Journal #246 – Dental appointment and the importance of oral health

I took the morning off from work today so that I could go for a dental appointment. These days, I always visit the dentist every six month to ensure that my oral health doesn’t deteriorate and gum disease is kept in check in order to keep my teeth longer.

When I was younger, I had never put much focus on my oral health. I took it for granted until one day I came across an article about how your gum is bleeding every time you brush is an indication of gum disease, which was what happened to me. That was about five years ago. So I decided to visit the dentist for the first time in a long time. By then, it was already too late. Gum recession has already happened and there is nothing the dentist can do about that except going for expensive surgery to reconstruct the gum.

Fast forward, my wisdom tooth on the lower right decided to pop up and becoming impacted as a result. I had enough of the discomfort and decided to visit the dentist again to extract it. That was when the dentist took the chance to conduct a detailed check first and found that I had pretty bad periodontitis. But priority was getting the wisdom tooth out, and so I did that back in January 2016. After the surgical site has healed, I went for a series of treatments to halt the progression of the disease. By this time, I came to realize that the bad breath that my friends said I had was because of this disease.

The whole treatment cost me about $2500, give or take, and it included fixing up existing fillings that were no longer effective and dealing with new decays caused by improper brushing.

Ever since the treatment, the realization of I could lose my teeth if I don’t take good care of them, and the social issues of having bad breath caused by bad oral health, I have become rather overzealous about cleaning my mouth, practicing proper oral hygiene daily.

Bad oral health doesn’t just end with you losing your teeth. Studies have shown that it can lead to heart diseases. Articles like this and this help to explain how they are related.

That led me to wonder why companies in Singapore offer such a poor dental benefit for their employees considering that oral health has direct impact on their overall health. Visiting the dentist is more than aesthetic. My current company offers only $100 worth of dental for employees to claim and only cover consumables. Treatments are not covered. I meant what the hell? My treatment today alone is already $400.

And my gums hurt right now due to the deep cleaning I went through to help ensure I keep my remaining molars longer. It’s all about maintenance. The scaling process has also pretty much increase my teeth sensitivities. So now I can’t drink or eat without certain discomfort but it will heal. Hopefully by tomorrow.

One last thing, before I left the dental clinic, my dentist also gave me a travel bag containing a toothbrush, a tube of sensodyne toothpaste and a tube of Parodontax toothpaste. Thanks Dr. Yap of De Pacific Dental Group.

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