Why do you need to go to the Dentist if you brush your teeth?


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And now it’s time for Who Smarted. Hey smarty -pants, you’ll never guess where I am. Sorry, can you guess where I am? I heard someone say, making a smoothie. Good guess, but no. Near a black hole? Cool guess.

also no. Here’s another hint, but be warned, it is a terrifying sound that strikes fear in the hearts of people young and old. That’s right, I’m at the dentist office. I need you to put the suction back in trustee.

Ah, but it’s so hard to talk to the smarty pants with that in my mouth. But it’s hard to clean your teeth without the suction in your mouth. You know, I’m starting to think it wasn’t the best idea to record the podcast from my dentist’s office, but it just made sense.

It was time for my semi -annual checkup. That means about every six months, smarty pants, and I figure we never done an episode on what happens during a dental visit, so why not combine the two? Right?

You’re right. It wasn’t the best idea. The less than enthusiastic person you hear is my hygienist, Rhonda. Smarty pants, do you know what a hygienist does? Besides give me a hard time about the suction?

Uh -huh, it seems some of you know. Some of you aren’t quite sure, and a few of you have never heard that word before. Why don’t you tell everyone, Rhonda? A dental or oral hygienist is a licensed dental professional registered with a dental association within the county they practice in.

Nice. And what’s the difference between a hygienist and a dentist? Typically, dentists work to identify, diagnose, and treat tooth decay and gum disease. Dental hygienists assist dentists by performing cleanings and advising patients on proper oral hygiene and care.

Gotcha. Smarty Pants, let’s recap. Does a hygienist examine your teeth, x -ray your teeth, or clean your teeth? The answer is, all of the above. You forgot one thing. What’s that? Wait, wait! We’ll get to that.

But first, I want to answer some questions about a typical visit to the dentists. Like, why do you need to go to the dentist if you brush your teeth? What instruments or machines do dentists and hygienists use?

What’s a cavity? Ow! And how does your dentist repair it? And then after that, I can put the suction back in? Yes. It’s time for another whiff of science and history on… Who’s smarted? Who’s smarted?

Who’s smart? Is it you? Is it me? Is it science or history? Listen up! Everyone, we make smarting lots of fun! But who’s smarted? Okay, Smarty Pants, I know going to the dentist probably isn’t on your top 10 favorite things to do list.

But it’s very important because, well, your teeth are very important to your overall health and well -being. Which is why I really need to get in there and clean them. Hold on. Let’s do something a little less noisy first.

Fine, we’ll start you off with an x -ray. We took an x -ray of your teeth last time you were in, but it never hurts to take another look. It’s also usually the first thing they do when you go to the dentist.

Smarty Pants, do you know what an x -ray is? If you’ve ever fallen off your bike or gotten hurt in some way, you may have had an x -ray to look inside your body to see if you broke or fractured a bone.

Yep, dental x -rays, also known as radiographs, work the same way. Only they show what’s going on inside each of your teeth. Now hold still while I place the end of the x -ray up against each cheek. First the left side, then the right, and then the center.

Bite down on this plate. Great. Just a few minutes, the images will be sent directly to my computer screen. Ooh, Smarty Pants, how many different types of dental x -rays do you think there are? Two, three, four, or five?

The answer is five. There’s a bite wing x -ray that’s used to look at a specific area of your mouth. Did you say bite wing? Yeah. Those are the ones where you have to bite down on a piece of plastic that holds the x -ray firm against your upper and lower teeth.

Or you might be asked to bite down on a little box wrapped in plastic. Bite wing x -rays help dentists detect decay, especially between your teeth or changes to your jaw bone caused by gum disease. What about the other x -rays?

There’s periapical x -rays which capture your whole tooth and are good for looking for cavities. Then there’s full mouth survey x -rays which are a series of individual images showing your entire mouth.

These are used for major dental work like new canals. Panoramic x -rays show your entire mouth at once. And occlusal x -rays keep track of the development and placement of a section of teeth in the upper or lower jaw.

These are mostly used by pediatric dentists to find children’s teeth that have yet to break through the gums. Smarty pants, true or false? You will have two completely different sets of teeth during your lifetime.

The answer, for most of you, is true. The first group of teeth is called your primary set, or baby teeth. There are about 20 of them that begin to grow even before you’re born. Whoa! But they act as placeholders.

Huh? Placeholders? Yep. The function of primary teeth is to create space for your permanent teeth to come in. This first set of teeth will begin falling out around age 6 or 7. Uh, can you say, tooth fairy?

By the time you reach your late teens, your new permanent teeth should have all come in. Smarty Pants, do you know how many permanent teeth you’ll end up with? Here’s a hint. It’s more than your 20 original primary teeth.

Is it A, 22, B, 32, or C, 42, permanent teeth? If you said B, 32, you’re right. You should have a total of 16 on the top and 16 on the bottom, and each one needs to be cleaned, scaled, and polished. Uh, I know what cleaning and polishing mean, but what’s scaling?

Smarty Pants, do you know? Yeah, we’ll get to that. Open wide! Uh… First, I use my dental tools to examine your teeth. This tool is called a probe. You’ll notice it has a pointy end. This lets me test the strength of each tooth.

The other common tool you see is a mini mirror. Mirror, mirror in the south. Who is the fairest tooth in the mouth? Uh, what’s going on? Nothing. I’m just using my mini mirror to look at your teeth and gums and hard to see parts of your mouth.

Gotcha. Okay, now that I’ve examined your teeth, it’s time for scaling. What’s scaling? Smarty Pants, do you know? Oh, wait, is scaling where you, uh, weigh my teeth? No. Scaling is when I use a special tool called a scaler to clean the teeth.

