Beverly Hills, California (October 2009) – Dr. Alex Farnoosh, a cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles and the founder of The Total Smile, has stated that the economic crisis is contributing to the spread of dental problems, namely TMJ trouble and gum disease.
Dr. Farnoosh is a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills specializing in gum disease, gum and bone grafting, implants, and lip-lowering for gummy smiles. He also treats patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction. He believes that due to the economic downturn, people are experiencing an increase in dental problems. Stress as a result of increased financial pressures can aggravate existing dental conditions and create new problems especially if the patient has been postponing needed treatment.
The American Academy of Periodontology reports that financial stress and patients scaling back on dental maintenance visits may create an increase in periodontal gum disease, which may lead to even more serious health problems. Scientific studies have shown that gum infection may contribute to the development of heart disease, raise the chance of stroke, increase the risk of premature births in women, and further compromise the health of people living with diabetes and respiratory disease. Research shows that patients tend to neglect their dental care when they are under financial pressure. Furthermore, stress plays an important role in development and onset of an acute form of gum disease which may be associated with a sore mouth, red and painful gums, swelling of lymph nodes and even fever.
TMJ dysfunction is directly related to emotional stress and can be very painful and troublesome for patients. The temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint where the lower jaw (mandible) meets the skull in the front of the ear and is lined with cartilage as a cushion. A TMJ problem may be caused by many factors, but by far the most common is emotional stress resulting in clinching and grinding of the teeth. The symptoms of TMJ trouble may exist for some time and patients are often unaware, until the symptoms become exacerbated by stress and pressure. Intense headaches, earaches, difficulty in opening and closing the mouth, aching pain around the ears that spreads to the face, neck and shoulders often are related to a TMJ problem. A simple visit to the dentist can often prevent TMJ and other dental problems from becoming severe.
“Unfortunately, I have recently seen an increase in decline in oral health in many patients that probably could have been avoided,” says Dr Farnoosh. A decline in dental health may require more extensive corrective procedures such as dental implants or gum surgery. “When money is tight, people may not pay enough attention to their dental health,” says Dr. Farnoosh. As a result of the economic crisis, Dr. Farnoosh has experienced a significant increase in patients with dental problems at his Los Angeles cosmetic dental practice. He adds, “When a patient is experiencing financial distress, scheduling treatment can be a difficult decision but most people eventually realize that their health needs to come first and recognize that additional pain, treatment and expense will result from postponing treatment.” Periodic visits to the dentist are a necessity in order to monitor one’s dental health. Semi-annual visits are recommended in order to prevent or minimize gum disease and its consequences.
Dr. Farnoosh encourages regular exams including a TMJ evaluation along with preventive measures such as good oral hygiene and fabrication of a bite guard (mouth piece) to minimize damage from grinding and clenching.