April 2015 - Prosthodontist in Johannesburg
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April 2015

By: A layman in distress

 

Several months ago I went to visit the dentist with a severe tooth pain on my rear upper molar tooth and over the course next month had a series of procedures done. I ended up with having root canal therapy followed by a post retained amalgam restoration.

What followed was a sinus infection and bronchitis and the constant awareness of the molar and irritation in the back of my mouth. Going back to the dentist did not provide me with any satisfaction. I still have this persistent problem.

It was at this point that I felt the need to do some research and I turned to the Internet. I wanted to seek somebody who would give me an holistic and comprehensive viewpoint of what was going on in my mouth. Somehow the problem had to be solved. I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t envisage living like this for the rest of my days. I investigated the different options available to me including going back to the original dentist to deal with this problem felt like more good money after of considerable amount of bad money had gone down the drain.

To the layman the choice of any profession is blind. One usually relies on the personal recommendation of another layman who also really doesn’t know. The criteria of choosing a dentist is based on emotional factors like: is he gentle; does he not hurt; does he charge medical aid rates?

One trusts that the dentist one chooses is providing the best treatment. They all come across as being experts in the field .One is aware that there is the need to sometimes be referred to a dental specialists like the orthodontist and maxillofacial surgeon.

So many people have had their teeth straightened and so many people have had their wisdom tooth extracted. Specialities of orthodontics and maxillofacial surgery are generally known.

Patients see their regular dentist for treatment thinking that all is well until a problem develops.

My research on the Internet led me to discover that there is a dental speciality called prosthodontics. I was looking for a holistic overview of my mouth and did want not any further work until I was a powered to be the decision maker in that process.

I went to see a prosthodontist and I explained my story to him. I was amazed at his different approach to dealing with my problem. He carefully listened to my dental history and then gathered the clinical information needed to explain to me the way forward. He took the necessary x-rays and did a clinical examination..

The level of wisdom and understanding and experience that a prosthodontist brings to examination was something that I’d never experienced before in all my many years of seeing a dentist.   He gave me a comprehensive outline of the situation in my mouth which left me with a gameplan for a complete process into getting my dental health up to speed to ensure sure that I keep my teeth for good. He focused on my main complaint but it was in the context of an holistic approach to my long-term dental health. He also wondered why the tooth had that had initially brought me in was not attended to as part of a comprehensive assessment . The treatment done was totally unnecessary and the tooth now had to be extracted.

Also , I wondered why orthodontics had not been suggested in the past. He explained why my present dental problem had developed and I was aghast at why I’d never been told about this potential problem many years sooner.

This visit to the prosthodontist has empowered me to understand my mouth and teeth in a complete way and see my way forward in achieving dental harmony. It leaves me with the question of why my dentist never referred me to a prosthodontist in the first place. Why did he think that he could handle everything himself. Did he not know his limitations?

I find it hard to comprehend as I approach a half century in age that no one ever told me that my jaw was mal aligned and orthodontics would be needed which could have alleviated this current problem. I have seen several dentists in the past and no one ever said anything about my malocclusion and how or why it should be treated.

Dental work can be costly in visiting a prosthodontist but I now realise what long-term value there is in the initial expense. Being empowered to fully understand what is going on in my mouth is a new experience.

Why should finding out about a prosthodontist come through my research on the Internet. Should my dentist not have made a recommendation timeously?

I wish I had seen a prosthodontist sooner. Cheap is expensive but it is never too late!

It is ALL About the patient- Part 2

 

Your mouth belongs to you and nobody else. It is your private domain and only you know how it looks, feels and functions. It’s only you who is aware of something wrong if there is pain or discomfort. The ownership is yours.

We ask you the questions

  • how does your mouth feel
  • what do you value most about your teeth
  • do you want to chew comfortably
  • do you want them to function well
  • looking ahead 5 to 10 or even 15 years down the line, what you hope your teeth will look like
  • what role does prevention play for you when it comes to your mouth
  • is the extent of treatment limited by third-party providers

These are your unique and personal wants and desires .We as dentists are here to provide solutions to these wants and desires. It’s also our professional duty to make you aware of your dental needs and help you address them.

As I said in my previous article, many dental problems are painless but nevertheless require attention, sometimes immediate and sometimes they can be delayed. How these problems are dealt with in terms of time, effort and expense is your choice .These choices need to be discussed in a treatment planning session. There are options which have differing outcomes and differing costs. This is an important and essential appointment.

As one of my teachers once said; “Inform before you perform”. The success of treatment is in the planning and the skill of the operator and what you choose to have done.

Your trust in us is implicit and there needs to be value for the service. You really do not know what technical issues we face. You don’t want to know what type of impression material we use; nor what lining material is chosen; nor what luting cement is based. You rely on us that the impression is accurate and that the final restoration fits accurately and is of high quality-no leaking margins; no food trap. The competence of the dentist is taken as given.

No patient is interested in the selection of instruments used; the make of the compressor; or with a high velocity suction machine is located. The patient just wants to know that the dentist is adequately equipped and trained for the task at hand.

Your whole dental experience is based on how you feel. Was the staff pleasant? Was the Dr on time? Was the restroom clean and tidy? Did the injection hurt? Were the magazines fresh and up-to-date? Was the dental assistant efficient and empathetic? Did you appreciate the quality of the service? Were there cobwebs on the corners of the walls? Was the background music pleasant? Was practice accessibility and parking easy?

And so how do you value the service?

Are you limited by your medical aid third-party contribution or are you willing to pay a fee that is reasonable and fair and does not compromise your long-term expectations. They have no long-term interest in your dental health. Do you want to be dictated to by a disinterested third party?

Not only is dentistry a science but it is an art. Consummate skill, adequate time,and much effort are all needed to serve you well.

Dentistry today offers an array of wonderful solutions which are tailor-made to you. The choice of materials and treatment options is large.

What value and benefit to you place on experience? What value do you place on art and what price are you prepared to pay for a unique service?

Did you feel the benefit and are you happy to refer your friends and family?

We want to see you for regular maintenance visits to ensure long-term results.

Enjoy healthy and easily maintainable teeth.

Why not share a good thing with others?