We strive to fulfill our practice philosophy of being Proactively Conservative. This is what we mean.
The standard we set for your teeth and mouth is perfection.
If we see something on your teeth or mouth that is not perfect or ideal, we will tell you because if we do not, we have just made a decision for you, and that is not our prerogative. That is YOUR prerogative. Consequently, we will inform you of everything we find, and we will give you a perspective on the issue so that YOU can make an informed decision.
We promote being proactive instead of being reactive.
If we see an issue like a cavity or broken filling, or gum disease, or a malocclusion, we want to proactively address the issue as soon as possible instead of waiting for pain, or tooth breakage, or worse, tooth loss, and then having to react to it.
Many patients are under the misassumption that if pain means something is wrong, then the inverse is true: that the lack of pain or symptoms means there is nothing wrong, or that they have a grace period to delay treatment. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Taking a page from medical, there are many diseases and illnesses that do not cause pain. For example, high blood pressure, diabetes, and oftentimes cancer does not cause pain. And these can have fatal consequences. To be prudent, patients will choose to have these illnesses treated despite the absence of pain. The same applies to teeth.
The bottom line is this: teeth can be in a very bad situation without the patient experiencing any pain. Be proactive.
We want to use the most conservative treatment or restoration possible.
A tooth is like a solid block of marble. It is extremely strong when intact. A thin marble tile, on the other hand, is a lot weaker and can easily crack if gently tapped with a hammer. Please note that fillings do not strengthen a tooth. Fillings merely fill in the hole where the cavity was removed. So ultimately, what determines the strength of a tooth is how much or how thick the surrounding tooth structure is. If a small filling is placed in the middle of the tooth and the surrounding four walls are very thick, then that tooth is still fairly strong. However, if you have a very large filling, which results in thin supporting walls, then that tooth is now weaker. This tooth may now need a crown instead of a filling to restore. The key is when we restore teeth. We always want to leave them at least as strong if not stronger than the original. To leave a tooth weak is to leave it in jeopardy of breaking and possibly losing the tooth.
This means using the smallest filling possible, or an onlay instead of a crown because less tooth structure needs to be removed, or taking care of the cavity now instead of inadvertently waiting for it becomes so destructive that the tooth is no longer restorable and needs to be removed and replaced with an implant.
And the way to achieve this is not to delay treatment. If a tooth has a small cavity, fix it now instead of waiting for it to get bigger. You want to keep as much of your own healthy tooth structure as possible. And that means being proactive and addressing issues sooner than later.
Dr. Yung has been practicing dentistry for over 27 years and has found this philosophy of being Proactively Conservative to be extremely effective in maintaining the oral health of his patients.