What do haircuts have to due with dentistry? A lot I say!
What if your employer offered haircut insurance in your benefit package? What if that fabulous insurance covered 100% of your haircuts every three months? Haircuts only, no perms, no highlighting, no coloring. Basic, but pretty good you say.
But darn, I need a haircut every six weeks or every day is a “bad hair day.” What do I do, my haircut insurance only covers me every three months. I have a choice—I can look good for six weeks and like the shaggy dog until the 91st day. For most of us the choice is clear—we get the haircut and pay for it ourselves, even pay extra for the perm and highlighting, knowing that wasn’t a “covered benefit” anyway.
Now let’s segue to the dental equivalent to the haircut, your cleaning, prophylaxis or periodontal maintenance appointment. Problem is you can’t see your gums as easily as your hair. They feel okay too. Yea, maybe I get a little blood when I brush or floss. That’s normal anyway, isn’t it?
We have all been brainwashed by the same people who have influenced the insurance gurus—the old dental commercials that said, “Brush your teeth with Colgate (or Crest, or Ipanna, or whatever) three times a day and visit your dentist twice a year.” I say, “Brush and floss your teeth once a day real well, (I use a Sonicare and woven J&J floss) and see your dentist four times a year. I have to clarify—this is for those adults who have had any kind of periodontal treatment, including root planning, surgery or grafting and/or have pockets over 3 millimeters in depth with some bleeding.
The reason for the three-month interval is that the bacteria in your mouth have to organize into a colony of plaque to do their damage. Plaque is a sticky mixture of bacteria, carbohydrates, toxins, and waste products. Many controlled studies have shown that is takes about 90 days for the plaque to become destructive. If not removed in three months, the disease process continues and you lose bone that can never be regained.
Periodontal disease is the most prevalent disease on the planet, but it is not normal or an unavoidable result of aging. It can be controlled. The choice is clear--unless I want to have bone loss continue, and even lose teeth, I have to pop for the additional two hygiene visits per year. Just like my haircuts.
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Dr. Cunningham provides emergency services after working hours and on weekends. Call (208) 726-3457