December is definitely the season to be eating, especially with all the parties set during the month. But before you dive into that juicy cut of crispy lechon skin, ask yourself: Are you sure your teeth are ready for that one big bite?
Cracked teeth? Tough luck
Admittedly, it is easy to forget about the teeth.
In typical holiday feast discussions, thinking about food portions usually come first, followed by how to make up for the inevitable weight gain. The teeth rarely get any attention — that is, until an errant chicken wing bone goes and cracks your front tooth.
“If you’re really unlucky, the fracture happens in the root, the part embedded in the bone and thus not visible,” said Dr. Regine Caradang, dentist and owner of the Carandang Dental Treatment Center. According to Carandang, this type of fracture is typically the most painful, with extraction being the only treatment option. “Sometimes, it may require minor surgery.”
Sometimes, an existing infection can also ruin a feast, especially when pain is felt during chewing. “In such cases, the pressure that built up due to the abscess needs to be released by opening a big-enough cavity,” explained Carandang. Solutions involve either tooth extraction or root canal treatment, both of which can be quite costly.
Those who had class IV restorations should take extra care in eating crunchy food. “Kahit gaano kaganda gawa ko, kung pagpipilitan mong ipangkagat ng dense chicharon ‘yang trinabaho kong ngipin, you risk it coming off and me hating you for the next ten years,” Carandang warned jestingly. “Sometimes, it’s just the restoration. Other times, additional tooth structure fractures come off as well.”
Patients with temporary fillings, whether in preparation for future permanent fillings or for ongoing root canal treatment, also need to watch out. “Either the filling could come out or part of the tooth structure can fracture.”
Wanna keep all your teeth? Be all ears
But beyond these last-minute reminders for your teeth, Carandang reminds everyone to listen to their dentist.
“Prevention [is ideal], of course, but if it’s already there, the best you can — and should — do is to pay attention to your dentist’s do’s and don’ts. We can only do so much,” she reminded. “Kahit anong ganda ng gawa namin, kung ang pasyente hindi makikinig, nasasayang lang trabaho namin. Successful dental treatment also relies heavily on patient compliance.”
So take care of your teeth this season. Go easy on the sweets, remember to brush your teeth, and definitely don’t use your chompers to open gifts. (Scheduling a post-holiday dental checkup helps, too.) Otherwise, you might end up asking Santa for a set of fake teeth next Christmas. –MF
Cover photo: Pexels; Wikipedia; wikiHow
Author: Ronin Bautista
Ronin is a Christmas-loving wandering scribe who wanted to be a doctor, until he learned it meant cutting dead bodies open. He is currently finishing his MA in Asian Studies (major in Japanese Studies), while teaching journalism classes at UP Diliman’s College of Mass Communication.