Are You Controlled?
Due to modern medicine and other advancements, our life expectancies have increased nearly thirty years since nineteen hundred and twelve. In simpler terms, back then a fifty year old person had one foot in the grave. From what I read on the front of many women's magazines today, fifty is the new forty. If most of us are going to live into our eighties, let's do it with teeth or replacements. They make smiling, kissing, eating, drinking, and laughing a whole lot easier!
All kidding aside, the numbers show that the average fifty year old American has a good thirty to forty years left. That's a lot of life worth living and a lot of reasons for all of us to mind our health.
In medicine, diseases or conditions are considered controlled or uncontrolled. Controlled patients follow their treatment regimens and work with their doctors to manage their disease. In an uncontrolled state, patients do not or cannot do the things necessary to keep their problems in check. This can lead to a progression of disease and an expansion of life threatening conditions.
Dental disease is no different. The two main tooth problems that patients encounter (gum disease and tooth decay) can exist in a controlled or uncontrolled state.
Controlled dental patients seek out preventive care. They brush and floss and use appropriate fluoride treatments to keep their teeth and gums healthy. They most often eat and drink in a healthy way. Dental cleanings and check-ups help maintain good oral hygiene, but the brunt of the responsibility for healthy teeth happens at home. Controlled patients are often motivated to fix problem teeth before they hurt, thus saving themselves time and pain and money. Controlled patients are usually content with their dental care because their own efforts help any dental restorations last a long time.
There are a variety of reasons that patient dental disease can be uncontrolled. Time, money, kids in college, kids in braces, fear, bad experiences, and not realizing there is a problem are all reasons why patients may have uncontrolled dental disease. It is definitely a catch twenty-two, as the longer dental problems go uncontrolled, the worse those problems will get. Uncontrolled patients are often very frustrated by this fact. As with any disease state, it can be very disheartening to constantly have procedures fail and lose teeth due to conditions we (both dentist and patient) just can't seem to catch up to.
The good news is that most any patient with most any dental condition may move from being uncontrolled to controlled. Change can happen for the good.
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.