I couldn’t let an opportunity for Dental Health Education slip by seeing that today is World Oral Health Day, WOHD.
Smiles are very important aspects of our lives, and a great determiner of outcomes of relationships, be it formal or informal, hence it isn’t out of place that the theme for this year’s celebration is “CELEBRATING HEALTHY SMILES”.
The theme is so much in keeping with what dentists do or attempt to do on a daily basis to varying degrees of success, depending on the cases they are presented with and the tools and expertise at their disposal.
A beautiful face is incomplete without a smile, and a healthy smile makes a whole lot of difference. You only need to look at the positivity associated with smiles to the negativity related to frowns to want one for yourself.
Unfortunately, many would love to smile occasioned by the positives in their lives but find it a tad difficult to do because of the condition of their mouth.
I have seen many people cover their mouth when they laugh, and you can link that to the conditions in their mouth and not just necessarily because they have a shy demeanour, infact a lot of shyness has roots in poor oral health. Sô the question now is, what to do to get that much desired smile, the stuff that most toothpaste ads are made of?
You will need to see your dentist, and no auspicious day as this makes it all the more important, should you find that the reason smiling is a harduous task for you is more oral or dental than psychological or physical, though no one case can be mutually exclusive.
If smiling puts people off because of the offensive odour from your mouth, your dentist will need to see if it’s related to deposits attached to your teeth, sometimes between your gum and teeth, called PLAQUE and CALCULUS, causing the gum to be stretched taut, become INFLAMED and easily BLEED.
These deposits cannot easily be brushed off even with a hard toothbrush, hence you will have need of a SCALING & POLISHING procedure done by a dentist. This procedure will not make your teeth whiter but rather cleaner leaving your teeth free of deposits difficult to brush off normally.
The odour may be coming from a hole or cavity in the tooth, filled with food debris, saliva and microorganisms in the mouth. Depending on the presence or absence of pain, and following radiographic examination the FILLING, ROOT CANAL TREATMENT or EXTRACTION of the offending tooth/teeth may be done.
Some other time, the odour may be related to stale saliva, the sort you find when you have just woken up and saliva has been stagnant all night. You may just work your saliva, by eating bland fruits, rinsing your mouth with water or even chewing gum, preferably sugar-free ones.
Teeth that are off-white in colour can put some people off from smiling. If the stains are intrinsic for instance caused by the administration of tetracycline in the persons’ infant days, and the teeth now have brown bands across the teeth or even totally brown, not much may be achieved with WHITENING/BLEACHING though an improvement in shade which most times is acceptable by the patient can be reached. In very bad cases of HYPOPLASIA (discolouration and disfiguration/pitting of teeth), the surfaces of the affected teeth may be coated with white fillings, or CROWNS fabricated over them.
For stains considered extrinsic usually associated with aging, Bleaching/Whitening can achieve far reaching results, as much as 8 shades lighter than what the patient came with, thus increasing the ones propensity to smile more doing much to elevate his/her Self Esteem.
When people lose any of their front teeth, they tend to mask their smile or even ‘Stomach’ their laughter. There are several options that can be explored in terms of replacement.
Replacements may be REMOVABLE aka DENTURES or FIXED. Removable Replacements or dentures include FLEXIBLE and NON-FLEXIBLE DENTURES, which are made of Acrylic and are removed at night before going to bed, washed in the morning before wearing and can be used to bite and chew food, but definitely not chewing bones, which may fracture the denture.
The Non-Flexible Denture is the least expensive of replacements, it’s usually bulky (to prevent easy fracture) and seen by most wearers as cumbersome, however the Flexible Denture is lighter and rather than fracture when it encounters pressure it simply bends to accommodate it, recovering once the pressure is removed. It is however much more expensive than the Non-Flexible though more durable.
BRIDGES and IMPLANTS make up the Fixed types of Replacements. A Bridge fabricated for a missing tooth, will require that the teeth beside the one to be replaced be reduced and prepared to carry crowns, to which another crown which is to replace the missing tooth is attached, usually in the middle. The crowns on the standing teeth now serve as ABUTMENT for the crown replacing the missing tooth.
For the Implant, no standing teeth are required. The ALVEOLAR BONE, on which teeth are set is drilled into, and the hole created is filled with a prefabricated TITANIUM metal, which is an inert metal that adds nothing or takes nothing from the body. This metal or Implant is left to stay within bone for atleast 6 weeks, within which bone is expected to grow around the spikes extending from the body of the Implant. If this happens successfully, another metal is screwed into the Implant, which comes away from gum unto which a CROWN is now placed.
The patient with any of these Replacements can confidently smile seeing that not only that function is restored but Aesthetics as well.
There’s more your Dentist can tell you about modalities that’ll keep you desirous of smiling all day, and showing off what your Dentist gave you, if you would just make that visit today.