MY GUM DISEASE STORY
When I was a kid, no one told me the seriousness of gum disease. Or how it is connected to our overall health. I am now 53 years old and have 3 missing teeth in my mouth. I’m kind of lucky because my friend who is 6 years younger than me (47 years old) have 6 missing. But this has nothing to do with luck. It has everything to do with how you take care of your teeth since young.
WHY YOU SHOULD START EARLY
When I was about 25 years old, I felt like it would take a very long time to get old. So I lived life without visiting the dentist. I also feared the dentist because during the time as a kid, visits to the dentist were very painful and I dreaded going. I may not have not regretted most decisions I made in life, except that my teeth brushing sessions only lasted 20 seconds. Because I thought it was a waste of time.
I sometimes even forgot brush in the mornings. Or even at night especially after getting home drunk from the pubs. This continued into my 30s and I had toothache in my front tooth. My bottom middle front tooth became shaky. It bothered me until I had bad dreams about shaky teeth dropping. There were other dreams about all teeth falling out as well. A shaky tooth really affects the subconscious mind.
ORAL HEALTH AFFECTS OVERALL HEALTH
This lone loose tooth stayed on for a long time, giving me toothache now and then. It hung on 15 years. During that time it got a little more and more shaky as the months went by and the toothache subsided. When I was just over 50 years old, it popped out while I was having a meal. It might have only been one loose tooth but it affected me mentally.
In my early 40s I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was not sure if it was connected to oral health as I had read about. But now I believe oral health does influence overall health and well being of a person. ONE BY ONE THEY FELL After my front tooth dropped, another two teeth on the inside of my mouth dropped as well, within the next year. Those two teeth gave me bad toothache as well. But towards the late stage the toothache went away as well. The nerves must have died already. It was not as bad because no one could see those missing teeth. But it was on the teeth that I used to chew my food with. It was really difficult to eat and it took me several months to learn to chew food differently.
VISITING THE DENTIST
I finally made an appointment with the dentist. In Singapore, dental services are extremely costly, as with many other countries. I waited nine months for the cheaper public dentist. Public health clinics called Polyclinics in Singapore have dentists that are slightly cheaper than private clinics but the wait is very long. The situation has improved but it still takes three months to make an appointment to see the dentist.
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
I was told that I have a condition known as periodontal disease nine months later, after the painful gum inspection. Many have have not heard of this gum disease. I had just learnt of it then. What is Periodontitis? Is it worse than gingivitis? Yes it is. In Periodontitis, the jaw bones which support the teeth are eroded away by bacteria. This bacteria is the result of tatar or calculus buildup embedded below the gum line. There is no cure for this condition. If untreated, all my teeth would drop within the next few years. The only thing to do was to clean it all up to keep the bacteria at bay and allow the gums to heal. And also to prevent the bacteria from multiplying.
HOW NDC IN SINGAPORE TREATED MY GUM DISEASE
The deep cleaning lasted 4 sessions. One quarter quadrant each session. All four cleaning sessions were extremely painful. Each session lasted 2 hours. I was totally exhausted after each of the 4 sessions and I was given about five injections of local anaesthesia in each quadrant and it was extremely painful. Because without the injections, I would not have been able to withstand the pain, due to removal of the calculus or tatar with the drilling dental tool. The cleaning operation was not totally painless because of the live nerves in the teeth and gums although the anaesthetics had been administered. The interval for each cleaning session was two weeks. My dental bill chalked up to a hefty amount.
After the cleanup there was an inspection every 2 months. The early sessions still required painful jabs and semi deep cleans. Those were not as painful, but still needed those injections to numb the area the dentist worked on. Because of old habits, I sometimes did not use the interdental brush frequently as directed by the dentist and the plague buildup came back.
Over time I had put more effort to develop a habit to clean up properly using the electric toothbrush together with the interdental brush TWICE daily. And I use a water flosser as well. My gums are really pink and healthy now. And I seldom have any toothache. Only once in a while when I have a gum infection due to a cracked tooth . Bat that is a story for another day. I have also gotten rid of all the bad breath too. I also wear a denture because I cannot afford to get an implant.
So this will be an on-going story here. I hope to help others prevent this situation so I created this website and store. You can Email me if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them.