If you follow our blogs about oral health, you know that dentists can detect potentially serious conditions that affect your entire body simply by looking in your mouth. A new study suggests dentists may also be able to spot bullying.
Bullying has grown into a major problem. It puts countless adolescents under heightened emotional stress. According to the New York Daily News, data collected in Brazil reveals that kids who experience bullying are more likely to grind their teeth while they sleep.
A Strikingly Common Habit
Oral health and bullying: Kids who experienced verbal bullying were four times as likely to grind their teeth.
Researchers looked at the oral health and academic experiences of over 300 children ages thirteen to fifteen.
Sixty-five percent of the bullied students ground their teeth.
“Both children and adults tend to grind their teeth when suffering from stress,” says Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation. “…bullying is a significant contributor here,” he says. “Sleep bruxism can be particularly damaging as we are often unaware that we do it.”
What Causes Bruxism?
An abnormal bite can lead to bruxism. However, dentists usually attribute tooth grinding to stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
In 2017, actor Demi Moore confessed to Jimmy Fallon that over the past two years, stress caused her to grind her two front teeth. In fact, she ground them so hard that her dentist had to remove them. The two, shiny front teeth she sported on The Tonight Show were fake.
Symptoms of bruxism include worn down teeth, hypersensitive teeth and jaw aches. As Dr. Carter said, most bruxism sufferers don’t know they grind their teeth. Not, that is, until someone who sleeps in the same room hears them in the act.
While people usually grind their teeth at night, some sufferers grind their teeth while doing chores or driving, the BBC reported.
A Vital Insight into a Child’s State of Mind
With this new evidence about the likely cause, nonprofits like the Oral Health Foundation are taking action. They are urging parents and school nurses to view these symptoms in children as signs of bullying or other emotionally debilitating problems.
“Bullying of any form is absolutely abhorrent and can have both a physical and psychological impact,” Dr. Carter said. Moreover, “when experienced in childhood, [these] can lead to trauma that might last throughout adulthood.”
“Grinding teeth may not sound like a priority within the wider picture,” Dr. Carter added. However, “…it could prove to give a vital insight into a child’s state of mind and could be an important sign for us to identify bullying at an earlier stage.”
Grinding teeth could be an important sign for identifying bullying at an earlier stage.
Dentists who detect bruxism may fit the patient with a plastic mouth guard to help protect the teeth. Arguably, the most effective way to break the habit, however, is to relieve stress via exercise, meditation, or even psychological counseling.
The only way to know if you have bruxism or your symptoms are a cause for concern is by going to the dentist at least twice a year. The cost of preventing this and other oral health conditions will far outweigh the cost of repairing damage.
Read next: Back to School Dental Care Checklist
America’s opioid epidemic has killed more than 180,000 since 2000. Unfortunately, many of the victims became addicted after doctors prescribed them drugs like Oxycontin and Percocet. These prescriptions, however, were likely not their first exposure to powerful painkillers.
When health pros prescribe opioids for high school students, they are one-third more likely to abuse the drugs in the future.
According to the New York Times, most opioid prescriptions for people ages ten to nineteen are written by dentists and oral surgeons. This is largely due to the tradition of prescribing opioids after wisdom tooth removal. This procedure is performed on millions of patients under the age of 25 every year. Almost every patient who undergoes this procedure is prescribed opioids.
When health pros prescribe opioids for high school students, they are one-third more likely to abuse the drugs in the future.
Learn more: Back to School Dental Care Checklist
“They don’t develop their addiction from that experience,” says psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Andrew Kolodny. “But because of it, they’re no longer afraid of the drug and they like the effect. They’re getting their first taste of the drug from a doctor or dentist, and that increases the likelihood they would use it recreationally.”
Reducing Opioid Addiction
The first step towards reducing opioid addiction is prescribing “more cautiously,” according to Dr. Kolodny. Increasingly, oral health professionals are heeding this advice.
Leading this initiative is Dr. Harold Tu, director of the division of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. Last year, he successfully lobbied the school to implement a new, mandatory protocol that teaches students to avoid opioids for their clinical patients.
The first-line treatment now consists of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen (or NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. Tu’s students only prescribe opioids if the patient is allergic to one of these or needs stronger pain relief.
So far, Tu told the Times, “we have not seen an increase in patient complaints or patients returning saying ‘the NSAIDs are not working; I need something stronger’.”
