Dental care for all ages has come a long way in the last couple of decades. There are new tools and methods for preventative and restorative care, and for reducing fear of the dentist. This episode gives you the basics plus these updates, and has helpful tips for optimizing your personal dental health, and even how to help pay for it.
Gary Burt, DDS. Private practitioner for more than 35 years in the Seattle Washington USA area. Specializing in General and Family Dentistry, Esthetic Dentistry, and Complex Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry.
During This Episode We Discuss:
- When to start dental care, and what care is needed at different ages: kids, adults, seniors. Different types of dentists: family dentist, periodontist, orthodontist.
- The importance of fluoride — especially for kids with developing teeth. In areas where water is not fluoridated, other sources (beyond toothpaste) are needed.
- Strategies for reducing fear and discomfort of dental procedures.
- Regular use of a soft tooth brush + water pik + flossing = good oral health and breath. Whitening toothpastes, and stiff toothbrushes can be damaging. Brushing your tongue or using mouthwash are optional.
- Significant advances in dental care include light cured resins and other technologies (e.g. higher quality porcelains) for restorative dental work (crowns, fillings, veneers).
- Damaging to oral health: sugars, candy, soda pop, chewing tobacco, smoking. Some health conditions (e.g. diabetes) may contribute to oral health issues.
- Poor oral health (e.g. gum disease) can contribute to poor health in other body systems (e.g. heart disease).
- Despite dental advances, and connections between good oral and overall health, dental insurance is not available for many people in the USA. Challenges and strategies for affording and accessing dental care are discussed (see also: Resources).
— “Good oral health..has manifestations beyond just a smile.”
— “My hygienists are big fans of a new instrument called a water pik. It’s funny, cuz I remember this from a kid growing up, … …….. but it’s come back big time now in the last five years.”
— “Is brushing your tongue useful?”
— “Once you hit the golden age of 30 we kind of figured you’ve outgrown the decay years. But…”
— “I look at excellent dental health as really crucial to a high quality of life.”
— “Retired people don’t have dental insurance. Self-employed people don’t have dental insurance. And so what happens with that is that I coach people to set up their own plan.”
- How to find a dentist: 1) Ask friends, family or colleagues for general dentist recommendations. 2) If you are new in town, try calling the local periodontist–they usually know most of the general dentists in an area. 3) https://findadentist.ada.org/
- For low cost, high quality care, visit the clinic of a University Dental School (e.g. in the Seattle area: https://dental.washington.edu/patient/clinics/ )
- Look for city, county or organizational health fairs that offer dental clinics (e.g. in the Seattle area: https://seattlecenter.org/skcclinic/. https://www.facebook.com/SKCClinic/