Blog – AMARA MEDICARE | Dental, Eye & ENT Specialists

28/Oct/2021

 

Image of tooth decay
Image of tooth decay (Wikepedia)

 

  WHAT IS TOOTH DECAY?

Tooth decay are also referred to as tooth caries or dental caries or tooth cavities. They are permanently destroyed areas of the tooth that results into tiny holes.

They initially develop as softening of the tooth structures (enamel and dentine). They are caused by bacteria. These bacteria are found on the sticky plaque located on the surfaces of the teeth, so any carbohydrate found in the mouth is broken down by those bacteria into acid.

These acids produced continually will act on our teeth enamel and dentine and weaken it leading to those tiny holes. Tooth decay is among the most common health problems in the world and occurrence is more common in children compared to adult.

Examples of foods causing tooth decays include cake, chocolates, carbonated soft drinks, fruits, breads, breakfast cereals, milk etc.  If the teeth aren’t properly cleaned after consumption of the above listed food items, it may result to tooth decay.

 WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TOOTH DECAY?

Signs and symptoms of tooth decay varies a lot. It is very possible for tooth decay to be present on a tooth without any symptoms of pain. But as the decay gets larger, the symptoms will manifest. These symptoms include:

  • Tooth ache or tooth pain – can be a sharp pain or continuous pain that keeps a person awake with no obvious trigger;
  • Tooth sensitivity – complaints of shocking sensation to either sweet, cold or warm water/ drinks and also while eating;
  • Grey, brown or black spots appearing on the teeth;
  • Bad breath- dental cavity is also accompanied with bad breath;
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth;
  • Visible holes or pits on the teeth;
  • Pain and discomfort when chewing.

 RISK FACTORS

Everyone who has teeth is at a risk of getting cavities or tooth decays. Below are factors that can increase the risk:

  • Position of the tooth – most posterior or back teeth are usually affected compared to the front teeth because it is relatively more difficult to clean the back teeth;
  • Food likes milk, sweet, mints, ice cream, chocolates that cling to the surfaces of the teeth are more likely to cause tooth decay;
  • Bedtime feeding of babies- mothers tend to feed their babies leaving the milk formula, juice or other sugar containing liquids on their teeth for hours as they sleep. This may result in tooth cavity known as baby- bottle dental caries;
  • Poor oral hygiene – not brushing properly or not brushing at all;
  • Dry mouth – lack of saliva causes tooth-decay because saliva on its own prevents decay by washing away food or plaques that cling to the tooth and also saliva counteracts the acid produced by bacteria. Certain medications can cause dry mouth, we should be watchful of the kind of medications given.

HOW CAN WE PREVENT TOOTH DECAY?

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and ideally after every meal using fluoride containing tooth paste. In addition, you can clean in between teeth using dental floss or interdental brushes;
  • Use of mouth rinse especially those containing fluoride and antibacterial agent;
  • Visit the dentist regularly, twice in a year (every six months);
  • Avoid frequent snacking and sipping in between meals or last thing at night because if you snack or drink throughout the day, your teeth will undergo constant attack from the continuous production of acid from the snacks;
  • For a person with dry mouth, it advised to chew xylitol-based gum along with prescription fluoride and antibacterial rinse to help reduce tooth decay.

TREATMENT

Treatment of tooth decay depends on the extent of damages on the teeth before the person reports to the dentist

  • For early tooth decay, the dentist can start by advising patient on his/her social and diet habits, reducing the amount of sugar in the diet. Secondly, application of fluoride gel or paste to replenish and strengthen the tooth and make the teeth more resistant to decay.
  • For a decay that is presenting pain, your dentist may do dental filling with or without a local anesthesia after diagnostic examination.
  • For a decay that has spread to the pulp, an advance procedure like root canal treatment may be done. In addition to the root canal treatment, a crown may be placed over the restored tooth
  • For a badly damaged and painful tooth decay that cannot be restored, it may need to be removed.

 

 

 

 


28/Oct/2021

 

tooth plaque
tooth plaque

 

Dental plaques are one of the leading causes of dental issues­­ in Nigeria. Dental plaques are those sticky colorless substances that constantly build up on the tooth and when hardened, forms calculus also known as tartar.

 What causes dental plaque?

Every day, we eat food containing carbohydrates (starches and sugar) such as cakes, biscuits, soft drinks, milk etc. Particles from these foods frequently stick to our teeth and gum especially when the mouth is not properly cleaned resulting to the formation of dental plaques. Plaques allow bacteria to grow and multiply on them and release its toxic by-products that destroys the hard tissues of the teeth and cause inflammation of the gum

What are the signs and symptoms of dental plaque?

