Taking Care of those Pearly Whites

{ disclosure : i am recommending a family relative }

While in appearance it seems like my teeth are perfect.  Looks can be very deceiving.  I HAVE terrible teeth. In fact the joke in our house is guessing how many of my teeth are actually real. I’ve had enough work done on my mouth for a lifetime. Yet somehow everytime I set foot into a dentist’s office, I walk out with a plan for more work to be done. In fact I had come to the conclusion that being a dentist is a goldmine! Insurance barely covers more than a few cavities. If you have to have anything major done, for instance, a root canal, you can definitely count on shelling out money directly out of your own pocket. I don’t know about you, but do you know what the going rate is for…say a cavity? or a root canal? or a crown? I most certainly don’t and since the price descrepency from my Flushing dentist, to my neighborhood dentist to my manhattan dentist was so wide, I am convinced you can charge almost anything you’d like if a patient is willing to pay. I mean, who really knows what is necessary work or not. You’ve got to trust the dentist like you trust your doctor, right? It’s no wonder when my current dentist called me for a routine bi-annual cleaning, I avoided his calls like the plague. Sadly an ache made me think I might need to visit the dentist after all, but I refused to go back to my current dentist.  A $12,000 bill made me think he seemed a little drill happy in my mouth.

One of my husband’s relatives is actually a periodontic surgeon who my father-in-law recently called upon for services and gave rave reviews.  While she’s not a dentist exactly, she does do cleanings and evaluation.  I was a little skeptical to call a relative, perhaps even embarrassed to show my mess of a mouth but the ache was nagging.  Plus could you imagine the possible family gossip about the family member with the mess of a mouth?  Alas, that little voice in my head was telling to be better safe than sorry.  So I approached my visit with a newbie attitude. Pretending like it’s my first time to the dentist, I gave full disclosure, laid it all out and asked questions as if I’d never brushed my teeth before.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive the most thorough check-up and cleaning of my entire life.  I had my jaw muscles check. Each individual tooth inspected and x-ray’d. Every step of the way I was told what was being done and why. I felt somewhat in control, something I was lacking with my other dentists. Of course it wasn’t completely pain-free but I was happy to walk out knowing I didn’t have any cavities that needed more unnecessary work done on. I simply was having a case of sensitive teeth.  I was happy to walk out with a plan that didn’t cost me thousands of dollars, something I could definitely work with.

Some interesting facts I learned:

  • Some 45% of us suffer from gum disease and don’t even know it…until it’s too late.  A visit to the periodontist should be as regular as a visit to the dentist.
  • Chocolate and other dissolving candies are better than say sticky candies.  You know you’re going to eat it any way.
  • If you’re using an electric toothbrush like sonicare, you don’t have to brush your teeth while it is in operation.  You simply glide the toothbrush slowly over the teeth surfaces.
  • You can OVER brush and cause damage to your sensitive gums.  Heck, you can even brush away your gums.

I left feeling empowered to take care of my teeth again.  Now I just have to make an appointment with a pediatric dentist for my daughter and hope to spare her the same pain I’ve endured in the dentist’s chair.

If you’re in the NYC area and need 5-star periodontic care, check out:

Dr. Vera Tang, DDS
121 East 60th Street, Suite 5C
New York, NY 10022
(212) 308-2600
Appointments available on Mondays and Thursdays

A bonus, she’s right across the street from Bloomingdales!