Quality & Affordable Dentistry in Malaysia

Dental myths , mistakes and misunderstandings in Malaysia

Posted by dentist3 in Dental Articles | 0 comments

There are a lot of myths about dental care, teeth, dentists and oral health. The mistakes that people make with their teeth are needless; if they really understood the decisions they were making far fewer mistakes would be made.
There are a lot of myths about dental care, teeth, dentists and oral health. The mistakes that people make with their teeth are needless; if they really understood the decisions they were making far fewer mistakes would be made.

It’s What People Don’t Know That Gets Them In Trouble

There are a lot of myths about dental care, teeth, dentists and oral health. The mistakes that people make with their teeth are needless; if they really understood the decisions they were making far fewer mistakes would be made. The purpose of this section is to set the record straight, prevent the mistakes and to dispel the myths and misunderstandings that get people in trouble with their teeth.

Myth 1: “A dentist is a dentist is a dentist.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Think of it this way: if you were hiring an agent to buy a house, you would hire a real estate agent. If you were going to a court, you would hire a lawyer. If you’re going to hire an architect to build a house, you’d hire a very different architect than the one paid to develop a whole city.

Likewise, it’s important for you to understand just what type of dentist you need. For many, a regular family dentist is the right answer. For others, that’s not nearly enough. The more serious your dental needs are, the more experience, training, talent, skill, and judgment you need. 

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp (based on location) : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist

Myth 2: “My regular dentist can handle everything.”

Most often, this isn’t the case. In fact, it’s dangerous to assume that your dentist knows everything that you need him to know. Be skeptical, and understand that sometimes you need to find the dentist who has more care, skill and training. The gap between dentists – in skill, knowledge, and training – is greater than it has ever been.

Myth 3: “When they get bad, just take them out.”

If this were only the right solution, we would love it! Removing the offending tooth does make sense in a way: it gets rid of the pain. But every time you remove a tooth there is a whole series of chain reactions that occur: your other teeth move. The gap or space created causes additional stresses on other teeth, often resulting in an impaired chewing function, gum disease and loss of still more teeth.

If simply yanking teeth were the end-all solution, people would just take all their teeth out and get dentures. In fact, for a time in certain countries, including Canada, this was thought to be the ultimate wedding gift: To remove all the teeth and give the wedding couple dentures. Seriously. That way they would always avoid dental problems in the future. But we know that’s not true. In fact, dentures are the equivalent of oral wigs, and most people are much more satisfied with wearing their own hair than with wearing a wig.

Myth 4: “Dentures work just fine. My daddy had them, and he did just fine.”

The truth is – some people can tolerate anything. We’ve seen people who don’t wear dentures at all that manage to eat. And though it’s an extreme exception, I’ve seen people who wear upper dentures with no lower denture. Again, this is a rare exception. But what about normal dentures? How often does a person who has dentures “function normally?” One in ten at best. My guess is it’s closer to one in fifteen. Unfortunately you won’t know if you can tolerate dentures until you’ve lost all your teeth.

Myth 5: “No one can see the back ones; it will be just fine to only fix the front.” 

If we just had a ringgit for every time we’ve heard that one! However insane the sentiment seems, it does point out one thing: that people value the appearance of their smile. And indeed, a lot of times people can’t see the back ones.

But there are serious problems with such logic. Your back teeth are made for chewing and grinding your food. The front teeth are made for viewing. If you try to chew with the teeth made for view, the teeth will break down. The back teeth are there for a reason. They give you the ability to chew and to function.

Think of your front teeth like a pair of scissors: they’re good for incising, smiling, speaking, singing, and expressing yourself. But they aren’t so good for chewing up a steak. It just doesn’t work well. And in fact, just like a pair of scissors, when you try to chew with your front teeth, you wear out the edges, your teeth shorten, start to break down and break off. Not good.

Myth 6: “My poorly aligned bite isn’t that big a deal.”

Actually, it may be a very big deal. We know that for some people, their bite being off causes them pain with chewing, pain to the jaw joints, pain in the neck, and chronic headaches. In fact, some estimate that over 75% of all headaches are muscle-contraction headaches that could be related to a poor bite.