  • Pain and bleeding while brushing
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Signs of blood when eating bread or apple
  • Bitter taste

How do you prevent dental plaques?

  • Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day (morning and evening), flossing teeth at least once daily.
  • Visiting the dentist twice yearly (every six months) for professional examination, scaling and polishing.
  • Maintaining good eating habits. Some foods and beverages are better for your teeth than others. Avoid food with a propensity to get stuck in grooves and pits of the teeth. Also, some food such as vegetables, fresh fruits, sugar-free gums increase salivary flow which helps to remove food particles.

 

 

 

 

 


28/Oct/2021

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss, affecting about 3 million people in the United States.1 But this potentially blinding eye disease does not affect all people equally. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, AMARA MEDICARE and the American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging people to be screened, especially if you are at increased risk of glaucoma.

Who is at risk?

  • African Americans are 6 to 8 times more likely to get glaucoma than white Americans. Blindness from glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than white Americans.2
  • People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to get glaucoma than people without diabetes.2
  • Also at risk are people over age 40, those who are severely nearsighted, and those who have a family history of glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve. The optic nerve transmits visual information to the brain, allowing us to see. Because glaucoma often progresses slowly, affecting just peripheral or side vision, people with glaucoma can lose most of their vision before they even experience any symptoms. Central vision, the vision used to read, drive or watch TV, is unaffected until the disease is advanced.

“Just because you think you can see well, doesn’t mean all is well,” said Dianna Seldomridge, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Once vision is lost to glaucoma, it can’t be regained. That’s why regular screening, especially among those at higher risk for glaucoma, is absolutely vital. When caught early, glaucoma can be treated with eyedrops or an in-office laser treatment. But in advanced cases, surgery may be required to slow the vision loss and prevent further damage.”

AMARA MEDICARE provides comprehensive management of Glaucoma at its offices in Ikoyi, Ajah and Sangotedo.

 

For more information about eye health and how to protect your eyes, visit the Academy’s EyeSmart website.

 

1 The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Cost of Vision Problems. Prevent Blindness. Retrieved December 3, 2019, from https://www.preventblindness.org/sites/default/files/national/documents/Future_of_Vision_final_0.pdf

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/features/glaucoma-awareness/index.html

Quigley HA, West SK, et al. The prevalence of glaucoma in a population-based study of Hispanic subjects. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119:1819-1826.

 


28/Oct/2021

Do you accept walk in patients?

In most cases, we can accommodate a limited number of walk-in patients. However, next-day appointments are occasionally necessary. Appointments are advisable for all non-emergency treatments.

Why do you discourage cash payments in the clinics?

We place a significant premium on patient/staff safety. In this regard, we view cash holdings in the office as an avoidable source of danger to our patients and staff.

For the convenience of our patients, we have made available multiple payment channels including electronic bank transfer, USSD payments, POS and   cash deposit at bank.

 What should I bring along on my first appointment?

Please bring a list of the medications you are taking, HMO information (if any), your current eyeglasses or contact lenses (if any).

How long will my appointment last?

Depending on your specific needs, your initial visit will last approximately one to three hours. During this first visit, we will record your medical history and information, and perform the tests we need to get a complete picture of your ocular, dental health or general health. After our tests, we will discuss the results with you, as well as how treatments should proceed.

Please note that these tests may require us to dilate your pupils, which will make your eyes sensitive to light, and will distort your vision slightly. These effects are normal, and usually subside within a few hours. You should plan to bring something to shield your eyes from sunlight after your appointment, such as sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat. Many of our patients also bring someone to drive them home.

How much will my treatment costs?

It is difficult to state the cost without knowing the underlying problem or procedures involved. However, we charge a registration fee of N1.000 and a consultation fee of N10,000 ( dental and ophthalmology) and N25,000 (ENT). Additional procedures or investigations may attract additional charges.

Which HMOs / Health Insurance Plans do you accept?

We are privileged to work with under listed international health insurance and HMO partners:

International Health Insurance

  1. AIMS aims.org.za
  2. Allianz Partners allianzcare.com
  3. CIGNA cigna.com
  4. BUPA bupaglobal.com

Health Maintenance Organisations

  1. AXA MANSARD axamansard.com
  2. Hygeia   hygeiahmo.com
  3. THT Liberty Blue libertyhealth.net/nigeria/en/
  4. Leadway Health https://leadwayhealth.com
  5. AIICO Multishield aiicomultishield.com
  6. Alleanza Health https://alleanzahealth.com
  7. AVON Healthcare avonhealthcare.com
  8. Reliance HMO reliancehmo.com
  9. First Guaranty Healthcare https://fghltd.com
  10. Fountain Healthcare https://fountainhealthcareng.com
  11. GreenBay HMO https://greenbayhmo.com
  12. GNI Healthcare http://gnihealthcare.com
  13. Hallmark HMO hallmarkhmo.com
  14. Health ASSUR   healthassur.com
  15. Health Partners https://healthpartnersng.org
  16. IVES MEDICARE ivesmedicare.com
  17. LifeWORTH HMO https://lifeworthhmo.com
  18. Marina Medical Services https://marinamedicalhmo.ng
  19. Mediplan Healthcare https://mediplanhealthcare.com
  20. NOVO Health Africa novohealthafrica.org
  21. Oceanic Health Management oceanichealth.com
  22. Phillips HMO https://phillipshmo.net
  23. Royal Exchange Healthcare https://royalexchangehealth.com
  24. Salus Trust HMO https://salustrustng.com
  25. SUNU Health https://sunuhealthnigeria.com
  26. Swift HMO https://www.swifthmo.com
  27. MetroHealth HMO metrohealthhmo.com
  28. LIFE ACTION PLUS https://lifeactionplus.com
  29. Bastion Health https://bastionhmo.com
  30. Eagle HMO https://eaglehmo.com
  31. HCI Healthcare hcihealthcare.ng
  32. IHMS https://ihmsnigeria.com
  33. Kennedia HMO kennediahmo.com
  34. Lifecare Partners https://lifecarepartnershmo.com
  35. MB&O Healthcare Services https://mbandohmo.com
  36. NNPC HMO https://nnpchmo.com
  37. Precious Healthcare https://precioushmo.com
  38. Redcare HMO https://redcarehmo.com
  39. RONSbERGER HMO https://ronsbergerhmo.com
  40. ROTHAUGE Healthcare rothaugehealth.com
  41. Serene HMO https://serenehealthcare.org
  42. Sterling Health https://sterlinghealthmcs.com
  43. SUNU Health https://sunuhealthnigeria.com
  44. United Healthcare unitedhealthcare-ng.com
  45. Venus Medicare   zenithmedicare.com
  46. Veritas Healthcare https://veritashealthcareltd.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


28/Oct/2021

Does a rinse or mouthwash help?

Mouthwashes for cavity protection, sensitivity, and fresh breath may help when you use them with regular brushing and flossing but not instead of daily cleanings. Your dentist can recommend the best type for you. Some people need twice-daily rinses for gum health or alcohol-free washes for dry mouth. Kids under 6 shouldn’t use mouthwash to avoid the risk of swallowing it.

What are early signs of dental trouble?

Visit a dentist if you have any of these issues or see your child having trouble chewing or complaining of soreness:

  • Mouth sores
  • Jaw pain
  • Redness
  • Swollen face or gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Broken teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

Getting checked out right away prevents more serious problems and infections.

Why do I need dental exams?

Regular exams help spot trouble early to prevent bigger and more costly treatments later. A dental hygienist will start by cleaning build up from your teeth. Then the dentist will probe spots on the surfaces and near the gumline with special tools. If it’s been a while between appointments, you may have some sore and sensitive areas.

You should get an exam every 6 months, or more often if your dentist recommends it. Find one who makes you feel at ease and lets you know what to expect. Often the dread of seeing the dentist turns to big relief when the visit is over and you have a care plan set up.

How do fillings work?

Cavities break through the surface enamel of teeth, and they’ll probably get bigger unless you close them off with fillings. Your dentist will numb your mouth before drilling around the cavity to prep it. A combination of strong materials or a white mix called a composite goes into the cavity soft and then hardens as it dries. You may feel pain or pressure when getting the numbing shot and during the drilling. Once set, fillings can last a long time but need replacing if they break or wear down.

Are sweets bad for my teeth?

Yes, sweets and foods with acid, like candy and carbonated drinks, could stick to teeth and lead to cavities.

How safe are dental x-rays?

Dental x-rays are very safe. Radiation is measured in millirems and one dental x-ray has only 0.5 millirems.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is simply a small hole in the tooth that develops as a result of tooth decay. In other words, decay eats away at the tooth and results in a void space that disrupts the structure of the tooth. It’s important to get cavities repaired because they will continue to grow larger with time

What is the best way to withen my teeth?

The fastest and most effective way to whiten teeth is typically an in-office professional whitening procedure. However, you may not require this type of procedure.  We recommend that you speak with your dentist or dental hygienist about what type of teeth whitening they would recommend.

What causes bad breadth?

Some reasons for bad breath may be:

  • Poor dental hygiene;
  • Eating certain foods, such as garlic or onions;
  • Smoking;
  • Chewing tobacco;
  • Diseases, such as cancer or diabetes;
  • Dry mouth (often called morning breath).

