Tales from the Operatory Part I: Frank W. Woolworth

Do you remember the Five and Dime stores? The first was the F. W. Woolworth Company founded by Frank W Woolworth in 1879. Woolworth was extremely successful, even expanding his company overseas.

We bring him up to you because Woolworth had a deep fear of dentists, allowing his teeth to rot, and as result died of a dental infection in 1919. A deep fear of dentists is called dentophobia or odontophobia. Frank Woolworth died as a result of ignoring the care for his teeth, allowing them to rot, creating deep caries (cavities) and lesions and had to be in excruciating pain. He died just 5 days before his 67th birthday. He was worth $76.5 million showing money won’t save you if you ignore your teeth.

 As an untreated tooth infection spreads through your body the symptoms will be:

  • A general feeling of fatigue and being unwell.
  • Persistent headaches, jaw aches, or earaches.
  • Noticeable and uncomfortable facial swelling.
  • Chills or high fever.
  • Increased heart rate or lightheadedness.
  • Unexplained stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Severe infections may even reach more distant parts of the body. In some cases, such infections may become systemic, affecting multiple tissues and systems throughout the body.
  • Carbohydrates (sugars and starches) increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • It’s possible for a tooth infection to develop into sepsis if left untreated.

The key for treating such a condition, before sepsis, would be antibiotics, treating the tooth abscess by draining it and getting rid of the infection, possibly root canals or extractions. Finally, possibly implant placements and prosthetics (either fixed or removeable).

The lesson Mr. Woolworth teaches is do not ignore your teeth. There are many avenues one can take to overcome the fear of seeing a dentist.

Columbia Dental makes it easy for you so you needn’t be afraid. We have the specialists, we have the in-house digital lab, and most importantly, we’re open 7 days a week, 365 days a year with late hours meaning we’re pretty much always here to care for you, all in one day.

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