If you think of your head as about a six-pound ball sitting on your spine, balanced by all the muscles in the neck and the face and the head, you realise that when one muscle or several muscles get into a bad place – a strained position – it can pull in such a way that all the other muscles are strained. And that muscle straining causes muscle contraction. Those contractions can cause headaches.

We often find that people whose bite is off will accommodate by changing their neck posture. And as soon as their neck posture changes, they start to have neck pain. This frequently occurs with computer users who sit in front of a monitor all day long.

Additionally, whenever you affect the spine, that effect ripples from the top to the bottom of the spine. Not only that, bite misalignment can cause you to break or crack teeth, or cause the dental work to wear prematurely, excessively or even fail. So, the bite being off can be a very big deal.

We know that a bad bite causes a lot of stress to the entire chewing mechanism, and this stress doesn’t relieve itself easily. It takes time and a lot of relaxation. So I sometimes see people that are heavily medicated just to put up with their pain. It isn’t necessary.

I’ve seen people whose bite is off who have accommodated for years and years and suddenly, because of their other stresses in life, they no longer have the “body energy” necessary to maintain themselves in spite of that bad bite, and things start to go downhill.

Often, and to my dismay, I hear: “This is the way God made me, so it must be okay.” Well, it isn’t okay. When you can’t see, most get a set of glasses or contact lenses or have some type of surgery to correct things. If your hand isn’t working correctly, almost anyone would seek therapy and sometimes surgery to get his hand functioning correctly. The “God made me this way” argument usually doesn’t work out so well. Wouldn’t you agree?

Myth 7: “Dentists really aren’t well trained anyway – at least not like real doctors.”

All dentists have four years of undergraduate education, four years of dental school, and the good ones have myriad continuing education beyond that. Some have training well beyond the scope of what most average doctors receive.

Dentists ARE trained. And today we’re actually helping to train the medical community to understand the connection between the mouth and the whole body. And together with our medical colleagues we’re beginning to realise the impact of stress and bacterial infection from tooth decay and gum disease and its effect on your whole body.

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp (based on location) : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist

Myth 8: “My teeth don’t really matter that much.”

Wrong. Your teeth do matter. They matter at every level: Your looks, your health, your own self-concept, and how long you live. Keep reading and you’ll never hold onto that myth again. Man is the only mammal that can live at all without its teeth. All other mammals die without their teeth. Do you think the loss of your teeth is innocuous? Think again.

Myth 9: “My parents both lost their teeth, so my problems must be hereditary.”

Just because your parents lost their teeth doesn’t mean you will, too. Are some dental problems hereditary? Yes. How often is the heredity the reason that you have a dental problem? Very, very, seldom.

Only in a very small percentage of cases is heredity the reason that a patient loses his teeth. Just because Mom and Dad lost their teeth due to gum disease doesn’t mean that you will. It’s more likely they didn’t care for their teeth, or didn’t know how to. 

Myth 10: “Lose a tooth for every child.”

I’ve heard this from many a mother. There is no evidence of any sort that supports the concept that for every baby that is born, you will lose a tooth. Yes, it is true that your body does go through physiologic changes during pregnancy. That’s normal, but it doesn’t mean you are destined to lose a tooth or even should.

We now know bleeding gums are caused by the inflammatory reaction to infections in your gums and around your teeth
We now know bleeding gums are caused by the inflammatory reaction to infections in your gums and around your teeth

Myth 11: “My gums always bleed when I brush my teeth, so it must be normal.”

Nope. When you brush your hair, do you expect your scalp to bleed? I think not. Bleeding gums are the first sign of inflammation, and inflammation is, today, considered a prime menace to your overall health. So no, bleeding gums are not normal. Just because it happens all the time doesn’t make it normal.

We now know bleeding gums are caused by the inflammatory reaction to infections in your gums and around your teeth. And every infection, no matter where it occurs in the body, is a health threat that should be treated.

Myth 12: “I drink soft drinks instead of coffee because they are better for me.”

