There are many different attitudes people have toward their teeth and their mouth. Some people think of their mouth as something that is a complex system with many potential levels of function. Others think of their mouth as a simple machine. It either works or it’s broken. If it’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed. But if it is broken, it needs to be fixed now.
“Emergency patients” only seem to want care for their teeth when it’s an emergency. There are many disadvantages of being an emergency patient.
Dealing with Emergencies Is Expensive
The first problem with being an emergency patient is that it costs you a lot, and not just in money. Sure, it costs a lot more money to deal with emergencies, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Pain is another cost of dealing with dental emergencies. And even if you can’t price out your pain, there’s the loss of productivity when your teeth are hurting and it’s hard to work.
Then there’s the cost to your schedule when you have to drop everything and get your dental work performed right away.
And you can guarantee that if you keep putting it off, your teeth will likely choose the least convenient time to need emergency treatment, when you have neither the time nor the money to spare, but have to sacrifice both.
There May Be Problems, Even If It’s Not “Broken”
And even before your teeth are in a state where they have to be considered broken, you may be suffering other effects. Gum disease affects your chronic health, putting your heart at risk. Your smile isn’t looking its best, and can make you look old and unhealthy, even poor and unintelligent (these are conclusions people make if your smile has problems). Your quality of life goes down significantly.
You may try to work through all these supposedly minor problems, but this would be a mistake.
Some Damage Is Irreversible
Another major problem with being an “emergency” only patient is that if you let your condition develop to a certain state, you may end up with problems that simply can’t be fixed, at least not completely. Dental implants are great, but they’re still not quite as good as your natural teeth.
And if you ignore TMJ jaw pain for too long, progressive damage to the temporomandibular joint might mean surgical replacement of the joint is the only option, and there is not currently a good jaw joint replacement available, though there are some serviceable ones.
Don’t Wait for It to Break
The lesson here is that you don’t want to wait for your teeth to break. Instead, you want to try to maintain your mouth in an optimal state of health. This high functional state not only protects you from failures, but gives you a healthy and attractive smile that improves your overall health and quality of life.
Unfortunately, many dentists unintentionally encourage people to be emergency only patients. They don’t have an awareness of how to promote and ensure the multiple levels of function for your teeth. They also are only looking for breaks that they can fix.