Dentist in West Covina

Dentist in West Covina

Death by a Thousand Cuts !


For those of you who haven’t had a chance to listen to my new podcast, Marin Dental Media, I’d like to share an excerpt of the last episode, “Death by a Thousand Cuts”.

To listen to the complete version of this episode and the previous two episodes on Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening and Do-It-Yourself Clear Aligners, just go to your favorite podcast app and search for Marin Dental Media. I look forward to get your feedback and suggestions for new episodes.




Death by a Thousand Cuts !



Death by a thousand cuts was a form of torture used by the chinese as capital punishment
for serious crimes in the last part of the nineteenth century. The idea was to prolong the
suffering of the condemned for as long as possible with small wounds before the person
finally died. Although you could say that the last cut was the one that killed the person,
really it was a combination of all the previous injuries.

Today we use “Death by a thousand cuts” as a metaphor for minor progressive changes
that by themselves may go unnoticed but when put together have a significant negative
impact .

A tooth breaks down in a gradual process. Most of the times when a patient comes with a
broken tooth, their complain is “I was just eating a piece of bread” or I was eating a fry,
it wasn’t even hard”. The truth is that it wasn’t the last bite that broke the tooth, the
tooth had been gradually getting worse and worse over time without even being noticed.

In dental practice we routinely identify injuries caused by sudden trauma, that is when
someone sustains a sudden impact that causes obvious damage. A punch in the mouth that
knocks a tooth out is what we would consider Macro-trauma. But the consequences of
micro-trauma often fly under the radar. Micro-trauma is caused by a continuous negative
event. Such is the case of excessive compression of the teeth from grinding. When teeth
are pressed together, that force is transferred to the root and the support structures of
the tooth. When pressure is held down, we pinch the membrane that attaches the tooth to
the jaw, we create a slowing down of the circulation that comes to the tooth through a tiny
opening at the end of the root. With limited blood supply and poor oxygen reaching the
tooth and its surrounding tissues, there are biologic changes that ultimately result in
tissue destruction. Much like if you were to leave a tourniquet in one of your limbs for too
long, that part of your body would wither and die; when you pinch blood supply to the teeth
and gums, they become oxygen deprived and die. This ultimately results in receding gums,
loose and shifting teeth, nerve death, root fractures and potential tooth loss.


Listen to the full episode in your favorite podcast app.

If you have any questions about this or any other dental subjects you can write to or call (626)810-5000 in West Covina or (714)529-2626 in the city of Brea


Thank You,

Oscar Marin DDS