Please read carefully. soft drinks contain acids that can easily eat through the enamel of the teeth. And the lighter-coloured sodas actually have more acid. So if you’re using soft drinks as a caffeine substitute for coffee, you are risking your teeth and your overall health.

In fact, when we see a patient come in as an adult or even as a teenager and I see a lot of decay, the first question I ask is, “Do you drink a lot of soft drinks?” because those soft drinks eat away at your teeth. Often, in response, I hear, “Well, I really don’t drink that many, I only sip on them.” 

Well, sipping counts. Even when it’s a diet drink, the acids work against you. Then, in a cruel chain of events, the substitute sweeteners in the diet drinks enable other sugars that come in contact with your teeth to create a rich environment for bacteria to explode in number and size, producing acids and enzymes that dissolve your teeth.

So don’t substitute sodas for coffee. Not that I’m endorsing coffee. Whatever you drink, it’s the sipping all day long without cleaning your teeth that creates a problem. If you’re going to drink your coffee, drink it. If you’re going to have your soft drink, drink it. But try to rinse with water afterwards. Rinsing this way helps stop decay problems before they start.

Myth 13: “My diabetes has nothing to Wo with my dental health.”

Fact is, if you’re diabetic, you are 200% to 400% more likely to have gum disease. And, if you have dental problems, it makes your diabetes worse. And your diabetes makes your dental problems worse. It is a closed loop. 

Each affects the other. We see that diabetes and dental health have a very, very strong relationship with one another. In fact, if you’re diabetic or pre diabetic, one of the best things you can do for yourself is get your teeth fixed and keep them that way.

Good dental health improves your ability to control your diabetes. Good diabetic control lessens your dental problems and makes it easier to keep that way. Most often those with diabetes should be seen every three to four months for maintenance therapy.

Myth 14: “I go every six months, so I can’t really have too many problems.”

Well, that may be true and it may not be. We see individuals go every six months for regular care and have it work very well. But beware. If you have untreated or under treated problems in your mouth, maintenance visits every six months won’t be enough. Incomplete care and untreated problems are a sort of “watchful waiting” that unnecessarily leads to worsening conditions, loss of teeth, more discomfort and more expense to treat.

We’re going to talk about this more when we talk about gum disease, but for now understand that if you do not floss daily, you probably should go more often than every six months.

Rule number one is that you should probably use some type of device to help clean between your teeth because as an adult about 85% of all your problems occur between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp (based on location) : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist

Myth 15: “I only do what I have to do to get out of pain, but that’s it.”

That’s a shame, because pain is only an indicator of a problem that’s gotten so bad that it causes pain. Many dental problems don’t cause pain at all until the problem is so bad that the offending tooth, gum needs significant treatment.

Ouch. Pain is not a healthy indicator for timing dental care. At that point, it’s often way too late.

Myth 16: “Losing one tooth and not replacing it is not a big deal.”

Wrong again. If you lose even one tooth, you can greatly reduce your chewing ability. The teeth around that gap drift that way, leaving their natural “utility zone,” and are re-purposed for a job they are not perfect for.

Myth 17: “Dentures work just as well as natural teeth.”

No, they don’t. With your natural teeth, you can put enough pressure to chew through some pretty tough stuff. In fact, common bite or chewing forces range from 25 to 75 lbs per square inch. And back teeth, when needed, can apply up to 250 lbs per square inch. And dentures? Dentures generally function at about 25% of normal chewing function. That’s right, 75% less. Unless a person’s teeth are painful, rotting, or moving, healthy teeth versus dentures are two different worlds. Over a fifteen year period of wearing dentures, chewing ability deteriorates to 5 lbs of biting pressure. Talk about changing what you can chew! Some people become true dental cripples.

Myth 18: “I don’t need regular dental visits.”

Your teeth are not self-healing. We wish they were. Dentists and dentistry have long fought for preventive health care. We are justifiably proud of our efforts in the war to battle decay and to teach the public the value of oral health. The reality is that when teeth are ignored, they’ll get worse until they can no longer be ignored.

