Dentistry in Latvia during economic crisis

Leonīds Veļkovičs – director of the dental care centre SIA Svenata at 103 Brīvības Str. (tel.: 67379889, 29249165, svenata@delfi.lv) Our time is full of paradoxes. We dream of a beautiful and plentiful life, but spend our money without rhyme or reason. We want a pretty smile but postpone our visits to the dentist. Crisis calls for changes… I am sure that economic crisis originates in the heads of people. When did it really begin? The answer to this question depends, for example, on how many pairs of jeans we want to own – ten or twenty by luxury brands or two or three from ordinary shops? If the first answer is the case than the crisis began a long time ago, because the cult of consumption is one of the syndromes known only too well to psychoanalysts. Crisis is the time when everyone should seriously reconsider their values and priorities. One must understand which needs are crucial and which can be abandoned for some time. The cosiness of one’s home, for example, does not depend on the size of the TV set in any way! Therefore, it might be the right time to invest in one’s health now, including the health of one’s teeth? It is a sad thing to say but we can lose our teeth in no time if we stop looking after them. Expensive or cheap? In our country, an award is given to the manufacturers of competitive goods each year. Such awards have been given, for example, to the producers of fried sprats or chocolate glazed curd bars, but not to our dentists. If the results of their work were remembered when giving awards it would not do any harm… The dental fillings and dentures developed here in Latvia can be found in almost any corner of the world. It is no secret that when European tourists and businessmen visit Latvia, along with sightseeing in the Old Town and business meetings they also visit local dental care centres. I can affirm that Latvian dental care offers good price to quality ratio for the European market. Foreigners have realized it long ago and gladly use the services of Latvian dental care centres. Local population, on the contrary, seems to be in the dark. Why? Because the realization that teeth need care and treatment and that these services in Latvia are not expensive at all usually comes too late. For example, when one’s tooth starts aching during a foreign tour. And then whether you want it or not you are forced to turn to a foreign specialist whose price will be much higher than in Latvia. Latest opportunities Dental care makes rapid progress today. I can point out two latest directions: bone tissue restoration methods and new thermoplastic materials for dental prosthesis. We hope to be able to inform our patients about the results of the aforementioned research in the first months of the next year. Periodontitis is a very unpleasant condition – teeth loosen and shift position, gradually it gets very painful (especially when eating). Periodontitis is caused by inflammatory processes originating in the oral cavity. Often the bone gets damaged as well. Periodontitis is considered incurable. However, if a patient seeks help promptly, the inflammatory process can be stopped through dental laser therapy. This method allows fighting inflammation and helps to strengthen jawbone tissue. Laser therapy is painless and available at moderate prices. Periodontitis isn’t the only reason that can cause loss of bone tissue. Jawbone can also disappear after tooth extraction – it is no longer needed (it does not perform the biting function anymore) and therefore it grows smaller in course of time or just vanishes. Undoubtedly, it makes prosthetics more difficult. Today we can solve this problem by means of new generation artificial bones. The material is inserted instead of the extracted tooth or into the periodontal pocket. While in the patient’s oral cavity the material facilitates the formation of osseous cells and new bone tissue. As a result, the patient can retain his/her own teeth for a longer period of time or, if the teeth cannot be saved, favourable conditions for dental prosthetics can be created. The necessity to combine bridges and other complicated structures in a patient’s mouth can be reduced thanks to the new thermoplastic material – duracetal (Latin durum stands for firm). It is comparable to metal. Duracetal comes in various white colour tones, which means it can be matched with the teeth of each individual patient. Duracetal can be used both for partial and full restoration of teeth. And now judge for yourself – whether there is a crisis in Latvian dentistry…