Anxiety is a common feeling that most people experience at least once in their lifetime, as it is the body’s natural response to stress. Everyone gets anxious about different situations, whether it is going into an exam or having an interview, however, some people may develop severe cases which may lead to anxiety disorders.
There are a variety of disorders, one of the most common are panic disorders, which is when someone has a panic attack, usually lasting around 10 minutes at unexpected times. A panic attack is distressing as your body will suffer from several mental and physical symptoms including a fast heartbeat; sweating; dizziness; tingling in the stomach as well as several others. Statistics reveal that women are twice as more likely to suffer from this disorder than men and in 2013 there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in the UK. The result of people suffering from panic disorders is that they live there life in fear and are very unlikely to get over that fear.
Additionally, almost half the UK population fear the dentist, with 12% having dental anxiety, even though all treatments are relatively pain free. This may have an impact on an individual’s` orals health, increasing the chances of developing periodontal disease or tooth decay which can lead to many more serious complications. Routinely check ups are important for maintaining oral health and with only 61% of adults going to the dentist regular oral health is not getting better. Following on from this, parents aren’t taking their children to the dentist either due to them being scared so, therefore, it is easier for a parent not to go through a traumatic experience, this means only around 60% of children visit the dentist regularly. This is a major problem, as these children are more likely to experience several problems further down the line, as well as this failure to take care of teeth may lead to enamel erosion, cavities, tooth decay, and gum diseases.
Dentistry dates back to 5000BC, when a description on tooth decay was available. Even though toothpaste wasn’t invented back in those day, dental health was quite good, mainly due to the fact they had a fairly healthy diet and they often ate weeds which had antibacterial properties which avoided cavities.
In the medieval time they started experimenting on using anaesthesia, and more treatment were starting to be discovered. for example the Chinese made filling which were used to treat many patients.
In 1984, the NHS started providing free dental care. There was a high demand at the time and usually a dentist would see 100 patients a day. The NHS was created at a time when dental health was poor, due to the Boer war many experienced tooth decay, with over three quarters of the population over the age of 18 with dentures.
There were many concerns regarding financial issues, and how the funding would be sustainable. Many issues were faced and only 3 years after the NHS was created, they were running out of money so they started charging people for some treatments like dentures which caused many arguments. Over the next several years more charges for treatments were introduced which had an immense impact, as the demand for the service dropped.
Today, dentistry is very different. Most procedures are pain free, and patients are to have regular dental checkups to make sure good oral health is maintained. There is also been advances in technology and techniques, for example dentist use 3D x-rays to get a better image and plan produces more accurately. Still to this day more and more developments are being made, for example a machine is being made to determine if a patient has oral cancer and if so it can be treated as soon as possible.
Cancer occurs in the gums, tongue, lips and the mouth. Lifestyles such as smoking increase the risk of this, it is important that oral cancer is diagnosed at an early stage as it increases chances of survival after treatment. This cancer develops in the tissue of the mouth, the symptoms include a sore on your lip, bleeding in your mouth, loose teeth, a lump in your neck and several others.
Oral cancer is diagnosed by looking in your mouth and examining the lymph nodes in your neck if a tumour is detected further test such as tissue biopsy is carried out, this involves looking at a piece of tissue under a microscope to find any cancerous cells, other methods of using an x-ray, or an MRI scan can also be used.
Oral cancer is treated by several ways, surgery can be done to remove the tumour, radiation therapy aims radiation beams at the tumour and combined with chemotherapy which is a drug that kills cancer cell is a treatment used for patients with advanced tumours. Recovering from oral cancer is a tough progress, removal of large tumours can affect talking and the ability to chew food, as well as this reconstructive surgery may be needed to rebuild bones and tissues.
