Category Archives: Funny

Tattoo Your Tooth. It’s Totally a Thing.

Well, not for everybody. But if you want to add a little art to your to your teeth, you actually CAN. Really. Well, your crown, anyway.

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Note: Not really what happens when you add tooth art to your mouth.
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Cute little heart.

While tooth tattoos sound pretty crazy, they’ve been around for about 20 years, innovated by dental technician Steve Heward, the world’s first tooth tattoo artist.

And just like tattoos on the skin, the quality and taste level range widely.

Customize Your Crown
With a Tattoo that Says YOU.

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So, we have a panda, a tree?, an iguana?, a rooster, a horse, a hawk?, an American Eagle, Princess Diana, George Washington, Lincoln, Tiger Woods, Amy Winehouse, Elvis? and Letterman. What do you see?

To get your own, Google “tooth tattoos” and find a dental lab that offers tattoo services.

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Someone really loves Prince William and Princess Kate.
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These teeth may be tattooed, but they’re very clean.

Pretty much every tooth in your mouth can be fitted for a crown, tattooed by a professional, and sent back to your dentist for a final fitting.

It just might be the coolest (or weirdest) thing you do all year.

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Fun Facts About Braces and Orthdontics

Braces Trivia

An orthodontist needs four years of college, four years of dental school, and two years of postgraduate study in orthodontics before they can practice orthodontics.

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All orthodontists are also board certified dentists

Dr Charles Tweed was the first certified orthodontist in the US.
The first “braces” were constructed by Pierre Fauchard in 1728. Fauchard’s “braces” consisted of a flat strip of metal, which was connected to teeth by pieces of thread. Continue reading Fun Facts About Braces and Orthdontics

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Jeweled Teeth

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The Mayans were an advanced civilization who regrettably are now most known for their supposed “prediction” of the end of the world. About 2,500 years ago, the Maya already had a very advanced understanding of teeth. While many people today try to whiten their teeth, for the Mayans that was not nearly enough. They would have their dentists use a primitive drill to decorate their teeth. Sometimes they would have parts of the tooth cut out or shaped to make it look more interesting. However, their most extreme modification was the bejeweling of teeth.

Some people, more often men, would have small holes made in their teeth that were fitted with gemstones to make their mouths look pretty. Researchers believe these finds show the Mayans were very skilled at dental work, as they could fit these jewels into the teeth without breaking them.

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Oral Piercings

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Body piercing is a popular form of self-expression. Oral piercings or tongue splitting may look cool, but they can be dangerous to your health. That’s because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection and swelling often occur with mouth piercings. For instance, your mouth and tongue could swell so much that you close off your airway or you could possibly choke if part of the jewelry breaks off in your mouth. In some cases, you could crack a tooth if you bite down too hard on the piercing, and repeated clicking of the jewelry against teeth can also cause damage. Oral piercing could also lead to more serious infections, like hepatitis or endocarditis. Continue reading Oral Piercings

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6 Myths About Teeth

Myth 1: You Should Always Brush After Every Meal

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The thinking behind this idea is obvious: To protect your teeth from decay, get rid of leftover food as early as possible. But you’d really be better served to wait a while before brushing those chompers.

The human mouth has a one–two punch to defend itself. One is tooth enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. The second line of defense is saliva. In her recent book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Mary Roach writes that saliva contains some of the same enzymes used in detergent to break down starches (known as amylase), and antibacterial substances so effective that wounds in the mouth will heal twice as fast as those located on the skin. Bottom line, saliva is your friend.

So give your body’s natural ability to break down foods a chance to work after you eat. The acidic environment in your mouth temporarily softens the enamel on teeth while it breaks down food particles and washes them away. Brush too soon after meals and you’ll end up scrubbing away tooth enamel in the process. It’s not a bad idea to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes before grabbing that toothbrush.

Myth 2: Bleaching Weakens Your Teeth

Whitening products sold over the counter in the form of strips, trays, or paste work by using the oxidizing agents’ hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to remove pigment on the surface of the enamel. At-home products typically contain a 3 to 10 percent hydrogen-peroxide level, as opposed to the 15 to 38 percent level dentists can use. The products are effective at removing surface stains but should be used in moderation.

