IT usually starts with a slight throbbing which you try to ignore as you try to fall asleep. But you know too well that you can’t win the battle, and very soon, the throbbing starts to get worse until it becomes an unbearable giant ache.
If you haven’t experienced what it is to toss and turn the whole night as you try to bear the hammering pain that’s drilling and grilling your gums, and fighting the urge to shake your snoring companions so they too can share your pain, then you don’t know what the word “toothache” is all about.
Some people suffer toothache loudly, announcing their pain to everyone and everybody who would care to listen. Others are the exact opposite.
I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been there, I’m still there, and I’ve been suffering several sleepless nights in pain for the past week but I belong to the sufferers who bear the pain as silently as I can.
Like everybody who is suffering from the same situation, we all know that a trip to the dentist is long overdue but for some reason or another, we try to hold it off for as long as we can.
It’s fear of needles and dentists in my case. You have your own reasons for delaying that trip to the dentist, but sooner or later, we all know that we have to make that trip.
Sleepless nights caused by toothaches can be prevented, according to Seventh Day Adventist Dental Clinic director Kenneth D. Pierson in a recent interview.
Pierson said although the number of children getting their teeth fixed has been increasing over the last years, more children suffering from cavities could have been spared from the pain and trouble had their parents been made aware of the importance of taking care of the teeth right from the start.
“Dental problems such as cavities are global. It spares no one, but the problem could be prevented if you take care of the teeth at home when the children are small,” Pierson said.
“Toothache from cavities is an unnecessary problem that could have been solved by prevention and knowledge in proper dental practices,” he added.
Snacking or eating between meals, and giving children soft drinks, tetra pack juices, and candies are the culprits.
“Kids will always choose soda and candies over vegetables but keep this in mind that what may sound like the best-tasting foods are not always the best foods for your teeth, and sometimes you just have to say NO to them,” Pierson said.
“When your children ask for sodas or tetra juices, give them water instead. It’s safer,” he added.
Resident dentist Fred Gogan at the Dental Care Clinic in a separate interview said the people in the CNMI are up to date with the latest fashion in some things, but not in dental care.
Gogan said he has extracted more teeth from people in the CNMI in the seven months he has been here compared to where he used to work in his 26 years of dental practice.
“When you get an aching tooth, everything else will be affected,” he said.
He said only a handful of people on island visit the dentist regularly for maintenance check.
“Most of the clients come in when after sleepless nights of pain. They come to us when they HAVE to, and that is not good,” Gogan said.
What dentists can do is alleviate the pain that the children and a big number of adults are suffering, and prevent more pain in the future.
But it’s up to the parents and adults to prevent toothache-caused sleepless nights for their children in the future, and for the adults to have their teeth fixed now.
Pierson and Gogan both encourage members of community to visit them for a dental checkup. I know I should be talking to myself about a visit to a dentist, ASAP. (published HERE)