You can help reduce the incidence of bad breath by brushing and flossing each day to remove plaque. By avoiding certain foods, you can also eliminate a lot of bad breath problems. If a bad breath problem persists, then let us know and we will perform further diagnostic reviews with a view to recommending a treatment.


28/Oct/2021

Why should I go for an eye examination when I do not have any symptoms?

Regular eye exams are the only way to catch “silent” eye diseases such as Glaucoma in the early stages, so they can be treated before permanent vision loss occurs. In addition, several underlying medical conditions (including diabetes, brain aneurysms, thyroid malfunctions etc ) could be detected through routine eye examinations.

What is low vision?

Low vision is not blindness but is a level of vision below normal (20/70 or worse) that cannot be corrected with conventional glasses. Low vision can interfere with a person’s performance of daily activities, including reading or driving.

What is the difference between an ophthalmologist and an optometrist?

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors that have received specialist training in eyecare. They provide comprehensive eye care including medical, surgical and optical care.  The training program includes six years of medical school, one year of internship and five years of post-graduate medical training in eye care.

Optometrists are medical professionals that are trained to diagnose and treat some eye conditions but are not licensed to perform surgical eye treatment procedures. Optometrist training include six years of optometry school and one year of internship.

When should my child’s eyes be examined?

It is recommended that the first vision screening be conducted for a new-born baby prior to being discharged from the hospital. Visual function will be monitored by your child’s paediatrician during well-child exams (usually at two, four and six months of age). If there are any signs of an eye condition, your child may be referred to an ophthalmologist. Beginning at three years of age (and yearly after five years of age), amblyopia (poor vision in an otherwise normal appearing eye), refractive and alignment screenings should take place. If you notice any signs of decreased vision or misalignment of the eye, please contact your ophthalmologist for a complete eye examination.

When should an adult’s eyes be examined?

Specific eye care needs vary depending on the age and risk profile of the patient. Below is a chart with a recommended time line of how often an adult should receive an eye examination.

Ages 20-39 – Every three to five years.
Ages 40-65 – Every two to four years.
Ages 65 and older  – Every year.

Is poor vision hereditary?

Yes, poor vision can be directly related to your family’s history of eye health. It is important to see an eye care professional at the first sign of poor vision.

 Will working at a computer screen hurt my eyes?

No, there is no evidence that working at a computer can damage the eyes. However, low light, glare on the monitor, or staring at a computer screen too long can cause the eyes to become fatigued. It is recommended to take frequent breaks to allow your eyes to rest.

Is conjunctivitis (Apollo) contagious?

Yes, conjunctivitis is very contagious. To help prevent spreading conjunctivitis, avoid touching your eyes with your hands, wash your hands frequently, do not share towels, and avoid work, school or day care activities for a least five days or as long as discharge is present.

 Are sunglasses good for my eyes?

Wearing UV protective lenses can be beneficial in protecting your eyes from cataract formation. Surprisingly, clear UV coated lenses may offer more protection than darker lenses because they allow the eyes to be exposed to more light causing the pupil to constrict more, which ultimately prevents more light from getting to the eye.

 What are the warning signs that a child might need glasses?

Common signs that a child has a vision problem that requires corrective eyewear include:

  • Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close;
  • Using a finger to follow along while reading;
  • Squinting;
  • Tilting the head to see better;
  • Frequent eye rubbing;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Excessive tearing;
  • Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better;
  • Avoiding activities that require near vision, such as reading or homework, or distant vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities;
  • Complaining of headaches or tired eyes;
  • Receiving lower grades than usual.

28/Oct/2021

 

Image of Myopia
Image of Myopia

During forced home confinement, we should deliberately keep child eye health in perspective. With a shifting trend towards online school and study this becomes more imperative. Myopia also termed nearsightedness or shortsightedness is a refractive error typified by one’s inability to clearly see objects at a distance. Symptoms of myopia in children include:

  • Sitting too close to the television
  • Holding books, homework or screen devices like tablet close to the face
  • Squinting or closing one eye to read
  • Frequent headaches
  • Excess watering of the eye
  • Rubbing eyes

Refractive errors such as myopia, if uncorrected, can affect school performance, limit occupational choices for the child, and impair quality of life. Myopia, especially progressive myopia increases the risk of developing potentially blinding eye conditions like glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment, maculopathy, retinal bleeding etc.

Age of onset is an important predictor of high myopia in later childhood. Thus, children with early onset myopia are at higher risk with longer duration of the disease, higher chances of disease progression and consequent ocular complications. Prevention, early detection and timely intervention is therefore vital in children.

