March 24, 2007 9:26am CST
I think that the entire practice of dentistry and oral surgery should be revamped, or at the very least it shoudl be revamped and made to more resemble the same level of informed consent legislation as medical doctors. For starters, although many people are unaware of it , you are putting your life more at risk in going to a dentist for a tooth extraction or root canal than you are for most outpatient surgical procedures done by medical doctors. Normally oral pain is caused by one of two things and they normally work in conjunction to create that intense and NECCESSARY urgency for treatment. Those components are 1. decay 2. infection. They are silent partners in any enterprise inside your mouth as either one will cause a severe case of the other in addition to the origional, painful enough, thank you very much sir! Onset of either rot or infection. However when extracting a troublesome tooth from your head, if there is infection present and it is not met, mitigated, and given extensive precautionary doses of antibiotics even when there is not evidence of an infection at all because that infection could well kill you if allowed to fester at all. In more than one interesting and arresting ways. Then there is the lack of properly "informed consent" about the procedures that your dentist will recommend to you, and those that he will not. Also the buttmuncher of the entire root canal/ oral surgery deal is not the outrageous cost for the pain and suffering which you are about to receive! The bite in the back side is that they rarely if ever let it be known that in a few years due to the diversion of blood flow as well as nerve tissue from that tooth. It is going to come out anyway! Leaving you a few years down the road with the same thing that you initially spend all that money in an attempt to avoid; Loss of the tooth and an empty socket in your mouth where the tooth goes. In my opinion those are at the lowest strikes two and three on a foul business. First is that they are well aware that they have you at one of your most tractable, agreeable, and technically ignorent state that you should never ever be allowed to be taken to someone who is going to pitch you on an urgent, unexpected expenditure that when it must be made it just must be made. Because to not accept the treatment options that he is offerring you is to walk out of there stiill in intense mind numbing pain and in correllation to that pain; fear. Fear first of continuing to hurt at the level you are now feeling not to mention the madness if the pain continues to intensify. Ignorance and lack of time or reasonable inclination to go bargain hunting and seeking second opinions and additional treatment options are also major factors for the "impulse buy" of expensive dental and orthodontic care. Lack of viable alternatives; Where do we go with our pain? Usually it is to either the first dentist that could fit you into his schedule or to the same dentist that you saw last time some dental work had to be done. Rarely are people proactive enough to go around to their friends and take recommendations on a dentist, before something is already seriously wrong anyway. Where I think that they are more wrong that two boys in bed together is that if you knew that the root canaled tooth and the added expense of the cap that you require after the procedure is done. Are going to slowly continue the decay and decline process and after you have ceased worrying about the tooth long since, out it will come! Would you pop for the much more expensive "tooth saving" procedure or simply have the tooth, with it's nasty nerve and all removed at the outset? Either way there is no real way to avoid costly replacements for that tooth either sooner or later it is going to be an empty socket and in need of an additional expensive production(also painful, also life threatening) and if not handled tooth pain and or the lack of suitable chewing surfaces can be embarrassing socially with the swelling, the empty socket or snaggle toothed look that missing teeth will give even the prettiest of smiles. Lack of proper grinding of food may lead to ulcers and digestive tract issues. And at the end of the day, regardless of how many expensive side track that the tooth has been at the root of. No matter how much you spend to save it and keep it that tooth will still eventually need to be replaced.