Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Tooth & Nail
True confession time: I'm terrified of dentists. It goes way back into my childhood. My mom hated them and passed that onto me. Add to it a few issues, like the fact my mother took tetracycline while she was pregnant with me and it permanently stained my teeth. I also deal with a genetic issue called amelogenesis imperfecta, which is a fancy name for soft enamel. Add to it the hereditary form of periodontal disease, you can understand why I'm less than giddy over going to the dentist.
Knowing that I've got the deck stacked against me, I am fanatical about brushing and flossing. However, sometimes that's not enough. I recently switched dentists and I couldn't be happier. I love Dr. Mallory at Prairie Dental (https://www.prairiedentalcenter.com). She's the first dentist in a long time that didn't roll her eyes at my "issues" or try to shame me about not brushing or flossing better.
I'm in my mid 40's (how did THAT happen??) now and I need to take some steps to prevent tooth loss as I get older.
Her first suggestion was to get a water flosser. It helps get between the teeth better, and at the gum line which is very important with periodontal disease.
The second suggestion was to use a plaque fighting rinse before brushing. With soft enamel, plaque likes to hang out more, and this is a guarantee I can get my teeth squeaky clean.
Speaking of brushing, her suggestion was to use a battery or electric toothbrush. I remember when the Jefi was younger, and he found the tooth tunes toothbrushes enchanting because they talked to him. They need those for adults, especially first thing in the morning when you are in serious need of some motivation.
After brushing, using a fluoride rinse will help, due to both soft enamel and periodontal issues. There are prescription ones that I've gotten from the dentist over the years, but in a pinch the ACT ones work great. I even got my son into the habit when he was little.
I also swear by my little floss swords. My kiddo loves them too. They are especially great for back teeth where it's hard for regular floss to reach.
Under my dental insurance, I have additional coverage for periodontal treatments at no charge. Instead of the traditional two, I get four along with fluoride treatments. It's cheaper to do this than deal with the consequences (like a root canal-ouch!). Plus, there are links between gum disease and increased risks for strokes and heart attack. Since there is already an increased risk for me due to family history, I want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make healthy choices.