Dental Myths Dispelled – Part 2!

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In my  last blog we discussed the pervading myths on root canals, baby teeth and dentures. This blog will address even more popularly held beliefs that could not be more false. Welcome to dental myths dispelled, part 2.

4.  Dentistry is Expensive

Really? Compared to what? A friend once showed me a bill from her veterinarian to have her dog’s teeth cleaned. Not to denigrate veterinarians but it was a lot more than my fees! What’s really expensive is neglect. Not paying attention to proper home care procedures and failing to take care of problems when they are small and easily managed can be a very costly mistake. People often decry the fact that they don’t have a dental insurance. Insurance is actually Intended for catastrophic problems, i.e. your house burns down, you need a $100,000 triple bypass, etc. Dental problems can be more easily managed financially with proper planning and smart prevention. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish!

5.  Dental Disease has no Effect on my General Health.

With all that’s been written in the media recently, I can hardly believe anyone holds this to be true anymore. Dental disease and periodontal (gum) disease in particular has been associated with pre-term low birth-weight babies, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few. Think about it. Even in times past, when folks went to buy a horse, the first thing they looked at were his teeth! People instinctively knew that an animal’s health was related to its general health. Sir William Osler, one of the most forward-thinking physicians who ever lived, is quoted as having said, “The mouth is the gateway to the body.” More than that, the mouth is an indicator of what’s going on in the body!

6. It’s Normal to Lose Teeth as We Age

There are over 30 million people in this country alone that are completely edentulous (having lost all their teeth), So it’s easy to see why people might think it’s normal to lose teeth as we age. Fact is – teeth are lost as a result of disease, periodontal (gum) disease in particular, the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. In fact, periodontal disease is so widespread that it is said to be more common than the common cold! 80% of adults have some form of gum disease and gum disease causes 90% of the tooth loss in adults. Statistically a lot of folks may be missing teeth, but remember, teeth are lost as a result of disease. Disease is not normal. Health is normal!

 

Dispelling Dental Myths – What you don’t know can hurt you!

(Part One)

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Over my 40 years in dentistry I have encountered many myths about oral health that are just not true. In the next series of blog posts, I hope to put these myths to rest and give you the facts you need to make informed decisions about your oral health. Welcome to dispelling dental myths. Read on and be sure to call the office if you have any questions.

1.   Root Canals Hurt.

Maybe they did at one time, but with today’s advanced anesthesia techniques no one should have any discomfort during root canal (endodontic) treatment. I’ve always felt that the association with pain came from the fact that many people needing root canal therapy were in pain to begin with. Toothache pain is one of the worst imaginable, and in some primitive societies, was the only known cause of suicide! It only stands to reason that people would blur the connection between that level of pain and the treatment needed to save a tooth.

2.   Baby (Primary) teeth are only temporary and therefore not important.

Many people still believe this. Maybe it comes from a time when teeth were routinely extracted if they had extensive decay rather than saved. The fact is, the primary teeth are not only important for a child’s nutrition and well-being, but help to ensure the proper eruption of the permanent teeth by maintaining space. Keeping the primary teeth healthy until they are lost naturally can save thousands of dollars in orthodontic treatment later. This is a classic example of the old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!

3.    Dentures are the answer to chronic dental problems

I’ve often heard people say, “Maybe I should just have all my teeth removed and get dentures”. It’s easy to understand how people can get frustrated with dental problems. Having grown up with a father who suffered for years with chronic dental disease I can empathize with folks who share the same fate regardless of the reasons. The truth is that having one’s teeth removed and getting dentures is not so much solving a problem as it is exchanging one set of problems for another. Why? Because dentures need maintenance too and have their own myriad set of challenges. If you went to the best dentist in the world and he or she made the best set of dentures
they ever made, they would only be about 15% as effective in chewing as your own natural teeth. The advent of dental implants has helped greatly, but it still is not the same as having your natural teeth.…just different.

Until next time…keep brushing and flossing!