As we try to keep our cool in the summer heat, I find that even I am guilty of having ice cream on my mind. In addition, being a fan of origin stories, I am reminded of the discovery of the waffle cone. As the legend goes, Abe Doumar was a traveling salesman at the St. Louis Fair that noticed an ice cream booth closing because of a lack of paper bowls. Next to the ice cream just happened to be a waffle booth. Abe bought a waffle, topped it with ice cream, and the rest is history. How does this segue into dental care? Even in dentistry, what seems like two different treatment specialties often go hand in hand.
When dealing with dental care, all the components of the mouth play a role. Using a multidisciplinary approach is beneficial in obtaining the best overall care. For example, in the case of missing teeth, prior to considering implants or bridge solutions, correcting spacing or crowding with orthodontic care first can contribute to a more functional and esthetic outcome. The same is true for periodontal health. Treating teeth with major restorative work prior to considering the foundation of the bone and gum health can result in a poor long-term prognosis of the restorations.
As dental knowledge continues to look at the broader spectrum of health, a continued realization of the relationship between systemic and oral health is more apparent. Sleep therapy, airway conditions, and TMJ pain have many dental applications in which dental care plays a role. Furthermore, research continues to show associations with conditions such as cardiovascular health, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, streptococcal pneumonia, and so much more.
When it comes to overall dental and systemic health, it is always best to approach it with the bigger picture in mind. Your general dentist is pivotal in understanding these relationships and directing you to the best course of action. Make it a point to let your dentist know about any medical or dental concerns and you may be surprised.
Enjoy your summer and happy smiling!