Saturday, 18 August 2012

Do you have unfinished dental treatment?

One of the catchphrases of the late, great presenter of 'Mastermind' - Magnus Magnusson - was 'I've started so I'll finish' but dentists are often unable to say this when patients 'disappear' midway through a course of treatment.

There are a number of reasons why patients abandon their treatment halfway through - cost, 'it doesn't hurt any more', forgot, work commitments and many others.  However, before putting off the completion of a course of dental treatment, there are a few points to bear in mind:
  • problem teeth do not get better on their own.  A tooth that needs a filling now will still need one in a years time by which stage, more extensive treatment may be needed.
  • temporary fillings and crowns are, as the name suggests, temporary - they are not robust enough to be considered a permanent restoration and may fail within a short period of time.
  • the time off work needed for a filling now is far less than that required for root canal treatment and subsequent restoration of the tooth if it becomes infected 
  • bleeding gums or unpleasant smells/taste when brushing can be an indication of gum disease (periodontitis).  If left untreated, this can cause the loosening and ultimate loss of teeth.
  • root canal treatment usually takes two visits; after the first visit, the tooth is dressed but if the treatment is not completed within a few months at the most, it may require restarting with the loss of any money already paid for the incomplete treatment.
  • emergency treatments are designed to relieve pain but may not provide a permanent treatment, particularly if a temporary filling or crown is placed or antibiotics prescribed.  If the tooth is left untreated, the pain may return.
If you are worried about the cost or time commitments of a course of dental treatment, then speak to your dentist.  They will be able to advise you on the best way to schedule treatment to minimise the impact on your work and may also be able to spread the cost to make the treatment affordable.

At AllClear, we open all day every Saturday to help those patients who cannot attend during the week and have a range of options to spread the cost including interest free finance (typical APR 0%, loans subject to status, written details available on request).  For further details, please call in, phone 020 8688 3869 or see our website.

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