A New Year: Take a Bite That’s Firm and Bright
In the New Year, many of us make resolutions. For some of us, it may have an emotional component, like “spending more time with our family.” For others, it might be of physical nature, like trying to lose weight. But there may be other physical needs, like fixing your teeth.
When you get your teeth taken care of, it can improve your overall health, chewing function, oral musculature, nutrition and appearance. The goals of losing weight are similar. Walking and exercise are easier.
Medical issues like high blood pressure and diabetes are better controlled and you look better as well. But while weight loss can be achieved by limiting you food/caloric intake, dental improvements often require the help of a dental professional – like a dental hygienist or general dentist.
What Happens At the Checkup
When you are in the chair, getting your teeth cleaner, the hygienist removes hard deposits (tarter) as well as soft ones (plaque). Though the hard deposits are mostly annoying, the plague involves bacteria which can be detrimental to your teeth and overall health.
It’s the bacteria that feeds off our foods, causing acid to attack the teeth and gums, causing cavities and tissue problems. You can resolve to do a better job at home, brushing and flossing to remove debris, but a trip to a hygienist two or three times a year can ensure that you are doing it effectively, as well as eliminating the “hard to find” tartar and plaque.
Digital radiographs (x-rays) and photos can be used to look for decay, bone abnormalities and periodontal diseases. The hygienist will also look for possible tissue problems or growths that may or may not be cancer-related.
And at the your visit, the dentist plays a similar role in both diagnosing and treating problems. Additionally, she or he can give the patient suggestions on improving the bite as well as other cosmetic options.
Chewing Problems and Loose Teeth
On many occasions, I have seen patients who came in with chewing problems due to loose teeth, missing teeth or join issues. With the help of today’s dental materials and techniques, including partial dentures, implants and bridges, they have told me they can eat things that they couldn’t chew before, improving their food options and subsequent nutrition. They can now enjoy things like fish, chicken, fresh vegetables and fruit, rather than relying on soups and energy boosters.
These same dental materials and techniques can also lead to an improvement in appearance and self-esteem.
We recently treated two women, one who was attending her daughter’s wedding, while the second was approaching her 55th high school reunion. Both patients were kind enough to send “thank you notes” to our team.
The former (about her smile “remade” for her daughter’s wedding) wrote:
“I cannot thank you enough; your talent and expertise have given me back my smile.”
The latter (about her 55th reunion) wrote:
“I had a fabulous time at my 55th class reunion, smiling and talking the night away.”
These are a reminder of the importance of dentistry and makes us look forward to the future. As we move into 2020, make your year better by improving you oral health, functionally and emotionally.
This article originally appeared in the December/January 2020 issue of Northeast Ohio Boomer and Beyond.