Treatment planning involves patient compliance and understanding. We come up with plans with the patient. There may be a few options and we encourage patient involvement so that the best option may be planned for that patient with their best interest at heart!
If a tooth has a cavity that is not through the enamel we will educate you about it to treat it at home to prevent it from growing larger. We will have a watch list to monitor it closely and check it every six months. Even if you have just one cavity, you are considered high risk for cavities. We may prescribe a fluoride toothpaste to help arrest cavities, prevent future ones or to protect the restorations that may be needed.
Many patients have cavities and if they are not severe we are able to place fillings. If a cavity is close to the nerve we may refer to the root canal specialist for an evaluation to make sure the tooth is healthy enough for a filling or if it would need a root canal and crown. Some cavities can become so severe that the tooth needs to be extracted.
Tooth fractures are very common. We closely monitor fractures and may recommend nightguards to prevent progression. If a fracture becomes symptomatic or changes it would need to be diagnosed clinically and restored with crown or root canal and crown. If a fractures progresses down the root the tooth would need to be extracted and replaced.
Radiographs are taken as recommended by the ADA on a case by case scenario to diagnose cavities, gum disease, bone loss and many other diseases and conditions. Most people need radiographs annually and a panoramic radiograph every 3 years. We may take some more often or less depending on your needs. It is negligent not to take radiographs as they are needed to diagnose disease, infections and conditions that otherwise would not be seen. Chronic treatable diseases are not painful. Once there is pain it is a much more difficult and expensive treatment than it would have been if diagnosed and restored sooner.
Nightguards are a huge part of our prevent and preserve philosophy. Even without symptoms most people have signs of premature wear of the enamel to the dentin, fractures, and gum recession with loss of root structure or abractures. A nightguard will prevent future structure loss and preserve your teeth.