Faster or Better?
A majority of our patients have spent a good part of their lives living in some sort of functional disharmony or esthetic insecurity. Others have experienced a trauma as simple as biting on something they shouldn't have or as serious as a physical accident that has left them in need of the dental restorative process. Each of these cases can be addressed and resolved by a knowledgeable member of the dental community or dental restorative team. Our goal is always the long-term health, stability, and happiness of our patients.
Yet, today it seems that the mass marketing machine informs patients that their problems can be fixed almost immediately—even those who have spent years of their lives in dental dysfunction. Six-month smiles, immediate-load implants, teeth in a day. I could go on and on naming some of the many products that are presented to patients as if the dental restorative process is a mere quick fix. The time spent on treatment, including procedures, healing time, and surgical processes, is of great importance and something that should not be rushed; each step of the process is critical.
Perhaps showing my age, I recall that the original Star Trek television show's character Dr. Bones had something called a tricorder that scanned the body, instantly diagnosed any issues, and usually had the remedy immediately available. Today, we are coming closer and closer to achieving what was only years ago considered science fiction. While we do have ever-more amazing technology and should be proud of how far we have come, so far nothing is solved with the kind of magical immediacy that we imagine in science fiction.
It seems to me that, like many professions, dentistry needs to satisfy patients and build business, driving us to patient-dictated procedures. Part of our job, however, is to help patients understand that overnight fixes do not exist in medicine and that this is for their benefit, to ensure the safest and most successful outcomes. As with any change that we wish to see in our lives, the results that we desire and that are best for our health always take time, knowledge, and patience.
Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT