Have you seen the commercial about the dentist who’s only a “dental monitor”? In other words, he only finds the problem and tells you about it; he doesn’t fix it. (If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGDzxPsdi7w ). Seems kind of silly when we put it that way, but if you’re still of the mindset to “just watch” a dental problem, you’re doing the same thing.
In the past, we, as dentists, were taught to “just watch” small areas of decay on teeth and other early problems. I think in part we did this because the fillings available at the time required dentists to remove a significant amount of tooth structure to place the filling—so we waited until the area of decay penetrated the tooth enamel before we drilled.
Today, we have products that will bond to the tooth enamel—allowing us to fill a tooth all while removing much less tooth structure than we had to in the past. With this technology, the days of “just watching” a small cavity are past!
Remember the problem won’t cure itself, it’s only going to keep getting worse. It won’t get less expensive to fix by waiting—and in many cases it may get more expensive to do so and/or require additional dental services to fix it. And it won’t get more comfortable if you wait.
A cavity isn't going to heal itself--it's only going to keep getting larger and may end up needing a root canal or to be removed if you wait too long. Periodontal or gum disease isn't going to get better if you don't treat it--all you'll end up doing is losing more jaw bone from around your teeth!
(Note: There are a few isolated cases where Watching is indicated. For example, if you have a soft tissue sore, we might watch it for two weeks to see if it heals on its own. So, if you’ve burned the roof of your mouth with hot pizza, as long as you don’t keep traumatizing the area, it should heal itself within two weeks as part of the normal healing process. But if the area doesn’t heal, we then need to address it without waiting.)
*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgment of your healthcare providers.