18 Dec WHAT YOUR DOCTOR WON’T TELL YOU ABOUT YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS – PART 1
Part one in a two part series.
Are you taking more than two prescription medications a day? Im about to share something with you that your doctor probably didnt clue you in on whenever they prescribed that next medication for you.
I have patients that are on two, three, five, seven prescription medications. Their doctor never remembers to tell them the important fact Im about to unveil, because theyre focusing on making sure that your drugs are not interacting with each other. If youve ever seen a commercial on TV for a prescription and you listen closely, they always go through all of the side effects. Even though 90% of prescription medications have this specific side effect, its rarely listed. Im talking about dry mouth. Ninety percent of medications cause dry mouth. Whats the big deal about that? From a dental standpoint, its a huge deal, and Im going to tell you why.
In addition to being very uncomfortable, dry mouth makes it very difficult to eat and can also affect the saliva composition in your mouth. The condition also makes it difficult to wear prosthesis like a denture or a partial denture, and it can actually alter the taste of your food. Dry mouth is definitely a major inconvenience, but whas the big deal for your dental health? Well, since dry mouth causes your saliva composition to change, youre going to be at risk for gum disease, and for very rapid dental decay. Your saliva has natural cavity-fighting properties, and when dry mouth sets in, that chemical composition changes. In turn, your bodys natural defenses that protect against cavities goes way, way down.
I see this issue come up with a lot of my patients that are on multiple medications. Six months ago, they were totally fine, then all of a sudden they have an enormous cavity. We compare the notes and the x-rays from their last visit, and its like where did this come from? I will ask, Have you started taking any new prescriptions lately? Has your diet changed? Did your doctor put you on a new prescription? Nine times out of ten theyve started a new prescription medication within the last six months and their saliva composition has indeed changed. Next, I ask, Do you feel like youre not making enough saliva? Do you feel like thats decreased in the last six months or so? And they say, Well yeah, as a matter of fact, thats true. I do feel like I have a dry mouth. So whats the big deal?
Cavities can go from zero to a big problem in about six months. If Im not seeing a patient every six months, something very small and manageable can turn into a huge problem. This is especially true for expensive restorations like crowns or bridges. If you get a cavity under a tooth thats connected to a crown or a bridge, Im going to have to take that crown or bridge off and youre going to have to get a brand new one. There is no other way for me to make sure that all of the decay is cleaned out of the tooth. Crowns and bridges are sometimes made out of metal, and I cant see through them on an x-ray, which means I cant tell exactly whats going on underneath without taking it off.
I hate to say this, but since we cant see through a crown with the x-rays, sometimes the teeth are not savable underneath. Sometimes they look like bread pudding because theyre so mushy, and theres not enough solid tooth for me to connect a crown or bridge to. If your doctor neglects to tell you that a lot of your prescribed medications can cause dry mouth, and then all of a sudden you have a lot of dental problems, it can be very costly. As we all know, dental insurance is not all its cracked up to be.
Dr. Cyndi Blalock is a general dentist practicing in St. Peters, MO. Her office Cardinal Dental is known for redefining what a dental experience should be. She is accepting new patients, and can be reached at 636-441-7440.