Archive for March 6th, 2012

Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

–excerpted from The New York Times, Health, March 6, 2012.

In the surgical wing of the Center for Pediatric Dentistry at Seattle Children’s Hospital, Devon Koester, 2 ½ years old, was resting last month in his mother’s arms as an anesthesiologist held a bubble-gum-scented mask over his face to put him under. The doctors then took X-rays, which showed that 11 of his 20 baby teeth had cavities. Then his pediatric dentist extracted two incisors, performed a root canal on a molar, and gave the rest fillings and crowns….

“We have had a huge increase in kids going to the operating room,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta, Me., and a spokesman for the American Dental Association. “We’re treating more kids more aggressively earlier.”

But such operations are largely preventable, he said. “I have parents tell me all the time, ‘No one told us when to go to the dentist, when we should start using fluoride toothpaste’ — all this basic information to combat the No. 1 chronic disease in children.” …

Click here to read the full article in The New York Times.

A Personal Story: Oragelling Through It – Karen, Lyme

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Karen lives in Lyme, New Hampshire. Her husband, Tom, was disabled as a result of an accident in 1990. At the time, she had some work done on one of her teeth, but was unable to finish it: “We had some money so I saw a dentist many years ago – and I agreed on charges to have a tooth implanted – but the dentist and surgeon both over charged me at my visit.” Karen couldn’t afford to finish the procedure, “…so I just have a [post] where one tooth was.”

Karen’s current situation makes it difficult for her to get the care she needs for her teeth. She explains:   “I got my teaching certification three years ago….  I was downsized last year.  I was a 60% teacher, so I only had a certain percentage of coverage offered.  It would have taken all my salary to cover my health plan.  So I didn’t get one.”

When Karen first lost her job, she called a dental clinic to see if she could get her tooth repaired, but she was unable to get help there, even though her income qualified. “(They) told me to call back another time, no one in the office…  I never filled out any papers.  Now I get some unemployment.  With Tom’s disability, we are just over – I think.”

“I have had three periods of having a really sore tooth.  Most go away with ambasol or orajel in a week or two.  This last one has been swollen for over a month.  (Fat Cheek included).  Tom has had mouth pain twice.  We are at that age.”

“Recently I had an abscess.  I oragelled my way through it – but noticed that my whole body ached.  I found some information that sometimes when a tooth is hurting, it releases toxins into your blood stream and creates other troubles.  My abscess is going away.  Hopefully the joint pain will too.  I am still sore all over and have inflammation in my mouth – so it upsets me that there must be millions like me who are simply out of work.”