Dental Education Lecture: Conservative Makeover

David has been my patient for about seven years.  He follows wherever my office moves in Metro Atlanta.  We do not know why he sticks to us.

What we know is that he was born and raised in Brazil, where dental care was primitive.  He has a lot of dental problems.  At the same time, he is afraid of dentists.  About five years ago, his front teeth were so bad that makeover was necessary (see Before photo).  The teeth #7 to #10 need crowns.  But the problem associated with the tooth #6 is not big.  It has a relatively small, discolored filling (arrowhead).  A new white filling is just what needs to be done.

After picture was taken immediately after four crowns were cemented.  No words can be used to describe how happy he was at that moment.  He and his family have been happy for the last five years.  Recently David returned to my office to take care of problems in the back teeth.  His front teeth still look good.

The lesson we learn from David's story is that when our tooth problems are big, we need relatively aggressive treatment (makeover: such as crowns for #7 to #10).  They improve our appearance dramatically and last long.  When dental issue is minor such as small discolored filling for #6, conservative treatment (a new filling) is all we need.  In fact it also lasts long.  If not, we can always use more radical treatment later on.  In all, we should adopt different approaches to different degrees of problems.  To keep good treatment results, we must take care of dental health.  David  flosses daily.  This is the main reason why his front teeth look brand new five years after this conservative makeover.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 11/30/2010, last revision 11/30/2010