An Early Bite with Dr. John Paul: Prevention and Cure

By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor

At least once a week a patient will ask me, “Why do I have to come in two (or three or four) times a year? I’ll just call you when something goes wrong.” There is a really good answer to this:

“Mrs. Gruntbuns, I have two basic tools in my kit: prevention and cure. When you decide to ‘just call me when something is wrong’ you are choosing to only use cure. You accept the risk that you will find the problem before it gets too painful or too expensive to fix.

“When we prescribe that you visit us two times, three times or even four times per year, it is an estimate of how often we need to see you to prevent disease. What you call a ‘cleaning’ is not about cleaning your teeth — it’s about evaluating your health, and as long as you are here, we throw in a cleaning.”

Have a question you have a tough time answering? Send it to Dr. Paul at

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