We just created a picture perfect smile for one of our favorite patients. She knows everyone, and will tell everyone about the wonderful and talented dentist she has. The photographs are taken, the champagne uncorked, and the celebration begins.
But, during the next five years, the gums recede 2-3 mm from the original margins. The patient is looking tired and her skin is starting to resemble leather. She is not taking great care of herself. And, she cannot afford to have her smiles redone for maybe another 10-15 years—if at all! Unfortunately, the ugly smile is going to be around a lot longer than the picture perfect smile was!
This scenario occurred several times during my first ten years in practice. The patient’s friends found out that I was her dentist, and they made sure to stay clear of my office. They didn’t know or care that her smile looked great the day I bonded it in. Worse, they didn’t know or care that the patient did little to take care of her dazzling new smile, or her general health during the ensuing five years.
I will share with you how we solved this common problem, that can ruin a hard-earned great reputation. In the past 11 years, the smiles of everyone who has followed our daily three-step protocol look as good as when we first bonded them in.
First, I have them dip a rotary brush into a nonalcoholic, stabilized chlorine dioxide rinse (ClosysII), and scrub it into the gums. They continue with their handheld regular soft brush, and use chlorine dioxide toothpaste in the same manner, making sure to also brush the roof of the mouth and tongue. Stabilized chlorine dioxide will do a good job killing the anaerobes in the sulcus that cause bone loss. It also does a great job of eliminating bad breath. Alcohol-based mouthwashes, on the other hand, dry out the mouth and make bad breath worse.
The second step is to use plastic interdental toothpicks after most meals. Many patients will not floss every day—but most people will use the toothpick on a daily basis.
The third step is to make sure the skin and periodontium has a constant supply of the correct nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, and water.
Over the years, our dental research reported that a low level of antioxidants and a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals could contribute to periodontal disease. I found it difficult to change my patients’ eating habits, but they would very easily accept taking a couple of pills containing the nutrients they need, along with a few extra glasses of water each day.
Dermatologists and beauty experts have known about skin nutrition for 50 years. And, personal trainers know these nutrients will boost the energy level in most people. About eight years ago, a company called Pharmaden blended high grade, high absorbing nutrients specific for the skin and the periodontium into two easy-to-swallow capsules.
A double blind placebo study using periodontal patients was completed at Loma Linda Dental School on Periotherapy—one of their products. [Here is purchasing info and details on Pharmden products.] Please check out before and after facial pictures of patients using this simple yet effective program.
It is very rewarding when patients tell us how much better they look and feel by following this simple program. The smiles we create are going to be around a long time. Patients with great skin and a lot of energy will show off our work better than anyone. What could be more rewarding than helping others look and feel good as long as possible?