Relief Equal To or Better Than Opioids
The notion that ibuprofen combined with acetaminophen could ever treat pain as effectively as opioids might seem a bit farfetched. However, a 2013 study found that the former treatment provides equal or better relief than the latter.*
Minneapolis oral surgeon Dr. Angie Rake used to give young patients “10 to 15 Vicodin” only to hear her parents’ ask for more. She has since reduced her opioid prescriptions by about 60%. She now makes an effort to speak to parents about addiction. “Now I have parents thanking me for taking time to educate them,” Dr. Rake said. “And a lot of times they say, ‘We’re really going to try to avoid these.’ ”
Now I have parents thanking me for taking time to educate them. And a lot of times they say, ‘We’re really going to try to avoid these.’
Dr. Rake is a firm follower of Dr. Tu along with Dr. Douglas Fain, president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He recently conducted a survey that found that half of his members have reduced opioid prescriptions. They now prescribe just three to four days’ worth of the drugs.
In addition to the number of prescriptions written, Dr. Fain has reduced dosage levels at his practice. “They’re here if you need them,” he says, but only for those in unbearable pain.
Read next: Ways to Avoid a Painful Visit to the Dentist
*Article Citation: JADA, Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen for acute pain management after third-molar extractions, August 2013Volume 144, Issue 8, Pages 898–908.
Parents and caregivers are often skeptical about the safety of sedation dentistry for children.
Children rarely need general anesthesia. However, if they are unusually aggressive or in need of treatment for more than just a few teeth, your dentist may use it. Nevertheless, parents and caregivers are often skeptical about the safety of sedation dentistry for children.
Dentists are likely to use Midazolam to put kids undergoing minor dental surgery to sleep. In fact, it’s the most widely used pediatric sedative. Recent research has shown this drug is safe. In addition, negative side effects in toddlers undergoing dental surgery are considered highly unlikely.
Facts vs. Suspicion
A team from Ohio State University (OSU) examined 650 previous cases of sedation dentistry. Their study looked at sedation dentistry used on 333 male and 317 female children.*
Patients received the sedative in one of three ways: via the mouth, nose, or orally in combination with other sedatives. Researchers assigned a success rate to each procedure based on a number of factors. For example, these included the behavior of the patient, effectiveness of the sedation, presence of negative side effects, and number of teeth treated.
According to Bite Magazine, all three types of procedures achieved success rates of over 85%. Oral administration had the lowest rate of negative side effects.
Learn more: Why Generation Z Might Go On to Have the Healthiest Teeth to Date
The dental teams saw post-procedural nausea and/or vomiting in less than 4% of the patients. The majority of these were administered multiple sedatives. Less than 6% of patients displayed “angry-child syndrome.” In these cases, the sedative evoked the opposite reaction due to a loss of emotional control.
A Less Stressful Way to Quell These Fears
The research team concluded that all three methods of sedation will likely pose no harm for children having the most common types of dental surgery.
“In our study, Midazolam in several forms and combinations proved effective and safe with minimal side effects. We can recommend these uses of Midazolam for necessary treatment in young children,” the researchers concluded.
…several forms and combinations proved effective and safe with minimal side effects…
Waiting until a child’s third or fourth year to see the dentist has proven hazardous. It’s now fairly common for toddlers to display potentially serious dental problems that began during infancy.
Learn more: Dental Anxiety and Kids: Parents, Caregivers, Dentists All Play a Role
Dental professionals recommend taking children for their first dental visit when they are just six months to one year old. Earlier dental visits can help prevent these problems from arising. In addition, they can help ensure your child doesn’t have to undergo extensive surgery at a young age.
Read next: Dental Trauma and Kids: Common Problems
*Article Citation: Safety and Efficacy of 3 Pediatric Midazolam Moderate Sedation Regimens. Anesthesia Progress: Summer 2017, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 66-72.
A startling revelation from a Hollywood actor highlights one of the most prevalent causes of oral health problems: stress.
Demi Moore appeared on “The Tonight Show” in June to chat with host Jimmy Fallon about her new film, “Rough Night.”
But before they discussed her role, Fallon showed the audience a recent photo of Moore smiling with one of her front teeth missing. The 54-year-old then told Fallon that this was the second of her two front teeth she had lost.
Showing how Harmful Stress Can Be
“I’d love to say it was skateboarding or something really kind of cool,” Moore said before confessing to have been so overcome with stress that she “sheared off” her front teeth.
