“I don’t feel any pain, why should I see a dentist?”
That’s the typical response of the busy working adult that puts work, family, food and every other “necessity” first before their Oral Health and Hygiene.
According to a survey by Singapore Dental Health Foundation (SDHF) and the Singapore Humane Resources Institute (SHRI), having ‘no pain’ was the number one reason Singaporeans gave for not having regular visits to the dentist.
So are we supposed to treat out set of pearly whites like a car that can take much of the beating we give it and only when it breaks down, send it “to the workshop!”
Unlike cars which have replaceable spare parts, our teeth and gums do not have that sense of security that we might perceive and once it’s gone it’s either costly to get it fixed or it might just be too late to salvage.
One of the silent enemies of our teeth is - gum disease. You don’t feel any pain at all until it’s too late. Once you’ve reached that stage, it’s going to be a constant 4 to 6 months of seeing a specialist periodontist to keep it under control, else, gums disease could eventually lead to tooth loss.
Sounds scary? It is!
So how many Singapore adults have some form of gum disease? Health Promotion Board states 81%. Every 4 out of five of your friends have some form of gum disease. That should bump ‘going to see the dentist regularly’ up the priority list for you.
So what’s the Gum disease about? Gum disease is an infection that attacks both the gums and the bone supporting the teeth and in severe cases are the direct causes of tooth loss. Look into the mirror and check if you’ve got the following early signs of gum disease:
- swollen or puffy gums
- bleeding from gums
- red gums (not pale pink, red)
- ask someone if you’ve got bad breath
or late stages of gum disease:
- longer looking teeth
(if you think your teeth are still growing at 30, you’re wrong, the gums are receeding)
- shifting teeth
- spaces between teeth (where gums should have been)
- loosening of teeth
- subtle itchness
Another common problem that can be corrected early is tooth decay. This is also another silent killer as you feel no pain while the decay is happening, not until the decay reaches the nerve will you start to feel any sensation or pain. But the bad news is that by the time that has happened, the decay has passed through your fortified walls of enamel and headed straight for your vital nerves, causing infection along it’s path.
If your excuse of not going to see a dentist is to ’save money’, i hope to knock some ‘cents’ into you. Let’s do some math.
Treatment for simple tooth decay would be cleaning, fillings that would cost around $120, but if the decay has hit the nerve, Root Canal Treatment (RCT) would set you back around $600-800 if done by a specialist Endodontist.
Furthermore, treatment for gum disease could have you undergo a few sessions of ‘deep scaling’ (deep cleaning inside the gumline) that cost $300 per hour if done by a Specialist Periodontist. Compared with a regular cleanings and instructions for proper home care (brushing, flossing or use of mouthrinse)
So it’s a stark ‘penny wise pound foolish’ mindset that needs to be changed.
Hopefully after reading this, you’ll pick up the phone and call your dentist to make an appointment and get your teeth “serviced”. And let it be a bi-annual ritual from now on.