“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”– Leo F. Buscaglia
Getting Dental Work with Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis is important. It is not always easy to keep smiling with Liver Disease. When dealing with hep c, or anything that threatens to bring you down, it’s easy to lose your smile. In addition, the virus, and hep c treatment, is hard on your teeth and gums. There are a few things we can do about that, because it is so important to smile. You can do it in spite of your physical health and less than beautiful teeth. Two of my favorite smiles are the Mona Lisa smile (she doesn’t even show her teeth), and Mother Teresa’s open hearted smile.
Telling your dentist about Hepatitis C may be painful for you. I have had many readers tell me that their dentist treated them like they had the plague. Some have worried that the dentist may refuse to see them. My word to you would be to find another dentist! If your dentist is sterilizing equipment properly and using mask, goggles, and gloves there is no need for them to treat you with any disrespect.
Some people experience feelings of shame when going to the dentist. If your teeth have a lot of decay, it can create a lack of confidence. If you have a caring dentist, it can help a lot. After you get your teeth cleaned, they will probably go over your X-Rays and talk to you about what areas need to be worked on. Set up a plan that you can afford, starting with the tooth that needs the most work. Do not let it get you down. Within weeks, you can be wearing a bright healthy smile!
If your decay is extensive, they may suggest some options for you. I lost a few teeth prior to treatment and it requred a bridge. They can be costly, but if the teeth can be saved and you have that option, it is a good one. It may involve a root canal to get rid of any painful nerves that are affected.
Another option that can work is to get dentures. The new materials and technology today are nothing like they used to be. Modern dental technologists make dentures that can give you a winning smile! You may have some down time while your gums are healing. That means eating soft food for a while, but the end result is beautiful. I took care of a friend who got full mouth dentures. She hid out at my place because she knew I would be her best friend while she drooled and spit blood. Within a few weeks, she had her dentures and a smile that I even envy!
Having Dental Work with Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis may be the last thing on your mind. Our teeth and gums can get in horrible shape if we do not get it done. While treating for HCV, you may have mouth sores that make brushing painful. Click here to read a blog for more on mouth sores. Here are tips on how to endure – and smile – while sick with the Hepatitis C Virus.
1. Use a soft child’s toothbrush or a Waterpic if you have one. Soft dental tape is gentler than waxed floss. This is especially true if you have bleeding gums. Brush after every meal to keep your gums strong and guard against bacteria.
2. Use a gentle or sensitive tooth paste and mouthwash. I used Biotene products for dry mouth. Tom’s also makes great natural products. If you are on a low sodium diet, do not use baking soda! It contains a lot of salt. You may want to use mouthwash several times daily also. I know that flouride gets a bad rap, but it can help protect your teeth. Swish it around and spit it out. Following up by rinsing with water can help too! You can find lots of brands that carry an alcohol free mouthwash now too!
3. Get a cleaning before and after treatment. Some dentists will not clean during treatment due to bleeding and platelet problems. I did not get mine cleaned during treatment. Be sure and talk to your doctor and dentis about it. I have heard of doctors who will not start Hepatitis treatment until all dental work is done.
4. Eat well. Malnourishment can cause gums to be in bad shape. Eat a variety of healthy foods and take whatever vitamins and supplements that your doctor will allow. Try and reduce the amount of sugary foods that you eat. Don’t forget that many of our drinks contain a lot of sugar too!
5. Don’t be afraid of having excessive dental work before or after treatment. I know it’s a tough price to pay for attempting to get rid of the Hepatitis C Virus. Treatment in general attacks your whole body and your mouth is not excluded. If you cannot afford it, ask for a payment plan or go to a local health clinic. Do not live with a painful swollen toothache. Don’t let sadness keep you from smiling either.
There are so many reasons to smile.
- A smile attracts others to you. You seem more approachable and open. It puts people at ease. In addition, encounters with others become more intimate and meaningful.
- A smile is healthy for you. The act of moving your facial muscles into a smile actually releases endorphins that can give you a sense of well being. When I have been in the worst physical condition over the last few years, I formed a smile. Soon my heart and mind followed it with a strength and confidence that permeated my entire body.
- Smiles are contagious! Remember hearing that if someone needs a smile, you can lend them one of yours? It’s true. My daughter and I always play a game when we’re out. We try and make eye contact with as many people as we can, and aim a smile beam right at them. We then count the ones who smile back. We’ve smiled all over the United States, into other countries, and in every imaginable place. You know what? We have a 99% return rate. That in itself is reason to smile!
- Smiling builds confidence. When facing a tough circumstance, say a doctor visit, a difficult talk with a family member, or a tough day at work – smile. You will find yourself feeling stronger and more capable of handling any situation. Your words will come across with more warmth as well as power.
- You’re never fully dressed without a smile. No matter what your teeth look like, how many wrinkles you have, or what you are wearing, a smile completes the look. I have seen attractive, well dressed sour pusses that are not fun to look at. I have also been captivated by an average person with a big smile. Their very essence seems to have a magnetic quality that comes out in their – you guessed it – SMILE! You may not even notice what they’re wearing or how their teeth or hair look because you want to engage in conversation with this happy smiling person. Be that person!
Smiling is a wonderful gift we give to ourselves and to others. Never be ashamed of your smile. American’s are so caught up with movie star teeth. That is unrealistic. In most countries it is not even important. Hiding your smile behind your hand can create feelings of shame or embarrassment. Imperfect teeth are normal. Let that smile out! Start practicing today.
Don’t put off Getting Dental Work with Hepatitis C and Cirrhosis. Flash that big beautiful smile on everyone you see! xoxp Karen:)
Mother Teresa said: “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”
pics via hudo.com