Many people mistakenly believe that dentistry and medicine are two separate disciplines and that what goes in the mouth and teeth are quite separate and unconnected to what happens in the rest of the body.
If you are a regular reader of the Specialist Dental Group blog, you will have read about the research linking the state of your oral health to a host of medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease, smoking, anaemia, xerostomia, stillbirths and memory loss.
Our teeth have usually been regarded as a “grinding machine” (enabling us to eat/bite our food) and/or as a “self-esteem barometer” (you will feel good when your teeth look good) until a few years ago when our teeth have literally been “seen” in a whole new aspect – as a hope for the blind.
South East Asia’s first Osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis, “tooth-in-eye” surgery, was performed successfully by a group of surgeons in Singapore in July 2004. A few years later, the same procedure was also performed in the U.S on a patient who had lost her sight for nine years and in Britain where a blind man saw his wife for the first time. While this procedure is unlikely to be a very common procedure, it is one interesting example of how dentistry and medicine can collaborate for life changing results.
Certainly these types of extraordinary dentistry go far beyond the traditional fillings, extractions and cleanings that most people associate with dentists.
Specialist Dental Group also had the opportunity to coordinate a ground breaking dental and medical procedure when a team consisting of a maxillofacial prosthodontist, oral surgeon, plastic surgeon and ear nose throat surgeon worked closely together to use a bone from a tumour patient’s leg to replace his jaw bone and provide dental implant teeth to the patient, all within a 3.5 month time period. (Read Mr Santoso’s story here).
Due to our clinic’s location at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, the clinical team at Specialist Dental Group is well positioned to be familiar with treating the dental needs of patients with a whole range of medical conditions. These include diabetes, hypertension, cancer, those on immunosuppressive medication and transplant patients. For patients who are medically compromised, a thorough dental assessment prior to embarking on major surgery or radiation/chemotherapy treatment is recommended to minimize the risk of oral complications. Our pediatric dentist is also familiar with the dental treatment of special needs children.