THE PLAN FOR A LIFETIME OF GOOD DENTAL HEALTH
It is our belief today that most people should enjoy a lifetime of good dental health without very much trouble. We break our discussion into four very distinct ages and stages of life. Each stage has things that need to be done and problems that need to be avoided. Our mission is to see that the necessary things get done on time and we will be watching for problems that can occur. When they do occur we have simple proven methods that will get you back on track.
STAGE ONE - BIRTH TO AGE TWELVE
There should be almost no treatment required during this stage. Children should not have tooth decay in the 21st century. We know what causes tooth decay and we know how to prevent it.
Things to watch for:
Allergies - mostly to foods, pets, chemicals, and molds. These can affect breathing patterns and airway problems which in turn can alter the growth and development of the face.
Chronic infections and Tonsillitis - produce similar airway problems as allergies and these can lead to growth problems and orthodontic problems in the future.
Habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrust - these also can interfere with normal growth and development.
Diet - the major cause of tooth decay in children is refined carbohydrates. This includes sugar, food items made with sugar, and foods made with refined flour.
STAGE TWO - THE TEENAGE YEARS
Things to do:
Tooth Decay - if some small problems need to be fixed or prevented bigger problems can be prevented.
Orthodontic Problem - some orthodontic problems can be prevented and the ones that can't be prevented should probably be treated in the early teens.
Wisdom Teeth - should be seriously looked at in the late teens and if they look like they are going problems the late teens are the best time to remove them.
Things to avoid :
Poor Diet/Poor Oral Hygiene - high sugar diets and/or poor home care by a teenager can cause a lot of damage in just a few years.
Crystal Meth - can destroy a perfectly good set of teeth in just a few months and sometimes the problem proves to be unfixable.
Bulimia - is an eating disorder that can do very serious damage to a good set of teeth. This problem is also very hard to fix. The acid from constant vomiting will demineralize the tops and inside surfaces of the teeth throughout the mouth.
STAGE THREE - AGE 20 TO 70
If all went well during the teen years the next fifty years should be simple. Tooth decay and periodontal disease should be a thing of the past. Still they can occur so we watch for these diseases very vigilantly and when they do occur we address them aggressively using simple proven methods.
Tooth Decay - is the result of a high refined carbohydrate diet and/or poor oral hygiene. This should be the focus of any intervention.
Periodontal Disease - should not occur in young healthy adults but when it does occur there are a lot of risk factors that we need to examine. These can include smoking, diabetes, immune suppressive diseases, immune suppressive drugs, stress, and poor oral hygiene.
TMJ problems - painful conditions of the jaw joint and associated muscles can occur from time to time. There are at least a half dozen different causes which need to be sorted out and the correct remedy applied.
Trifecta of Problems - Bruxism, sleep disorder breathing, and GERD can cause serious damage to a good dentition. Bruxism (tooth grinding) coupled with acid erosion due to an acidic diet or GERD can lead to to rapid loss of tooth structure that will be very to repair. Bruxism and GERD are often associated with sleep disorder breathing. The reason for this is not completely understood but these three conditions occur together often enough that when we notice one we always spend time looking for the other two.
Mental well being - a sudden loss of interest in dental health and wellness might very well be be an early sign of depression or other disorders.
STAGE FOUR - SEVENTY AND BEYOND
Later in life , as other things change, some new challenges come into play. We must be watchful for these changes and act quickly to avoid unnecessary and expensive problems.
Problems that occur include:
Dry Mouth - can lead to serious tooth decay. It is often due to prescriptions drugs like antihistamines, antidepressants, antidiuretics, and some inhalers. Dry mouth can also be due to some cancer treatments or a lifetime of smoking or heavy drinking. dry mouth is often not something that can be fixed we just have to limit the damage.
Arthritis - can cause patient to have problems performing the oral hygiene procedures that they used for years.
Dementia - patients suffering form dementia can forget to do the necessary preventive procedures that kept them disease free for decades. A sudden change in home care may be one of the first signs that something is changing in the patient's mental health.