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    Drilling to the Tooth Truth at NMRTC Bremerton

    Drilling to the Tooth Truth at NMRTC Bremerton

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Drilling to the Tooth Truth… For Lt. Albert Young, general dentist assigned to Navy...... read more read more

    Lets drill to the tooth truth.

    Try not to gnash, grind, or grate your teeth that Feb. 9, 2023, was National Toothache Day. As uncomfortable as it might be for some to acknowledge that such a date actually exists, dental health and hygiene are imperative and directly linked to every command’s operational readiness.

    For Lt. Albert Young, general dentist assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness Training Command Bremerton, being responsible for that dental health and hygiene has him – and other dentists - providing care and sharing advice with patients to limit any type of toothache.

    “A toothache is caused when the nerve of a tooth is irritated. Toothaches are caused by tooth decay or when a cavitation forms on a tooth’s surface also known as a cavity,” explained Young, also noting other possible causes of dental pain are from tooth injury, infection or even from biting incorrectly.

    Young advocates someone always knows when they have some sort of toothache. If that pain persists for more than a few days or if the pain is severe with swelling, then it’s time to visit the dentist.

    “Pain can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication that works best for you. It is advised to never put medication directly against the gums near an aching tooth as may burn the gums. Ice packs are also recommended. Hot packs are not as they will make things worse,” Young said.

    Young cited statistical evidence that 70 percent of Americans brush their teeth at least twice daily, two minutes per session, which is the amount recommended by the American Dental Association and other dental health professionals.

    “However, that also means 30 percent are not brushing enough. Don’t be one of those, because a lack of brushing can lead to a very serious toothache,” added Young.

    Along with the importance of daily brushing, another consideration is to choose a suitable toothpaste. Young advocates a basic theory.

    “There are so many brands and types of toothpaste out there. It can get confusing. When in doubt, any dental related product with the American Dental Association or ADA label should be the first thing you look for,” said Young.

    As significant daily brushing is for dental health and hygiene, there is another necessary step which should also be part of daily dental health and hygiene.



    Because approximately half of a person’s teeth cannot be cleaned with a toothbrush. Floss is the most widely used method of interdental - in between teeth – cleaning, with up to 80 percent plaque removal.

    “Flossing should be done in a C-shape method and it should not reach all the way into the gums. Studies conclude only 30 percent of adults 30 and older floss daily. That’s a lot of people who are going with plaque stuck between their teeth 24/7,” said Young.

    Plaque is primarily leftover food – especially foods containing sugars and starches - mixed with saliva. Bacteria forms, which can lead to tooth decay, gingivitis [gum disease] and halitosis [bad breath].

    “With all of that being said, there are some ways not to floss,” Young shared. “One study indicated that some people used whatever they had handy to clean out their teeth, such as 61 percent of Americans admit to cleaning between their teeth with their fingernails; 40 percent use cards or folded paper; 21 percent have used cutlery like forks to remove food and plaque; and 21 percent say they use safety pins or strands of hair to floss.

    Along with the prevention of cavities and explaining the need to brush and floss regularly, dental health and hygiene is directly used to determine the Navy’s dental readiness classification system, a crucial gauge of every command’s operational readiness.

    Cmdr. Justin Watson, preventive dentistry expert, explains, “Class I, they [patients] are good to go with no dental treatment expected in a year. Class II, they may just need minor or elective treatment such as a dental cleaning or a small filling. Class III, urgent/emergency treatment is required, usually active dental disease is found. The decayed part of the tooth must be removed and filled or it could get much worse within a year. Class IV, the patient hasn’t had a dental exam within the year and/or dental classification is unknown.”

    The classification system is specifically positioned to screen Navy commands and predict – and prevent - dental emergencies that might occur in the next 12 months.

    Watson attests that sharing preventive insight with patients helps reinforce the importance to reduce any risk of any type of oral disease such as a toothache.

    “It is very important to share basic dental health info to our patients and be able to answer their questions surrounding patients’ oral health. Preventative insights on patients’ oral health are often tailored specifically for that patient based upon the finding of the yearly exam,” said Watson. “For example, if the patient is at high risk for cavities due to a sugary diet and poor brushing technique, the dentist will typically share the disease process that led to the new cavities found at the dental exam. Then a preventive treatment plan is presented to the patient which typically involves oral hygiene instructions and nutritional counseling.”

    With 17 active duty and two civil service dentists, along with eight contract hygienists, NMRTC Bremerton – and branch clinics located on Naval Base Kitsap Bangor and Naval Station Everett - provide a full scope of dental services such as comprehensive and general dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, periodontics and hygiene, prosthodontics, and oral maxillofacial radiology to approximately 12,300 active duty patients during nearly 28,000 patient encounters in 2022 for more than 100 commands in the nation’s third largest fleet concentration.

    NMRTC Bremerton Oral Surgery department dentists are available to discuss any concerns. Eligible patients with an issues can also drop by during sick call every morning at 7:30 a.m. or call 360-475-4237 to schedule an appointment.

    “If you have a toothache, don’t delay,” stressed Young.



    Date Taken: 02.16.2023
    Date Posted: 02.16.2023 14:18
    Story ID: 438661
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

    Web Views: 147
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