Let’s face it. We applaud those who do, rather than those who watch and wait. That’s why the alarming trend towards costly procedures and the use of sophisticated detection devices has sparked a righteous debate in the otherwise demure world of dentistry. And you know what they say about debating dentists: they argue, ahem, with tooth and nail.

The controversy surrounds the treatment of microcavities, a catchall term for microscopic abnormalities on our teeth, and whether these abnormalities could lead to painful complications. The keyword here is could, because drilling the unseen has raised a number of red flags among some of the most experienced members of the industry.

But how much is the public to blame? We demand the best, expect our dentists to use the latest technologies, and rarely let a good deed go unpunished. When we sit in that comfy reclined chair and our teeth are a little sore, but sore in a good way so that you know they are sparklingly clean, and your dentist says he or she has found some microcavities…

Well, let’s just say that it takes a gutsy patient to turn down that preventative procedure, especially when your dentist invokes the possibility of that dreaded Root Canal.

What’s a patient to do? Consumers can start by staying informed! If you’ve recently moved and are seeing a new dentist for the first time, don’t assume that your teeth are all of a sudden pockmarked with cavities. This is especially concerning because drilling alone can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

So until there is some agreement as to the proper treatment of microcavities, dentists and patients alike ought to take a moment and remember that sometimes the best prevention is the vigilance of an experienced dentist; not only is it easier on the wallet, it’s less painful than the drill will ever be.