The Pain of Missing Out

Recently we posted on our Facebook page that 2.26 million school days are missed yearly due to a dental-related illness and that got us thinking… Besides the obvious issue of being out of school, what are the repercussions of dental and orthodontic health on school and work? What we discovered surprised us.

Did you know that one in seven children aged 6 to 12 suffered from toothache pain within the last six months? This correlates roughly to an astounding 51 million hours of missed hours of school because of dental issues! This pain is not only distracting for students on the days they miss, but one study found that children on average experience 17.7 days of pain before they are even seen by the dentist or taken in for an emergency visit. That is certainly a recipe for poor school performance.

Let’s take that a step further and consider that parents have to miss work to support these appointments, or in fact have dental emergencies themselves. One study puts us at an astonishing 350.8 million work hours or school hours lost annually for dental care in the United States, of which 92.4 million were for unplanned emergency, 159.8 million for routine or orthodontic and 68.6 for dental cosmetic. The conclusion? Dental problems not only result in loss of work or school, but also can adversely affect performance and productivity at work and in school.

So, what can you do? As an adult, proper hygiene, scheduling and keeping your regular dental checkups is crucial. As a parent you are encouraged to do the same, as well as provide the same guidance for the children in your family. It is paramount that families practice and support each other in the effort to take charge of their dental health.

At Forever Smiles we always educate patients and families on how orthodontics improves one’s overall health, but just how exactly? In simplest terms, straight teeth are easier to floss, brush and clean properly. This helps lower you risk for cavities, gum disease and other dental health issues. Plus, straight teeth are less prone to damage such as chipping or breaking, resulting in fewer dental emergencies in the long run. Equally important to note, orthodontic treatment corrects bite problems and jaw strain that can relieve pain and resolve issues like grinding of the teeth, some breathing irregularities and even digestive problems that can be caused by improper chewing. These types of issues are equally distracting and problematic in allowing for focus in studies and work.

It is important to note, that Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team is here to guide you through your orthodontic treatments. The directions and guidance they provide to help care for your braces are specifically intended to limit the instances of orthodontic emergencies, but they can arise. If you experience swollen or infected gums, severe or unmanageable pain in the mouth or face, or worse, trauma to the mouth, teeth or face, contact our office immediately. Other, somewhat minor orthodontic emergencies such as loose brackets and bent wires should also be addressed right away to ensure your treatment stays on track. And always remember, as your braces move your teeth you may experience some discomfort and soreness. This is normal, and in fact indicates your braces are doing their job. Most discomfort should be fairly mild and fade within a few days. For help in managing the discomfort, try a warm saltwater rinse or over-the-counter pain reliever. If the pain is unmanageable or worsens, please call our office right away. Dr. Razdoslky and the team will be able to provide additional options for making treatment more comfortable.

So, while there may be some school days or work schedules that must be missed for regularly scheduled checkups and orthodontic appointments, the payoff in the long run is a healthier smile with fewer surprises that can derail your future success. That is something to Forever Smile about!