You Need to Know:
Why you should know more about your mouth.
That the mouth is the most complex part of your body.
That this site has been written for you!
Three good reasons you should know more about your mouth:
1. When people Ignore their Mouth, and it Costs them …
Americans each year spend over $60 billion on dental treatment. The individual cost of dental treatment is almost always hundreds of dollars, and often thousands, up to $70,000, including only restoration of the teeth and bite. These expenses obviously make a large impact on many families’ budget, so why do we know so little about diseases of the mouth, and dental treatment?
Three conditions exist that perhaps contribute to this situation. First, we generally didn’t need much in the way of dental treatment when we were young. A filling now and then and we could forget about it. No one sought to explain anything to us – we simply have a “cavity” that needs filling and when it’s done we can go. Second, most of us who are older have a memory of some pain associated with dental visits in the past. When it’s over we want to forget about it as soon as possible, and it’s human nature not to focus on how we could avoid it next time. Third, the inside of your mouth feels very PRIVATE – and even WE, ourselves, don’t want to know what lurks inside, let alone asking someone else to look!
2. Your dental needs increase as you get older:
These days people have the impression that with fluoridation in much of the country and all the advertising for mouth rinses and toothpastes everybody’s teeth are much better than they used to be. In fact, the decay rate in children and young teens is less, but the prevalence of oral disease across the age range is still very high. Consider that in decades past most people lost their teeth in late middle age and got dentures. Often this premature tooth loss was due to rampant decay or gum disease. Both problems still exist in these age groups , though gum disease is the more prevalent. Nowadays, people keep their teeth until they are much older, so there is more time for these diseases to take hold.
When people have their teeth later in life there are significant new challenges to the dental profession. Gum disease becomes a factor in almost everyone, this results in the necessity to work with teeth that are not as solidly anchored in bone as is desired. Also, the root surfaces of the teeth often become exposed to the mouth environment, and this frequently leads to decay in places that are very difficult to access and repair. Also, the people that come for dental treatment often are suffering from a number of medical problems and extensive dental treatment must be done in concert with their general health status. Lastly, as the teeth age they shift in color and translucency to a degree that makes them very difficult to restore to a life-like appearance, as that appearance is different from what is common for younger people.
We still have younger people who don’t worry about their teeth, just get them cleaned or fixed when needed – but these people are starting to have second thoughts about the frequently high expense. We have older people who are now paying a great deal more attention to their teeth – they’d like to be comfortable and have a nice appearance into their later years, but know it takes effort.
3. Artificial Teeth are Really Expensive!
If through inattention you had to have all of your teeth restored using root canals and crowns (“caps”), and both of your joints were so damaged so as to require surgical repair, the total bill would be somewhere around $100,000. Alternatively, if all of your teeth are replaced with implants and crowns, the likely cost is also in the $100,000 range. Is this like the old story of buying a $30,000 Chevy for $100,000 in separate parts? No one would be crazy enough to do that, you can always buy a new, complete car! But you cannot buy a new mouth or set of natural teeth – your only options are to repair the old ones or replace them with artificial teeth connected to other teeth or into the bone.
The Mouth is the most Complex Organ in your Body
Think about the attributes associated with the mouth:
- It has a very complex mechanical function;
- It has a wide variety of sensory functions;
- It is critical in the communication process, both for speech and facial expression
- Psychological discomfort and stress is often expressed by damage to the oral structures;
- The appearance of your smile and teeth determines your self image to a great extent;
- Many different types of tissues make up the orofacial complex, including teeth, bone, ligaments, muscles, cartilege and mucosa;
- The mouth is the only place in the body where the skeletal system protrudes THROUGH the skin’s protective cover;
- The mouth is the dirtiest place in the body in terms of the presence of infective organisms;
- The diseases of the mouth are incidious, that is they do their damage often without our awareness, until it is too late;
- The mouth requires constant maintenance – a lack of care will lead to disease; and
- The diseases of the mouth don’t go away just by taking a drug for 7 – 10 days – the mouth is not capable of controlling the affecting disease processes as well as many other organs in the body.
No other system in the human body has such a variegated complexity as the mouth, and yet there is still so much that we don’t understand about this vital organ! And this statement applies both to patients and dentists.
This Site has Been Designed for YOU
The commitment of this site is to provide more knowledge to you regarding dentistry with the following expected benefits:
- You can develop a better relationship with your dentist;
- When you detect a problem in your mouth you will move more rapidly, possibly averting more serious complications;
- You can have more confidence that your oral disease is arrested;
- You will be less apprehensive for treatment if you are actively involved;
- You can have more confidence in selecting among alternative treatment plans;
- You can initiate discussion of treatment options that can effect a positive change in self-image;
- You will have a basis for understanding the probable consequences of destructive habits;
- You will know what questions to ask!
It is fervently hoped that this site will help you come to an understanding with the dental profession, that you will study the background behind particular oral problems that you are aware of, and give yourself a general familiarity with the field.
You will be amazed at the subtlety of the practice of dentistry, as well at the subtlety of the disorders that can be induced in the mouth that can take decades to completely show their damaging effects.