Now that we have been open and seeing patients since the resumption of business after our COVID time-out, we have been noticing a few “things”. Many of you have been diagnosed with dental maladies that you did not have before, or those afflictions may be worse now than before. So what’s going on?
Two things that we see frequently are problems with your gums and problems associated with your bite. For whatever reason, many of you have taken a tooth brushing and dental flossing holiday. I dunno why this is. We are seeing a preponderance of gum problems. These range from red gums that bleed easily to frank infections where there is a much greater space between the teeth and the gums than normal. You may recall that we measure that space whenever we clean and check your teeth and gums. Remember us talking about pockets? We are finding pockets depths much deeper that “usual” for many of you.
We have discussed “deep cleanings” with many of you. This looks and feels to you much like a regular cleaning. It ain’t. Our hygienists are very meticulously cleaning the roots of your teeth much farther under the gum line than before. Your mouth is numbed for this. The intent is to remove as much of the shmutz that has collected there as is possible and to plane the surfaces of the roots smooth. This is not gum surgery. We are trying our best to avoid that. You may be prescribed antibiotics. Your cleanings will be more frequent, at least until you have demonstrated to us that you are keeping your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible and the infection is resolved. We will demonstrate proper techniques to help you keep your teeth and gums as clean and healthy as possible. The success or failure of all of this treatment, in the final analysis, rests upon your shoulders. If you do what we ask, your chances of resolution of the problem are much better.
Have you noticed that your teeth and jaw muscles are sore? We have seen this as well as many chipped, broken, or worn-down teeth. More than usual? Eh, it sure seems like it. What’s the deal with this?
Have you had just a little more stress than usual in your life? Most of us have. Common dental sequelae of this are the aforementioned problems. MANY people clench or grind their teeth in response to stress. Frequently they have no idea that they are doing this. People come in on an emergency basis because of tooth or jaw pain or because of a chipped or broken tooth. We have been seeing this almost daily. We correct the tooth problem and discuss the reason(s) for it. Many of you have been advised to have a bite appliance made. The rationale for this is if we cannot stop the grinding, then if we can prevent more damage to your teeth, that is as good as stopping the grinding. We may try to adjust the bite on your teeth, as well. There are many places that we want your teeth to hit. There are many more places that we don’t want them to hit. We try to smooth down those places that should not hit to try to improve your bite.
So, in a nutshell, keep your mouth clean to keep it healthy. Brush and floss as often as is recommended. Use the prescription strength fluoride, if that has been recommended. Come in to have your teeth cleaned and your mouth examined as often as is advised for YOU. This may be more frequently than every six moons. RELAX!! If you have a bite appliance, use the damn thing! If you need one, let us know and we will make a custom device for you.
If you have any questions, PLEASE call us. We all are happy to answer your queries.