Christmas Eve but the clinic was as busy as always…
Today is Christmas Eve but the clinic was as busy as usual.
I saw a patient this morning that had me realise that I could write a post on his experience and over the weekend write a page on Common Problems patients face.
This thirty-ish banker came in with one of the most common problems I see in my daily practice. He had bleeding gums and was afraid of seeing the dentist! He last saw his previous dentist 7 years ago.
After the initial ‘hello’s, I asked him what he wanted me to do. He told me he was worried about the bleeding and he didn’t like to see the dentist as he bled a lot when he had his scaling done.
I laughed and told him he had bad news coming….
You see, bleeding gums in an otherwise healthy person usually means a build up of hard (and often sharp) deposits just under your gums. Sometimes the build up is enough that it is visible even above the gums! We call it calculus.
The calculus (that pesky deposit) cannot be brushed off… in fact, because it contains so many germs and food stuff, it the culprit that causes the gums to be swollen.
Like anything swollen, it will bleed profusely if scratched, which is exactly what happens when you brush your teeth if you have calculus. The gums bleed and you see it in the toothpaste froth you wash out!
I told him the bad news was he would continue to bleed until he had the scaling to remove the deposits! The good news was it won’t hurt but he would have to partner me (by coming by for a clean-up more often than 7 years!) to keep them healthy.
So what could he (and you) do?…
Well a dentist will clean off that nasty stuff with a machine that has an amazingly fast vibrating tip which ultrasonic-ally causes the calculus to fall away. It makes a funny sound because it vibrates so fast. The tip has a water spray that cools down the tip so it won’t get super hot and also works to flush the debris away.
Some clinics like ours have a softening gel that we paint on the calculus, to soften it, so the whole process is fast and easier. And of course the bonus is ………Â it doesn’t hurt ……… really!! ;-)Â
Anyway, after explaining it to my patient, he took a deep, deep breath and said OK.
Â Some minutes later, he looked in the mirror and said, “Wow! It isn’t bleeding!” The poor guy thought he would have bleeding gums even after I finished!
I explained that I didn’t dig in his gums to scratch or cut them, I just got rid of what was clinging to his teeth surface.
He left the clinic with a big smile. Next on his treatment plan ….. a makeover!