Oral Health Month is an opportunity to discover dentists in a different light that highlights the exceptional contribution of this profession to our health.
Although your mouth seems to be in good condition, you could suffer from diseases that are undetectable for you, but that can have serious consequences for your health.
Examination at the dentist can prevent and identify up to 200 diseases or injuries of the mouth, including cancers. It can also detect problems when they are much less complicated to deal with.
Dr. Sophie Arpin, Public Health Dentist
“I had a patient who developed severe mouth pain, difficulty swallowing and speaking; his gums, palate and cheeks were peeling and he had several ulcers. It was his general dentist who, worried about his condition, had asked him to come see me. He had developed an immune disease of the vesiculobullous disorders family, which attacks the skin and mucous membranes. Fortunately, there are treatments for these types of diseases”, D.r Steve Tremblay, dentist, specialist in oral medicine and oral and maxillofacial pathology.
Did you know that dental care is even necessary for patients undergoing operations or treatments? The Dr Sylvain Arsenault, a dentist at CHUM, can attest to this.
“I recently had to treat a patient with metastatic breast cancer. Before beginning her treatments, an examination of her oral health was required; this showed that dental care was necessary, including the extraction of some teeth. We planned these treatments taking into account those of oncology and an immediate prosthesis was made, to replace the missing teeth, to preserve the patient’s smile. Some time later, with her oral health stabilized, the patient was able to start her oncological treatment. »
A human at the service of other humans
It is impossible to ignore the essential work of dentists with vulnerable populations, such as children, people with loss of autonomy and those living in remote communities.
The DD Tanya Agnaieff is currently the only dentist in the community of Chisasibi, located in Nord-du-Québec, which has a population of 5,000. However, the needs of the population would easily justify the presence of three full-time dentists, according to her.
“The oral health of First Nations is very poor. The ER rate is high and my practice here is very similar to the city hospital. This obviously brings its share of pressure, but also the satisfaction of knowing that my daily work contributes in a concrete way, case by case, to the quality of life of the people here”, he says.
Dr. Agnaieff, a permanent dentist at Chisasibi Hospital, during her son’s first steps ceremony, a tradition in the community.
The stability of health professionals is important for these communities. The DD Manon Saint-Pierre, who has lived in Mistissini for more than 26 years, knows this very well: “The relationship of trust and closeness that we establish with local people makes a difference in their perception of dental care. Everyone knows me and they know they can count on me. »
In remote regions, territories are large, but accessibility to dental care is just as important. “In Gaspésie, the proportion of dental professionals per inhabitant is clearly insufficient. In 2018, my wife and I took over an existing practice. The demand was strong, the needs cried out. In 2019, in order to provide the population of Gaspé with quality dental care in an environment that has nothing to envy to that of large centers, we built a new state-of-the-art clinic, which has 16 operating rooms and where many professionals of dental health work,” says Dr Sébastien Brouillard, dentist.
Treatments tailored for young children and adults
Tooth decay is a real scourge: it is the most common disease among children under the age of five, anywhere in the world! Our children are sometimes afraid of dental care. Pediatric dentists show off our imagination to put our little ones in confidence.
“Teeth repair under general anesthesia is the most performed surgery for young children in North America. Montreal Children’s Hospital now has a special clinic called the Small Teeth-Big Smiles Clinic. There children from 6 months to 3 years are examined and parents receive advice on hygiene and nutrition as well as various preventive treatments to try to avoid cavities instead of having to repair them, “says Dr.D Annie Marleau, dentist and head of the dental division at MCH
Pediatric dentistry has its peculiarities. “Children are often afraid of the dental environment. By comforting them and explaining what we are doing in age-appropriate language, we manage to deal with them. Desensitization, when we see children several times to get them used to it and improve their comfort, is very useful, for autistic children among others”, mentions D.r Basma Dabbagh, pediatric dentist.
for the DD Marie-Ève Asselin, is the fact of treating children with different needs, some very specific (developmental disorders, craniofacial malformations, for example), which enriches their daily lives. She meets children and families with exceptional backgrounds and works across disciplines to treat them appropriately.
Many other situations illustrate the professionalism of dentists:
- It is not uncommon for entire families to be accommodated by changing the hours to allow them to be served on the same day.
- Others take their own car to pick up a pain patient who has no means of transportation to get to their appointment.
With their scientific and human approach, dentists care about collective health. From one end of Quebec to the other, dentists and their teams play a critical role in the oral health of communities. Your dentist may well have his own stories to tell you!
The ACDQ represents more than 4,300 dentists in Quebec. It has worked for more than 55 years to defend and develop the professional, economic and social interests of its members.