We still get patients who consistently put off their oral health, time after time. Often these patients come back to us later on after they’ve had all their teeth removed and had dentures, saying “Please, can you fix me.” The reality is that most of the time we can, but at an exponentially higher fee than would have been required if we had been able to fix their real teeth.

“I’ll just wait until it hurts, breaks, falls out, or gives me trouble.” As a solution, it isn’t a solution. I’m still amazed at what people will do for their oral health versus their car or their house or a piece of clothing. So, “I’Il just wait,” is like saying “I’m just going to let the bomb blow up before I stop the problem.” You wouldn’t dare let a bomb go off in a house if you can take the bomb away and have the house still stand. That’s what people do when they say, “I’ll just wait ’til later.” Boom. And, as many people find out the hard way – it is nearly inevitable that when someone keeps putting off dealing with a dental problem, that problem will flare up at the worst possible time in their life: on a trip, at a business meeting, at an important social gathering, at a funeral, at a wedding or a birthday party.

Ever wonder why that happens? Your body’s ability to deal with the chronic stress of the dental problem decreases when afflicted with the added stress of the event.

The delay will make you pay. Who needs the added stress of severe dental problems at the worst possible time? No one.

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp (based on location) : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist

Myth 19: “I can save money if I just put off the dental work.”

Putting off dental care can be deadly. Because you suffer no pain at first, some people think they are “getting away with it” or they are “smart enough to know when I really need it.” Bad Ideas.

If you are putting off needed care, say hello to trouble. It is coming. Tooth loss and vastly increased expenses are the natural consequences of the delay. This problem starts with the idea that dental care is elective! No it is not. Dental care should be a regular part of your health care.

Often these delays come from people voting with their pocketbooks. I realise that most people don’t budget money for their dental health. It’s a shame. It just isn’t up there with all the other insistent demands of life and living. Perhaps that will change as people start to realise the connection between their oral health and their overall health.

Myth 20: “I’ve been told I couldn’t have dental implants.”

Dental Implants have become the new standard of care for replacing missing teeth. Why? Because they work. Dental Implants don’t get decay, and they help to conserve tooth structure on natural teeth that can be left untreated. Moreover, dental implants preserve bone in the jaws and face.

Bone loss causes people to age prematurely, get wrinkles before they are due, and leads to dental handicaps you don’t want to endure. The majority of the time, a patient can and should have implants as the preferred method of replacing missing teeth. 

Any dentist worth his salt will tell you the same. Most of the time when I hear a patient say, “My other dentist told me I couldn’t have dental implants,” it means their dentist didn’t know how to perform dental implant procedures. Dental implants are generally the best long-term solution for replacing missing teeth.

Myth 21: “I don’t have to fill out my health history completely at the dentist because my health history doesn’t really matter; this is just a dentist.” 

Your health history does have an effect on the medications we use, how you are treated, and what therapies are prescribed for you. So, your health present and past does matter. You are wise to answer every question on your health history fully. If you take a number of medications, one of the best things you can do is make a list of your medications and bring your list in with you at every visit.

Myth 22: “My dental insurance will pay for it all.”

Unlike medical insurance, dental insurance has an annual limit. It is a partial benefit plan. It’s designed to give you some coverage for what we call “maintenance dentistry.” It was never designed to be a pay-all, but people confuse it with medical insurance. It is not the same. Dental insurance does help, but it was only designed for the simplest type of dentistry that there is. The big problem is the annual limit, which is typically around the RM1,000 to RM2,000 range these days. That annual limit hasn’t kept up with inflation. If it had, it would be closer to RM5,000 or RM6,000 a year or more.

Fully one third of the people who have dental insurance don’t use it, which is sad. Dental insurance can be a great aid to a lot of people, and it’s our job to help you get every last nickel coming to you from your dental insurance. Just don’t count on dental insurance to pay for everything. It doesn’t work that way.

Myth 23: “If my insurance doesn’t cover it, it must not be needed.”

