This article will help clarify some of the common myths / doubts / queries that are repeatedly asked by patients and the general public.
Myth - Root Canal Treatment (Pulpotomy/pulpectomy) should not done for Children
Root canal treatment (Pulpotomy/pulpectomy) means removal of the infected soft tissue (pulp) from inside a tooth. Cleaning and disinfecting and filling it with a filling material from the root tip to the crown of a tooth. The procedure is absolutely safe in children. Retaining a milk tooth till its normal age of exfoliation is important for the proper growth and development of the underlying permanent tooth and is also quintessential for maintaining the space for the erupting larger permanent tooth.
Early removal / loss / extraction of a milk tooth can cause shrinkage of space between teeth, resulting in malalignment of its permanent successor. Hence it is important to retain all the milk teeth till the age of their natural exfoliation. That is why a dentist recommends root canal treatment in a milk tooth and advises removal only when it cannot be saved.
The basic difference between the root canal treatment in a milk tooth and a permanent tooth is that the filling material in a permanent tooth is permanent while the one of a milk tooth is resorbable.
In case a milk tooth has to be extracted early, a dentist may advise to place a space maintainer to prevent the migration of adjacent teeth.
Myth - Antibiotics can be stopped once pain subsides
Antibiotics are usually prescribed when there is a bacterial infection caused by dental decay or gum disease. Antibiotics have bacteriostatic (stops bacterial reproduction) and bactericidal (kills bacteria) properties. They are usually prescribed as a 3-day / 5-day / 7-day course, depending on the severity of the disease.
If Antibiotics are not taken as per prescription, there is the possibility of developing 'Antibiotic Resistance' and as result, bacteria develop resistance against the particular Antibiotic, requiring stronger dose of this medication to destroy or slow down their growth. It is always recommended to complete the course of Antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist.The choice of Antibiotics is a critical process, based on numerous parameters, clinical conditions, type of microorganisms etc.
Myth - Colored Barcodes on Toothpastes indicate its Ingredients
Most toothpastes available in the market today contain some common basic ingredients. Which each brand may have slight variations in their formula, most of them contain the same class of ingredients such as abrasives, coloring / flavoring agents, detergents, fluorides, humectants (a substance used to reduce loss of moisture), preservatives, sweeteners, and whiteners.
Of late, it has been widely circulated in Social Media that the color of strips found at the base of a toothpaste tube is indicative of its ingredients. It is evident from the evident from the sizeable number of patients and public who pose this question to their dentists. The truth is that colored strips at the end of toothpaste tubes have nothing to do with the ingredients present in toothpaste.
A Barcode is an optical, machine - readable representation of data /lines / bars affixed to retail store items, identification cards, or postal mail to identify a particular product number; person, or location.
Myth - A Desensitizing toothpaste is a permanent Cure for Hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity occurs when the enamel gets abraded and the layer beneath it (called dentin) gets exposed. Dentin has several micro-pores and microtubules which get exposed when the enamel gets worn off. Exposure of these pores (dentinal tubules) causes sensitivity when the teeth are exposed to hot / cold foods or air. Desensitizing toothpastes contain formulations which help block transmission of pain signals from the surface of your tooth to the nerve inside and as a result, a patient gets temporary relief from pain. Thus, it is not a permanent cure for Hypersensitivity.
Myth - A Crown need not be place on a Root Canal treated Tooth
Root Canal Treatment helps remove infested soft tissue (pulp) from inside a tooth, besides cleaning, disinfecting and filling it with an inert filling material. The soft tissues contain blood vessels and nerves, which help give nourishment to the teeth. After its removal, the tooth needs to become non - vital and may become more brittle, as there is no more nourishment and blood flow within the teeth. Therefore, a root canal treatment tooth is prone to fracture, especially when biting / chewing hard food. Hence it is necessary to place a Crown over a root canal treated tooth.
Myth - Retainers need not be worn after Orthodontic Treatment
During orthodontic treatment, teeth are moved from their original position to their new position. This occurs as a result of selective resorption and deposition of the bone around the moved teeth. Being elastic in nature, jawbones have the tendency to return to its original position, which is called 'orthodontic relapse'. Therefore, it is necessary to have a Retainer after removing an orthodontic bracket, which helps hold the teeth in the new position until the newly formed bone around the teeth gets matured.
A retainer can be either removable or fixed. The type of Retainers and duration of wearing them depend on the type of orthodontic correction you have done. Under no circumstances you should retain from wearing Retainers for the prescribed duration.
Myth - Tobacco Use does not always increase the Risk of Cancer
Tobacco is dangerous to health. The substances which are inhaled through smoking do not just affect lungs but the entire body. Smoking can lead to a variety of ongoing complications in the body, besides causing long - term systemic conditions.
A Cigarette contains about 600 ingredients. When these ingredients burn, they will generate more than 7000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are toxic and at least 69 of them can be linked to Cancer. The effects of smoking may not be immediate, but its complications and damage can last for many years. 'Quitting smoking' can reverse the conditions related to tobacco use.
Nicotine present in tobacco is a mood-altering drug. Nicotine reaches the brain in a few seconds and makes a smoker feel more energized. But as the effect wears off, a smoker feels tired and craves for more.
There are several methods to overcome the habit of smoking; some of them are Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs), like patches, gums, Inhalers and medications like Chantix, Zyban etc.
Myth - Fluoride is a Poison
Of late, there are many write - ups and videos circulating in social Media depicting Fluoride as a toxic material. Fluoride is considered as a double - edged sword. At therapeutic (lower) concentrations (as used in toothpastes, mouthwashes, dental materials, supplements), Fluoride is totally safe and has a variety of beneficial effects on the teeth and gums whereas at very high concentrations, it is neurotoxic and poisonous.
These commonly believed myths do not hold value in reality. This article would help debunk some of the misconceptions that linger around oral health and well - being.