Can We Talk About Something Else?
We sure can. All that is on everyone’s mind is this pandemic of COVID-19, better known as Coronavirus. It is all over the news and the papers. Information and knowledge are useful, but there is also an overload. Therefore I decided to return and talk about dentistry. Let’s all take our mind off of the virus subject for a little bit. Let’s talk about more common issues and how sometimes, having a toothache can be a good thing!
Sometimes, Having a Toothache Can be a Good Thing
I would like to share with you how having a toothache can be a good thing. No, that is not a typo. Often, a pain in our tooth brings a patient in for a visit. This visit allows me to do either a quick look around at the mouth. I also have an opportunity to do a more comprehensive exam at that time, depending on the case. A simple pain induced visit can lead me to head off something more devastating or even correct a problem which will affect the patient of many years to come.
Finding and correcting additional issues
I saw this type of patient recently. He came to me without a single filling or cavity in his mouth except for one tooth, which was broken down to the gum. The broken tooth had been that way for a while. Since it never caused him any pain, he never sought any help to rectify the situation. We know that a fractured tooth needs to be examined and ultimately fixed.
Two treatment options
Unfortunately, the time for fixing that tooth in a manner that would afford him many years of function had passed. The treatment choices were twofold. The first approach involved a lot of procedures such as gum work and root canal, followed by a post and a crown. This treatment is a little older but still quite valid where it is indicated. Our second direction involved removing the tooth and replacing it with an implant.
Both solutions could work. However, I had another dilemma. The tooth in question sat close to its neighbors. This tooth was jammed into position. Trying to create a new tooth would result in a misshapen tooth. If you make a tooth that is the wrong shape, it can lead to decay. This type of tooth may even feel funny to the patient.
A third option presents itself
I looked a little closer at the rest of his mouth and noted that tooth crowding was all over. Once I observed this, I thought of a different and unique approach. I proposed to the patient to remove the painful tooth. Doing that is in line with our implant direction. However, rather than replacing the tooth with an implant to fill the space, I decided to move his teeth. Through the use of clear aligners, I could close the gap and thus straighten all of his teeth.
Straightening the teeth using Invisalign aligners
I use InvisalignTM in my practice, as I believe that it is the best solution for this type of orthodontic tooth movement. Straight teeth are easy to keep clean and would prevent him from developing a lot of decay in future years. With crooked teeth, excessive cavities are a problem waiting to happen. Once the patient is out of pain, I allow him to heal before moving to the next step. He always wondered if he was a candidate for this type of treatment, and his broken tooth provided him with the answer.
A classic example of when a toothache is a good thing!
We’re Here for You
As I mentioned in our last article on the Corona Virus pandemic, our office is open to answer questions and help you treat your emergencies and pain. Don’t hesitate to call Megan at 440.951.7856. She is there to help and guide you, as is all of our staff in this stressful time. If you need to come in, we practice the highest level of disinfection and follow all guidelines for your safety. I wish all of you strength and health in this challenging time.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine in the Department of Comprehensive Care.