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Think you know everything there is to know about your teeth? The Chicago Dental Society surveyed more than 400 of its members and collected the leading misconceptions patients have about oral health and dental care. This list sets the record straight and distinguishes fact from fallacy.
The survey was conducted for the Chicago Dental Society's 141st annual Midwinter Meeting, which will bring more than 30,000 dentists and dental hygienists to Chicago this February.
1. Dental procedures are painful. Sadly, this common misconception keeps plenty of patients from keeping their dental appointments. If you're nervous about visiting the dentist, remember that dental procedures and technologies have greatly improved over the years. Dentistry today offers new methods and treatments to help you feel comfortable. Don't let fear keep you from the dentist's chair.
2. Periodontal disease doesn't affect the rest of my body. Unfortunately, periodontal (or gum) disease is so common that nearly 80 percent of Americans have it. The bacteria in periodontal disease may cause blood clots, which can trigger a heart attack or stroke. And periodontal disease definitely puts you at risk for tooth loss, which has been associated with cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control.
3. I've been using whitening toothpaste for weeks and my teeth still are drab. Most whitening toothpastes don't work like you probably expect them to. Instead, they're good for removing surface stains caused by foods and drinks, like coffee and tea. If you're looking to really brighten your smile, you have to bleach the inner tooth structures, which can only be accomplished with whitening strips, laser bleaching or whitening gels used with a mouth guard. Talk with your dentist to find out which option is the best one for you.
4. I get lots of fluoride from the water I drink. If most of the water you drink is filtered or bottled, you are probably not getting enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay. Most bottled waters contain less than half the recommended concentration of fluoride and many home filtration systems strip nearly all fluoride out of the water. Look for waters that list fluoride on their label. If you're concerned about whether you are receiving enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay, speak with your dentist.
5. My dental insurance covers everything! In these days of shrinking employee benefits, rare is the dental plan that covers 100% of every dental procedure. So before you book your next appointment, review your dental insurance plan carefully. If you need a procedure that is not completely covered, you are responsible for the difference between what your dentist bills and your insurance company pays. Know the ins and outs of your plan to keep unexpected dental bills at bay.
A tradition of working for the dental profession. The Chicago Dental Society was organized in 1864 and incorporated in 1878. The objective of the Chicago Dental Society is to encourage the improvement of the health of the public, to promote the art and science of dentistry and to represent the intrest of the members of the profession and the public that it serves.
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