Responsability of the Dentist in Integral Health

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Responsability of the Dentist in Integral Health

A lot more than a dental checkup
“A tooth is worth more than a diamond”, Don Quijote de la Mancha

Dr. Rafael Mejicano Día
Dr. Mauricio Gutiérrez Solé

The human being is constituted by a series of physical and psychological aspects that must function in harmony for a full development. Due to the lifestyle that is currently being handled, often people forget the importance of oral and dental health, not only for their physical well-being, but for their psychological well-being as well. In spite of this, the visit to the dentist is in many cases at the end of the list of medical priorities, thus ignoring that through dental and oral checkups, oral diseases can be diagnosed, that if not treated on time may cause complications and traumas, or diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer, which are sometimes unknown and may even cause death.


More than a pretty smile

Rafael Mejicano, oral prosthesis specialist of the Centro Dental de Especialistas, Guatemala, knows the importance and responsibility that the dentist has in the integral health of the patients, as he puts it “in Centro Dental aside from concentrating on the loss of teeth, caries, periodontal disease and aesthetic and phonetic problems a patient may have while smiling or speaking, we give importance to determining and establishing integral health”.

This is why along the more than 35 years that they have of experience, they have referred many of their patients to specialized physicians who confirm a diagnostic of illnesses like cardiac diseases, oral cancer, diabetes and AIDS, among others.

The problem, exposes Mejicano, is that many of these diseases do not present any type of symptoms, which is why a series of manifestations go unnoticed until they can be detected in a visit to the dentist. It is here that the importance of a professional dental checkup lies, where these oral manifestations are detected, and in addition to the information provided by the patient, will allow him/her to be referred where appropriate.

Due to the above, at Centro Dental de Especialistas they know that the dentist should have profound preparation in the field of medicine and that is what allows them to treat patients in an integral manner, providing additionally the certainty that expected results will be achieved. Nobody dies from missing teeth or bad breath, but diseases like oral cancer can cause death due to the invasiveness of its generation and its progress. Here lies the importance of detecting these types of diseases.

Some patients are surprised because they visit the dentist for a simple checkup and do not expect diseases, very serious on occasion, to be detected, to the degree that Mauricio Gutierrez, also specialized in oral prosthesis, affirms that they are pleased to have diagnosed oral cancer in at least 10 patients, which has allowed them to continue with their lives by having detected it on time.

Healthy mind and healthy teeth

As important as detecting diseases like the ones mentioned before, is keeping a healthy psychological balance that allows development of all social and individual aspects of life. All through their experience, Gutiérrez and Mejicano have established the importance and relationship of the psychological factor of the patients with their dental and oral status. Many times, emotional health results affected by complexes caused by the lack and loss of teeth, bad breath, cavities, among others factors that affect even the work and love life of a person, causing a serious decay of their self esteem.

After determining the important role that the psychological aspect plays, at the Centro Dental de Especialidades, Guatemala, a program was created 3 years ago called Sonríe Ya! (Smile Now!), that has the objective of identifying the psychological problems of the patients with dental problems (missing teeth, teeth malformations, etc.). Thanks to this social profile program that supports people that could not cover the total cost of a treatment, a series of factors have been established that affect a large number of patients traumatized by their oral problems and with the feeling that they could not achieve their personal, professional and employment goals.

Gutiérrez states that they were surprised to receive so many cases where the patients opened up completely and with tears expressed their complexes and worries caused by some kind of dental problem. Most of all because there is a conception that dentists focus only on the mouth and not on the psychological components, that are so strong that they reflect in insecurities when applying for a job because they have bad breath, because their teeth move or fall, or they have the need to hide from their partner to put on or remove their dentures because they have not had the courage to tell them about it.Here is where an integral treatment lies, because the patient not only leaves thankful for being able to eat and smile, but for the self esteem they have won back and for having the opportunity to return into a full life. As Mejicano explains, “the patient is part of a society, a community, a family, a job, etc., and that is how we treat dental and oral health: like an integral part of a harmonious and complete system that is the person”.


The last of the priorities

Along their lives, executives, housewives, students, professionals and the population in general leave aside periodic checkups, be it because of lack of money, prioritizing other clinical or aesthetic aspects, investing in their children´s studies, etc. This impacts their integral well-being and if to that we add the lack of culture of visiting the doctor and dental care, the consequences at medium and long term can be disturbing.However, Gutiérrez, states that since a few years back, people are a little bit more concerned about their oral well-being. Such is the case of patients that they receive at Centro Dental de Especialidades and that are accompanied by their whole family, and that unlike them, want their children to grow up with healthy teeth and the confidence that this brings.

True testimony

Alejandro Rivera is a young medical visitor that felt insecure because of a series of dental problems. After participating in the Sonríe Ya! program, his life changed. “I went to four dentists and never got the results I expected. It was hard for me to laugh and open up to people and that affected my work since I am a medical visitor and must converse with many people and could not express myself properly. Also, I could not communicate well with girls because I was ashamed of my smile. I found an ad for the Sonríe Ya! program and thanks to the payment opportunities and the economic support that they bring, I was able to fix my teeth. The work done at Centro Dental is very refined and delicate on behalf of all the team. After completing the treatment I am very happy at my job and personal life, and now I am a more extroverted person and laughing is not the embarrassment it used to be. Thank you very much.”