Who is This Dentist Person? And Why Should I let Him/Her Into My Mouth?

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Who is This Dentist Person? And Why Should I let Him/Her Into My Mouth?

“Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.”

Anonymous..

Most everyone has a relative or a friend who is particularly good at doing something, whether it be fixing a car or investing in the stock market. This commonly encountered level of expertise tends to make people think that most any problem faced by individuals today can be solved by someone they know and doesn’t require the services of a professional. 

Couple that thought with a struggling economy and increasing difficulties people face in making ends meet and you will find people putting off visits to professionals, especially when there is no pain or other obvious motivating factor present. 

According to the ministry of health Malaysia, only about 40% of the Malaysian population visit a dentist for regular care. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have been told, when evaluating an advanced oral condition, “it didn’t hurt so I didn’t think it was important”, or “It was bothering me, but it quit, so I forgot about it”. Let me unequivocally state, “Pain is not a reliable indicator of need!” 

In fact, if a patient waits until he feels some major discomfort in his mouth, his condition at that point is most likely much more serious than when he first became aware of it, and it will certainly cost a good deal more to fix than if he had addressed it immediately.

There is a reason the Malaysian Oral Health division recommends on average a visit to the dentist on a twice per year basis. It is not to increase the dentist’s bottom line income! For example, decay can move through dentin (the material underlying enamel comprising the bulk of the tooth, which houses and protects the living innards, the pulp) at the rate of roughly a millimeter in six months. Considering the amount of dentin present between the outside world and the living pulp in a tooth 

is only a couple of millimeters on average per tooth, it is easy to see how decay can progress from a small cavity to a pulp-killing root canal in as little as a year. From the patient’s perspective, that’s a change in cost to his wallet of a couple of hundred dollars for a filling, if the tooth were treated early, to a couple thousand dollars for a root canal, core build up, and a crown, or worse, an extraction. Typically, the patient doesn’t feel any pain in this instance until the pulp is breeched and the root canal is inevitable.

Therefore, the need to have a professional evaluate a person’s mouth and

detect changes early on becomes obvious, since these incipient changes rarely cause any discomfort. In this land of rugged individualists, where people are praised for pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, it almost seems contrarian to rely on someone else to tell you what your needs are for anything. 

Also, since dentistry seems to concern itself with only minor body parts (in most people’s minds), its needs and demands for treatment easily take second place to other more vital medical conditions. You can probably live without your tooth, but try to live without your heart, for example!

There are other considerations to visiting the dentist more frequently as well. One of the biggest causes of tooth loss in adults is periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal Disease involves a gradual loss of tissue attachment and bone surrounding a tooth or teeth. “Disease” in this case may be a misnomer since the condition is actually a genetic susceptibility which must be constantly managed throughout the patient’s life as opposed to, say, a cold virus which is contracted, treated, and fought off by the body’s immune system, never to be present again. To determine which category a patient may find himself in, he need only look to his family tree to see who still has their teeth and if lost, at what age.

In Periodontal Disease, the height of the surrounding gum tissue may or may not change, leaving the patient unaware of the ever-deepening pockets around his teeth. As the pockets deepen, the bacterial population living in the pockets changes to a more virulent variety causing continual loss of the tissue attachment to the teeth and loss of the bone beneath.

There may also be an accompanying increase in halitosis (bad breath) noticeable to others. Three out of every four adults typically have some form of this condition. This condition is also rarely painful until the end stages, when deep, pus filled pockets surrounding the infected tooth or teeth finally become swollen and painful. 

The affected teeth may also become loose at this point as a result of the supporting bone literally melting away (see above photo – yellow line indicates where bone should be; red line shows bone loss) from the affected teeth and further adding to the difficulty of eating. 

Diagnosing the presence of periodontal disease early and creating and following a program to manage it for those susceptible to its ravages is crucial to fighting this condition and keeping the teeth healthy and functional for a lifetime. In some instances, a dentist will often have patients come in every three months to carefully clean root surfaces and remove the hard tartar build up that favors advancement of the disease. A commitment to extra care at home is also required by the patient if he is to keep his teeth for the rest of his life.

So back the main question, “Who is this dentist person, and why should I give credence to his words?” Dental school admittance usually involves fist acquiring a college degree or pre-u foundation and taking certain pre-medical or pre-dental science courses. A high grade-point average is expected in that college experience. 

Moreover, a candidate for dental school must also demonstrate a high level of manual dexterity. The Dental Aptitude Test is also required and is a reasonable measure of a candidate’s ability to visualize in three dimensions besides testing his scientific preparation.

One portion of the test even involves carving a specific shape from a piece of soap as a further test of manual capability and artistic creativity.

Requirements and competition for the available dentistry course slots, as you can see, were pretty stiff. With the increasing expenses private schools have had to face, that ratio has dropped somewhat, However, the bottom line is still that to be accepted at a Dental School and graduate, you’ve got to be a pretty smart and artistic cookie. 

Certainly, the dentist then, should be one who is listened to in matters of the mouth and teeth. Why, you might also ask, cannot my family doctor be someone who could advise me on my teeth and my oral condition? In my experience, most doctors, when they look into a mouth, do so only to depress the tongue and have the patient say, “Ahhhhh”. The first thing that they see is throat and tonsils. 

It is the rare bird with an M.D. or MBBS who is able to look into a mouth and distinguish molars from premolars, much less recognize an occlusal prematurity (a type of bite discrepancy). 

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Dentistry is a subspecialty of medicine, in much the same way as you have internists, cardiologists, dermatologists, etc. Moreover, the good dentist must also be a good diagnostician, a surgeon where oral tissues are concerned, and an artist who must create or recreate a pleasing final result under very difficult circumstances. 

Think about it; the mouth is small, dark, and very wet. Many of the materials used in dentistry must be used in a dry environment so as not to be contaminated by saliva while being placed (contamination would affect the bond between filling and tooth). 

Even more difficulty is piled on when you remember that, in most cases, the work must be completed on a patient who is fully awake, whose tongue is constantly moving about, who swallows regularly, and who must be entertained by the dentist the entire appointment time. 

It gets more complicated if the patient is also fearful or emotional about the experience. A good bit of the work must also be done in reverse while looking in a small hand mirror not much bigger than a quarter! How’s that for degree of difficulty?

To be a good dentist, then, requires a pretty impressive skill set, one that not everyone has. This book will help you to make a reasonably informed decision about the individual in whom you plan to place your trust. The care your teeth receive from both you and your dentist will determine just how long they will remain around to serve you. Remember, even a set of Michelin 75,000 KM rated tires will eventually wear out and have to be replaced. 

How long they last will be determined by your driving habits. How long your teeth last will similarly be determined by your oral hygiene habits. 

“Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.”

Chinese Proverb…

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist
LIKE 👍 Our Facebook Page (@dentistmalaysia) For Latest Dental Offers !  
Special Packages for BRACES , CROWNS & BRIDGES , WISDOM TOOTH, SCALING & MORE 

✅ Many 5⭐ 'Star' Customer Reviews
✅ Reputable Clinic(s) Established Since 1999 Onwards
✅ Gentle & Friendly Dentist & Nurses 
✅ Quality Treatments at Affordable Prices

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