My sister and I went to the same emergency dentist, both for a toothache, but ended up with completely different treatment plans. Kathy went first. Her tooth had been hurting her for a couple of weeks. He told her it was just a small cavity and fixed it right there. A month later I had a toothache. I went in right away because she really liked this dentist and I thought it would be useful to go to someone who’s been “tested” and get it over with. But, when I went, he made me get a root canal treatment. What’s the deal? Why was my treatment so much more invasive than hers? She always get the easy life and I’m stuck doing the hard things.
Sisters. You can be best friends one minute and fierce competitors the next. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie White Christmas but there’s actually a performance by two sisters. One of the stanzas in their song goes a like this:
Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister,
and Lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man.
There are a number of factors which determine why one person just needs a filling and another may need a root canal treatment and dental crown. The first, is pain tolerance. I know you went in more quickly for your dental treatment than your sister did, but it’s possible you have a much higher pain tolerance than she does. Your tooth could have been damaged for much longer and you just didn’t realize it. By the time you recognized the pain, your tooth was much further along than hers.
Another possibility is the location of the decay. If hers was just on an edge and not affecting any other parts of the tooth, a simple filling would do it. Yours may have been through the enamel to the dentin and encroaching on a nerve. That would require a root canal treatment and possibly even a crown.
The bigger issue here (to me at least) is that this dentist is not explaining why he’s doing which procedures. Before moving forward in caring for someone’s teeth he should be certain the patient understands exactly what they need and WHY they need it.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Fred Arnold.