Our very own Dr. Mark McOmie was recently featured on the Knife News blog offering advice to save patients thousands on dental bills with a simple solution.
“Why don’t you go out and buy a really nice, $200 knife?” Dr. Mark McOmie, a Chattanooga, Tennessee dentist recently asked one of his patients. The man had just spent $4,000 repairing two teeth he broke while using his choppers to tear open packages at work. With a typical crown costing about $1,200, Dr. McOmie reckons that almost every knife represents a bargain.
“The best dental restoration isn’t as good as a natural tooth”
Dr. McOmie sees firsthand just how real the damage from using teeth to cut can be. About once a week, someone pays him a visit to repair a broken tooth. Enamel may be the strongest material in the human body, but it’s brittle. Use and abuse it enough and it will develop small fractures called craze lines, visible to dentists under a strong light. “It looks like a china plate that went through a dishwasher,” Dr. McOmie says. That accumulated damage weakens the tooth, making it more likely to break during normal use. Costs aside, it’s still much better to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place than deal with it after the fact. “The best dental restoration isn’t as good as a natural tooth,” Dr. McOmie points out.
“You put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth”
After 18 years in the profession, Dr. McOmie now makes a point of recommending that his patients carry a pocket knife. And, he is not alone. The American Dental Association considers using teeth as tools one of six bad habits that should be avoided. “You put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t,” they write.