It may not be that simple…
Sometimes a patient comes in with a problem and wants it solved within a specific time and money frame. Often their condition is the result of their own neglect or a series of previous patchwork jobs. I think most dentists do amazing work, but we are not miracle workers. What took years to break will take some time to restore.
How to deal with unrealistic expectations such as this can be difficult and in return, we ask that you, as a patient – be patient. Sometimes, we can provide initial care to manage your immediate needs with the understanding that you will follow-up with subsequent treatment. Unfortunately, some patients do not return and it becomes a future complication for us or another practitioner, oftentimes unfairly making the original dentist’s care look questionable.
When a patient has swelling, pain, bleeding, or infection we can provide immediate care and attempt to relieve their pain and stabilize the condition. However, sometimes the symptoms are so severe that medication is necessary before any subsequent treatment can be started. Other times, a patient comes in with a discomfort that is not readily identifiable in the mouth or on an x-ray and intervention involves monitoring the situation.
We are an evidence based profession, and if after gathering as much information as we can, we still cannot find the source of a patient’s discomfort, we may have to refer them to a specialist or wait to re-evaluate the situation at a later date. This can be frustrating for both the patient and the dentist, but the risk of misdiagnosing is an important consideration under these circumstances.