No, this isn’t how it works. Dental insurance benefits are purchased by an employer from a dental insurance provider. And just because a particular service isn’t covered doesn’t mean it’s not therapeutically needed; it just means that the employer did not purchase it from the dental insurance benefit company, or that the dental insurance benefit company doesn’t offer it. Often I hear a patient tell me, “My insurance said that your fee isn’t usual, customary and reasonable” – not a good thing to hear from your insurance agency, as it often drives a wedge between you and your dentist, and it shouldn’t be this way at all.

Of course, the dental insurance company point of view is, “We want X number of ringgit from the employer for every employee that’s covered, and we want to pay the dental provider “X minus” so that we’re profitable.” Somewhere around 35% of every dental insurance ringgit paid goes to the dental insurance provider.

Now, I have nothing against a dental insurance company making a profit; this is entirely normal. But I do have something against this quote, this statement that’s made far too often, “Your fees aren’t usual, customary and reasonable. ” How insurance companies derive their fees are varied. You’ll have one company that says the fee is X, another one says it’s Y, another one says it’s Z. The reality is that on survey of the Academy of General Dentistry, a group of 25,000 plus dentists, 80% of those answering said that insurance companies said their fees weren’t usual, customary and reasonable! How is that possible? Here’s something to keep in mind: The quality of care does make a difference A dentist is a dentist is a dentist is not true. Don’t be surprised if what your dentist wants to do for you doesn’t match the benefits the dental insurance company wants to pay. In fact, expect it.

For a dental insurance company, a dentist is a dentist is a dentist. While we all know it’s not true, that’s how they like to do it. They make everybody into a commodity. In reality, dentistry is a very highly refined personal service that makes a big difference in your life, and, of course, a profitable insurance company wants to lump everybody together. Such is life.

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp (based on location) : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist

Myth 24: “Dentistry is expensive.”

“Yes, it is,” and, “No, it isn’t.” If you look at the total fees for care, dentistry or what we call “maintenance” or “check-up” dentistry is pretty reasonable. A person over their lifetime can average somewhere between RM1,000 and RM2,000 per year in caring for their teeth. Yet when a person neglects their teeth, gets partial treatment, or doesn’t see a dentist on a regular basis, dentistry does get expensive. It could have been prevented. So yes, dentistry can be expensive at times, but here’s something else to think about: what’s the expense of not seeing the dentist? Isn’t that much worse!

Myth 25: “If I have bad breath, I’ll just use chewing gum. That’ll cure it.”

No, this is not true. If you have chronic bad breath, there are usually two reasons why. First, you may have a systemic problem with your whole body. Generally, this can be associated with stomach problems or gastric reflux. The other reason for your bad breath that just won’t go away is likely gum disease.

There are some people who chew mints to solve the problem. Not a good idea. Chewing mints or gum to conquer bad breath, when done chronically, encourages dental decay. Oh, boy. Try to solve one problem and you get another! The real* solution is to treat the gum disease in the first place, and to get a medical check-up to make sure you don’t have something wrong with the rest of your body.

Myth 26: “I’ll insult the dentist before we start – that will make my visit better” Here is how it starts: “No offense, Doc, but I hate the dentist.” Imagine if you were a dentist and heard this comment!

I try to think mercifully when I hear this comment and understand the point of view of the person saying it. Generally, jokingly, I will make sure I know what their profession is and then I will say, “Well, you know, I’ve always hated bar owners,” or “I’ve always hated plumbers.” or “I’ve always hated administrative assistants,” or something else just to get the joke across. Usually people get the point right away.

When people say, “No offense, Doc, I hate the dentist,” they’re really saying, “Hey, I’ve had a bad experience in the past, I don’t like being here because of it.”

We understand that, and we work to make sure that that experience doesn’t replicate itself for you. Dentistry no longer has to mean difficulty and challenge. It no longer has to be a dread. No, dentistry doesn’t have to be that way at all. If you still feel like you hate the dentist, you’ve been seeing the wrong dentist. The new technology and techniques that we have available will make you see dentistry in a whole new way.

👉 BOOK NOW on WhatsApp (based on location) : https://linktr.ee/dentist3cliniclist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

error: Please email smile@dentist3.com for Content :)