Extension for prevention. That use to be an expression that dental students would learn to make the filling larger. Basically, make the filling bigger. Take away more tooth. Now, with adhesive dentistry and amalgam not the major restorative material, dentists take away far less tooth. We have moved towards Minimally Invasive Dentistry. We see far fewer denture cases. Years ago, young men and women had their teeth removed and dentures made almost as a rite of passage. Did your mother or father have a denture? Did they have teeth removed? Bridges made? Today, the goal of modern dentistry is to have our teeth for our entire lifetime and beyond! Dentures are the dinosaurs of dentistry. We just don’t do them. Certainly, we see far fewer in our cosmopolitan area of Fairfield County, Connecticut. Advances in dentistry have been pushing us to the point that it is realistic to expect that as we live longer, our teeth will be along for the ride.
Advances in radiography, endodontics, oral surgery, dental materials, periodontics, orthodontics (including Invisalign), have all added value to the dental longevity factor. Sedation in dentistry can make the experience far less frightening to the patient. Most people a generation ago dreaded going to the dentist. Yes, I mean dreaded. Research has shown that there is a direct relationship between frequency of dental appointments/cleanings and the saving of one’s teeth. Our parents believed that part of getting older is losing teeth. That axiom is no longer valid, I am happy to say. As we age, we should no longer believe that losing teeth is part of the process.
Yes, there is a cost to all this. Years ago, if your knee was arthritic you went to the doctor and got a brand new….cane! Cost: Twenty-five dollars! Today, if you have an arthritic knee, you get a brand new……..prosthetic knee!!! Cost: Thirty Thousand Dollars. But you can now play tennis. You can walk up and down stairs. You can walk without pain. The analogy with dentistry is right on target. Years ago you lost teeth and got a denture for a few hundred dollars. But function suffered. You no longer could enjoy that steak and fries. So an investment in your teeth now pays off so that you can enjoy eating and speaking and being far more comfortable dentally throughout your lifetime. Even if you live to one hundred! So get that prosthetic knee and that dental implant and enjoy life!
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