Friday, March 23, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention

OH MY GOSH!!!! I am dying over here. To quote Joakim Noah, "Those Gator boys are hot!" The Gators won their game last night. This game ended at 12:45 this morning, but I am floating on the proverbial cloud nine. I wore my Gator Basketball T-shirt to work today and refuse to take it off.

Now, here is my ordeal. As you may know, I am a Gator Basketball season ticket-holder. I would be first in line for Final Four tickets, one of the premier sporting events of the year. Don't get me wrong: I am not counting my chickens before they hatch. I know that there is one more hard game we are going to have to win to get the basketball promised land. But it is fun talking about it. I, of course, would want to go the Final Four in New Orleans this year. The semi-final games would be next Saturday and then the final game would be Monday, April 2nd. There is just one small catch. I have Master's practice round tickets for Monday, April 2nd. Oh my gosh. This is definitely a great problem to have.

Wow, I can't even type I am so excited, but I will try. I want to talk about people brushing their teeth. I work in a suburb of Orlando. I am not bragging, but I think we are kind of an upscale practice with a small-town feel. When you walk into my office, things are nice. We have nice impressive furniture, comfortable leather chairs, we even have a leather massage chair (that people fight over). So it always baffles me when I see people that don't brush their teeth. And it comes in so many sizes.

In my new patient exam, I bring the patient into a room just to talk. I ask, "How do you take care of your teeth?" You would be surprised by the answers and by who is giving them.

"I brush about twice a week."
"I brush once a day when I wake up"
"No, I don't floss. It makes my gums bleed"
"I know I should be doing it more"
"What? Is that wrong?"

I try not to raise an eyebrow, but I think the ADA and AGD have done a good job at educating and I think most people know that BRUSHING YOUR TEETH TWICE A DAY IS GOOD FOR YOU!!! I mean, I am teaching my two year old basic oral hygiene. And most people hate coming to the dentist. Do you know how you can avoid coming to the dentist? Yeah, BRUSHING YOUR TEETH!!! This is not rocket science.

I am working on a person this week that has #7 broken at the gumline with decay on 6, 8 and 9. This person is getting ready to have a 4-unit, almost $5,000 bridge and has plaque all over their teeth. I don't know how many times I have to go over OHI with people.

And I am sorry, but I am not the guy who is going to tell a patient that I am not going to do this bridge until they can get their oral hygiene under control. I will tell them (and continue to tell them) that if they are not going to brush their teeth, the bridge is not going to last. I have even made people sign paperwork saying that they have heard me.

Then there is the person who doesn’t have a little plaque, but more like a week’s worth of plaque on their teeth. When I mention it, they get frustrated and say, "I brush my teeth!" Then I have them look in a patient mirror and show them the plaque I am getting off with the explorer. They act like they have never looked in a mirror before.

Listen, I am not biting the hand that feeds me. I am happy when people don't brush their teeth. I am happy when kids eat Skittles and Ring Pops and suck on Mountain Dew all day (I am being sarcastic. I really don't like it. In fact, it really bothers me). But we are talking adults here.

A couple years ago, I resurrected a patient’s mouth. I did 12 fillings, a root canal and a crown. It was thousands of dollars worth of work, but things were looking really good. Well, I saw her yesterday, and now two years later, she has 10 cavities on the facials of posteriors. She claims to be a Coke drinker and a smoker. And, of course, it is going to be a struggle for her to pay for all these fillings.

Brushing your teeth is the simplest form of prevention. It is like wearing a seatbelt in the car. It is so easy. Maybe you are not doing it right. Maybe you are not doing it long enough. You go to the dentist, the hygienist tells you so, and you get better. It is easy.

I would like to think we are getting smarter. I like to think that people want to get better. I would like to think that people will do things or not do things to make their lives easier. But then I drive down the street and see how many people don't wear their seat belts. I drive down the street and see how many people are smoking (they must be the ones not brushing their teeth).

Are you seeing this in your practices, or is it just me?

Have a great weekend.Remember, root for the Orange and Blue on Saturday. I will be in a much better mood on Wednesday if we win.


Anonymous said...

Love reading your blogs!! But I have to give a shout out...
GO CARDS! Gators going down!

Louisville KY

Jon said...

Funny article and I completely understand your rant. I haven't figured out why people insist on letting themselves go so far down and then reach out to the dentist to make it better.

gatordmd said...


Saturday was one of the hardest days of my sports life. I was and still am so upset about that game.

I still can't believe we lost. I have not even gone to or watched an ounce of basketball since then.
It is going to take me awhile to get over this one.

And I am going to talk to AGD about kicking you off this blog. I am also going to talk to them about kicking you out of the AGD permanently. I am also going to talk to the people at the board of dentistry to have your license taken away.

And maybe then I might feel a little bit better. ....but probably not.


Anonymous said...

You may get a more aware response if you have your patients hold a mirror and then let them watch as you pass an interdental brush between their teeth. The big globules of plaque and the extensive bleeding lets them know they are in real trouble. I now routinely recommend all my patients who are on meds to use Biotene toothpaste as often there is very little salivary clearance. I have athletes, especially long distance cyclists, use Biotene spray as they often have periods of dry mouth from dehydration and use all that acidic energy gutrot.


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