A Dangerous Corner…Tight Spaces and A Little Blood
There’s a certain Corner in the mouth where I make a lot of money. The back of our last molars rarely gets brushed. Brushing movements are almost impossible when the brush is jammed into the mouth’s far corner. From the dentist’s perspective, tooth rebuilding in this neighborhood has about the same degree of difficulty as building a sailboat in a bottle. Poor visibility. working backwards, guided by the image in a small mirror. Expensive and avoidable. The solution is the electric brush; no brushing motion necessary. Just lay it against that last back corner and it does the job. Automatically cleans the “impossible” to clean corner. Keeps the money in your pocket. And I get to miss out on repairing a few of these back- breakers. Win Win? Yep. PS. You can buy a battery operated model for 10 bucks at Walmart.
Another place that’s Money for me, are the Tight Spaces between the teeth. Regular brushes can’t get in there. Dentists have to grind into these tight spaces to stop the cavity from spreading …with those tiny drill bits we all love. Sometimes string is recommended to scrub the In-Between’s. You know; floss. Unfortunately this cleans best only where the teeth actually touch. 98% of the space still remains contaminated with gooey, food debris harboring a gazillion nasty, tooth- eating bugs. Microscopically, the tooth surface we’re dragging string across resembles craters on the Moon. Passing string atop this raggedy surface does nothing to the nasties hunkered down in their foxholes. One solution is to use a toothpick sized brush that can scrub between the teeth. Called proxi- brushes, they come in different diameters and do a pretty good job getting into the craters. The most perfect solution however is to go nuclear by blasting the In-betweens with a pressure washer. If everyone used a Water Pik (recently renamed Water Flosser) every day, half the dentists would go out of business. Not as good as half the politicians but a good start.
The Corners and Tight Spaces we’ve just discussed are ABOVE the gums. With a bit of effort, we all can get in there and keep our teeth from rotting (PC term is Cavities). And If we don’t clean very efficiently, a filling or crown can resolve the problem and keep our dentist in business. But real bad things happen when the gooey food debris, we’ve left unbrushed for a couple of days, slips UNDER the gums. Do your gums bleed when you brush? The most common patient response is an unconcerned “Just a little bit.” Would we be concerned if there was blood on our hairbrush? “Well yeah, you bet I would”. Your blood on the toothbrush should trigger alarms, at least raise a red flag. Undisturbed bacteria under our gums are more closely related to micro-vampires than anything else. They avoid the light, living in the dark crevices between gum and tooth. The politically correct term is Pockets. Gum pockets fill the dentist’s and empty yours. How can we tell we have an infestation of vampires? By the blood! What goes on in the dark pocket is X rated. It’s a microscopic swamp teeming with these nasties. They’re alive, they fall in love, they make babies, they go to the bathroom, and they die. There’s no Waste Management under there. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Gums become overwhelmed by the sewerage. Tiny, hair like capillaries rupture. A small spot of blood on the toothbrush? Nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. This is the start of something big. The game has changed. These nasty critters are now inside our plumbing ; taking the capillary route to every organ in our body. Blood. Bad breath. Necrotic tissue. The bone gripping our teeth starts to soften then dissolve. Teeth get loose. Professional intervention is seriously recommended. But, backup. It should never get this far.
The power toothbrush, the Water Flosser, and even dental floss are great tooth saving devices. Even vampire killers. The X rated vampire story was to convey, Hollywood style, something civilians can relate to. Clean things, be they mouths or auto engines just stay a lot healthier and run a lot better. My advice would be to change the oil in the pickup at recommended intervals. And get a “dental oil change” at similar intervals . Dental hygienists are trained vampire killers. They can sniff out hidden pockets like a bloodhound. They’ll teach you how to use your Water Flosser effectively and point out areas that you might want to attack more aggressively. I used to joke that my goal was to eliminate cavities in Southern Arizona….. But then again, I can’t do it alone.
Stay well, Dr.Bill Ardito – Sunshine Dentistry AZ