But will they weaken your teeth? A recent study conducted by Dr. Shereen Azer, at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, has shown some loss of enamel ranging from 1.2 to 2 nanometers, with the tray resulting in slightly more erosion than the other tooth-whitening methods. Overuse of the oxidizing agents can cause both gum and tooth sensitivity, and continued overuse may even leave some of your teeth looking translucent. Some researchers even suggest that bleaching can temporarily dissolve calcium ions in the enamel, though enamel has shown the ability to “remineralize” itself, over time.

However, while overuse can strip pigment or enamel from your teeth, it won’t weaken the structure of the tooth itself. Still, many factors, including varying thickness of enamel, preexisting tooth sensitivity, and tooth discolorations resulting from decay, affect the results of whitening. So always consult with your dentist.

Myth 3: Extreme Temperature Changes Can Crack Your Teeth

This one requires a little nuance. Yes, extreme temperature changes can crack your teeth. But don’t expect that frigid bite of ice cream to crack a tooth wide open.

A healthy adult tooth was built to absorb varying temperature changes occurring in the mouth. Tiny hairline cracks on the surface of enamel are actually quite common, and you may even spot a few on your teeth in the right light. Known as craze lines, the minor cracks are so shallow that they rarely pose a threat to the tooth itself.

Regular checkups with your dentist are always best to ensure minor imperfections aren’t indicative of a larger concern. Should you have a crack, it’s best to catch it early. Chewing can force a cracked tooth open and closed, eventually exposing more of the nerves located inside, a very painful result you’ll want to avoid.

Myth 4: A Tooth Will Dissolve In Soda Overnight

In the fall of 1950 Cornell University Professor Clive McCay was on a mission to alert Americans to the cavity-causing power of Coca-Cola. Speaking in front of the Congressional committee on food additives, McCay came armed with some rather alarming statements, including that Coke could eat through the steps of the nation’s Capital building, and that a tooth placed in a glass of Coca-Cola would dissolve within several days. McCay’s statements got the lawmakers’ attention and spawned more urban myths about Coke.

Soda’s supposed dissolving powers can be traced to the presence of three acids in its formula—phosphoric, citric, and carbonic acid, many of which can be found in other popular drinks. In fact, every morning many Americans begin their day with orange juice, a drink possessing more citric acid (and as much sugar) as soda. Coca-Cola’s head chemist, Orville May, testified that the .055 percent level of phosphoric acid in Coke is nowhere near the 1.09 percent acid content found in an orange.

As for the tooth-dissolving myth, May also suggested that McCay’s testimony ignored the effects of saliva in the mouth—or the simple fact that people don’t hold soda in their mouth overnight. In any case, attempts to recreate this experiment have shown that McCay exaggerated the claim: Leaving your tooth in a glass of Coke isn’t good for it, but it won’t completely dissolve overnight, or even in a couple of days.

That said, the acids present in many popular drinks can temporarily lower the pH of saliva in the mouth, allowing for the softening of tooth enamel and the opportunity for sugar to cause tooth decay. Recent studies have found sports and energy drinks can be more acidic and cause more erosion to tooth enamel than soda itself, and it doesn’t help they’re typically consumed when an individual is dehydrated, which weakens saliva’s protective properties for the enamel.

Myth 5: Knocked-Out Teeth Are Lost Forever

Though many hockey players consider a lost tooth a badge of honor, it is possible to reimplant a knocked-out adult tooth. A severed root experiences damage to blood vessels and tissue, but the ligaments connecting the tooth to the bone can be re-formed. The key to a successful reimplantation is how the missing tooth is stored and for how long.

Assuming you can find the tooth, avoid scraping off any dirt particles, as you risk damaging the root further. Instead, rinse it gently with a saline solution while carefully handling it by the crown. If possible, place the tooth back in its original socket, or store it in a small container with saline or milk. Milk—containing proteins, sugar, and antibacterial substances—provides the ideal environment for a lost tooth. As an added bonus, the sugars in milk help feed cells, which need to remain alive and growing in the short term.

Don’t have access to any of the above? Don’t panic. Your cheek will work well for storage in the interim; just be careful not to swallow your precious cargo.

Placing pressure on the gums will also help to reduce the bleeding and pain as you are en route to the dentist. Depending on the damage, a successful reimplanted tooth can heal significantly in three to four weeks, and become fully repaired within two months.

Myth 6: The Origin of the Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy is actually a relatively young creation at less than a century old, and results from a combination of myths shared across different cultures and civilizations.