Learn more: Stress and Oral Health
“They happened a year apart but the fact remains that I sheared off both my front teeth,” she added. “Thank God for modern dentistry. Without it, I wouldn’t be smiling on the red carpet.”
Thank God for modern dentistry. Without it, I wouldn’t be smiling on the red carpet.
Speaking of how the second tooth actually came out, Moore told Fallon that she “literally knocked it out. It was almost like it fell out and my warranty was up.”
In addition to comic relief, Moore explained that the photo’s purpose was to show the world just how harmful stress can be.
“I think it’s something that’s important to share, because I think it’s literally, probably after heart disease, one of the biggest killers in America,” she said of stress.
Other Factors Involved
Stress and anxiety can make people neglect their overall health.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can in fact be a product of stress. An abnormal bite, missing teeth, crooked teeth or sleep disorders like sleep apnea can also be causes. People who drink a lot of caffeine are also more likely to grind their teeth. Alcohol has been shown to intensify teeth grinding as well.
Research shows that stress is a cause of up to 70% of bruxism cases. That may be because teeth grinding is a common outcome of the body’s natural fight-or-flight response.
Dr. Gary Glassman, a dentist who specializes in endodontics, told the New York Post that stress was likely not the only cause for Moore’s two lost teeth.
“I would suspect that there were definitely other factors involved,” he said. “[Bruxism] can wreak havoc and when you’re under stress and have a lot of anxiety. That’s the number one reason why people grind their teeth.”
Another reason stress and anxiety pose a danger to oral health is their ability to make people neglect their overall health in general. Someone who is in a bad mood, Dr. Glassman explained, is more likely to forget to brush his or teeth, floss, and show up for dental checkups.
My Dentist, My Therapist
While the precise timeline of Moore’s tooth loss was not disclosed, teeth grinding does have the potential to fracture teeth, loosen teeth, or wear them down to stumps.
Most people who grind their teeth do so at night. In fact, many aren’t even aware they are grinding their teeth until someone who sleeps in the same room hears the grinding noise.
Dental Trauma — Learn all about the various types of oral wounds or distress that may result from a sudden injury.
Your dentist can identify bruxism by observing jaw tenderness or a healthy tooth that seems smaller or duller than normal. Dentists typically fit patients with the condition for mouth guards, which protect the teeth from wearing down as they sleep.
If your dentist finds that stress is a key factor, she might suggest you try an exercise routine or mental health counseling. Any outlet for stress – whether yoga, reading, or playing music – can help decrease the odds of bruxism developing.
Who do you know that could use this news? Now’s your chance to share this post!
Read next: Oral Health and Bullying: How Dentists Can Spot Verbal Abuse
The benefits of seeing your dentist every six months stretch far beyond simply having healthier, better-looking teeth. Oral health is directly connected to your overall wellbeing. Every time you make a dentist appointment, your chances of enjoying the future increase.
The truth is, some of life’s best rewards will most likely go to people with good oral health. Here are just five rewards, all of which are much harder to get if you don’t take care of your teeth:
1. A Longer Life
Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and oral health exams confer benefits that can help keep you smiling for years.
When you see your dentist often, you lower your risk for a large range of ills. If left untreated, oral bacteria causes gum disease and tooth decay. It can even enter the blood and spread plaque through the body.
Depending on your family history, this could put you at risk for heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and cancer. It can even lead to diseases like stroke, Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Here’s the thing, though. Oral bacteria are incredibly easy to eliminate. Your dentist can help you to stave off these diseases through the benefits of regular exams and cleanings. That is, as long as you manage plaque build up by keeping your regular dentist appointments.
2. Higher Income
Speaking of benefits, research has shown that people with great teeth and smiles are more likely to earn higher salaries and get more job opportunities than people who seem to view their smile as less of a priority. One study used fake job interviews and found that those who had the best smiles were viewed as more confident and skilled.
Learn more: Dental Inequality in America
This isn’t much of a surprise, though. It’s only natural for someone with good oral health to be seen as serious, disciplined, and concerned about his or her effect on others. So, if you want to make your dream job a reality, it can help to keep up with regular dental visits.
3. More Money in the Bank
People with good oral health tend to have lower bills as they get older. The cost of regular dental visits to prevent problems is a fraction of the cost for the type of reactive care patients who have advanced gum disease may need.
Infographic: Prevent vs. Repair – See why it pays to invest in protecting your teeth.
4. Less Stress
When you work to address oral health problems head on, there is less need to worry about the state of your teeth. People who never skip the dentist also have to worry less about certain foods or beverages causing pain or long-term damage.
With some types of oral health issues, cold or hot foods or drinks can be a problem. When you see your dentist often, she can help you to manage the effects of sugar, alcohol and caffeine, which may be the cause. Lastly, if you have a lot of stress, your dentist will know, and be able to tell you, what you can do to help.
5. Better Love Life
Not only will people who take care of their teeth stay attractive to their partners, but they will also have less difficulty finding romantic partners. In fact, a 2013 survey of nearly 5,500 single adults ages 21 and older revealed straight, white teeth to be the quality single men and women look for most when choosing a mate.
When you visit the dentist every 6 months, you won’t be as worried about your partner seeking greener pastures. And who knows? You may even be able to win over the object of your affections, regardless of your age.
How Much Brighter Could Your Future Be?
Sounds like a happy life, right? You can gain these rewards and a lot more if you simply go to the dentist and follow through with their advice and care.
Missing just one or two appointments might not seem like a big deal. But as you age, you may grow more conscious of how your teeth look and feel. So think of your long-term health and financial strength, and stick to your regular dental exams!
Read next: 4 Most Overlooked Oral Health Problems
The Scary Root Canal That Turned Out Fabulous
One scary childhood experience at the dentist office left me refusing sugary treats, brushing after every bite of food or drink of anything other than water and flossing twice a day for my entire life. Those healthy dental habits kept my mouth in great shape right up until the day that I turned 40, and a dental filling promptly fell right out while I was enjoying my sugar-free birthday cake.
I didn’t believe it when everyone told me that dentistry had come a long way from the dark ages of my childhood, and I made the horrible mistake of leaving my tooth unprotected for months. Eventually, the tooth fell apart, and I knew that I would need a root canal. I couldn’t have been any more afraid if I’d found a thief in my kitchen in the night.
As it turned out, there was no need for all of that worry, fear and anxiety. I feel more than a little silly that I let a perceived childhood trauma keep me from caring for myself better, but at least I know better now.
My Root Canal Journey
• White-Knuckled Grip: I knew that both my extreme anxiety and fear were very real when the dental assistants had to keep trying to pry my fingers off of the dental chair. The dentist came in and asked me why my eyes were so huge and my face was pale as a ghost, and then I heard him tell his assistants that I was scared to death.
Those ladies sprang into action with some very creative ideas that made me forget to be afraid. They had me hold one leg up while they counted, then the other leg and then each arm. I relaxed. One then picked up the book that I had brought and read it to me throughout the entire procedure.
The dentist asked me repeatedly how I was doing, and I was surprised to find that I was actually doing fine. I couldn’t be more surprised to report that I actually didn’t feel any discomfort during my root canal. The worst part for me was the x-rays, and they quickly moved me to a machine that could take the x-rays without them having to gag me.
• Recovery Tales: Those same people who were telling me not to be afraid to get the root canal were also telling me that the recovery would be long and painful. They said I would miss at least a week of work, and I wouldn’t even be able to take my children to school. Fortunately, they were extremely wrong about that. I was a little uncomfortable my first night, but the dentist had prescribed a pain killer for me that did the job. The next day I was up and back to work, and the day after that I was eating normally.
• The Bill Arrives: I didn’t have dental insurance through my job, so I was a little apprehensive about how much that great care I received from the dentist was going to set me back. You can imagine my immense relief when the bill said only $20 was left owing. It turned out that the little dental policy I had bought on my own had paid everything except that little co-pay.
Take Care of Yourself
What I’ve learned from this experience is that we all need to take better care of ourselves. Don’t let unreasonable fears keep you away from your doctor or dentist, and you should make sure to have some good insurance in place before something can go wrong.
If you think flossing your teeth regularly is a pain, prison lawsuits highlight the problems that can arise when you skimp on flossing.
Inmates filed suits against the Palm Beach County Jail in Florida and the Westchester County Jail in New York because they did not have access to dental floss. The lack of floss, one inmate stated, resulted in “oral abscesses, pain, discomfort, tooth decay (loss), and could contribute to endocarditis.” [“Jail inmate goes beyond oral arguments in fight for right to floss,” The Palm Beach Post.]
Of course, not flossing your teeth won’t land you in prison, but it’s a fact that skipping the dental floss truly can be a serious offense when it comes to oral health.
What is a dental abscess?
Skipping dental floss can be a serious offense.
Let’s look at one of the problems cited by litigious inmates: dental abscesses. A dental abscess is a pocket of tissue inside the mouth or throat that is filled with pus.
The pus is the result of a bacterial infection. Bacteria typically get into teeth through a chip or crack, due to tooth decay, or as a result of periodontal disease.
Bacterial infections may also be the result of a cavity that has been left untreated. The symptoms of dental abscesses include extreme throbbing and relentless toothache-like pain, swelling, tenderness, sensitivity to heat and cold, and redness.
The lymph nodes in the neck may become swollen when a dental abscess is present. Chills, diarrhea, fever, nausea, sweating, and vomiting may also accompany acute cases.
Complications and consequences of dental abscesses
Whether you believe inmates should have access to floss or not, the jury is unanimous on one point: the consequences of leaving a dental abscess untreated can be deadly. Dangerous and sometimes life-threatening complications can result if a dental abscess is not treated properly. In some very advanced cases, immediate hospitalization may even be necessary.
Swelling related to an abscess can perforate bone. The pressure from an untreated abscess can block airways and make it hard to breathe. When related to upper teeth, dental abscesses may lead to blood infection, a condition called septicemia. Extremely rare complications include brain abscesses and meningitis.
…even in cases where an abscess spontaneously drains or releases the stored up pus, the infection will not go away without proper treatment and care.
While an abscess may drain without intervention, if left untreated the bacteria may spread to the jaw, to other parts of the head, neck, and chest, or throughout the entire body through a condition known as sepsis. It is important to note that, even in cases where an abscess spontaneously drains or releases the stored up pus, the infection will not go away without proper treatment and care.
Who’s at risk for dental abscesses, and why?
Several factors can put a person at greater risk for developing a tooth abscess. The risk of developing dental abscesses is obviously greater in people who do not take proper care of their teeth. Diet also plays an important role in dental health, and consuming too much sugar is known to promote cavities, which can progress to form dental abscesses in some cases.
In addition, complications from abscesses can spread more easily in people with underlying health issues and weakened immune systems. People with HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or any medical condition that makes it more difficult for the body to stay healthy are at greater risk, generally speaking.
When to seek professional care
Considering the life threatening nature of dental abscesses, it is important to seek professional care if you have any of the symptoms related to dental abscesses:
- If you suspect you or someone you know has an abscess, call your dentist right away
- If you cannot reach your dentist, or if you are experiencing advanced symptoms such as fever, nausea, or vomiting, an emergency room should be your first stop
Treatments and medications for dental abscesses
In order to eradicate the infection the abscess must be drained. Abscesses sometimes rupture or drain on their own, or they may be drained by a doctor or dentist.
Treatment typically includes prescription pain killers and may include the use of antibiotics, especially where a weakened immune system is present. Tooth extraction is sometimes necessary, but a root canal may be performed to wipe out the infection and attempt to save the tooth.
Treatment typically includes prescription pain killers and may include the use of antibiotics…
To treat pain related to a dental abscess at home — either before seeing the dentist or doctor or after receiving treatment — over-the-counter pain relievers may be used. Ice packs can be applied to the swelling for a few minutes on and off. In addition, if an abscess drains on its own or is drained by a professional, rinsing the mouth with lukewarm water can help.
Preventing dental abscesses
Chances are you’ve never had a dental abscess. But, are you doing everything you need to do to make sure it stays that way? When it comes to anything as potentially life-threatening as dental abscesses, an ounce of prevention makes a ton of sense.
Maintaining good oral alth and preventing dental abscesses and tooth decay requires a daily regimen of brushing and flossing. To help ensure that tooth decay is exposed early and advanced problems such as dental abscesses are avoided entirely, be sure to have regular professional cleanings and dental checkups. Finally, drinking water that has been fluoridated and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet play important roles in maintaining overall dental health.
Chances are, you’ll never have a dental abscess. But then, no one’s challenging your right to floss. And only you can challenge yourself to do all you can to protect your teeth.
Dental health screenings can help keep you healthy from head to toe.
One of the great benefits of having a good dental insurance plan is that regular appointments for teeth cleaning and oral exams are covered. One big reason for this is that insurance companies know a focus on prevention can actually help an individual lower their future costs for dental repairs.
