What’s in Your Mouth?

Linda - Wolcott, Connecticut
Entered on November 20, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: illness

I was brought up by parents who never believed or have even tried to understand dentistry nor were they educated on oral care. They came from a 3rd war country and the only dentistry they had was to have extractions done when the tooth that went bad or caused any type of pain. As for brushing teeth they didn’t use real tooth brushes they used the skin of a dried fruit that they frayed into a bristly primitive instrument that mimicked the bristles of a toothbrush. They didn’t have resources such as running water, fluoride or even floss.

We Americans are supplied with the knowledge and resources of dental health. But does everyone take advantage of it? Dental offices are all capable of giving you a complete exam to tell you what you need to do to prevent any problems from becoming a larger issue. There are probably endless reasons why a person doesn’t get their teeth checked regularly.

Sometimes when people are expressing frustrations that are not as easy as it should be or going as smoothly, whether it is trying to convey a message or merely trying to accomplish a task, they use expressions such as “Its like pulling teeth”. This expression may have attributed in giving dentistry a bad reputation. I can’t blame each person’s fear of dentistry only on this simple little expression but somehow we all know at least 3 people in our lives, whether it’s a friend, spouse, sibling, parent(s), or child; who are extremely petrified of the dental office or Dentist. Some consider going to the dentist a low priority or don’t have time to go. Many don’t have insurance coverage or the finances to pay for these services. In special cases it may be embarrassing for those who haven’t seen a dentist for decades to finally want to seek medical attention but, it will just create a positive outcome. Many people don’t understand how important it is to take care of their oral health.

I have been an oral surgery assistant for the past 4 years. The surgeon, that I assist, performs at least 5,000 extractions a year. I also work along side five other dentists in the same practice. I can personally say at least 5 out of 8 patients that I have encountered have confided to me how much they hate going to the dentist. I have witnessed numerous patients come in only to treat their tooth ache and/or abscess (acute localized infection) but never return after that emergency treatment. Instead I see them only return to treat their next tooth ache; this reasoning is not fair for both the patient and the dentist. When a patient comes in with a severe tooth ache, the dentist has to rearrange his schedule to accommodate this patient, thus making the dentist run behind for the scheduled patients because it puts the patient(s). To add more to the already time consuming procedure, if there is an abscess present, it makes it very hard to numb the patient because it blocks the absorption of the anesthetic. My advice is not to wait until the problem gets so severe because an infection can incubate large enough to become life threatening by instantaneously block your airways.

. Whatever the reasons someone may be not to seek dental health, everyone must know that they do have the resources to find dental health care or explanations of procedures at any dental facility. Make an appointment to see your dentist regularly and this would help you maintain a healthy mouth. An appointment with your dentist regularly will also allow the Dentist a better handle on time to reduce stress on the dentist and their patients. The amount of money and time used to prevent major dental problems will spare you the pain later on when things get bad. I encourage you to take charge of your mouth and to encourage those who are avoiding the Dental office to get them out there too.