What do you say to patients who have concerns about dental x-rays?
Some patients think that losing teeth is a natural part of the aging process. The myth goes back to the Middle Ages when there was no dental health care or an understanding of proper oral hygiene. When a tooth became problematic, the only option was to take it out. A similar level of dental care persisted for centuries. If we look at some of the portraits of our founding fathers from the 1700’s and 1800’s, for example, we can see their jaws have shrunk due to tooth loss.
The consensus among dentists is that if patients have good oral hygiene habits at home, do not overindulge in sugary foods, and visit their dentist at regular intervals, then natural teeth should last us a lifetime. I can give testimony from my own family. My parents and my wife’s parents are all in their 90’s and they all still have their teeth, because they have made the choice to take care of them. When a tooth needed fixing over the years, they came to the dentist and received the proper care.
The frequency with which a patient should visit the dentist for routine cleaning and exams has become more customized over the years. Some patients maintain their oral health exquisitely so visiting the dentist once a year is sufficient for them, but for the majority of patients who eat more sugar and chew things that may be risky (ice, hard candy, etc.), more frequent visits are required to maintain optimal oral health. Those patients often need dental visits three times a year to maintain their gums, or to follow-up on bridge work, or to make sure everything that needs attention is being addressed.
Regular visits to the dentist are an excellent investment. Twenty-first century dentistry helps patients keep their teeth for a lifetime.
Dr. Michael E. Gallagher
West Park Dental
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Do you find yourself waking at night gasping for breath? Are you exhausted all day long because you just can't get a good night's sleep?
'Apnea' is a Greek word meaning "without breath"; people who have apnea literally stop breathing in their sleep. A cessation of breath lasting for 10 seconds in adults, or 2 and 1/2 breath cycles in a child, is the clinical definition of sleep apnea.
X-rays are used for diagnostic purposes, and to protect the patient from oral health problems that could arise—or are currently present—which would not be discovered without the use of this important diagnostic tool.