THE TRUTH ABOUT SOME COMMON DENTAL MYTHS

The profession of dentistry has experienced an amazing evolution over its lifetime. References to tooth decay can be found in various ancient texts. At one time, a local barber would provide haircuts and pull troublesome teeth in the same shop. Dentistry evolved from these humble beginnings to what we know today: a structured medical discipline where patients benefit from evidenced-based care. Oddly enough, though, several oral health myths and misconceptions have failed to fade away....

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SIMPLE STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORAL HEALTH

On the list of common reasons people avoid the dentist, cost is usually near the top. It is a fact — some dental treatments are expensive. However, you have some control in working to avoid pricey dental procedures. Two of the best ways to avoid needing expensive dental treatments are to visit a dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning and following proper dental hygiene advice every day.

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COMMON SLEEP DISORDER WREAKS HAVOC ON THE BODY

The National Sleep Foundation estimates over 18 million adults in the United States, or about one in every 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing, resulting in disruptive sleep. Individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will experience a repetitive (partial or complete) airway collapse throughout their sleep, which prevents air from reaching the lungs.

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OVERCOMING DENTAL ANXIETY AND REACHING A BEAUTIFUL SMILE

Holding strong to her new goal, Crookston began seeing Dr. Ted Raybould, chief of the Division of Adult Dentistry at UK Dentistry, for help with obtaining a healthy functional smile. A patient-centered team approach was the best way to help Crookston achieve her goal, so Raybould enlisted the help of two colleagues, Dr. Steven Tucker and Dr. Wes Coffman. Tucker and Coffman utilized digital technology to create simulations of what Crookston’s teeth could look like after procedures. Together, the trio of doctors planned Crookston’s dental treatment. They decided an All-on-X procedure would work best for her needs and help achieve the final appearance they and Crookston desired.


An All-on-X, also known as a full arch screw retained fixed hybrid bridge, uses four to six titanium dental implants to anchor a bridge of teeth to a patient’s jaw. This provides a strong foundation for prosthetic teeth. This treatment option is a viable choice for patients who are at risk of losing enough teeth that they would otherwise need dentures or for patients who have extensive wear on their teeth and need to have their bite reconstructed with extensive crowns or multiple dental implants.

The All-on-X treatment option worked as the best choice for Crookston because, according to Raybould, fillings would not have corrected the advanced breakdown of her remaining natural teeth. Another reason this procedure works well for patients in need of extensive work is it is more cost effective and takes place in a single session.


Unlike the previously used staged procedure for dental implants, which requires months of healing between extractions, placement of the dental implant post and fitting of the crown, the All-on-X is done in one session and requires a shorter recovery time before the teeth can be used for eating. For Crookston, this was the best option because it helped her avoid multiple trips to the dentist, which in turn helped reduce her stress. Also, she didn’t have to take as many days off work.


Although she’s still nervous about working with a dentist, Crookston says thinking about her before and after photos helped her through the process. “The results are really life changing, not only in appearance, but also in function,” she said.


While recovery was not painful, Crookston says it took some time to feel like herself again. “I did not hurt. It just took me some time to get my energy back.”


For those contemplating having a similar procedure done, Crookston suggestions taking it easy afterward. “Don’t try to be a superwoman. Take the time you need to recover.


As wives and mothers, we tend to put ourselves last and we really need to stop that.”


Just a few months after the procedure, Crookston was much happier to take photographs. “I don’t have to cover my teeth when I smile anymore … I look better and feel better. You don’t realize what you’re missing out on.”


Although some of her anxieties about going to the dentist still linger, Crookston will admit one thing: “Drs. Raybould, Tucker and Coffman knew best and everything is fine now because I listened.”


Underscoring the importance of selecting the right team for one’s needs, Crookston added, “Everyone has taken the time to make sure I am comfortable and informed on what they are doing. I have always been afraid of going to the dentist, but I will keep my appointments at UK Dentistry because I know they will make me as comfortable as possible.”

UK DENTISTRY

UK Dentistry offers expert, personalized care for the general and specialty dental and oral health needs of adults  and children. We're committed to improving Kentucky, and beyond, one smile at a time.

 More information about UK Dentistry is available at www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/dentistry.

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It has been over a year since Andrea Crookston made the decision to make her oral health a top priority and partner with University of Kentucky Dentistry. Prior to starting the journey, Crookston would hide her smile when taking photos. Fear and anxiety kept her from going to the dentist every six months as recommended. Instead, she would only go when the pain was too much for her to tolerate.


Now that she’s had a year to test the look and functionality of her new smile, Crookston said, “I am still thrilled with how my teeth look and function. I can’t count the times I have been told I have a beautiful smile. I never thought I would ever hear that compliment as I have always been embarrassed by my teeth.”


Before calling on UK Dentistry, Crookston’s fear of the dentist had unfortunately led to the deterioration of many of her teeth, causing breakage and necessary extractions. Eventually, Crookston began having difficulty eating certain foods. Simply hiding her smile was no longer an option. At this point she decided to make a commitment to her oral health, knowing it would likely involve major dental treatment options such as dentures or dental implants.


Recalling the time before her treatment, Crookston said, “I’d been in pain for a long time, but I was afraid of the dentist. The sound of the drill gives me cold chills.”