I often see new patients who require a great deal of dental work. Either they’ve put off addressing their dental issues, or are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to start. Over time, these issues become worse and the cost to fix them even higher, which often results in more delays in treatment and even more anxiety.
When I see these patients, they ask me if it’s even possible to address the issues with their teeth. They are tired, anxious, and concerned about the cost of the dental work they must have done. However, with proper diagnosis and planning, I can help them regain their dental health by prioritizing their needs and creating a tailored dental treatment plan.
Prioritizing your dental needs
During the new patient exam, I spend a great deal of time with patients diagnosing all of their dental risks and problems. At this point, it is my job as their dentist to help the patient understand what is going on in their mouth without holding back. We put together a dental care plan without considering cost or insurance coverage, and go from there.
Not considering the cost may seem counterproductive, but it’s important to lay everything on the table and truly understand the risks and treatments before considering the price. From there, we establish a game plan based on their vulnerabilities and classifying their issues as As, Bs and Cs.
- A is an active problem such as a dental crown that should have been addressed already
- B is an active problem that is slow growing (such as replacing old fillings) and can be addressed in the next year or two
- C is something that is elective (whitening, straightening, veneers) that will not cause pain or tooth loss if it is not addressed
How a tailored treatment plan can save you money
Once the patient understands their needs and priorities, we create a custom plan that addresses all of the treatments we have discussed. This plan could take several months or several years depending on the extent of the dental work that needs to be completed.
Regardless of the timeline, it’s important that we address issues in order of importance – from A to C. This can be difficult for patients who are more concerned with how their teeth look than how they function. But, you don’t want to shine a fender when it’s about to fall off. The same is true of your teeth – mechanical issues are far more important than straightening and whitening.
Mechanical issues will also get worse over time, which will end up costing you more money than if you had addressed that issue first. Further, if you spend money addressing the lower priority items and then can’t afford to spend on the top priorities, you could find yourself in a worse situation.
Creating a plan that works for you
Some patients will see the plan and decide that rather than spread the cost over several years, they want to tackle several issues at once. If time is the deciding factor in your treatment plan, we can treat a mixture of As, Bs and Cs together with fewer, longer appointments.
Others see the cost of addressing the As, and choose to split them up into several appointments. If money is a limiting factor, we typically address these issues one quadrant of the mouth at a time. Ideally, all of the As would be completed in two to three months to prevent them from becoming catastrophic. Then, we can make a plan for the Bs.
Regardless of how you approach things, the goal is to help you move away from emergency dentistry to stress-free wellness dentistry. Reaching this point is often a breath of fresh air for patients who have been steadily trying to keep up with their dental issues over the years.
Overwhelmed by your current dental needs? Schedule an appointment with our dentist office in Brandon, FL. We’ll be happy to go over your treatment needs and establish a plan that works for you.