Radio Spot – Dental health planning for retirement and illness

Ben: Thanks for joining us. AM1440 KUHL. It is Thursday and time once again for Dr. Dino’s Cool truths about the tooth. And today we have a couple of items for discussion, but I do want to welcome back to the program local dentist Dr. Dino Bonyadii and Doctor, thanks for being here today.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Good morning to you Ben, and our audience.

Ben: And doctor what are we going to discuss today?

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Well Ben, today I thought it would be good to discuss a couple of topics that I come across in my practice a lot, and I think it will be very beneficial to our audience. One is retirement and how that relates to dentistry. Second is patients who have been diagnosed with cancer and will be going through chemotherapy, how that relates to dentistry and dental care.

Ben: Sure. Well, first on retirement I guess is people are making some decisions about their savings and you know, how they’re going to be spending their money. Maybe some people are thinking, “Well, I’m getting a little bit older, do I really need to spend a lot of money on dental care?”

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes. That’s a common question I come across with geriatric patients, older patients. I’ve personally had many, many experiences with patients where they come in and we diagnose a cavity, a filling, a crown, but patients look at me and say, “Well, doctor, I’m not going to be around that long. Why do I need to take care of these issues?” and spend the money of course.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Well, the funny thing is that same patients who tell me that four or five years later are sitting in my chair and that same tooth has become far worse. Now the tooth is severely decayed, they’re having pain, they’re having discomfort, and now they have a far bigger problem to deal with. So, in those instances what happens is patients have to be referred to oral surgeons because of their compromised overall health which becomes very costly and expensive.

Ben: Sure. So, for those patients, and this goes really for you know, anybody out there, is you still need to come in for those regular cleanings. You still have to take care of your teeth.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes. Actually, it’s even far more important to take care of your teeth as you get older. Well imagine, if you’re 70 years old you have had some of those teeth in your mouth for about 60 years. You’ve put these teeth through hot, cold, acids, bases, chewing and God knows what other things that we do with our teeth. So, our teeth, as we age, do not get healthier. They become more brittle. They become weaker. They become more worn. So, that’s even more of a reason to take care of them. I see people put so much time and effort into their financial retirement, but not their health.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Now, my advice on teeth is not just for teeth. It’s also on everything else. Any other ailment that you have. You need to take care of. After all, as we get older it’s a whole other chapter in our life and we have to be prepared for it.

Ben: So really, it’s good to come in for a regular examination, look at any potential problems before they become really big problems, right?

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes. Become big problems, and your health declines further. You don’t want to be bed ridden and weak and now you have a throbbing toothache. Just because you’re older and weaker it’s going to become harder to treat and recovery time is longer.

Ben: Sure.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: More discomfort.

Ben: Yeah, and the quality of life goes down, obviously.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes, so preparation for retirement as far as your teeth goes.

Ben: We are speaking to Dr. Dino Bonyadii. Dr. Dino’s cool truths about the tooth, and that was one of the items that we wanted to talk about today. The other is for patients that are diagnosed with cancer. Of course, they’re going through something pretty serious there. Any advice when it comes to these patients and dental care?

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes. My advice for that comes from again, personal experience in my practice. Patients who are going under chemotherapy for cancer or have cancer. Now, we all know that we have cancer cells in our body all the time. Our immune system is what is preventing those cancer cells from becoming more and becoming aggressive. Now, sometimes our immune system can’t handle that, and those cancers progress and we need chemotherapy and other forms such as radiation to treat the cancer. I’ve seen patients come through my practice with massive periodontal disease, gum disease. They have swelling in their gums, they have tartar, they haven’t had their teeth cleaned. Well, and their oncologist, who is the person who should be telling them about this hasn’t told them anything about their … to take care of infections in their body to keep their immune system strong.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: So, if you have periodontal disease your immune system is spending a lot of time, energy and effort fighting this disease infection in your gums and does not have enough resources to fight other things such as the cancer. So I recommend all patients who are going to go through chemotherapy, prior to that go to your dentist, have your gums looked at, have your teeth looked at. Make sure you don’t have a tooth that’s going to become infected pretty soon, because when you go through chemotherapy, chemotherapy doesn’t just kill the bad cells. It also kills good cells. It weakens our immune system. If your immune system gets weaker and you have a tooth that’s on the verge of becoming painful and problematic, well, you don’t want to have that while you’re going through chemotherapy.

Ben: Sure.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: You want to make that ahead of time.

Ben: And Doctor, I know in one of our earlier visits you mentioned any concerns that patients have that are going through chemotherapy and when it comes to x-rays, I think they can ask you probably about that, too.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes. X-rays would be fine. As far as if they’re going through chemical chemotherapy. Now, if you’re going through radiation therapy where they’re exposing you to a lot of radiation, I’ve had patients tell me, “well, you know what, I just had a lot of radiation, I don’t want any more.” And I completely understand that.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: First, the radiation dose that we give in dental offices is very, very small. It’s not as high as what you get during chemotherapy or even when you get like, let’s say a chest x-ray. But even with that, I understand patients concern and I respect that. In those cases, we can use equipment like CariVu as we talked about in our previous programs to detect cavities and treat them before they become worse.

Ben: Alright, some good topics today. By the way, if folks have any questions or concerns, they can get ahold of you, and they can do that through your website.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Yes, it’s or they can call the office at 925-7343.

Ben: And like you on Facebook.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Please do.

Ben: And that will wrap up things for this week. Dr. Dino Bonyadii and Dr. Dino’s cool truths about the tooth. Doctor, we’ll talk to you next week.

Dr. Dino Bonyadi: Thank you very much.