August 2016 - Prosthodontist in Johannesburg
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August 2016

Dr Kaplan says, “I came across this charming poem in a pamphlet which was written in 1944”

by Dorothy Gray

I used to like the dentist very much,
He really seemed to be most awfully kind;
But since one dreadful day,
I’m afraid I must say
That I’m sorry, but I’ve had to change my mind.

I’ll tell you just exactly how it happened;
I’d only been to see him just once or twice,
And I loved to sit up there
In his funny high armchair;
And a visit to the dentist seemed quite nice.

But once I had a very wobbly tooth;
I’d tried to pull it out but I just couldn’t !
And I asked him not to touch
(Though it didn’t hurt me much)
And he shook his head and promised that he wouldn’t.

So I let him have a look inside my mouth,
That he would keep his word I had no doubt;
but in spite of what he said
He grabbed the tooth instead;
And though you won’t believe me, took it out !

Now it wasn’t that I minded what he did;
If he’d warned me I’d have been quite brave, I’m sure;
But they’ll never get me there,
In that silly high armchair;
And I’ll never trust a dentist anymore !


Our relationship with our patient is based on trust.

With good ongoing dental care, your teeth should last your lifetime.

Teething is a painful experience not only for the young child but certainly for the parents who have to endure watching the agony and helping to provide relief. One feel so helpless trying to relieve their pain and having to endure those awful sleepless nights.

They are many housewives remedies to see one through the “agony”. Some mothers suggest rubbing brandy or whiskey over the sore gums (just enough to not make the young child into an alcoholic!).

Another alternative teething ring or a hard rusk to bite on. The good thing is that the stage passes by in due course.

Like everything in child-rearing, everything depends on the parent from feeding, bathing, changing diapers, breaking wind and so on. And so it is with teeth as well. They are precious and need looking after. Baby teeth are not to be taken casually. They fulfil a vital function in growth and development of the child. Besides being used for eating and chewing and learning how to speak, they also are fundamentally important in maintaining space for the permanent teeth to erupt.

Baby teeth are also prone to decay. It is very important to avoid having the child go to sleep with a milk bottle. This causes rampant decay known as “baby bottle syndrome”.

Prevention is better than cure. It is the parents’ responsibility to look after these baby teeth from the moment they appear in the mouth. In the early stages of tooth eruption, they can be effectively cleaned by wiping them with a gauze swab. As more teeth come into the mouth with the growth of the child, they can then be introduced to a toothbrush. Monkey see monkey do. If the child watches the parents enjoy brushing their teeth, they will want to do the same. Toothbrushing can really be fun. Make it a game and sing some songs. Cultivate an appreciation for the preciousness of beautiful teeth from an early age.

The are many children’s toothbrushes on the market and children’s toothpaste which are pleasantly flavoured. There is no particular preference in their choice. Rather it is the conscientiousness and motivation of the parent to ensure that the teeth are properly looked after from the very beginning.

Dummy and thumb sucking may well affect the milk teeth by creating a widened space between the front teeth. I recall one of my teachers saying that it is inadvisable to stop a child from dummy or thumb sucking prematurely or forcibly. They are doing so because of an emotional need and will stop in due course. It is much easier to straighten teeth than to straighten the psyche.

All too often one hears from adult patients how they were traumatised in the younger years by the dental treatment that they receive then. They remember a painful injection; a very difficult extraction; being forced into the dental chair against their will; unsympathetic dentist and parent. All of these scenarios are part of crisis management which could have been avoided had the child been taken to dentist timelessly before any problem had occurred.

Dental caries is easily detectable and should be treated promptly. More importantly though, it can be prevented and avoided with a good home care by a responsible parent. It is believed that dental decay is an infection passed from parent to child. Therefore it is inadvisable to have the parent suck on the dummy before passing it on to the child.

The first visit to the dentist should be at roundabout age 2 to 3 at which time all that is needed is the experience of the fun to ride up and down on the dental chair. It is disastrous for the parents to show fear of the dentist because that fear is contagious. The whole experience should be one of fun and excitement. Regular dental visits should become routine and hopefully the child will be able to bounce out of the chair and exclaim “look, no cavities”.

Do we eat to live or do we live to eat? That is an interesting question. Perhaps the answer is that both are true. Let’s say that we need to eat to live and most of us love to eat!

A sumptuous meal of one’s favourite dish or the enjoyment of a meal in a favourite restaurant are amongst the joys of life. Close your eyes and roll your tongue over your teeth and imagine savouring that delicious flavour.

Back teeth are vital for the function of eating through proper chewing. They are the grinders that break the food down as it mixes with the saliva as part of the initial digestive process. Slow and adequate chewing is essential for good digestion.

The back teeth maintain the proportion of the face and prevent wrinkles and sagging. Why look older than you have to?

Do you have all your back teeth and are they sound and healthy? Is your chewing now compromised because of missing teeth; a broken down tooth; a cracked tooth; or perhaps extensive decay?

Most of us have had fillings on our back teeth and are they still in good order? What filling material has been used and how many times has the same tooth been worked on. Leaking fillings, overhanging margins, the inappropriate material and poor contacts are some of the problems that may exist in your mouth and that you are totally unaware of. The tongue does not pick up these problems. Only a dentist will.

The face is the window to the soul. A bright beautiful smile lights up one’s face. A smile makes a connection to the world and together with beautiful teeth enhances one’s self-esteem and confidence.

Everybody is focused on beautiful front teeth but what about the back teeth that you don’t see unless you open your mouth very wide.

Why be compromised with missing back teeth or defective fillings. Enjoy the benefits of restoring your teeth to proper shape and form – not just filling them. Be comfortable, pain-free and hassle free.

Back teeth are really important for your long-term health and well-being.

Have them restored properly and give them a chance to last a lifetime. With proper care they really should.

Give us a call. You will be happy that you did.