Friday, March 27, 2009

which one?

since braces is such a hot topic here, i would like to introduce other types of braces other than the conventional metal braces we often see:

1. ceramic braces

while conventional braces use metal brackets (the square metal thingy we cemented on your tooth) to align your teeth, ceramic braces use tooth-coloured ceramic brackets. so they will 'blend-in' with your teeth and less noticeable compared to metal brackets. Tom Cruise wears this type of braces. the cost? about RM1k more than the metal ones. however there are cases that doctors are unable to use ceramic braces, such as tooth that needs super high force to be moved.

2. lingual braces

these are braces that are fixed behind your lower teeth near your tongue. metal brackets are used in this type of braces. not many specialist recommended this though, because treatment will usually takes much longer than usual and patients are not usually able to keep the teeth and braces clean. not to mention they always cause tongue ulcers.

3. self-ligating braces

visually there's no difference whatsoever between this type and the conventional ones, but the length of treatment with self-ligating braces is cut into half compared to normal braces. means you will only wear braces for two years or less. but to have this type of braces you have to add about RM2k more to the cost of normal braces. self-ligating braces also comes in tooth-coloured brackets.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

the missing link

a patient asked me once:

why do we still have calculus and still need scaling like 6 monthly; whereas we brush our teeth at least two, maybe three times a day?

the concept that we have to grasp is the fact that brushing will only clean the surface of our teeth, and not in between; and calculus will first appear in between the teeth and usually nearby our salivary gland.

so, brushing alone is not enough?

no way near enough. granted, it removes almost all plaques. but almost is still not all. that small amount of plaque is all it takes to form those brownish blackish unsightly karang gigi that we often mistook as part of our teeth. mind you, calculus IS the frontrunner cause of smelly mouth.

really? calculus really cause foul mouth? (no pun intended)

what do you expect? those plaque are actually remnants of what we eat. imagine leaving lebihan kuah satay on your plate for 6 months. how stinky do you think it become?

what do i do then?

flossing!!!! the one thing that we always think as leceh and malas nak buat. (why is it that the things that we wouldn't like to do most is the thing that is most important?)

so if i floss everyday i wont need scaling?

hard to say. depends on how effective your flossing and toothbrushing technique is. if you do both correctly, you may only need scaling once in a few years, and your mouth smells like blossom. hence the mandatory annual dental check up. your dentist can tell you whether this year you need the treatment or not. (you simply cannot run from them, dont you? :-p)

but i use mouth gargle everyday! for all my life!

flossing is still the missing link. gargle is simply not enough. i would suggest you use mouthrinse as your daily need to freshen up after meal or after your long meditation in front of your notebook. but flossing should always accompany brushing. think of flossing as butter to your bread, or petrol to your car.

last but not least, happy flossing!