Dental Health: who’s responsible?

Thursday, February 2, 2016

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, dental health is crucial to maintaining your overall health and wellbeing.

But whose responsibility is it?

Both you and your dentist play an important role in maintaining a healthy and happy mouth, it is a partnership.

Patient’s responsibility

As a patient, the responsibility lies first and foremost with you to proactively seek out dental treatment, and to maintain your oral health every day.  It is important to remember that not all dentists provide the same level of dental treatment or information and it is up to you as a patient to be selective and ask the right questions.

Proactive measures are essential to prevent tooth decay and the need for extensive dental work. This is why it’s so important for patients to undergo regular dental check-ups, even when you believe there is nothing wrong.

Visiting the dentist regularly provides the opportunity for any developing decay or dental issues to be diagnosed and for early intervention, avoiding more invasive and complex treatment down the line. For example, if left untreated, demineralisation of the tooth’s outer layer will become a cavity. However, if caught and treated early, this damage can be reversed through preventive measures such as improving oral hygiene, avoiding the need for a drill and fill approach.

If you opt to only seek out dental treatment when you feel something is wrong, you are putting your oral health at risk.  It is similar to not having your car serviced and only seeing a mechanic when something is broken.

Dentist’s responsibility

Poor dentistry can create an array of dental issues, so it’s extremely important that your dentist is properly trained in providing modern dental care and provides a quality service.

So responsibility also falls on your dentist to both diagnose problems early, provide detailed information about the cause of problems as well as all the options available to treat anything diagnosed.

It comes as a surprise to many of my patients that they have numerous options for treatment, but that most of these options are compromises with their associated failings to reduce the barrier in getting treatment, not to improve the clinical outcome.  It is also a huge surprise that the worst and most common trauma to tooth is iatrogenic trauma.

Iatrogenic trauma is any trauma that has been induced by the dentist’s activity, and can pose a risk to your dental health. The dental drill spins at 300,000 rpm (faster than a jet engine!). One minute of contact with your tooth is roughly equivalent to dragging a tooth on diamond grit sandpaper for 1km.

The dentist you choose and the types of materials they use and restorations they recommend are very important.


Posted in: Advice, Dental health, Industry

One response to “Dental Health: who’s responsible?”

  1. Jarrod Chow says:

    Oral health is a shared responsibility but it should always start from oneself. With discipline and patience, healthy teeth and gums can be achieved. This post is very helpful and interesting as well. I’m glad you shared this.

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