“But Doc, Nothing Hurts…”
It is a daily occurrence for a patient to ask me if their needed dental work can wait, because “nothing is hurting.” It is a fair and honest question. Human nature often gives us a lack of appreciation for things we cannot see or feel. It is hard to see inside your own mouth and dental diseases usually don’t cause discomfort until they have reached advanced stages. However, in most cases, my answer is waiting only will make the problems worse.
Waiting until “it hurts” is a poor idea for a few reasons. First, there is pain that could have been avoided. Second, the treatment of advanced-stage diseases often is more invasive and expensive when compared to the treatment that would have corrected the problems earlier. Third, when dental disease causes pain, it usually means irreversible damage.
An example is a decayed tooth (cavity). Early on, there usually is no pain whatsoever. If a dental restoration is placed at this point, the tooth will often live a long healthy life. However, if the decay is allowed to grow and expand, additional healthy tooth structure becomes decayed. It still probably doesn’t hurt at all. It only starts to cause pain when that decay spreads to reach the tooth’s nerve. When it does start hurting, the pain can be quite severe. At this point, the tooth requires invasive work at a cost 7 times more than that little filling early on.
So, don’t wait till it hurts. If you have questions about recommended treatment, have an honest discussion with your dentist about the risks of waiting on the treatment.
Please respond to this post with any questions you have and I would be happy to answer them.
Have a great day,