Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cavity



This week, as I sat in the dentist chair with my half numb mouth open wide so a man could drill deep into my bicuspid and a woman could suck up my tooth-dust-filled saliva with a little hose, I began to wonder about the little cavity that landed me in this predicament. As a kid, I was never really given a good explanation of what a cavity was (other than its arrival was my fault) or bothered to pursue an answer. I just assumed the dentist knew what he was talking about and I didn’t do a good job brushing my teeth. I thought it best not to question the the man who was holding a sharp metal object in my mouth and knew that I had lied about flossing daily. Eventually I grew to accept the fact that every couple of years I would probably receive a shot of novocain, have a hole drilled in a tooth, have a filling jammed in the hole and be given a cheap toothbrush as a reminder that this all could have been avoided.

To find distraction from the sound of the drill and the disheartening smell of tooth dust, I found myself revisiting the explanation of a cavity I created as a 7 year old. I developed a theory that a cavity is a tiny piranha-like creature swimming around my mouth and eating the leftover candy lodged in between my teeth. Occasionally his overzealous chomping would accidentally include bits of my teeth leaving little holes in the process. My dentist’s comments like ‘you have a cavity’ ‘we need to get rid of this cavity’ and ‘good news, no cavities this time’ led me to believe that there was something in my mouth that needed to be caught and removed. It didn’t help that the dentist always seemed like he was hunting for something in my mouth, intensely checking every nook and cranny with what looked like a mini harpoon. At a time when I believed in a bunny that delivered chocolate eggs and a fairy who exchanged used teeth for cash, it wasn’t much of a leap to develop my cavity theory.

These days, I am wise enough to know that a cavity probably is not some elusive sugar crazy creature that my dentist has been chasing around my mouth like Captain Ahab for the past two decades, but I was still unsure of the exact mechanics of a cavity. I would have asked my dentist exactly what a cavity was, but I wanted to get out of that chair as quickly as possible without seeming like a moron.

Turns out, much to my disappointment, that a quick internet search or someone that knows anything about personal hygiene will quickly tell you that a cavity is not a microscopic sharp toothed fish, rather it is just the name for the hole caused by tooth decay brought about by acid produced by bacteria eating sugars and carbohydrates in your plaque which over time dissolves the enamel on your tooth. There is tons of information on the science and history of the cavity, but I quickly lost interest after learning that a cavity wasn't a tiny creature swimming around my mouth eating candy.

19 comments:

  1. Tooth cavity is one of the major problems among children and adults. It is important for us to take good care of our teeth by brushing everyday and/or gargling mouth wash.

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  2. Toothache is one of the most painful thing I have ever experience. It made me realize how important dentists are.

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  3. Regular dentist visits can do more than keep your smile attractive, they can tell dentists a lot about your overall health. It prevent toothache and other oral health problems.

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  4. I love sweets like chocolates and cakes. I always make sure to brush my teeth every after eating. It is important to always maintain a good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decays that cause tooth ache.

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  5. I, too, am afraid of going to dentist Sydney clinic every since I had my first tooth extraction. I agree that maintaining a good oral hygiene is the best prevention.

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  6. Not only does brushing your teeth help prevent tooth decay, it also helps prevent gum disease, which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. Removing tooth stains and avoiding bad breath are added benefits of brushing your teeth.

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  7. It's a bit morbid story about the piranha eating your tooth. It's a good thing you did your research about what cavity really is. My dentist in Laurel says people more likely are motivated to keep their oral hygiene once they did their own research about cavities.

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  8. It really hurts to have a dental cavity especially if you have not treated it immediately. My Broomall cosmetic dentist recommends regular dental check up to prevent tooth decay and other oral problems.

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  9. You've created a very good comparison between piranha and the cavity. It's a very good analogy and analysis. To prevent dental problems, proper oral and dental care is highly recommended.

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  10. That's a funny story to recall that morbid story of a piranha eating your teeth every time you have dental check up. Actually, it's all in the mind. I kept thinking that it's just like an ant bite when I had my dental implant Las Vegas. It works.

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  11. We share the same thoughts about cavities. I also made up stories about it until my dentist in Huntersville NC explained what it really is and how we get it. I got enlightened and from that moment on, I made sure that I clean my teeth properly to avoid cavities.

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  12. I wonder what my kids thought of when they went to our myrtle beach dentists? It would be pretty funny if twenty years from now they'll reveal that it was moles with drill claws that was making them have cavities.

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  13. My collierville dentists said that we need to be aware of the food we eat. I was told food such as nuts, almond, apple, and pears can help to fight tooth cavities.

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  14. Tooth cavities aren't uncommon but with the right dental health know-how, you can help prevent them. It all starts with proper brushing, daily flossing, and fluoride.

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  15. You should definitely not try to fill them in yourself. You could just make it worse.


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  16. Some dentists in houston that I know has some hilarious stories about kids and their first dentist visit. I just about died in stitches with laughter.

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