Risk factors for developing myopia include:

  1. Genetic predisposition: family history of myopia.
  2. Lack of outdoor activity: spending little time outside. Studies showed that sustained hyperopic defocus (i.e. lack of viewing objects at distances) which is generated indoors, predisposes to myopia.
  3. Prolonged near work: Holding books too close to eyes; prolonged periods of exposure to screen time, hand-held devices and television may eventually lead to reduced ability to see things at a distance.
  4. Constricted living space may be an environmental threat for myopia development in children (we cannot help this in some areas in Lagos).
  5. Low blood vitamin D concentrations has been implicated in myopia. However, the use of vitamin D supplements has not been confirmed as being helpful.
  6. Some congenital and systemic diseases are also implicated in myopia.

How can we curb/control early onset of myopia?

  1. Increase outdoor activities: This has been proven to be the strongest environmental factor that can delay myopia onset. Randomized Control Trials showed that increased outdoor activities inhibits myopia progression in children aged 6 to 7 years by as much as 30% in 1 year. Exposure to outdoor sunlight, increases dopamine receptors in us and provides vitamin D. This also activates genes that help release the right amount of dopamine required to regulate adequate eye development. Before 10am and after 4pm is a good time to enjoy time outdoors. Vieing distances are much greater outdoors, during this period, caregivers can find creative, safe ways to increase outdoor time for the children e.g. take them outside for multiple short breaks or for supervised walks in your immediate environment. You can deliberately create games like ‘spot the bird on that tree’ or ‘I can see that star’ which encourages the child to focus on distant objects. In between online classes children should be allowed short breaks outdoors to combat hyperopic defocus.

 

  1. Reduce screen times: Whilst there are many resources being promoted for online learning, consciously ensure that the child is given time off these online tools.
  • do not overload them with online schoolwork, take short breaks in between subjects;
  • find creative ways around the home to teach them outside of these online resources.

Note that the effect of near distance activities on onset of myopia and its progression is typically higher in younger children, therefore stricter control on the use of these devices/screens among pre-school children is wise.

The Canadian pediatric association reported recently that, ‘early learning is easier, more enriching and developmentally more efficient when experienced live, interactively, in real time and space, and with real people’. [More information on this can be found on https://www.cps.ca/documents/position/screen-time-and-young-children]

  1. Reduce game/movie time: Engage children in more enriching games like scrabbles, monopoly, chess which teach these children very valuable life skills, while promoting family bonding. Human contact like hugging your child can increase their dopamine levels which is good for the eyes, so more bear hugs please!!!

 

  1. Healthy diet: Other conditions that have been associated with increased myopia include high body weight, and westernized dietary habits. Therefore, healthy diet is very beneficial for eye health in children in addition to boosting their immunity against virus infections. Fish, leafy green vegetables, eggs, carrots, berries, citrus fruits, nuts, beef, red oil etc. Less of processed foods, snacks/ drinks and more of freshly squeezed fruits etc. is beneficial for children.

If you notice any symptoms, please contact your eye specialist.

References

  1. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, et al. Global prevalence of myopia and high myopia and temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016;123:1036–42.
  2. Grzybowski, A., Kanclerz, P., Tsubota, K. et al.A review on the epidemiology of myopia in school children worldwide. BMC Ophthalmol20, 27 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12886-019-1220-0.

 

 

 

 


28/Oct/2021

Benefits of hearing screening
Benefits of hearing screening

 

Should I have a hearing test?

Because hearing loss is so gradual, it is not always easy to notice if you are not hearing as well as you used to. People around you often notice that you may have a hearing difficulty before you do. Here are some signs you can look out for:

  • The TV is too loud for other members of your family
  • You find it difficult to keep up with conversations when there is background noise
  • Chatting on the phone is tricky even when the room is quiet
  • You feel like people are mumbling a lot, and you have to ask them to repeat what they have said.

At AMARA MEDICARE, you may be eligible for our free hearing screening. Please call on 08150376696 to book your appointment or visit our test facility at Plot 76B Eleganza Gardens (opposite VGC), Ajah, Lagos.

 

How often should I have a hearing test?

It is important that you track the quality of your hearing as you age. If you’re over 50, we recommend that you get your hearing checked at least every two years, so that we can make sure your hearing has not changed too much since your last appointment. For current wearers of hearing aids, the recommendation is to have your hearing tested every three years.

How can I help a loved one with hearing loss?

