Dental health education and screening important too

PHOTO: Dental health education and screening important too

There has been much emphasis on educating the public on health screenings, but not enough is being done for dental health.

For many years, my sister has been visiting the dentist every six months for scaling and polishing. Each time, she was given a clean bill of dental health.

Lately, however, she experienced swollen, tender gums and had a toothache. Her dentist referred her to a gum specialist in the same clinic, who extracted her tooth and suggested an implant to replace it.

My sister sought a second opinion at the National Dental Centre, where she was told she had gum disease and severe bone loss. These problems had to be resolved before an implant could be done, the rationale being that "there was no point building a new house on a weak foundation".

Her dental health problems could have been prevented had she known more about gum disease, which can lead to loss of teeth.

I urge the Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Board to educate the public on the need for regular and comprehensive dental health screening. Dentists should also be advised to do more than scaling and polishing for their patients.

Letter from Nancy Teo Geok Har (Madam)

This article was published on April 15 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.