Cleaning as Early as Possible 

Mrs. Zeng is 52 years old.  She drops by our office early in the morning because of toothache.  One of her back teeth (Fig.1 *) has severe gum disease with a lot of tartar (white <) and root tip infection (black <).  This painful tooth needs extraction.  Thick and large tartar is shown in Fig.2 (side view of the extracted tooth).  After cleaning on bench, the tooth looks pretty good (Fig.3).  What a pity for losing this tooth!  "When did you have last cleaning?"  "Several years ago when I returned to my country because I do not have dental insurance".

Mr. Zhou has had dental insurance for several years, but he has never seen dentist in USA.  Instead he gets dental cleaning when he returns to his country.  He only sees a dentist of his classmate in high school.  His gum disease is more severe than Mrs. Zeng's.  All of his remaining teeth need to go (Fig.4).  One of them (*) has the same root tip infection as shown in Fig.1 *.  He is also 52 years old.  What can comfort him is that his father also loses all of his teeth at the age of fifties.

If these two patients had had dental cleaning even five years earlier, some of their teeth might have been saved.  We should take care of our bodies, including teeth, on regular basis.  Cleaning teeth in our own countries most likely do not save money.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 09/26/2011, last revision 09/26/2011