Take care of your Teeth

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If there is only one thing you can do to improve you overall lifetime health, my suggestion would be to keep your teeth healthy.  And the best way to do this is to go to the dentist on a consistent basis.

I’ve always had pretty crummy teeth.  I’m not sure if it was from drinking a ton of pop when I was a kid, or mouth breathing when I slept, or just bad genes, but for whatever reason, I have did get lucky with the teeth.

My mom had pretty awful teeth, mine are better.  She got hers all pulled when she was in her 40’s and just had dentures from then on.  I think that was more of a cost thing than an actual bad tooth thing, but for whatever the reason, she did it and had to live with it.

I read on January 1st that back 100 years, so in 1915, the average age for a male to live was 47 years.  Man, that blew me away.  I’m not sure if that included infant mortality, but whatever, 47 isn’t that old.  I think a lot of what seems like an early demise was because of bad teeth.

I had a tooth pulled on Monday.  I’d spent a ton of money trying to do it right and it just wasn’t. It already had two root canals and a crown, but it just didn’t feel right for the last couple years.  I finally made the executive decision to just get it pulled and put in an implant.

I haven’t had good luck with getting teeth pulled.  I had my wisdom teeth pulled when I was in my 20’s.  I went to the dental school in Kansas CIty and they were planning on pulling all 4 of them.  3 hours later, they had removed the top two.  Man, was that painful afterwards.   I eventually developed dry socket and was laid up for a few days.  I lost over 10 pounds, just laying there suffering.

This time it has been better.  The tooth didn’t want to come out again.  It broke off and then had to be cut into sections and  the roots extracted individually.  I am always surprised how far a root of a tooth can extend.  One of my roots was nearly all the way into my sinus cavity.  So far, that when Dr. Gilmer was finished, he held my nostrils shut and told me to blow lightly.  He was concerned that there was an air passage between my sinus cavity and empty socket.  Crazy.

Looking at the roots, I can see why they didn’t want to come out.  The are so long, longer than the tooth itself.

The first day was nearly painless.  Yesterday it was a little worse and now today I’m starting to worry that I might be getting dry socket again.  Not seriously worried, just worried.  The pain from my previous experience is burned into my memory.  I don’t want to go through that again.

Anyway, my original point is that if you take care of your teeth, your overall health will be greatly improved.  Even if you have great teeth, take care of them.  As athletes, we spent our whole lives trying to be as healthy as possible.  There isn’t a better way than to take care of your teeth.

Modern dentistry is super cool. This is Dr. David Gilmer looking at a 3D image he took.

Modern dentistry is super cool. This is Dr. David Gilmer looking at a 3D image he took.

It looks kind of creepy, but it really does show a ton of information.

It looks kind of creepy, but it really does show a ton of information.

9 thoughts on “Take care of your Teeth

  1. Robert

    You’re not alone, lots of bad teeth for me too. Along with the root canals, bone grafts and crowns I’m now in the process of getting three implants.

  2. K Burnett

    No one flossed back in the old days. My grandfather did not have his first cavity until he was 48, but had lost most of his teeth by 60 due to gum disease. Of course you need to brush and see a dentist, but flossing is critical as well.

  3. RGTR

    Periodontal disease in my early twentys (Mom never taught me to floss). Lots of fillings. One root canal that finally went bad two years ago and developed into an infection that finally culminated in a hole in the side of my gum that oozed puss for about two months while they threw antibiotics at it. I finally had it pulled and an implant put in. The smell that came out of my mouth the day they pulled that tooth I’ll never forget. Nor the reaction from the dental assistant. They didn’t let me see what they pulled out but the dentist told me my body had encased it in a sac and was trying to keep it at bay for several years.

    Thanks for the reminder, they’ve been after me for a night guard but I refuse to pay their $800 price tag for one and of course insurance won’t cover it. Would love to know if there is a cheaper alternative for a good one.

    1. Craig

      Night guard is a game changer. I resisted for 20 years but after two crowns in 3 months and one cracked tooth/infection/root canal experience I ponied up the money. I sleep better, have no tooth pain, no jaw pain and no sensitive teeth. Yep, expensive but 5 years out I am still using it and so $10 a month was a bargain.

      Steve, tooth disease/gum disease leads to all kinds of shitty health outcomes. The surprising one is chronic gum inflammation leads to strokes and heart attacks. Plus you can’t eat a steak without teeth!

  4. JB

    That reminds me, I need to make an appt. to get a molar pulled. Root canal last year didn’t work. I wanted to wait until this year to get more of it covered (insurance!).

  5. Bri

    So true on overall health and yet our current system doesn’t what to include the mouth/teeth in our health care.

  6. SM

    The thing is, going to the dentist sucks for multiple reasons. It is generally uncomfortable at best, painful most of the time and downright expensive. Even routine cleanings are painful with all of the sharp objects stabbing your gums. That being said, I had a molar that had been filled 15 years ago develop a crack and get infected in the roots. Dentist didn’t know it was infected at the time, but ground out old filling and re-filled. All felt good for about 12 hours. Then, the new filling capped off the pressure relief passage for the inflammation due to infection. Back to the dentist the next day for an emergency root canal on a highly painful tooth. That was the most pain I have ever experienced. Six months later at the routine cleaning, the hygentist notices a puffy gum. Turns out it has been infected for quite some time again. On to an implant. Same thing you had happen, broke into bits and removed with a hammer, chisel and pliers. Bone graft done, then 8 weeks later implant installed. 6 weeks later, new crown fitted. Finally a proper tooth that doesn’t bother me. But, it all came at the price of a Kent Eriksen frame and high end build kit.

  7. Joe

    Good dentist, great dentist, fantastic dentist, best dentist. Find out who does the job well. Not who charges the most, but who is good at their craft. I had the WORST dentist as a child and thought they were all like that. Found a great one and he retired early! Went to UNC dental school because of money, found a daughter of a dentist in training and have been going to her ever since. No pain, great work, normal rates. Ask people, they will tell you about their dentist, both good and bad.


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