Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Trip to the Dentist

Had to go to the dentist today. It was just a visit for a regular cleaning, but I'll have a few more trips in the coming weeks. I had dental surgery at the end of October on the gums around a molar to pull them back and prepare the tooth for a crown, and then never got the rest of the work done because RA got in the way. (RA getting in the way of things????? Surprise, surprise!!!)

I had spoken to my dentist at some point because he was wondering why I hadn't booked any follow-up appointments, even though his office had called. So I told him what was going on and explained I was concerned about my dental hygiene because some days it was impossible to hold onto dental floss, so that really wasn't getting done. (And I am normally meticulous about that – I hate going to the dentist and having him ask, "Have you been flossing?" with concern in his voice.)

He was particularly worried about the gums around the molar growing back, so he recommended a great product I've never heard of before, a Sulcabrush. It's basically a teeny-tiny toothbrush-like contraption (see below). It's got a wide handle that's relatively easy to hold onto (a least as easy as a toothbrush), and it's been clinically proven to help stop bleeding gums.

For overall flossing action, power flossers like the Waterpik Power Flosser sound great (I've got to check one out still) – they've got fat handles and studies have shown that they work just as well as manual dental floss. Another one I've heard is good is the Oral B Hummingbird Flosser – I'm just not sure if you have to actually string the floss on this one, which would potentially make it problematic.

Since then, I've been using the Sulcabrush religiously around that one tooth, and when my hands are good to go, which is really most days, I've been flossing away, too. I might have to wrap the floss around my palms, then my fingers to get a really good grip, and the back teeth are really hard to get to, but I manage.

And it's paid off! The dentist said my teeth are in great shape and the molar that needs the crown is perfect, with the gums still where they should be. My dentist thought one thing was interesting. Every time he cleans my teeth, even thought I've always flossed every day (OK, I miss the odd one, but generally, it's every day), and brush for ages, and hardly ever have any plaque, etc., my gums invariably bleed a bit. He's never been able to figure out why. But today, no bleeding at all!! He thinks it's likely all the anti-inflammatories I'm on, but is going to look into it.

I'm just happy to have kept things in good shape...

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