Saturday, April 26, 2008

Your fear of dentists!

Many people fear going to the dentist, and this is an absolutely real syndrome with many adults let alone kids!

If we examine our past experiences, we remember on those painful visits we had to the dental clinic as a child and that phobia remains alive for a long time. As we can't see the treatment being done inside our mouth it makes the fear even more "justified".


Firstly, remember that time has changed. We are now in the 21st century with numerous progress in the dental field. Secondly, we have different equipments, treatment methods and also a wide choice of dentists compared to the 1950s when a "Doktor Gigi" down the street may be the only choice.

  • Equipment today are more sofisticated. For example, even before you start treatment you can view your intra oral image shown on a large tv screen. This gives you a good look and mentally prepare yourself to what is recommended.
  • Time taken to do a filling has been shortened due to more efficient cutting tools that don;t really "cut" your teeth instead just grind away the decay.
  • Local anasthesia is always available if you need to eliminate the little discomfort that you feel.


  1. Take time to see at least a few dentists in your area and select one whom you find most comoftable to talk to and to trust your teeth with!
  2. Use the FREE Dental Checkup months (usually every April) to visit several dentists so that you can evaluate your choices.
  3. When treatment is necessary allocate time to visit a dentist and DO NOT rush between your appointments.
  4. Ask for inofrmation on potential pain and discomfort.
  5. Understand the available options before making your chouce of treatment.


Bring kids for check ups at an early age before they develop serious decay that requires treatment. Do not wait until there is a serious need. Simple check ups give kids an understanding of oral hygiene.

Early visits also gives them a better perspective during the young age thus preventing unecessary fear when they grow old.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why go for a dental check up?

Our teeth are among the strongest parts of the human body. And yet we sometimes loose a tooth easily to tiny micro sized bacterias that build their colony on our teeth and "grind away" our teeth surface.

Is it easy for us to check our teeth ourselves? Yes we can see from the mirror. But it is not possible to see every pit and corner of our entire teeth structure.

What a dentist can do is to examine our oral health from several aspects:

  • The condition of your gums ... localised swellings, infections, signs of decay et
  • The condition of your teeth surface
  • Potential decay at the early stages
  • Condition of existing fillings, crown and other treatment done previously
  • X-ray examination of decay or root treatments

Most clinics now have intra-oral cameras in addition to the traditional mouth mirrors. So what you get to see is an enlarged image of your oral condition on a 17-inch LCD screen. This makes it easy for you to understand the actual condition.

So what do you get out of this check up?

You will be able to discuss the issues, possible solutions and the costs. Having done that what if you are still "blur" (undecided) about what you should do? Then have the liberty to go to another dentist for a second opinion.

Once you have a good idea and decided, then opt for the preferred treatment to correct any problems that may have been detected. All this is very much like your car ... you drive till breakdown and call a tow truck OR you can regularly maintain and have comofrtable usage.

Tooth decay in kids

Tooth decay is the breakdown of the outer enamel layer causing a cavity (hole) to form. In severe cases the hole may enlarge or deepen until it reaches the inner core of the tooth causing damage to the pulp damaging the nerves.

Most of us know that decay is caused by bacteria thriving on sugary stuff left on the tooth after eating sweet food. Kids nowadays consume sugary food in many forms. Other than chocolates and candies, many other food like chilly sauce, tomato sauce and the like has sugar as well.

Frequent sugar consumption combined with long periods of leaving the food debris in the mouth is a wonderful situation for “bacteria invasion”. So the solution? Brush regularly!

Being children, it is difficult to completely stop them from consuming sweet stuff. What can parents do to help? First, bring them for checkups at least once every 6 months. This is the very first step towards kids understanding importance of dental care and removing their fear of seeing a dentist.

Secondly, keep up the discipline of brushing at least twice a day. Never ignore brushing before going to bed!

Thirdly, for those who wish to the extra mile, you may also want to consider fissure sealant treatment for permanent teeth. This is not wise spending for milk teeth as they are non-permanent. But as kids begin to have their permanent teeth, it is best to provide protection to avoid early loss of tooth.

You may view this pdf file on fissure sealant (courtesy of the Health Ministry of New Zealand):

Some reference on fissure sealant may be found on the British Dental Health Foundation site: