Dentists drill too soon and too often

In Germany, teeth are often filled unnecessarily. A patient should be skeptical if s/he attends regular dental check-ups and the dentist suddenly wants to treat several teeth at once. "In such cases, the patient should not hesitate to go for a second opinion," so the advice of Stefan Zimmer, Professor of Preventive Dentistry at the Düsseldorf University Hospital. There are vast scopes in diagnosing dental caries. As long as the cavity has not gone past the dental enamel, the defect may simply heal if the teeth are well taken care of.

From the expert´s point of view it is better to monitor a suspected cavity instead of instantly using the dental drill. There is always a sacrifice of healthy dental enamel when a filling is placed. Even if the dental repair is done 'by the book', the tooth will always be more susceptible to caries. "However, many dentists 'tend to be overly cautious' and put a filling immediately," says Zimmer.

"Even when teeth already have been filled, dentists tend to overtreat to ascertain that there are no caries underneath the fillings. Especially since old amalgam fillings may look disgusting, the temptation is fairly understandable," says the expert.

"When given different opinions, the patient should rather believe the one who wants to treat less," the experts advices. He also warns of changing dentists too often due to worries of malpractices. According to a study the condition of teeth of dentist hoppers are worse than those of patients who remain with one dentist. Zimmer states:"If a patient is too distrustful, it may turn out that in the end s/he does not trust anyone anymore and this is surely not a good solution either." 8/2/2008