Despite best efforts to save the life of a tooth, there are times when the outcome is not successful. It is important to understand that just like medical there are many ways in which a doctors may approach your care. If the body fails to respond to that care or the treatment does not adequately solve a problem alternative treatment has to be considered. It is unfair to place such high expectations on dental treatment, yet be perfectly understanding when medical treatment fails and an alternative approach has to be considered.
A reoccurring infection in a toenail or lung, while frustrating, seems to be more forgivable than a persistent tooth infection. Successful treatment is also dependant on patient compliance. If a patient does not maintain excellent home care or does not follow-up with regular dental check-ups or further treatment recommendations it seems unfair to expect miracles from a dentist in matters they have no control of.
Communication and education are key when guiding patients towards the most appropriate treatment option for them. Dentists must ensure that their patients have realistic expectations about the benefits and risk of any given procedure. Dentistry is a very demanding profession and dentists are presented with many different and challenging conditions of the mouth. Having an open and honest relationship with your dental team will, no doubt, help to reduce any “expectation gaps” which may occur.