Illustration, Brodie WIlliamson, 7th Grade
In January we launched a story that would highlight one of our patient’s journey to a new, healthy mouth and smile! This installment will summarize Debbie’s initial diagnosis and first steps in her journey.
Our first priority was to relieve Debbie of her pain. She was having a toothache on her lower front teeth. We placed her on antibiotics for the infection caused by an abscess.
At her first appointment, we explained our vision for her care and discussed the pros and cons to different aspects of her treatment. Debbie has been a patient of ours for quite some time, so this gave us a head start on knowing what was important to her, what her goals of treatment would be, and what her fears and anxieties of dental treatment are. At Central Park Dentistry, we feel that it is incredibly important to really listen to what our patient’s are saying. This aids us in providing the best treatment for that patient at that time.
After taking the necessary X-rays, photographs, periodontal readings, and models of her mouth, our staff performed both a hygienist and doctor examination. Some may wonder, “Why is a hygienist exam important?” A dental hygienist is a trained professional that specializes in the health of the gums and bone around the teeth. The assessment they do helps the dentist understand how healthy the foundational (the gums and bone supporting the teeth) support of the teeth is. Good periodontal health is typically a first priority when restoring somebody’s oral health. You can do wonderful dentistry, but if the foundation is weak, the work done to repair it will not last. During every check up, a hygienist is involved in the assessment, helping the dentist focus on any areas of concern in the dental foundation.
Here are Debbie’s dental priorities and concerns:
- She has pain in the lower left front.
- She wants to be able to smile without covering her mouth.
- Her lower teeth are crooked.
- She is missing several places to chew on.
- She is concerned that her poor oral health is contributing to other health issues she is having.
- She is very nervous/scared about dental treatment.
Here is a list of the conditions diagnosed:
- Generalized moderate gum disease throughout the whole mouth.
- Upper teeth: She is missing #1, 5, 6, 7, 13, 15 and 16. All are decayed except #2. #11 is broken at the gum line and needs extensive restoration to save while several other key teeth are not savable. As you can see in the pictures, the front teeth are not well positioned. Their position presents a big challenge, though not impossible, to our effort to give her a great smile.
- Lower teeth: Missing #18, 21. Her wisdom teeth are impacted. #23 is broken and abscessed. #19 has a failing root canal treatment. #22, 23, 24, 26, 31 have decay. Endodontic treatment with no crown was done on #29 and 30.
As you can see, we are just at the beginning of our journey with Debbie. Please join us for future installments that will come throughout this year.
NV: The Treatment Plan