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Monday, February 18, 2019

How dentistry has developed over the last 300 years

When you visit a modern dental surgery, it’s hard to imagine the challenges of dental treatment without all the latest technology.
Yet specialists have been taking care of people’s teeth for thousands of years.
Here are some of the key developments over the last 300 years.
1723: French surgeon Pierre Fauchard – credited as being the father of modern dentistry – publishes the first book to describe a comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry.
1760: John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrates from England and sets up practice.
1790: John Greenwood adapts his mother’s foot treadle spinning wheel to rotate a drill.
1790: Josiah Flagg, a prominent American dentist, constructs the first chair made specifically for dental patients.
1832: James Snell invents the first reclining dental chair.
1841: Alabama enacts the first dental practice act, regulating dentistry in the United States.
1844: Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, discovers that nitrous oxide can be used as an anesthesia and successfully uses it to conduct several extractions in his private practice.
1880s: The collapsible metal tube revolutionizes toothpaste manufacturing and marketing.
1890: Willoughby Miller notes the microbial basis of dental decay in a book which started a world-wide movement to promote regular toothbrushing and flossing.
1896: New Orleans dentist C. Edmond Kells takes the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S.
1938: The nylon toothbrush, the first made with synthetic bristles, appears on the market.
1945: The water fluoridation era begins when the cities of Newburgh, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, add sodium fluoride to their public water systems.
1950s: The first fluoride toothpastes are marketed.
1960: The first commercial electric toothbrush, developed in Switzerland after World War II, is introduced in the United States. A cordless, rechargeable model follows in 1961.

Monday, February 11, 2019

What to expect when having a tooth extracted

The process of having a tooth extracted may seem worrying but you’ll find it much easier if you know what to expect on the day and afterwards.
Your dentist will make the process as comfortable as possible for you by numbing the area around the tooth to be extracted.
In most cases, a small amount of bleeding is quite normal and your dentist will advise you what process to follow to allow healing as quickly as possible.
Generally, you should avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
For example, it’s best not to smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours afterwards as these could delay healing.
For the first few days, if you need to rinse your mouth, do it gently. If you are suffering pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag.
If necessary, your dentist will recommend something for any pain.
At the beginning, don’t clean around the socket where the tooth has been removed but you should brush and floss the other teeth as usual.
Modern procedures make having an extraction and the follow-up more comfortable than ever before.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The facts about oral cancer

Oral cancer is not as well known as other types of cancer but it can represent a life-threatening risk if not identified early.
– It strikes an estimated 35,000 Americans each year
– More than 7,500 people (5,200 men and 2,307 women) die of these cancers each year
– More than 25% of Americans who get oral cancer will die of the disease
– On average, only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years
– African-Americans are especially vulnerable; the incidence rate is 1/3 higher than whites and the mortality rate is almost twice as high
Although the use of tobacco and alcohol are risk factors in developing oral cancer, approximately 25% of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors.
There has been a nearly five-fold increase in incidence in oral cancer patients under age 40, many with no known risk factors.
The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly, largely due to an increase in women smoking. In 1950 the male to female ratio was 6:1; by 2002, it was 2:1.
The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
Unusual red or white spots can form in and around the mouth. These are often harmless but they can be cancerous or pre-cancerous.
Identifying and removing these early enough is a major factor in reducing the incidence of cancer.
So knowing the risk factors and seeing your dentist for regular examinations can help prevent this deadly disease.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Tips for people with difficulty handling a toothbrush

There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.

Monday, January 21, 2019

How a healthy diet can help you have healthy teeth

Eating the right food plays an important role in developing healthy teeth and gums.
If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to fight infection and this can contribute to gum disease.
Although poor nutrition does not cause gum disease directly, the disease may progress faster and could be more severe in people with diets which are low in nutrients.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes recommendations on the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed by your body – including your teeth and gums – to promote health and prevent disease.
We have different needs at various stages life and depending on our physical activity. The DOA website provides more information and your dentist will be able to discuss how your diet affects your teeth.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure what you eat doesn’t harm your teeth.
– Maintain a healthy diet
– Drink plenty water
– Limit the number of between-meal snacks. When you must snack, choose nutritious foods that are low in sugar
– Keep a food diary for a week recording every item you eat and drink
It will also help if you brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly. Schedule regular dental checkups and professional cleanings and talk to your dentist about how your diet affects your teeth.

Monday, January 14, 2019

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

If you sometimes find the taste of something hot or cold painful on your teeth, you may suffer from sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth is a common problem which may be caused by cavities and fractured teeth.
But it can also be caused by worn tooth enamel, a cracked tooth or an exposed tooth root.
Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the body and it protects the crowns of healthy teeth. A layer called cementum protects the tooth root under the gum line.
The part underneath the enamel and the cementum is called dentin, which is less dense than enamel or cementum.
The dentin contains small hollow tubes or canals called tubules. When the dentin loses its protective covering, the tubules allow hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth.
This causes hypersensitivity and occasional discomfort but fortunately, the irritation does not cause permanent damage.
Following proper oral hygiene helps prevent the gums from receding and causing the pain of sensitive teeth.
Brushing your teeth incorrectly or even brushing too much can cause gum problems.
Your dentist will advise you on the best daily routint to maximize your oral hygiene.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Why a dental abscess should be treated quickly

If you have any kind of swelling in your gum, it almost certainly indicates a serious infection that should be treated urgently.
Dental abscesses result from a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums.
For example, it may come from an untreated cavity. Cavities result when some of the bacteria in our mouths mix with sugars and starches in our diet to produce acid.
This acid attacks the hard enamel coating of our teeth and, as the cavity gets deeper, it eventually infects the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
In some cases, a dental abscess is caused by an infection of the gum. Bone loss from gum disease can create a pocket between the tooth, gum and bone.
When bacteria and other debris get into this pocket, an abscess can form.
The treatment for an abscess depends on how severe the infection is.
If the abscess has been caused by decay, root canal treatment may be needed or the tooth may even have to be removed.
If the abscess has been caused by the gum, the gum will need deep cleaning or surgical treatment. Again the tooth may need to be removed.
Sometimes, a small incision may be made into the gum to drain the abscess. If this happens, antibiotics and pain medication may be used to relieve discomfort.
If you wait until the gum is severely swollen before seeking treatment, the situation can become very serious.
The abscess at this stage can prevent you breathing properly and can be life-threatening.
So if you have any signs of swelling in your gum, contact your dentist immediately.