Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
July 5, 2016
Some dental procedures are unnecessary.
A number of dental procedures are done poorly.
About 3 months ago, Julie called my office for an emergency appointment. She was in pain with swelling in her gums around her lower two front teeth. Julie told me she just saw another dentist earlier that morning. He told her she needed to do a gum graft around those teeth or else she would lose both teeth. She came to me crying and needed relief and a second opinion fast. She didn’t need to be scared into an unnecessary surgery. I removed some deep tartar around those teeth, showed her how to properly clean the area naturally, and within 6 weeks her gums were healthy and pink. She did not need an expensive gum graft. Her lower two front teeth were not in danger of being lost.
5 Ways To Be Proactive
- When treatment is recommended, always ask, “Why are these procedures necessary?”
- When treatment is recommended, always ask, “What would happen if I don’t accept treatment?”
- When treatment is recommended, always ask, “What are my other options?”
- If your dentist does not want to answer your questions or is evasive, run to the exit, and find another opinion from a quality dentist.
- Contact the State Dental Licensing Board to determine if any grievances have ever been filed against the dentist treating you.
If you are interested only in a cosmetic result, I have no problem with this decision. There is nothing wrong with a qualified dentist performing excellent cosmetic dental procedures solely to obtain a more beautiful result. But, if you are told a procedure is critical for the health of your mouth and that procedure is invasive and expensive, then another opinion should be obtained if you have any unanswered questions.
Unfortunately, some procedures performed by some dentists may look good and may appear to be dentally necessary. However, this dental work may be done poorly. Generally, the patient is not aware of any problem in the beginning. Here are just a few examples of bad dentistry:
- A beautiful crown or veneer is placed on a tooth, but the edge of the crown or veneer is not sealed properly to the existing tooth. Decay then seeps under this restoration to slowly destroy the tooth.
- A crown is placed on a tooth or an implant, and the cement that bonds it to the tooth or implant is excessive and seeps under the gum tissues. This cement under the gum tissues acts as an irritant, which will cause gum disease and bone loss.
- A dental restoration is placed on a tooth or implant, but the biting forces from the opposing tooth in the mouth are not even and cause teeth or implants to wiggle. The patient may feel like the pressure on that tooth is heavy or excessive. Eventually these unhealthy forces damage the jawbone and can create severe periodontal disease and jaw pain.
- Proper oral hygiene methods are never discussed or demonstrated, and patients develop gum disease and tooth decay because they were not made aware of how to take care of the dental work in their mouth.
- Treatment that is beyond the scope and capabilities of the dentist is not referred to a specialist or another dentist who is experienced in this procedure. Then this dental work fails because it was not performed correctly.
Let Me Be Clear
I am not against quality dentists performing necessary dental procedures. I am against poor quality dentistry being performed on unsuspecting patients. It is wrong for unnecessary dental procedures to be performed on patients who are told these procedures are medically necessary when, in fact, they are not.