This is the photograph of a 20-year old girl who had come to me for a dental check-up. She did not have any problem. She says that some months ago there was bleeding from her gums. She took some medicines from some doctor and the bleeding stopped. No, it is her version. Her oral examination reveals a different story.
She is suffering from Chronic inflammation of gums – dental term for this condition is Chronic gingivitis and commonly people call it “pyorrhea”. This condition in this 20-year old is quite reversible. All the signs of gum disease are present – swollen, spongy gums, gum bleeding on provocation with a dental probe etc. However, this girl has no symptom at present. Otherwise, bleeding gums or the bad breath (halitosis) is the most common symptom what brings such patients to a dentist.
She needs thorough scaling (oral prophylaxis) to get rid of the accumulated calculus deposits and stains. And once the causative agents are taken care of, the gums swelling subsides, their sponginess goes away and their come back to their normal shape within a few days. For this treatment she needs just one or two visits to a dental professional.
In such cases, though the condition is reversible and recovery is unbelievably fast, the person has to be quite careful in future also. Otherwise, in the absence of routine oral care at home, this condition is notorious to again make a comeback.
Due to various reasons which includes a number of myths and misconceptions about dental care passed on from ages, people don’t seek timely help fearing it will harm their teeth or some fear that it would be quite painful or in many cases availability of qualified professional is an issue besides of course financial problems. So, the problems are quite complex due to which such reversible dental diseases with time develop into irreversible conditions.
There are a number of reasons due to which people don’t seek timely dental help. This is the photograph of a 20-year youngman who had come to me for the extracted of the “protruding” upper front teeth. He was made aware of the orthodontic corrective option by which he can get his teeth in proper alignment. This was his first dental visit –look at the condition of gums, tartar deposits and irregularly aligned teeth. In this person, all the four second deciduous molars- one in each quadrant – (“milk teeth”) are retained ie they were not shed naturally so the permanent second premolar has not come up.
Many people cant afford orthodontic treatment – at times they are co-erced by dental quacks into getting their teeth “wired” – which, rather than serving any purpose, cause a great deal of damage to the already “crooked” teeth —yeah, nothing short of adding fuel to fire. Else, some people are after getting those “crooked” and “unsightly” teeth extracted realizing little that it is not the solution – it can perhaps camouflage the existing “crookedness” a bit, but the functional problem will always stay on as you can see in this photograph that his lower front teeth are in a way totally overshadowed in “deep bite” by the upper teeth. This is a unhealthy condition which is otherwise quite injurious for the health of young permanent teeth which close with unusual force.
Take home message – regular periodic dental check-up every six months is mandatory. Your dentist is the best judge who knows that a stitch in time saves nine, nay, just a proverb, you may never require a stitch in your mouth throughout your life. I wish you good oral health throughout your life….. Keep Smiling !!