But there’s another reason why your dentist and oral hygienist want to see you twice a year: to help keep you healthy from head to toe.
During a routine visit to the dentist, several serious diseases (such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) can be detected. If you’re like many people, there’s a good chance you see your dental hygienist more frequently than you see your general practitioner.
So how great is it that dental hygienists are trained to screen their patients for signs and symptoms that may indicate problems in other parts of the body?
In fact, during a dental health screening, a trained oral health practitioner can spot over 120 signs and symptoms of non-dental diseases.
…a trained oral health practitioner can spot over 120 signs and symptoms of non-dental diseases.
If that sounds like it would be time consuming, well, it is. Trying to fit an oral hygiene exam, scaling and polishing, and a doctor exam into a one hour appointment can be a major challenge.
Early detection and prompt referrals
The good news is: the more frequently you have your teeth professionally cleaned, the less time your hygienist will need to spend scaling and polishing your teeth, and the more time will be available for your oral care team to devote to overall health screening, early detection of any concerns, and prompt referral to a primary care provider.
If all you want is a brighter smile, then that may sound like it’s a waste of time.
But if you ask them, your dentist and oral hygienist will very likely tell you they have a bigger goal in mind for you: keeping you healthy all over, so you’ll have every reason to smile.
Learn more about your oral health.
Share a smile with us! Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or add us to Google+.
Preventive oral hygiene includes regular checkups and cleanings to remove plaque and tartar that build up on teeth even with dedicated daily care.
Rotten teeth, tooth decay, and gum diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis are usually the result of poor oral care. These health conditions cost far more to repair than to prevent.
You may not be able to kill two birds with one stone, but when it comes to oral health there is one very simple and affordable thing you can do to avoid these serious – and potentially expensive – problems. That is: take preventive oral hygiene seriously.
Tooth decay and gum diseases get their start with a substance called plaque. Preventive oral hygiene includes daily efforts to eliminate plaque and prevent its build up. It also includes regular checkups and professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar that can build up on teeth despite dedicated daily care.
What is plaque?
Plaque is the name for a sticky and translucent substance that is constantly being produced by our mouths. The bacteria in plaque consume sugars that are contained in various types of food. This creates acids that attack the surface of the teeth and toxins that may attack the bone beneath the gums.
The acids assault tooth enamel for 20 or more minutes after you have sugary food or beverages. Eventually, the acids may begin to destroy the enamel, which is how tooth decay gets a foothold, so to speak.
Plaque can also penetrate below the gum line, where the toxins can threaten the underlying bone.
Plaque can also penetrate below the gum line, where the toxins can threaten the underlying bone. The result is gingivitis or periodontitis. Obviously, neither situation – a rotten tooth or poor gum health – is high on anyone’s wish list.
Treatments and costs
Not least among the reasons for avoiding tooth decay or gum disease is the expense involved in treatment. In either case, treatment options depend on the severity of the problem, and as the severity mounts, so do the costs for professional care.
…as the severity mounts, so do the costs for professional care.
Milder cases of tooth decay may be treated by simply using a fluoride-based treatment. If cavities have developed, however, a filling will be required. More severe cases may require that a dentist fit the tooth with a crown, perform a root canal operation, or even pull the tooth altogether.
Gum disease is likewise increasingly more expensive to deal with the longer it is ignored or left undiagnosed and allowed to progress. If a milder case of gum disease is caught in time, patients may be able to simply brush and floss their way back to optimal health. More serious cases will require professional cleaning by a dental hygienist to get rid of built up plaque. A severe case of gum disease may require antibiotics or even surgery.
Preventing tooth decay and gum disease
Repair or prevent? Well, we think it’s a “no brainer” – but then, consider the source…
If you really need any more convincing, try plugging the phrases “Oral Conditions and Diseases” or “Tooth Conditions and Disorders” into your browsers’ search bar and see what images come up. YUCKA!!!
But, if you’re already convinced about the power of prevention – and could use a brush up on oral care basics – check out this overview of basic dental care in our blog archives.
While you’re at it, why not call to schedule your next dental checkup?
Share a smile with us! Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or add us to Google+.
Check out these mini infographics, which help explain the current state of oral health in the US. [Click images for larger versions.]
For more mini infographics, smile quotes, and other dental divertissements, follow us on Facebook.