Cavities, they happen when a tooth becomes permanently damaged. It is caused by bacteria and food that coats teeth to form plaque, then the acid on teeth destroy the enamel layer and then progresses onto the underlying dentin or connective tissue. Anyone can develop cavities but some are at higher risks than other, for example, people who have a diet containing high sugar and acidic foods, have poor hygiene, so don’t get enough fluorine or they suffer from acid reflux which means they are at a higher risk of getting this disease, and therefore experience sensitive teeth, pain in the mouth, holes in teeth or staining on teeth. Cavities are more likely to develop on back teeth as they have openings which can trap food particles in addition to this, people are more likely to spend less time brushing these teeth as they are more difficult to reach so less attention is paid on them.
There are several procedures used to treat cavities, one being tooth fillings. This easy procedure removes decayed material from a tooth by using a drill and then this hole is filled with a substance such as silver to prevent any plaque building up in that region. For more severe cavities crowns can be used, the dentist removes the decayed tooth and then put a cap over your tooth or a root canal can be done, this is done when the decay causes the death of your nerves, this procedure is done to save the tooth, to do this dentist remove the nerve tissue and any other tissue around the decayed tooth, and then they fill the tooth and place a crown on it. To reduce cavities the use of fluoride toothpaste is important or if you have recently developed a cavity that isn’t that severe a fluoride treatment can be done to restore tooth enamel which will stop tooth decay.
One of the most common diseases in dentistry is a periodontal disease, which is caused by an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. This is a common disease as many have poor brushing and flossing technique’s which causes plaque to build up and if not cleaned it will develop into tartar which can only be removed professionally by a dentist. Smokers are at a higher risk from this disease as well as people with diabetes and will suffer from bleeding gums, chewing problems and tooth loss at an early age. This disease is diagnosed by an examination of the gum or an x-ray can be done, if diagnosed dentist control the infection with a variety of treatments depending on the severity of the gum disease, also dentist will advise patients to change their lifestyle for example if they are smokers they will ask them to stop. To prevent chances of getting this disease you just need to make sure that you maintain healthy gums and teeth by brushing regularly and have regular dental check-ups.
Today drugs are used in many industries, including dentistry. The main ways drugs are used is to relieve pain whether it’s swelling in the gums or having painful a surgery. One common way of reducing pain while having surgery is the use of nitrous oxide or anaesthesia. On the other hand, to reduce discomfort a range of drugs can be used, some having a mild impact while others are much stronger medication such as Tylenol, Motrin or corticosteroids.
You are probably using dental medication daily as your toothpaste contains fluorides, which is an important component of toothpaste as it prevents cavities, and reduces chances of early tooth decay.
Antibiotics also have a big role in dentistry, they are used for infections that may occur after surgery, and used for diseases such as periodontal disease. As well as this it can prevent bacteria on the surface of tissue around teeth spreading into the blood.
To treat toothache or any pain after a treatment the non-narcotic analgesics are used, an example of these include ibuprofen or aspirin, but for severe pain, stronger drugs like codeine may be given. Now, days drugs to control plaque are available such as chlorhexidine which is mainly used to reduce the build-up of plaque in the periodontal pockets, this drug can come in the form of a mouth wash and can prevent diseases in the future.
This period is a difficult one for all, from people suffering from mental health issues to boredom and missing the social aspect of life. My experience of this time will be a memorable one although times have been difficult, it has also been very rewarding and enjoyable for me.
A normal day for me starts by waking up to my alarm and spending a couple of minute on my phone, I feel most motivated to do most work in the morning/early afternoon and therefore start fairly early. Currently, I am in year 12, and I am doing Alevel biology, chemistry and maths which I thoroughly enjoy. I’m going to be honest teaching yourself these subjects is very hard, but using sites such as snap revise, Kerboodle, and Seneca as well as watching YouTube video is the way I am doing it and it is working very well, along with this I use textbooks to write notes and then do question and answers flashcards which I find extremely useful. I find making a timetable very useful, it allows your day to be structured and makes sure you get done what you need to do as well as this it makes you feel extremely organised!
Once I feel satisfied with the work I’ve done for the day, I usually do a hobby such as painting or baking or just watch a tv show or movie. Also being a person who is into fitness I usually do a workout most evenings followed by watching the news.
I am a student who is wanting to go into dentistry so expect blogs about current issues in society regarding dentistry and any health-related issues.