Good morning! I had been catching up on everyone's blog posts, and along the way I was reading about dental stuff. So, I thought I would pass on my thoughts on what to think when you go to a dentist and he tells you your dental work will cost (insert any number from $80 to $5,000 ~ or more).
The mention about dental work involved root plane/scaling (or deep cleaning, whatever). Usually performed by the dental hygienist, with local anesthetic (OK, they give you a shot). RPS (shortcut) is recommended when there's hard calculus build up under the gumline, which, over time, creates little pockets that can become infected. Periodontal abscesses are not fun. It's rather like having a tooth abscess as far as pain is concerned, but a short round of antibiotics clears it up quickly. These little pockets and the bacteria will ~ again, over time ~ eat away at the bone around the roots of your teeth. So, eventually your teeth become lose and fall out. So, periodontal disease is insidious because (unless you have an abscess) quietly goes on, and then "BAM" you need dentures. Well, that's a bit of license on my part, but basically that's what happens.
But, let's get real. Although most dentists are interested in keeping their patients healthy and out of pain, some are more interested in making enough money to put their 3 kids through college, or supporting a spouse that really wants to spend money (on a house/furnishings, or travel, or jewelry/art). In my humble opinion, there is no need for a dentist to "recommend" treatment that isn't necessary. All you have to do is be observant. There are lots of people out there that desperately need dental care. But, I am moving away from the basic advise I wanted to give you.
If you have any doubts at all, by all means go get a second opinion. As in the post I was reading, the second opinion resulted in the "you don't need that" variety. If you are of the habit of having a teeth cleaning with a hygienist every 6 to 8 months, the likelihood you will need RPS is small. It just depends on your home care (do you floss at least 4 times a week? brush twice a day?). I happen to work for two dentists that just simply don't recommend treatment to a patient that isn't needed. Whether or not the patient decides to have the recommended work done ~ that's a whole other story. There's the $$ ~ many of those people who don't have the work done simply can't afford it. There's anxiety over dental work ~ just getting those folks in the door is a challenge. And then there's the folks that believe putting some kind of herb or essential oil on the area is going to cure the problem.
In short ~ if you have trust issues with your dentist, it's time to find a new one.