September 8, 2014
Gum disease is a major reason why people lose teeth as they get older, but this patient is under 40 years of age. This patient came to me once at Nundah Village Dental complaining that the front teeth had moved creating a gap. The main complaint was that the smile wasn’t even anymore, and the patient hoped to get Invisalign to straighten the teeth. Sadly, what has happened is a perfect storm of a smoking history, lack of 6 monthly professional cleans at the dentist for nearly 10 years, and probably a genetic modifier. Gum Disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when the bacteria growing around the roots of the teeth in scale (tartar or calculus), cause a permanent chronic infection, and eventually this leads to tissue and bone destruction. Once the jaw bone is lost, the teeth become loose and drift like pylons in soft mud near a jetty. The gums recede leaving the roots of the teeth sensitive, and people become very disappointed to learn that the loss of bone is mostly irreversible. Treating the teeth when they are sensitive is another challenge, and in this case I recommended specialist intervention as soon as possible.
Loose teeth therefore can have devastating issues for a patient’s confidence and well being. I recently saw a 92 year old man with beautiful clean teeth. He has never missed coming for his check and clean every 6 months, and is healthy and can eat whatever he wants. How often do you service your car? Why? – People service their car more often than their teeth, spend more buying a car, and expect to often trade it in for little value 5 years later only to spend more to buy another car. I’m sorry, but prevention wins, and you can’t buy a new mouth. Any dental replacement will be a poor second to what you started out with in life. Get your teeth into service and love your mouth again!
July 31, 2008
Well it’s been quite a while since I have written – apolgies for being too busy on the coal face. Just thought I would show a couple of pictures of damage occuring from oral piercing. I have no judgment either way on whether it is attractive or sexy. Here are some basic facts that people with piercings should be aware of before proceeding.
Any piercing has a risk of infection – the tongue is one of the most blood filled muscles of the body and and infection in the tongue can be life threatening – in fact a death has happened before. This risk is not great, but as a dentist I am always very cautious about any damage to the tongue – so it intrigues me to see people without medical training skewering such a delicate area.
Make sure the final tongue piercing bar is not too long – you are likely to crack cusps of your back molars by mistake, or even split and lose a tooth (see my post on cracked teeth for a photo). People also play with piercings and habitually put them between their teeth. Your teeth versus metal piercings is not a fair match – see the neat wear and grooves on these next 2 patients – both of them can close their teeth completely around the piercing.
Finally – teeth are prone to calculus (hard scale) building up on the teeth. This causes the gums to receed and teeth to fall out in old age. The calculus also builds up on the piercing eventually causing a large hole and the piercing falls out – the hole doesn’t heal. The lip piercing also strips away the gum and bone attachment to the bottom front teeth making them likely to fall out early.
I have seen piercings last without problems, and they are a matter of taste – but be aware of the risks. It does make me smile that my most nervous patients that are frightened of needles are the most likely to come back with a tongue piercing – such is life 🙂