There are a lot of misconceptions out there. People can eat food that’s had its expiration date pass, as long as it’s non-perishable. The Great Wall of China is not the only thing that humans made that can be seen from space – city lights can be seen, too. The Vikings did not wear horned helmets – opera was the first to push that image.
Those misconceptions are largely harmless. There are some, though, that center around the dental field. Ignoring these could make for some expensive dental surgery down the road for those who do not research these. General dentists usually see the ramifications of these, though sometimes specialist are needed to fully correct the damage.
Root Canals Are Painful
When people hear of this procedure, they usually blanch. That’s usually followed by a story about someone they knew who got a root canal and that that person said it was the most painful procedure they had.
The truth is – that person was likely remembering the pain they felt before the root canal. Patients have actually said that the procedure itself, which uses local anesthesia and involves drilling holes to remove the root and pulp of the tooth, is no more painful than having a cavity filled. It usually only takes one visit to do – though the restoration part, with the crown will possibly need repeat visits.
Bleeding Gums Should Be Left Alone
When someone scrapes or cuts a part of their body, their first inclination, after putting medicine or a bandage on the affected area, is to just leave it alone so that it can heal. That logic would extend to a scenario where they see some blood on their toothbrush or floss, right? Wrong.
Bleeding gums is a sign of early gum disease and it usually means that the person has neglected to consistently brush and floss. The fix, then, is to get back on a regular routine of brushing for at least two minutes each time and flossing once a day. That should eliminate the bleeding. If it still continues or worsens, then a dental visit is in order.
Cavities Are Only Caused By Sweets
Sugar does play a large part in breaking down the tooth enamel and then allow the bacteria to begin the decay process. Having a lot of sweets is not the only way, though. There are plenty of sugars in carbohydrates, like bread, that can begin the chain reactions that break down enamel.
The best thing to do is take several swigs of water after eating and also brushing twice a day. Neglecting one’s oral hygiene routine can cause cavities. Flossing will remove particles between the teeth that could linger and cause enamel wear.
In the same vein, frequent snacking does not produce extra saliva to wash away bacteria, cavities do not always cause pain, babies can get cavities in their baby teeth, and calcium from dairy CAN help teeth.
If Someone’s Teeth Are Pain-Free, All Is Fine
It’s great that there’s no tooth or gum pain or discomfort – one less thing to worry about, right? But it’s not a signal that all is clear and it’s OK to skip a scheduled dental visit. There can be problems like gingivitis and periodontitis, that are seen and not felt, and if allowed to fester, could cause significant structural damage to the jaw and teeth. Gingivitis can be reversed, but once periodontitis has set in, then dental intervention is needed. Treatments can range from deep cleanings and antibiotics to extraction.
Dentists have also discovered dead teeth during exams – and they may be pain-free, but they need a root canal and crown. Patients should never assume that no pain means no dental visit. The only time a dentist may suggest a change in the twice-yearly visit schedule is that the patient demonstrates consistently good oral hygiene habits.
Kids Get More Cavities Than Adults
While this is technically a truth, it’s not due to the reason that people may think – which lands it in the misconception category. This is because children, if left unattended, will cut every possible corner when it comes to brushing and flossing. They have important things to do, after all – and two minutes just cuts into that vital playtime. Then again, adults can be just as guilty of not sticking around long enough in the bathroom for their own brushing and flossing.
The best way to combat that problem is to be very proactive with the kids while they brush their teeth. Stay there and monitor them to ensure that they are using the proper technique each and every time. Adults should set a good example for them too by adhering to a brushing and flossing routine themselves. That way, they can tell the children to “do as I say and do!”
Dr. Shaista Najmi and the staff at Ivory Dental Jacksonville have heard and seen nearly every misconception out there. As a family dentist, patient education is a huge priority. They are glad to answer questions during check-ups. Make an appointment today by calling 904-998-1555.