Because hearing loss is so gradual, a person with a hearing loss might not even notice it. But it can be frustrating if a loved one seems to be struggling to hear (perhaps they ask you to repeat yourself a lot or they have trouble talking to you on the phone). They might even become a little withdrawn and spend less time in social situations because they are struggling to hear. If you think someone you know has a hearing loss, you can help them get a hearing test.

Where should I go for a hearing test?

Your ENT doctor (or family physician) may be able to recommend an audiologist. We have our hearing test centre at Plot 76B Eleganza Gardens (opposite VGC), Ajah, Lagos. We can also conduct hearing tests for corporates at any location within Lagos.

What are the causes of hearing loss?

There are many reasons why people who were born with hearing lose it in later life. The most common is age as it is a normal part of the ageing process which is usually gradual. Another cause is noise exposure at work or at leisure. This can be from a short burst of sound (like an explosion), or from longer exposure, for example working in a noisy factory or standing next to the speakers in a nightclub. Illness, injury and medication are other reasons why you might lose your hearing.

Why should babies be screened for hearing loss?

It is important to know that your baby has hearing loss as soon as possible so that you can give them the best chance to develop language and communication skills at the same rate as children with normal hearing.

If your child’s hearing loss goes undetected, it may slow down their social and educational development and is likely to go on to affect many areas of their progress.

What are the different types of hearing loss?

There are two main types – conductive or sensorineural. Some people have both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, known as mixed hearing loss. There are also different degrees of hearing loss ranging from mild to profound.

  • Conductive hearing loss:
    Conductive hearing loss is due to a mechanical blockage or failure preventing sound vibrations from passing freely through the outer or middle ear. For example, sound will not be passed to the cochlea properly if the eardrum or middle ear bones are damaged, or if there is a build-up of wax in the ear canal.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss:
    Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the cells in the cochlea. These cells cannot be repaired or replaced. Another cause of sensorineural hearing loss is damage to the auditory nerve, though this happens very rarely. The only solution to help people with sensorineural hearing loss is the use of hearing aids.
    One possible effect of sensorineural hearing loss is ‘recruitment’. This means that you find it difficult to hear quiet sounds yet find loud sounds uncomfortable. Hearing aids can be programmed to prevent uncomfortably loud sounds from entering your ears.

Do hearing aids work?

While hearing aids cannot give us back our normal hearing, they can help significantly in most areas where you may be experiencing difficulties. To get the full benefit of hearing aids, they must be accurately fitted by a qualified hearing professional.

How long is a hearing test?

It usually takes 15 minutes for a screening and one hour for a full diagnostic test.

How long will my hearing aid last?

The life span of a hearing aid will vary with make and use. On average, they can last up to 5 years.

Are there any negative side effects of using hearing aids?

Some of the side effects that users have experienced include:

  • Headaches and tinnitus
  • Skin irritation, soreness, and discomfort
  • Itching in the ear canal
  • Feedback

How can I mitigate the impact of the negative side effects of hearing aids?

  1. Headaches and Tinnitus

When the volume of the hearing aid is not properly set, particularly if set too loud, it is possible to start having headaches or experience tinnitus or ringing in the ears, sometimes even pain. If you feel any of these symptoms, you should consult with a specialist.

  1. Irritation, soreness, and discomfort

A badly fitted hearing aid can be extremely uncomfortable to wear. If your hearing aid is too tight, it may cause skin irritation, soreness, and general discomfort and if it is too loose, it can slip or slide. Bad fitting can interfere with the sounds you hear and create more feedback. Make sure to put your hearing aid in carefully and properly. If the problem is with the device, you should turn to your audiologist for adjustment.

  1. Itching in the Ear Canal

Avoid sticking your finger in your ear to get rid of the annoying itch. Sticking anything in your ear can result in worsening problems with ear wax compaction and can even lead to damage to the ear drum. The best thing to do is to clean your ears with a spray or drops every evening to moisturise the ear canal.

  1. Feedback

Some hearing aids may produce a lot of feedback such as whistling, cracking when put on, or when it is windy. They may also make loud sounds when chewing specific foods or some electronic devices may cause interference with the signal. Again, you can resolve this through consultation with your audiologist.

How long will it take to get used to my hearing aid?

Unlike spectacles that fix refractive eye problems immediately, hearing aids do not restore the lost hearing ability right away. In fact, they do not restore hearing but help you hear better. However, the sooner you start using them the better. Wearing them will stimulate the brain to recognize and process sounds. It can take some time to get used to wearing hearing aids and at first ordinary sounds can seem extremely loud. This is because your brain needs to relearn the ability to filter out loud noises like these. Each person’s experience may vary but on average, most people will be well adjusted after wearing hearing aids for a few weeks.

 

Why do hearing aids cost so much?

