Making dental care a regular habit
Professor Dr Mostaque H Sattar is a veteran in the dental profession in Bangladesh and has been a major influence on many dental students and patients alike. He is an expert on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Orthodontics.
Currently, he serves as the Principal and Professor of City Dental College, while also maintaining a private practice in Banani. He was happy to share his views on the importance of orthodontic treatment in Bangladesh.
A specialised branch of dentistry, orthodontics focuses on the alignment of the teeth and jaw bone with the aid of braces and retainers.
When it comes to taking care of our dental hygiene, orthodontic treatment is a major component, as it helps to take care and fix the many irregularities of the teeth and jaw structure.
"Orthodontics helps to create a beautiful smile and enable proper biting patterns for patients. Proper teeth alignment enables us to smile, eat, and chew properly," remarked Dr Mostaque.
Orthodontic treatment should start as early as possible, preferably from the age of four, if any irregularities are spotted in the teeth and jaw structure of the child. Some orthodontic problems can be solved earlier, or some linger after the age of 12.
Three types of treatment are available in the field of orthodontics. These are functional appliances, removal fixed appliances, and fixed appliances. Early treatment is called functional appliances treatment or interceptive treatment. Fixed appliances treatment is one with surgery or without it.
In the case of having early treatment, it is the duty of the parents to understand the problems on noticing them, as children are too young to decipher the issues. When it is noticed that the teeth are crooked, the patient is a consistent thumb sucker, or has a problem with their tonsils, there is no alternative other than early treatment.
Adenoids also happen when the tissue around the tonsil tissue is inflamed. The child should stop sucking their thumb after the age of five, as it leads to improper alignment of teeth when biting down. In late teens and early adults, we notice crooked teeth, protruded or retruded jaws and uncoordinated bites.
Adults should be cautious about these problems. In the adult phase, surgery or fixed appliance treatment is implemented. If the case is more complex, fixed orthodontics and surgery are both used to treat the problem.
Early prevention measures include stopping children from being a persistent thumb sucker. This should be stopped by the age of five. This also helps to form intruded jaw in the future if not stopped earlier.
Aesthetic problems happen to those with crooked teeth or irregular sized jaws, as they suffer from a lack of confidence going into adulthood. They have problems with pronunciation and leads to systemic problems of the tonsil, and in some cases, even cardiac problems. Protrusion of the jaw, incomplete bite, and constant difficulties in speech constitute functional problems. Mastication, which is the biting problem, is also common.
Braces are put in place for both reasons — to ensure confidence and proper speech and biting patterns. The American Heart Foundation states that people with bad, dental hygiene have six times higher possibility of developing heart diseases. This takes place due to oral breathing where bacteria accumulate in the mouth and spreads elsewhere. Stomach upsets are also caused because of this.
Those with braces should brush six times a day. They should use mouthwash, floss, interdental brush, and normal brush to take care of the braced structure teeth. Patients should bring the child to the dentist right after their first birthday for an evaluation.
About the campaign, "BDS Nah Toh, Daater Daakter Nah," Dr Mostaque said it is important for all patients to be alert about malpractices done by those who are not properly trained. Now, more trained dentists have reached the upazilla level. Graduate and credible dentists are now more available, but patients should still be aware regardless.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery takes place when there is any street accident involving the face. It is also undertaken when there are natural problems at birth like cleft lip and cleft palate. Surgeons in this field are super specialists. Orthognathic surgery is undertaken to fix the jaw posture. About 40 percent of all cancer is oral in the subcontinent, hence surgery in the oral area is done by these specialists.
Dr Mostaque ended his interview with a special advice — "Patients should always take care of their teeth. They should brush two times a day, accompanied by flossing, mouthwash, and in some cases, interdental brush to remove the small specks of stuck food."
Photo courtesy: Professor Dr Mostaque H Sattar