment?

Angela

Dear Angela,

Woman grabbing her jaw in need of an emergency dentist

There are a lot of reasons for a toothache. It’s very likely you both received the perfect treatment from your emergency dentists because you had different causes for your pain. A root canal treatment and crown are usually the result of a dental infection. Your husband may have just needed a filling. I do realize he had a toothache as well. But, everyone has a different pain threshold. Maybe your problem had been brewing for a while, but your tolerance for pain is much better than your husband’s. That gave your decay more time to spread, reaching the pulp and requiring a root canal treatment.

I’m a tad concerned that neither of the dentists you went to seemed to have explained your diagnosis or why you needed the treatments they provided. This should be standard procedure. While I’m glad you received timely treatment when you needed it, I don’t think either of these dentists are ones you’d want to settle with as your permanent dentists.

The Easiest Way to Avoid Needing an Emergency Dentist

You mentioned that neither of you regularly see a dentist. In my experience, there are usually two reasons that people avoid seeing a dentist regularly. The first is financial. Without insurance, it can be hard to afford dental care. If you’ve found yourself in that situation, I’d do an internet search for an affordable dentist. They’re usually more willing to work with patients on payment options. But, be careful, don’t confuse cheap with affordable.

When talking about affordability, the sooner a problem is caught the less expensive the treatment. For instance, regular checkups catch decay early enough where you can have a small filling. If you wait, then the decay can become too large for a filling requiring a dental crown. If you wait even longer, it becomes an infection requiring a root canal treatment. If you wait longer, you’ll either lose the tooth requiring an expensive tooth replacement or lose your life because the infection spreads to your heart or brain.

The second reason people avoid the dentist is fear. Often dental anxiety stems from a traumatic experience in the dental chair as a child. If either of you get a tiny bit unsteady and nervous about the idea of a dental exam or if you have trouble getting numb, then you probably have some degree of dental anxiety.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Try going to a sedation dentist. This will give you a stress-free and pain-free appointment. Many who’ve feared the dentist for years find it completely changes their outlook and they’re able to go to the dentist without the fear they’ve battled for years.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.

Safest Way to Travel for Dental Implants?

I need to travel for dental implants because I live in a remote area. There are dentists here, but they’d send me to the city for an oral surgeon. That’s two hours away. So, I figured if I have to travel I might as well find the best implant dentist I can, even if it means longer travel. I know not to do dental tourism. That’s not what I’m talking about. I plan on staying in the United States. I just need to know what to do to give this type of thing its best shot.

Michelle

Dear Michelle,

Dental Implant Diagram

It’s great that you’re planning ahead. That will be one of the keys to your successful outcome. I’m also glad to hear you’re not doing dental tourism. I could tell you about a recent case a colleague of mine saw. A woman flew to Mexico. She said flying there three times was cheaper than getting the work done locally. Unfortunately, when she came into our office, the whole right side of her face was swollen from a massive infection. On top of that the implant itself was loose and cracked. She’d gone back to the original dentist who said he did everything correctly and there’s nothing else which he could do for her and sent her on the way. He didn’t even give her an antibiotic.

Your situation is different. And, yes, if you’re going to have to travel anyway, you might as well try to get the best implant dentist possible.

Choose Your Implant Dentist Carefully

You’ll want a dentist who has extensive training post dental school. Here are some reputable places where they can get training:

  • Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI)
  • Midwest Implant Institute
  • Pankey Institute
  • Kois Center
  • Dawson Academy

There are others, but these are among the best.

In addition to this training, you want the dentist to have the correct surgical training as well. There’s less chance of error or miscommunication if the surgeon and implant dentist is the same person.

Meet with the Implant Dentist for an Extensive Consultation Ahead of Time

The dentist needs to know that you will be traveling. One of the issues which needs to be discussed is the emergency protocol he’d prefer in your situation. If something is going on, will he do a skype call to evaluate you or will he want you to come to his office?

Budget Carefully for Your Dental Implant Appointments

There are quite a few appointments necessary when it comes to dental implants. You could expect around six appointments, such as the consultation, surgery, post-op checks, healing checks, impression appointments, and placement appointments. What you don’t want is to get partway through your appointments and run out of money for travel.

Consider You’re Having Surgery

You won’t be able to travel home immediately after your surgery. Ideally, it would be nice if you were able to find a qualified implant dentist in an area where you have a friend or relative you could stay with for a couple of days after the surgery. If that’s not possible, just have someone come with you for the actual surgery, who can stay with you until the next day and then help you get home.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.