Getting to the Root of the Problem

The philosophy of Valley Family Dentistry is something that isn’t often seen at dentistries. It’s so important for our team to treat people as individuals and offer opinions that keep their best interest in mind. Something that goes hand in hand with this type of treatment is making sure we get to the root of any dental concern instead of treating one tooth problem at a time. If someone who is complaining of problems with TMJ dysfunction, we’re not going to fix it with a crown, we’re going to make sure we stop clenching and grinding at its source so you won’t need any further crowns.

Many times I’ll get a patient who clearly grinds their teeth, they’ve grinded all their teeth down and they come in and tell me, “I want two veneers on my front teeth so that when I smile I have beautiful teeth.”

I’m going to tell the patient we can’t do the procedure because we need to treat the problem that made their teeth small and flat. Which is the grinding and the clenching and that’s a joint dysfunction. We have to examine the root of the problem, and sometimes it’s telling this patient we’re going to start them on a splint therapy for a year.

And even though something like extensive therapy doesn’t sound ideal or “fun,” patients can know their overall well being is the priority to us.

While the untrained dentist sees procedures in dollar signs, VFD makes it a point to explain your conditions and the best options in detail. We allow you to make the best and most well informed decision for yourself instead of letting you come in six times to get more veneers for the same tooth. Our promise is patient centered examinations and treatment and our patients attest to that.

I’ve even told patients I am comfortable treating their smaller problem. I’ll say, “we have to look at the bigger condition and work to fix that.”

Something that’s been happening more often, as seen on our last blog, is patients coming into the office with TMJ dysfunction. It’s really interesting to me because I’ll have patients who tell me, “I’ve never had a problem with this before, my teeth were always fine but then I hit a milestone; age; retirement, and all of a sudden I started having problems.”

What’s important for these patients and future patients of mine to realize is it’s not a coincidence. We start to develop problems with our teeth or jaw because of things like stress, anxiety, or other life shifts.

When I start asking more personal questions about their home life, the patient uncovers underlying issues with stress and can identify their new tooth problems from a different perspective.

Valley Family Dentistry just had a brand new patient who couldn’t understand that treating the root of the problem was purposeful until they realized their underlying problem with stress. The patient’s testimonial was they had never struggled with tooth problems until they hit retirement. So with further questioning we uncovered that the pursuit of opening up an entirely new business after retirement was causing the anxiety which brought clenching and grinding at night. Originally this patient wanted me to fix a crown that had fallen off a molar, but it just wouldn’t have been wise to fix this molar, then in the months to come fix it again.

This patient’s clenching and grinding was actually so bad they chewed through their crown. Once I laid down the implications of the their symptoms, they saw that the problem was more serious. When laying out all the information the patient was able to agree to the solution they felt was best for them—-treating the root of the problem.

Most of the time, we recommend a comprehensive exam with x-rays to really see what’s going on. We like to treat the person as a whole instead of masking a problem. Again, this patient was there to replace a fallen crown but I told them I would be doing them a disservice if I put that crown back on that tooth, which would guarantee they come back to me with pain and may cause them to lose that molar.

As a dentist I want to avoid trial and error and be that person who changes dentistries to think of people as a whole. I truly believe that when patients are comfortable and have good functioning teeth, they’re going to live a better quality of life.

Please schedule an appointment with Valley Family Dentistry and be a part of our family. We promise to care for you and always have your best interest in mind.

Brenda Landeros

Valley Family Dentistry
THE REESE 202 S 1st St. Ste #102 Harlingen, TX 78550
(956) 423 – 0191

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