All over the world, there are myths for practically everything and dentistry is by no means left out. Fortunately, people are fast realizing that those scary stories are false. In the past, many believed that dentists are always eager to remove teeth and that they often do this using a hammer and chisel or that the dental drill is more horrific than a chainsaw!
However, there are still a number of trending dental myths out there. Here are the top ones on our list:
This is so wrong! Your teeth were formed without cavities, so having a decaying tooth is a problem, even in the absence of pain. If it is a small hole, then you may be able to get it filled if you see your dentist early. If however, it is a large hole which used to hurt and now doesn’t hurt anymore, then it may actually be dead and need an extraction or a root canal done. Bottom-line: you need to get any cavity checked.
The fact is that if you have a tooth that is bad enough to be extracted, chances are that other teeth in your mouth are prone to having similar issues. Unfortunately, when you only come when there is pain, your dentist would focus on dealing with that pain immediately. If you do not meet the next appointments, you may not get the fillings, cleaning and other preventive treatments done in good time. This means that you may only come in when the next tooth is bad already, thereby making this a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In the absence of infections and any underlying medical conditions, you are not likely to need antibiotics after a simple extraction. You may just use a painkiller at home. It’s left to your dentist’s discretion, though. So rather than insisting on getting antibiotics, you can simply have a discussion with your dentist to understand what the rationale is. And remember to always disclose your medial and drug history as well as your allergies in order to prevent medical issues in dental care.
Commonly known by a brand name, Flagyl, this antibiotic usually features in dental prescriptions; often alongside another antibiotic. This is because it is effective against anaerobes, a large group of bacteria which are also found in the gut. If you have any concerns about taking metronidazole, do discuss with your dentist. As with prescribed medication, you should not discontinue without informing your dentist.
Those shinning white teeth that children flash around are more than just for show. They serve as placeholders and to guide the eruption of the permanent teeth into the right position. When a child has really bad tooth decay, the infection can adversely affect the forming permanent teeth. Losing a baby tooth early can also make the adult teeth come out in the wrong place or not to come out at all.
The cure for a toothache is getting the identified cure treated. If you use aspirin, touch-and-go, battery water, petrol or any other substances in order to stop a toothache, then you may end up with a serious trouble for your teeth, gums and inner cheek.
As long as you wear a lead jacket (which your dentist would provide), dental x-rays are mostly safe for mother and child unborn. If you are seriously concerned however, you can delay having one in your first trimester. You dentist would understand your fear.
There are natural variations in eye, skin, hair and teeth coloration and shades. Apart from this, medications, environmental exposure and cosmetic treatments are a major influence. Teeth are no different. A person can have a picture perfect smile but decaying teeth behind and diseased gums. This is why dental check-ups are necessary.
Just like in general medicine, people often boast of good health as being defined by the number of years that a person stayed away from the hospital. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell if they are truly healthy without a check. We know that apart from your home care, dental cleaning is one of the most important aspects of caring for your teeth.
This means that anyone who has never visited a dentist is likely to have calculus and plaque underneath their gums as well as some hidden holes. They may also be using the wrong toothbrush, toothpaste, tooth brushing technique or have bad habits that need to be broken.
Trust us, dentists world-over would love to promise that their fillings would never fail. However, this is simply not possible. Depending on the type, fillings can last for many years and even decades. Unfortunately, a filling can develop issues within months or even weeks. This only means that you should observe strict dental care and see your dentist regularly. You should also get any complaints you have addressed immediately.
For every procedure in the medical field, there is always that chance that it may not work out perfectly. However, there are so many more success stories with root canals than failures. Once your dentist has determined that your case has a good chance of surviving with the treatment, then you need to play your part. In most cases, you need to have a crown placed to protect the tooth from breaking (your dentist would tell you how soon to come in for this). You also need to be strict about your oral hygiene, particularly flossing and regular checks.
This myth is a very dangerous one and has been responsible for so many broken teeth. The issue with cracks is that they start small. With each repeated insult (that is what cracking bones constitutes, by the way), the cracks widen microscopically until there are small barely visible lines which further break apart over time. Cracks are very difficult to treat and many fracture cases end up extracted. All the calcium you need can be gotten from milk and milk products like yoghurt and cheese as well as from eggs, seafoods, legumes, leafy vegetables and so on.
Electric toothbrushes are best for children, the elderly and those who lack adequate motor skills. It can also be used with anyone and often comes with a timer. Still, not everyone who uses an electric brush cleans properly. So whatever your choice, use the right technique and ensure it is soft or medium textured.
No matter how convinced you are about using a hard toothbrush, we have to tell you the truth: hard toothbrushes are simply evil. They basically just destroy your teeth and gums and leave you with serious issues in the future!
Fortunately, this is wrong. If you start to take adequate care of your teeth early in life, you can have great teeth in your latter years. You have the opportunities that were not available for your grandparents back then, so you should have better teeth!
Do the right thing. Visit a dentist today. Our dentists at Nene centre in Ikeja, Lagos and two locations in Abuja are ready to give you a comprehensive consultation and check-up. If you have any questions that need a quick answer, you can reach us online or via telephone.
Dr. Olatunde Asagba is an alumna of the dental school at the prestigious University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She is passionate about public health issues and is actively involved in expanding healthcare access through telemedicine.