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Is Dentistry Blind?

Q: When I moved to this area my previous dentist gave me all my records including photos and x-rays to pass on to the new dentist of my choosing. Although I would have liked to finish my work in Arizona, I was not able to do so. I know I have many cracked silver fillings. Why didn’t my new dentist mention anything about the work I know I need? Shouldn’t one dentist see the same thing as another?
A: Excellent observation! It is sad that not all dentists see the same thing. Every dentist should be working with at least 3 power magnification. Imagine working day after day in a dark space the size of a half of a dollar (that’s assuming the patient is opening as wide as possible, which usually isn’t the case). Magnification allows the dentist to see even the smallest cracks or openings around existing dentistry, such as cracked silver fillings you have mentioned. In addition, new areas of concern are detected early enough that fillings can be limited to a very small size thus maintaining the strength and integrity of the tooth.
Then there are those dentists who refuse to invest in modern equipment, for example intra-oral cameras and digital x-rays, to mention a few. Some dentists have the equipment but only use it on special occasions or certain patients. If the equipment is bought and not used, it becomes an expense to the dentist, instead of an investment in the patient’s good dental health. I am not trying to knock any dentists because the expense to maintain a dental office is enormous. A comprehensive dental exam withe the dentist using magnification should take 45 minutes to an hour.

A follow up consultation appointment should take as much time with the treatment coordinator as needed to discuss treatment options, fees, financial arrangements, etc. or any other concerns. In closing, if you don’t trust and have an excellent feeling about the dentist you chose, I suggest you keep interviewing both the dentist and the staff. You will know when the right one for you appears.

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