As a dentist, I have the daily challenge of looking at teeth and determining what is wrong with them and what needs to be done to protect those that appear to have problems.
This task, at first might seem easy, but when all the variables are taken into consideration, it can be a challenging and difficult task. Without a crystal ball to see into the future, we can't actually see what will happen to a given tooth. Your dentists can only speculate, based on previous experiences with other teeth that come through our offices.
A never ending string of patients present to dental offices with broken teeth. Some of the broken teeth are non-restorable, while others can be restored easily. Still others can be restored, but they must have additional procedures such as root canal therapy and/or crown lengthening procedures. These additional procedures, often add significantly to the cost of restoring a tooth. As such, it is ideal to restore a tooth BEFORE it breaks in such a way that it requires additional, costly procedures to fix it up.
Dentists will often use rules, standards and guidelines when recommending certain procedures or services to their patients. This is true, for instance, when your dentist recommends a crown on a tooth with a large, oversized filling in it. There is no way of actually knowing whether a given tooth will break, fracture or be lost without a crown, but through using a set of guidelines and standards, your dentist recommends treatment that he believes is in a tooth's best interest. Certain conditions found on teeth often result in detrimental pathologies that result in tooth loss. It is clear, that those elderly patients with a full compliment of teeth, have often been those who followed their dentist's recommendations over the years and followed their dentist's recommendations.
While dentistry is not inexpensive, it is certainly a good value. Few other things we purchase last as long as dental restorations and prosthetics--and we use our teeth constantly! Average lifespan for a filling is 20 years, while an average lifespan for a crown is even longer. Dentures are often used for 15 or 20 years. The up front cost of a crown, bridge, filling or denture is expended over the lifespan of the restoration or prosthesis.
Few things express health, vitality, youthfulness and beauty more than a full set of attractive, healthy, white teeth and fresh breath. Your dentist can help you maintain and create that smile.