Smarty Pants, do you know what a scaler looks like? Why, it’s a thin metal instrument about the size of a pencil with a sharp hook on each end. I gotta be honest, it’s a little scary looking. I know, I know.

This can be people’s least favorite part. But it’s important I get in there and use a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth. Plaque and tartar? Smarty Pants, have you ever heard those words before?

What do they mean? And more importantly, why are they on my teeth? Well, plaque is a sticky film that coats teeth and gums and carries bacteria. Ew. If plaque is not removed on a regular basis, it will calcify or harden and become tartar.

Ah, gotcha. But isn’t that why me and the Smarty Pants brush our teeth? Yes, for sure. Brushing does remove a lot of the plaque. However, there are places that your toothbrush can’t easily reach where plaque can build up, no matter how good a brusher you are.

So wait, even though I brush twice a day and floss, I still have plaque. that could harden into tooth -harming tartar? Unfortunately, yes. But that’s where a hygienist comes in. Using a mirror and scalar, I can remove all the plaque before it has time to harm your teeth or gums.

But I also need something else to do it. What? Anything! I want all that plaque gone! Do whatever you have to! Great! Here it comes. Oh, of course. Why the suction? I’ll put the suction back. But first, smartypants, why do hygienists or dentists use suction?

Is it to a.) remove plaque and tartar, b.) remove bits of food stuck in your teeth, or c.) remove saliva? The addition of foreign objects in your mouth, like my mirror, a scalar, causes you to make extra saliva.

The suction removes it so you don’t feel like you’re going to choke on it and keeps you much more comfortable. Ah, that makes sense. May I? You may. Stick around, smarty pants. We’ll meet the dentist and learn about cavities right after this quick break and a word from our partner.

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for free burgers. I also put the link in the show notes. Happy summer, happy Father’s Day, and happy eating. Now back to who’s smarted. Okay, rinsing spits. Ooh, I’ve always loved the convenience of these little cups and mini sinks right next to me.

Smarty Pants, do you know what this little mini sink faucet setup is called? Why it’s called a cuspidor. Impressive if you knew that. But does anyone know why there’s always that one strand of drool connecting my mouth to the cuspidor?

Ha ha, gross. Hey, trusty, good to see you. Oh, hey, it’s a dentist, Dr. Farman. Boy, am I glad to see you. Why, Rhonda wasn’t taking good care of you? Oh no, of course she was. I just meant when the dentist comes in, it usually means the visit’s almost over.

Uh -huh, open wide. Let’s take a quick peek under the hood. Uh. Mm -hmm. Mm -hmm. Looking good. Nice job. Thanks, Dr. Farman. I meant Rhonda. Oh. Now, let’s check out your x -rays. Yep, those look good, too.

I noticed some shiny patches on top of some of my teeth. Smarty Pants, any guesses what they are? Are they, A, bubble gum, B, pieces of food, or C, fillings for cavities? If you said C, you’re right.

But what exactly is a cavity? A cavity occurs when a part or all of a tooth starts to decay, creating a hole and plaque filled with tiny germs and thousands of bacteria get into the hole and begin eating away at the tooth.

Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom. And before you know it… You’ve got a toothache. Yep. That’s the nerves inside your tooth, asking for help. Right. So how do you repair a cavity? Well, it starts with this. You should really give a trigger warning before turning that thing on.

It is terrifying, am I right, Smarty Pants? See? They agree. Good. You shouldn’t want to hear that sound. That’s why you need to take care of your teeth, which includes regular visits to the dentist so you don’t get cavities.

Point taken. Anyway, how does that drill, which you will not turn on again, repair a cavity? Okay. The first thing you need to know is one of the main parts of a tooth is made from a substance called enamel.

Now, as much as enamel resembles bone and shares some of the same properties as bone, it isn’t bone. Smarty Pants, true or false? Enamel is the hardest part of your entire body. The answer is, surprisingly, true.

Whoa. Repairing the tooth. is kind of like doing construction. First, I use a drill to prepare the affected area. Next, I clear away the debris. Then, finally, I fill in the empty space. Is that when the silvery substance gets put in?

Correct. It’s called amalgam and is actually a mixture of several different metals. We also use porcelain and, in some cases, gold. But that isn’t very common or cheap. Sounds painful. It would be if we didn’t inject Novocaine into the surrounding area where the tooth is being repaired.

Novocaine is a local anesthetic that takes a few moments before it causes a numbing sensation. Then we can work on your tooth and you barely feel a thing. Trust me, trusty, painless dentistry has come a long way.

Thank you. But you should still do everything you can to avoid cavities and gum disease. Right, but here’s the thing. Even if you brush your teeth two or three times a day and floss, you still need to visit the dentist to maintain a truly healthy mouth.

That’s right, trusty and smarties. Remember, if you ignore your teeth, they’ll just go away. And you definitely don’t want that, especially when you love eating pizza as much as I do. Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom.

A triple shout out to Kira, Keith, and Clarice, and Fitzwilliam, and Peterborough, New Hampshire. I hear you love listening to Who Smarted in the car on your way to your dad’s house. Please say hi to your dad for me, and keep on smarting, you three.

This episode, A Trip to the Dentist, was written by Dave, dental patient Davis, and voiced by Charlotte, root canal cone, Melissa del Toro Schaffner, and Jerry Kolber. Technical direction and sound designed by Josh, oral hygiene, Han.

Our associate producer is Max, the molar, Kamaski. The theme song is by Brian, bite wing, Suarez, with lyrics written and performed by Adam Texray Davis. Who Smarted was created and produced by Adam Tex Davis and Jerry Kolber.

This has been an atomic entertainment production.