PRINTED IN TCI WEEKLY NEWS
March 26th, 2012
MYTH: Any type of dental treatment is very painful.
TRUTH: This may well have been true in the past and unfortunately some people still believe this to be the case, often due to bad experiences as children. However, this really is not true any longer. Advanced dental technology, techniques and drugs- especially anesthetics- mean that nowadays any pain experienced during and after dental procedures can be effectively managed with a steady hand.
MYTH: Medication cures toothache
TRUTH: Analgesic (painkiller) medication such as Tylenol or Aleve can temporarily relieve toothache but they will not cure toothache. The only way to cure a toothache is to find the cause and treat it. At a dental examination the dentist will exam the teeth and gums and may take x-rays to see what is happening inside the tooth. From this examination the dentist will be able to advise the correct course of treatment. This might include a course of antibiotics if an infection is detected but could also include a filling, root canal treatment or extraction.
MYTH: It is necessary to avoid dental procedures during pregnancy. TRUTH: During pregnancy you should continue with your regular dental care. In fact it can be even more important during pregnancy as it is common for the gums to bleed more and experience increased sensitivity. However, there are certain procedures that should be avoided during pregnancy. These include, exposure to x-rays and either the placing or removal of mercury fillings.
MYTH: Using a sugarless chewing gum after a meal can replace brushing and have the same effect.
TRUTH: No. Chewing gum is not a replacement for brushing your teeth. It does not remove food debris and is not effective at removing plaque. However, it does give a benefit of reducing the acid level in your mouth by increasing saliva flow.
MYTH: Teeth whitening is harmful to teeth
TRUTH: Modern methods of teeth whitening, using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide gel (with or without the ‘laser light’ treatment) do not damage tooth enamel and are not harmful to teeth. Nevertheless teeth whitening is not recommended for everyone especially people with particularly sensitive teeth. Personally I don’t recommend it for anyone under 20 years old.
MYTH: There is no need in seeing dentist if there is no visible problem with my teeth.
TRUTH: This is not true. It is not unusual for a patient to have cavities, gum disease or even an abscess and not be aware of it. But just because you are not experiencing any symptoms does not mean that damage is not being done- you could well be storing up problems for later. Decay that is left untreated will result in rotten teeth that have no alternative but to be removed; untreated gum disease can result in pain and loss of teeth. Visiting a dentist on a regular basis (every 6-12 mths) will ensure that problems can be detected and treated early, thus limiting the complexity and expense of any treatment required and leaving you with healthier teeth.
MYTH: I can’t have my tooth extracted because I am pregnant/ breast feeding
TRUTH: This is not true. There is no reason not to have an extraction if it is needed. I wouldn’t take any x-rays if you are pregnant but it is better to treat the problem rather than wait, particularly if the tooth is painful or infected and frequent use of painkillers has been required.
MYTH: The tooth fairy doesn’t exist
TRUTH: Of course she does!