Valentine’s day is coming up and even though it is more of a “hallmark holiday”, it’s still fun for the kids. And hopefully you have someone special you can celebrate with. The fact that this holiday is coming up gives me an opportunity to discuss something that relates to the general public. As dentists, we have this curse of speaking in terms that make no sense to the general public. Here’s a quiz for you.
1. An amalgam is
A) a mouth retractor
B) a type of filling material
C) a new kind of nail polish
2. The mesial of a tooth is
A) the front surface of a tooth
B) the second layer past the enamel
C) a growth sticking out the gums
3) You have acute necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis. What do you have?
A) a simple cavity
B) a disease which is leading to tooth loss due to loss of bone
C) the lack of kissablity
The answers are B, A, and both B/C in case you’re wondering. My point is that dentists talk this alien language and expect the general public to understand. What happens is the patient has a lack of understanding the diagnosis and the recommended treatment. This lack of communication then leads to the patient not scheduling and not getting the treatment that they really need. When a patient doesn’t understand why they need it, there is no value in the recommended treatment. The patient then only looks at how much it’s going to cost and weighs that against the fact that it may not be hurting right now, so they just put it off. And usually by the time it starts hurting, it’s going to cost more and take more time to fix.
This leads me to kissability. That’s a word that everyone understands. Does your partner want to kiss you? If you haven’t had your teeth cleaned in over 6 months, you’re chances of getting kissed are going down. You’re building up odor-causing bacteria under your gums, your gums are getting inflammed, your gums start bleeding, and you get bad breath. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I feel that’s pretty gross. And I bet your partner feels the same way! Good brushing helps and flossing takes that a step further. Brushing your tongue and using mouth rinse will improve the situation also. But even the best brushers and flossers are going to build up tartar. Tartar is like a big apartment building where all the odor causing bacteria like to live. They sit back, eat the sugars and carbohydrates we put in our mouths then spill out acids and odor causing toxins. Why would you let that stuff sit in there for months and years? Get into the dental office and have us clean that stuff off. You want to know what is the most attractive to your partner or a possible partner? It’s a nice smile and good breath! Don’t mess that up and the potential for a good Valentine’s Day increases dramatically.