Path of Pain: Dental Pain Management II

by Dr. Joe :) · 11 comments

Are You Suffering on the Path of Pain?

In Dental Pain Management Part I, I talked about why people go to the dentist and why they hate pain. Here in Part II, I’ll introduce you to the Path of Pain,  the Hero and Goat, and the Good-Guy Bad-Guy routine.

voodoo doll representing Dental Pain Management

Are you stuck on the Path of Pain?

When it comes to dental needs, there are two paths before you…

You can drift along aimlessly on what I call the Path of Pain. On this path you don’t have to make any effort at all. You’ll have long periods of relative comfort interrupted by brief but agonizing intervals of blinding pain. You’ll experience dental nightmare scenarios involving root canals, extractions and the like. Chances are you won’t be keeping your teeth on this path.

You see, during those long periods of comfort, bad things were happening but going unnoticed and untreated. Because nothing hurt at the time, nothing was done.

Your other choice is the Path of Health. Staying on this path will take some effort on your part. You need to take responsibility for your health and keep working to stay on this path.

The Path of Health is not a lazy drift.

The benefit of staying on the Path of Health will be that you’ll stay healthy, comfortable and keep your teeth.

Here’s the deal. The default is the Path of Pain. Doing nothing puts you squarely on that path drifting towards inevitable crisis and suffering.

They have good intentions, but are soft on delivery.

Your only other choice is to actively work at staying on that Path of Health. If you want to stay on that path, you must be more proactive with prevention. You must make the commitment and remain disciplined about your habits. You must adhere to a solid homecare routine and visit the dentist regularly.

Many people take a passive approach in life. They have good intentions, but are soft on delivery. For dental matters, that approach puts them smack dab onto that Path of Pain. They don’t want pain, but they bother much with home care or preventive measures. They only go to a dentist for crisis relief and sooner or later they’re in trouble again.

Ten or twenty years down the road they’re just another dental cripple struggling to chew their food.

Is that going to be you?

sweet post-doodle - 573

Dental Hero or Goat

As a dentist I’m constantly in the arena of performance. Depending on how that performance goes, my audience of one – you the patient – will determine if I wear a Hero’s Halo or the Horns of a Goat.

I love being a Dental Hero.

Pain will be the determining factor in this.

If you walk in with a painful problem and I bring you relief, I’m clearly the Dental Hero today.

I love being a Dental Hero.

If you walk in without any discomfort, but the dentistry I perform is either painful in the chair or painful afterward, then I’m the Goat in your eyes.

Success in dentistry is all about being a Dental Hero for people instead of a Goat. That means having people walk out healthier and happier.

Toothache – A Hero’s Journey at the Dentist (see video)

Pain People & Money People

This isn’t about pain, it’s about the money.

bed of nails to symbolize path of pain

What path will you choose?

There’s a group I call Pain People. For them, pain is the dominant factor in their lives. All decisions are based on avoiding or eliminating pain.

There’s another group I call Money People. For them, money is the dominant factor.

Money People obsess over money and hate to spend it on things they don’t really value. They love when they can get good stuff at a bargain-basement price.

If you come to me with a problem and I can fix it at minimal cost, I’m a Nice Guy in your eyes.

If you have a problem that requires an expensive solution, well now I’m clearly the Bad Guy.

My status can change based on the cost of your treatment. How reasonable is that?

For Money People, the cost IS the pain.

Here’s the thing. I care deeply about my Hero-Goat status. I want to help people and have them leave my office healthier and happier.

When it comes to Good Guy – Bad Guy status, I’m not concerned. Money People will always feel upset about costs. Sometimes they’ll make a big scene just to try and swing a better deal. The old squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease approach.

I don’t have much time for that drama. If you can’t afford the best solution, go for the compromise and be sure to maintain preventive measures. The last thing you need is additional problems.

If  Money People are going to paint me up as the Bad Guy, so be it. I’ll still be here when they need to be rescued at a far bigger expense.

sweet post-doodle - 573

Moving Past Pain.

If you want to finally relax at the dentist, moving past the pain and drama is essential. Let go of whatever you’re hanging on to.

Now they come in smiling and leave smiling.

Forget about the Goat’s Horns and Bad Guy stuff that will sabotage your chances for dental happiness.

