Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Routine Maintenance

Yesterday, I did something the rest of the world has to do. I went to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. Just because I have MS doesn't mean that I'm exempt from routine maintenance. If anything, because of my condition it is very important for me to stay on top of the few things that are in my control medically. I have always been fastidious about my oral hygiene. My father is a dentist, I worked in his office and I've seen firsthand how gross teeth and gums can get when a patient avoids having them cleaned regularly.

There are some very specific reasons that I visit the dentist's office every six months. Since MS is an autoimmune disease, I need to have my mouth and gums checked regularly for signs of infection and periodontal disease. To complicate matters, many of the medications I take dry my mouth out so plaque is more likely to build up on my teeth and harden. This can irritate the gums and lead to tooth decay. As a matter of fact, I did have a small cavity at my last visit. Because it was caught early, the filling was small and done quickly. There was a fee involved, but it was much less for this small restoration than it would've been if it hadn't been taken care of right away.

Beyond the practical side of regular dental checkups, there's the aesthetic part. Everyone looks better with clean teeth and a healthy mouth. You're not afraid to smile when your teeth aren't rotting and your gums aren't puffy and bleeding. My teeth may have yellowed some with age, but I take good care of them. After all, I will always be a dentist's daughter and a girl never wants to disappoint her father.

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