Editorial  »  Health  /  Lifestyle

Being a dental practitioner for the last six years in three different states, it is not uncommon to come across patients who approach us with a presumed negative attitude, questioning our treatment plan with the simple misconceptions they grew up with. While some patients are easy to convince with logic and facts, others can be hard to deal with. So it is high time that we bust certain myths and misconceptions related to dental treatments before we make our mind to visit a dentist.


Myth: Extraction of teeth can cause blindness

Fact: One of the most common, widely accepted beliefs is that extraction of teeth especially in the upper jaw causes blindness. This is a completely wrong statement. The nerves supplying the eye and teeth are different and placed apart. Even while injecting the local anesthesia, the needle does not come in the vicinity of the nerves supplying the eye. So there is no way tooth removal is related to blindness. However, a long-standing infection in the upper jaw, involving the area around the nose can spread to the brain and cause severe complications if not treated on time.


Myth: Scaling (professional cleaning of teeth) weakens the teeth

Fact: Teeth are weakened due to a long-standing ongoing gum disease, which decreases the gum and bone support around the tooth. By the time such patients come to the clinic, their teeth are barely supported by the thick calcified plaque, which, if not removed, will cause further damage to the bone and gums. But not every patient has such a severe case of disease. Thus it is the underlying disease, and not scaling, that is responsible for the weakened mobile teeth. Regular scaling at six months intervals keeps the gum infection in check and improves oral health, delaying the chances of any oral disease.


Myth: Milk teeth in children do not need to be treated as they will eventually shed

Fact : This is another common misconception amongst parents. As a matter of fact, by not treating the infected milk teeth in children, their permanent teeth are put at risk. The permanent teeth grow below the roots of milk teeth and are easily exposed to the infection of an erupted tooth. This exposure poses a lot of problems in permanent teeth including anomalous growth, shape as well as disrupted erupting pattern.  


Myth: Adults cannot get braces

Fact: Busting this misconception, I want to state that adults CAN go for braces for various aesthetic reasons as well as for obligatory dental treatment. People mostly think that braces can repair teeth in the growing stage only, but with more case studies, research and advancements in the field, we have modernized treatment plans that not only benefit children but also adults. Braces are the best resort for people having misplaced crowded teeth, which otherwise results in oral diseases due to difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene.  


Myth: Applying a hot pack on facial swelling relieves the pain

Fact: Hot packs are effective only for muscular pain, NOT for any swelling, especially the ones involving the face. Usually, facial swelling around the upper and lower jaw is due to the accumulation of pus resulting from a pre-existing infection. Applying a hot pack in such cases not only worsens the pain but also causes more complications. 


Myth: Healthy teeth are supposed to be white

Fact: This is a belief which has been glorified by commercial products and advertisements since time immemorial. We need to scrape off the thought of judging oral health based on one's tooth color. Race and ethnicity play a major role in determining one's natural tooth color. There can be people with off-white teeth having healthy gums as well as people with white teeth but diseased bleeding gums. Tooth color is different for different people just like their skin and hair color. Certain external factors do determine staining of teeth like increased consumption of tea, coffee and acidic beverages. Even rigorous brushing of teeth can remove the outer opaque layer of teeth, making them appear yellower.


So the next time you visit a dentist, make sure you keep the above thoughts in mind and help your dentist provide you with the best-suited treatment.


Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

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