 

Europeans from before the Middle Ages were very concerned about the correct disposal of baby teeth (also known as milk teeth). Believing a witch could curse someone using their tooth, lost baby teeth were swallowed, buried, burned, or even left for rodents to eat. Rodents, though considered pests, were valued for their teeth, which were viewed as healthy and strong. It was believed a tooth fed to a rodent could lead to the healthy development of a permanent adult tooth.

Money enters the picture around the Middle Ages in the form of a tann-fé (tooth fee) via what is now Scandinavia. The Vikings paid children for a lost tooth, which was then worn on a necklace for good luck in battle. The idea of exchanging a tooth for coins advanced throughout Europe, though it did not yet involve a fairy.

The 18th century saw a rise in the popularity of a “tooth mouse,” via the popular French fairy tale “La Bonne Petite Souris,” (“The Good Little Mouse”) written by Madame d’Aulnoy in 1697. The story relates the heroic actions of one tough mouse that, after changing into a fairy, defeats an evil king by hiding under his pillow and knocking out all his teeth. Spain saw its own version of the tooth mouse in the story “El Ratón Perez” (“Perez the Mouse”), written by Luis Coloma in 1894, honoring Alfonso XIII, the boy king who had recently lost a tooth. The popularity of both stories helped solidify an association between a tooth mouse and a fairy, with the concept of a tooth fairy gaining traction as it crossed the Atlantic.

In America, the 1927 play The Tooth Fairy, by Esther Watkins Arnold, and Lee Rogow’s 1949 book of the same name helped to give the childhood myth a permanent place alongside the likes of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Today, the tooth fairy even has her own day, with February 28 serving as National Tooth Fairy Day.

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Dental Myths and Misconceptions

Most people do not look forward to seeing their dentist. Surveys about the most loved or hated professions are often not kind to dentists.know-the-facts-lethbridge-dentist

Perhaps this is why dentists are sometimes portrayed as sinister characters in movies. For example, in Little Shop of Horrors, Steve Martin plays Orin, the evil dentist. In one song, he quotes his mom, singing: “You have a talent for causin’ things pain. Son, be a dentist. People will pay you to be inhumane.” And how about the sadistic dentist played by Laurence Olivier interrogating and torturing Dustin Hoffman’s character with a dental drill in Marathon Man? These characters seem to play on the fear many people have of seeing their dentist and getting dental care that may be painful.

While it’s true that going to the dentist isn’t at the top of things I do for fun, it usually isn’t thatbad. Unlike Orin, my dentist is great about making sure I’m numb before getting to work.

Dentists, of course, just want to do what’s best for their patients’ oral health. Your experience at the dentist should generally be pain-free, given modern medications and procedures.

Myths about teeth abound. Perhaps you’ve wondered about how to whiten stained teeth or what people mean when they say they have “soft teeth.” Maybe you never had a chance to ask your dentist—it’s hard to do when your mouth is full of instruments!

Here are five of my favorite dental myths:

1. All stains can be easily whitened or cleaned away.

Many things can discolor teeth, but not all of them can be fixed by a professional cleaning or tooth-whitening procedure. Tobacco, coffee and some foods can cause teeth to turn yellow or brown. Ingesting or inhaling certain metals can also change tooth color. For example, copper can turn teeth green, while mercury can turn them black. These stains usually come off easily with either a professional cleaning or a tooth-whitening procedure.

The discoloration related to damage or death of the pulp, the soft core of the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves, is harder to fix, but it’s not impossible. The procedure involves putting bleach into the part of the tooth that contains the pulp.

Some stains just don’t respond well to whitening or cleaning. To deal with these types of stains, you generally need to get a procedure called bonding, in which a dentist paints a plasticlike material onto the tooth. For example, taking the antibiotic tetracycline in childhood, when your permanent teeth are developing, can cause stains that are hard or impossible to whiten. Or if your childhood drinking water had an excess of certain minerals in it, such as copper or silver, your teeth may be uneven in color.

Ironically, too much tooth whitening can make teeth look gray, because it turns the teeth translucent. How much whitening is too much differs from person to person, says Dr. John D. Da Silva of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. “It varies depending on tooth size, shape and thickness of enamel. That’s one of the reasons why you should see your dentist before bleaching your teeth,” he says.

2. “Soft” teeth cause cavities.

