Comprehensive Dentistry

Comprehensive Dentistry.  We often use the term comprehensive dentistry but what does this mean?  Today we treated a seasonal patient from Canada in the office referred by a patient in the practice.  She was concerned about a fractured back tooth.  Often the patient sees the perceived problem of a broken tooth having a simple solution.  Just fix the tooth with a crown.  On the surface this may seem to be the simple solution but this does not take into account the overall health of the patient’s mouth and how the one broken tooth relates to all the other teeth in the mouth.  With the philosophy of comprehensive treatment we see the big picture.  We often see the one broken tooth as part of a bigger problem.  One broken tooth can be a symptom of overall breakdown in the system.  Let’s use the   analogy of a car.  Often we see worn tires on the front of the car and we think all we need is new tires.  Just fix the tires, right! Sometimes this is the case but if we think comprehensively we look beyond the worn tires considering alignment, proper inflation and other related parts of the car and how that affects the wear of the tires.  As anyone who has worn out their tires without addressing these other things knows, replacing just the tires will lead to tire failure all over again because the bigger problem and the big picture was not considered.  If we consider and repair the other parts of the system often those tires will last for many more miles.  Well teeth are the same way.  We often need to consider the whole system.  As we age so do our teeth but so does the alignment and structural integrity change as well.   The quick fix might be to just treat the broken tooth but if we don’t consider treatment of the other issues as well fixing the tooth will not fix the problem for long.

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