Learn how to stop worrying about pain and to start loving your smile.

Over the years, I’ve helped a lot of people regain trust and let go of their fears. Now they come in smiling and leave smiling. I love that!

Stay tuned…

I’ll continue this conversation about Dental Pain Management with Part III –  Pain People and the Pain Trap.

Stay healthy and keep smiling!

Signature for a Toronto Cosmetic Dentist.

Dr. Joe 🙂

Dr. Joe Bulger

About the Author: is a West Toronto dentist. He’s also the owner-founder of Royal York Dental – a respected dental clinic serving Etobicoke since 1950.

If you would like to learn more about your dental options, fill out our contact form or CALL 416 231-0550 for a FREE & Easy No-Obligation First Visit.

Leave a Comment

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Raquelle June 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm


I look at myself as a money person that is on the path of health. I would prefer not to pay through the nose, but understand that maintaining my health comes with a cost. Now personally, not having a dental background, with suggested treatment I’d have to go and inform myself before proceeding with the Doctor’s recommendations… Or, perhaps I am simply a person with a type A personality — which guides my decision making.. LOL..

2 Dr. Joe :) June 30, 2010 at 7:08 pm


Raquelle, You don’t sound like one of the Money People. Perhaps you’re just on a tight budget and want to be careful how you spend your hard-earned dollars.

Money People are VERY focused on expenses and get VERY angry about the cost factor.

Money People will sometimes make a big scene over seemingly minor issues. That’s usually just a smokescreen. For them to come right out and say the real reason for their hostility is the cost factor wouldn’t be appropriate and they don’t want to look cheap. So they’ll pick on some inconsequential side issue to vent about.

These people aren’t necessarily frugal. Some love spending on things they love. It’s just that dentistry isn’t on that list.

If you could wave a magic wand and arrange that all dentistry was free, Money People would be relaxed and friendly about it all. Now Pain People – that’s a different story.

3 Manny @ Best Toothpaste to Whiten Teeth August 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm


I’m also someone who worries about the cost of going to the dentist for everything. I go to my regular appointments, of course, but for things like whitening my teeth or stopping my teeth from grinding in my sleep I’d rather just use the web to research the problem and maybe ask my dentist a quick question during my regular checkup.

The pain factor is also an issue for me!

4 samuelgray@how to quickly lose weight December 24, 2011 at 12:42 am


Many thanks for sharing these great dental care related information and tips.I recently heard about a emergency dental kit and i thinks it is so useful for dental health.If you have have some information about that then please also share that information.


5 Joy@anger management January 3, 2012 at 2:01 am


I would rather go for the Path of Health. I’ve been through the Path of Pain since I was young and I don’t want to go back there again.

6 ADO3L@painting wood furniture February 25, 2012 at 1:14 am


Should be diligent in dental health care and be careful choosing the type of meal. I want a future dental health until old age. Thank you for share the tips.

7 ibad@newest gadgets February 25, 2012 at 4:56 am


Teeth is a member of digestion is very important. But he is sensitive, then we should be diligent in caring for and maintaining healthy teeth.
Thanks for sharing.

8 kyle@ Car Fleet Management March 20, 2012 at 8:33 am


Visiting the dentist regularly is of utmost importance not so much for keeping your teeth healthy (that’s your job) but for finding problems early and resolving them before you get far down that path of pain.

9 Mahogany Furniture April 19, 2012 at 3:05 am


healthy is more important among the the other of all everything which haved. Like a teeth, it’s very ill feel the teethache. So we must keep our healthy of our teeth

10 Dentist@Raritan Dentist November 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm


I love being a Dental Hero too! 🙂

11 kelly July 20, 2015 at 10:44 pm


What if the problem is not pain or money? I read anither article, top ten reasons ppl hate the dentist but none were why I am terrified of the dentist. Iwas basically assaulted by an oorthodontist (im not being melodramatic, he forced his hands intto my mouth as I ripped out my own spacers and I left the clinic covered in blood) I am scared of being murdered !So how am I supposed to forget previous experience s and relax when new dentists dont stop when I ask them too and I have to push their hands away and then they refuse to see me again because apparently crying and asking them to stop is hysteria and I must be sedates in hospital? ?? I know you can only speak about yiur own practises but how do I find a dentist who I can trust when none if them will listen to me?

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