One reason is that hearing aids are sold in relatively low volume and the manufacturers spend significant amounts on research and development.

What factors should I consider when choosing a style of hearing aid?

Your audiologist can help you make an appropriate choice based on your degree of hearing loss, the shape of your outer ear, the size and shape of the ear canal, your ability to place and adjust the device, any special features you need and any issues with excessive wax or drainage from the ears.

What brand of hearing aid should I choose?

You should consider price, quality and availability of after sales support. At AMARA MEDICARE, we work with multiple manufacturers based on the quality of their products, price and customer service.

Is it advisable to buy hearing aids online?

The process of fitting hearing aids is very technical and requires a detailed assessment and fitting protocol. Therefore, we believe that it is unsuitable for amateur procurement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


28/Oct/2021

Image of wisdom tooth
Image of wisdom tooth

 

When the word “wisdom tooth” is mentioned, some may think it makes them smarter or wiser. However, the wisdom has to do with the age of the tooth, i.e how long it took it to erupt into the mouth. Wisdom teeth are the third and final sets of molars (the biggest tooth type in the mouth used for chewing food) teeth that comes into the mouth from around ages 17 years and 25 years. They are normally four that erupts at the back of the mouth, with one in each corner of the mouth.

Wisdom teeth are valuable teeth when they are healthy and align properly with other sets of teeth. However, more often they are misaligned and require removal. The most common problem with wisdom teeth is impaction. Impaction of wisdom tooth implies that the tooth did not erupt appropriately or failed to erupt and this is because there isn’t sufficient space in the mouth for it to come out appropriately. It is believed that about one in ten persons in Nigeria have an impacted wisdom tooth.

Other problems associated with wisdom tooth include:

  • Presence of tooth cavities or infection;
  • Presence of gum swelling around the tooth referred to as pericoronitis;
  • It tends to damage nearby tooth;
  • There may be bone loss around the roots of the tooth;
  • Occasionally, its presence may be a risk factor for formation of cysts, a sac-like pocket of tissues that may contain air, fluid or other substances;
  • Inability to properly brush and clean around the tooth due to its distant location in the mouth.

IMPACTED WISDOM TEETH

Impacted wisdom teeth can result in pain, damage to other teeth and other dental problems. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth may cause no apparent or immediate problems. However, it is worth noting that they are hard to clean and more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease than other teeth. Impacted teeth that cause various dental problems are usually removed and at times those not having issues yet are advised to be removed to prevent serious dental complications in the future.

SYMPTOMS OF IMPACTED WISDOM TEETH

Impacted tooth that causes dental problems may present with the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain;
  • Red and swollen gums;
  • Inability to open the mouth adequately;
  • Bleeding and painful gums;
  • Bad breath;
  • Ear ache;
  • Jaw swelling;
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Sore throat.

CAN IMPACTION OF WISDOM TEETH BE PREVENTED?

No, you cannot prevent impaction of teeth. However, you can monitor the growth of your wisdom teeth by keeping regular 6 monthly checkups with your dentist for teeth cleaning who may recommend taking X-ray of the teeth to examine how they grow. Also, maintaining good oral hygiene practices can help reduce the amount of plaque buildup around the tooth.

WHEN SHOULD I VISIT THE DENTIST?

You should visit your dentist regularly (at least every 6 months). You should also book an appointment with your dentist when you feel any symptom or discomfort around your wisdom tooth.

HOW IS IMPACTED WISDOM TEETH TREATED?

The treatment of impacted teeth is dependent on if the tooth is symptomatic or not and the position of the tooth in the mouth. Your dentist may recommend that you remove the tooth even when there is no symptom. This is usually to prevent future problems with the tooth. Generally, an impacted wisdom tooth that presents with symptom is usually removed surgically.

The extraction is usually done as an outpatient procedure, so you will be able to go home after the procedure. It is always advised that you go for the treatment with someone to support you. During the treatment, a local anaesthesia is injected into the gums around the tooth to numb the area and prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure. A sedative drug may also be given before the procedure to make you feel more comfortable during the procedure. The gum around the tooth is incised and any bone obstructing the removal of the tooth is removed and the tooth taken out. Stitches are then placed on the gum to close the socket a bit. A gauze pack may be applied to stop any bleeding and supportive instructions are given to you.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL?

A surgical removal of tooth may take a few weeks to a few months to heal completely. However, within one or two weeks, sufficient healing has taken place to allow you to eat appropriately. Following the extraction there may be minor bleeding within the first 24 hours and swelling may occur within the first few days. The dentist may recommend use of ice packs and place you on some medications to reduce swelling, pain, infection and facilitate healing of the area. Usually, you are placed on warm saline mouth rinse after 24 hours of tooth removal which you are to do at least eight times daily for about a week.