You may have heard someone say he has “soft” teeth and that’s why he gets lots of cavities. The truth is that teeth are hard. The enamel that covers the part of the teeth above the gum line is the hardest substance in the human body. It’s not softness that causes cavities—in fact, cavities are formed when acid produced by bacteria dissolves the hard enamel. This missing enamel (the “soft spot” in the tooth) is the cavity. But the tooth itself is not soft.

Some people are more susceptible to cavities and other mouth problems. But that’s not because their teeth are soft, it’s because of a mix of genetics, what they eat, medical problems they have, medications they take and how well they take care of their teeth.

 

3. Chewing gum is bad for your teeth.

This one’s partly true. Chewing gum of any kind increases saliva production—a good thing, because saliva cleans the teeth and neutralizes acid. The sugar found in some gum, however, feeds bacteria. So whether gum is good for you or not depends on whether it’s sugar-free or not. Sugar-free gum can actually be good for teeth; it seems that a particular type of artificial sweetener, xylitol, fights oral bacteria better than other types of sweeteners.

4. Fluoride is unsafe.

Studies show that adding fluoride to a community’s drinking water is associated with a 50 percent to 70 percent drop in the level of tooth decay. The widespread fluoridation of drinking water is often cited as one of the greatest public-health accomplishments of the 20th century.

Yet rumors linking fluoride to health problems abound. It gets connected to heart disease, allergies and genetic abnormalities, to name a few. But numerous studies refute claims that the current level of fluoride in drinking water causes these problems. And many important health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association, support fluoridation.

That said, fluoride can be dangerous—even lethal—if you ingest excessive amounts—2.5 to 5 grams for an average adult. However, that would mean drinking 5,000 to 10,000 glasses of fluoridated water in one sitting. The biggest poisoning danger is for children who get into improperly stored fluoride tablets or ingest a large amount of a fluoridated toothpaste or mouth rinse.

5. Old people actually get “long in the tooth.”

OK, I doubt many people actually believe this. Maybe this one isn’t so much a myth as it is a phrase that reflects an interesting dental phenomenon: The gums of humans and certain animals (especially horses) tend to pull away from the teeth as they age. This makes the teeth appear to be getting longer. This phrase refers to anything old, worn out or old-fashioned.

By the way, the relationship between a horse’s age and the appearance of its teeth also explains the phrase “never look a gift horse in the mouth.” If someone gave you a horse as a gift, it would be rude to immediately look at its teeth to see how old—and therefore how valuable—it is. It would be like looking at a gift’s label or its price tag in front of the gift giver—not polite!

Maybe it’s too much to expect that you’ll actually look forward to seeing your dentist every visit. But considering what we put our teeth through over a lifetime, it’s worth taking good care of your teeth and knowing the difference between dental myths and facts.

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Dealing with Patient Anxiety: Are you helping or not?

Many people experience dental anxiety and would rather endure discomfort in the mouth over a visit to the dentist. Typically, this anxiety stems from the anticipation of the pain rather than the pain itself. Other anxiety factors may include fear of the unknown, dental equipment, past experiences or being overly sensitive to pain. No matter what the case may be, modern dentistry continues to develop new techniques to alleviate various forms of anxiety.

As a dental professional, what are methods you can use to help your patients combat anxiety? Continue reading Dealing with Patient Anxiety: Are you helping or not?

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Weird and Wild: Dental Stories You Wouldn’t Believe

Unbelievable, yet true. Here are some wacky dental stories that will make you happy your recent trip to the dentist was uneventful.

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Drill Drop
Last year, a 60-year-old Swedish woman was injured when a dental drill head came loose and dropped into her mouth. Providers rushed to sit the woman up immediately and tried to get her to cough up the drill head, but the inch-long piece had already fallen down her throat and lodged in her right lung, according to the Swedish news website, The Local.
Doctors at Västmanland County Hospital, in Västerås, in central Sweden, performed an emergency surgery to remove the metal piece. The woman has since recovered. Continue reading Weird and Wild: Dental Stories You Wouldn’t Believe

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10 Top Home Remedies for Tooth Pain

Here are the top 10 home remedies for toothaches.

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1. Pepper and Salt
Salt mixed with pepper can be of great use when a tooth becomes extremely sensitive. Continue reading 10 Top Home Remedies for Tooth Pain

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