Hi! My name is Kyle Hornby and I'm a Kitchener, Ontario Dentist. A few times each week, I sit down at my laptop to write blog articles that help my patients master oral health. Today, I'd like to share a little known secret for maintaining challenging teeth so you can avoid tooth extraction!
So, who will find this article useful?
Many, many people - each year we see at least 50-100 patients with chronic bone loss and gum disease who are battling recurrent gum infections and pain.
Well, when bone and gum loss occur, people end up having bigger spaces between their teeth and deeper, impossible-to-reach gum pockets. Both of these problems lead to food and contaminants sitting in hard to reach areas and this leads to inflammation, infection and pain.
The most common diagnosis for a tooth with extensive bone loss that causes recurrent pain and infection is a "hopeless tooth". Most Dentists will typically recommend tooth extraction so you can avoid pain and possible severe infection. Your Dentist cares about you and they don't want you constantly battling through pain, swelling and health risks.
And, generally, their advice is good advice...
But, if you can keep your tooth and surrounding gums clean, you may be able to avoid painful infection and prolong the life of your compromised tooth.
Want to know how to do it?
What's a Monoject Syringe? (You can see one, here).
The Monoject is a plastic irrigating/rinsing syringe that oral surgeons commonly provide to their patients after wisdom tooth extraction. The syringe can be loaded with salt water or antibacterial rinse to flush out deep wisdom tooth sockets. This is the #1 way to prevent infection after wisdom tooth extraction.
So, why don't we apply the same approach to compromised teeth with deep, impossible-to-reach gum pockets?
There's no good answer for this.
We have many patients at our practice with moderate-severe bone loss and deep gum pockets around teeth. We want them to be able to keep these teeth for as long as possible. We also want them to be aware of the potential risks of keeping the teeth if they're not kept clean and tidy.
Again, patients can develop severe infections related to these teeth.
We typically make our patients aware of risks, demo the use of the re-usable Monoject (we give each patient 2 at no charge), and provide them with a prescription to thwart infection if it starts up. The prescription is a "safety net" in case they start to experience pain or infection.
This regimen gives them a chance to keep hard to reach gum pockets and large spaces between their teeth pristine so that they can keep their teeth for longer.
The monoject can be loaded with salt water or anti-microbial rinses and you can then position the soft nozzle under your gums to deliver high-pressure liquid flow through areas you'd never be able to reach with a toothbrush or floss.
Now, it's important to make sure you continue to brush and floss daily, but the Monoject allows you to deep clean your teeth simply and easily.
Our patients often remark that they notice lots of plaque and food debris coming out from under teeth when they use their Monoject.
Just think, all of that accumulates and stagnates in those sites in the absence of using a Monoject syringe. It's no wonder these sites become infected and painful so frequently!
Most people are never told this but your tooth brush bristles can only get 1mm under gums for cleaning purposes.
What about dental floss?
Yup, that's it. So, when you have gum pockets that are 4mm or greater, you can't reach the bottom of those. You need something with deeper coverage.
The monoject is that something.
It's also important to think about the dimensions of your dental floss. It's super narrow. So, when you've had gum and bone loss that allows larger pieces of food (think fibrous meats and vegetables) to stick between teeth, flossing may not get all of that out from between your teeth.
In contrast, the Monoject syringe can deliver a wider, high-pressure stream of water into deep gum pockets and in between teeth.
Now, the monoject can't push water and other cleaning solutions into the contact point between your teeth. The contact point is what you sweep through with floss when you hear that characteristic soft "click" noise. Only floss can clean that tiny area.
So, please keep flossing even if you add the Monoject to your nighttime cleaning routine!
Some people may skip over this section, thinking it's obvious that you'd want to keep your natural teeth. And, I get that. But, we get a few people each year who tell us, "if I need tooth extraction, I'll just replace it with a dental implant...".
So, it's important for me to discuss all the inconvenient stuff that comes with tooth extraction and losing one or more teeth.
Each time you lose a tooth, you're losing surface area for chewing. You're also losing support. If you lose enough teeth, you'll be biting and chewing with the same heavy force across fewer teeth. This can cause your remaining teeth to break and chip.
Now, replacing teeth lost to tooth extraction may or may not be important to you. But, it's important to keep in mind that replacing teeth with dental bridges, implants or dentures is tremendously expensive.
And, just because teeth made of artificial materials can't get cavities, it doesn't mean that other things can't go wrong with those solutions.
Dental implant crowns can loosen and require periodic tightening. You can get cavities on the natural tooth structure above retaining crowns on a bridge. And, dentures require periodic relines and other maintenance.
And, all of those things cost you more money.
So, it's important to consider future costs and risks associated with losing teeth to tooth extraction.
You can request a Monoject syringe from your Kitchener Family Dentist. If they don't provide tooth extraction services or wisdom tooth removal, they might not stock these syringes. In that case, you can locate Monoject (or "Elbow") syringes at your local Walmart store or Pharmacy.
By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener, Ontario Dentist
Our Dentist Office is located in Downtown Kitchener. We are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.