 

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS THAT MAY ARISE FROM REMOVAL OF WISDOM TOOTH?

  • Dry Socket – This occurs when the socket where the tooth is removed get infected and this usually happen when you fail to comply with instructions given by your dentist. This condition can easily be managed, ensure you go back for follow up appointment with your dentist.
  • Paraesthesia – This is loss of sensation on the area where the tooth is removed. It rarely occurs.

HOW MUCH DOES WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTION COSTS?

In Nigeria, surgical removal of wisdom teeth may cost between Thirty thousand Naira (₦30,000) and Ninety thousand Naira (₦90,000). This is because costs vary in different location of the country, rural or urban. Usually, insurance with health maintenance organizations (HMOs) may cover some or all of cost of the procedure.

 


28/Oct/2021

 

Image of lady with tooth ache
Image of lady with tooth ache

A toothache is pain that you feel in or around your tooth. Usually, toothache indicates that there is something wrong with the tooth or gum around that particular tooth. Toothache is one of the most common oral health complaints with prevalence in Nigeria. It is worthy of note that at times, nothing may be wrong with the tooth or gum and the toothache may have been as a result of a referred pain somewhere else. This indicates the importance of seeking professional advice whenever you have symptoms of toothache as majority of the Nigerian population would rather try various home remedies instead of visiting the dental clinic.

Toothaches are usually not life-threatening. However, in some cases they can be signs of serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention as in cases of Ludwig’s angina, oral malignant cancers, necrotizing fasciitis etc. Thus, toothaches should never be ignored as even tooth decay can get worse if left alone for a while. Early presentation has proven to be beneficial to patient in the immediate and long term.

WHAT DOES TOOTHACHE FEELS LIKE?

Pain from toothaches has various characteristics based on the cause of the toothache. Pains can be characterized as the following:

  • Sharp Pain when food, cold/hot water touches the tooth;
  • Sharp pain on biting the teeth together;
  • Throbbing pain in or around the tooth and gum;
  • Shocking pain when cold water is taken;
  • Dull ache around the tooth and gum;
  • Burning sensation which is uncommon.

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF TOOTHACHE?

  • Tooth Decay – This is the most common cause of toothache. This occurs when there is a hole on the tooth.
  • Gum Disease – This occurs when there is plaques & tartar around the tooth that irritates the gum and makes the tooth lose its supporting structure over time and may be mobile.
  • Fracture – This is when the tooth or bone holding the tooth gets broken.
  • Attrition/Abrasion/Erosion – This refers to wearing off of the tooth due to use of chemical substance (e.g. drinking acidic drinks) or mechanical means (e.g. abrasives, teeth grinding, teeth scraping with metals etc.)
  • Impacted Tooth – This occur when one of the teeth usually the wisdom tooth is buried in gum or bone and thus unable to erupt properly into the mouth.
  • Neuralgia – This occurs when some nerves usually the Trigeminal nerve is inflamed or irritated and this is felt as though the pain is coming from the tooth. This is an example of referred pain.
  • Sinusitis – This is inflammation of the sinuses. Some of the roots of the upper teeth communicate with the sinus cavities and thus when there is an infection of the sinuses; it can be felt as toothache.
  • Heart Disease – In rare cases, toothache may be a symptom of Ischemic heart disease especially when chest pain is absent.
  • Tumors – usually malignant tumors may present with toothaches.

WHEN SHOULD I VISIT THE DENTAL CLINIC?

You should see your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache:

  • If the pain persists or reoccur within two days;
  • When there is associated swelling;
  • When there is inability to open the mouth well, fever or earache;
  • When there is inability to swallow foods properly;
  • When there is associated chest pain, coughing up of blood, breathlessness etc;
  • When pain affects sleep, daily activities etc.

HOW DO I TREAT MY TOOTHACHE?

Treatment of a toothache is dependent on the cause of the ache and that is why it is important to visit a dentist rather than self-medicate. The dentist will take a history of the pain, may do some tests or take X-ray depending on what may be the cause of the ache. The treatment may range from simple filling of the tooth in cases of tooth decay, to doing root canal treatment or extraction if it has to do with abscess and may require referral to see a cardiologist if an underlying heart disease is suspected.

CAN TOOTHACHE BE PREVENTED?

Toothaches are commonly caused by tooth decay and thus can be prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene practices. This involves brushing twice daily with medium bristle toothbrush and a fluoride containing toothpaste, rinsing the mouth after every meal, use of dental floss, reducing intake of sugary foods and regular visitation to the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning and general oral checkup.


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