Category Archives: History

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.

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

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.

Someone really loves Prince William and Princess Kate.
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.


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.

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


Jeweled Teeth

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.


6 Myths About Teeth

Myth 1: You Should Always Brush After Every Meal


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.


Invention of the Tooth brush, Tooth paste and Dental Floss


Natural bristle brushes were invented by the ancient Chinese who made toothbrushes with bristles from the necks of cold climate pigs.
French dentists were the first Europeans to promote the use of toothbrushes in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, created the first mass-produced toothbrush. The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth and many American Companies began to mass-produce toothbrushes after 1885. The Pro-phy-lac-tic brush made by the Florence Manufacturing Company of Massachusetts is one example of an early American made toothbrush. The Florence Manufacturing Company was also the first to sell toothbrushes packaged in boxes. In 1938, DuPont manufactured the first nylon bristle toothbrushes Continue reading Invention of the Tooth brush, Tooth paste and Dental Floss



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With origins dating back over 4,000 years, green tea has long been a popular beverage in Asian culture, and is increasingly gaining popularity in the United States. And while ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine believed green tea consumption could cure disease and heal wounds, recent scientific studies are beginning to establish the potential health benefits of drinking green tea, especially in weight loss, heart health, and cancer prevention. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology, the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), uncovered yet another benefit of green tea consumption. Researchers found that routine intake of green tea may also help promote healthy teeth and gums. The study analyzed the periodontal health of 940 men, and found that those who regularly drank green tea had superior periodontal health than subjects that consumed less green tea. Continue reading GO GREEN FOR HEALTHY TEETH AND GUMS


Study finds a 34% rise in dentists performing orthodontic treatments


One may not equate an online advertising and marketing business with producing dental statistics. However, OutRank by Rogers proved to be an exception. This “one-stop shop for marketing and advertising your small business” recently gathered some interesting statistics about the changing face of today’s dentistry, in particular regarding invisible braces and adults choosing corrective cosmetic procedures.

“The data is based on thousands of clients (and hundreds of dentists) across Canada, excluding Quebec,” said Carrie Shaw, Director of Marketing at OutRank by Rogers. “We set up search-optimized websites for our customers and have access to all of the searches that lead to views to our clients’ websites. That is how we acquired five million searches. The data shows how the industry is changing. To date we’ve seen about 34% of our dentistry partners optimizing their advertising for search words such as Invisalign, invisible braces, aligners, and smile correction.”

“Why did we decide to dive into this research? It was an insight offered by one of our customer service associates that made us realize there was a story here,” Shaw said. “This person works on a lot of dental accounts and noticed the increasing prevalence of dentists offering corrective treatments. We pulled the data and found that indeed, many people are searching for terms such as Invisalign, and more dentists are showing up at the top of the results, not just orthodontists!”
A large part of this change is being driven by the ease of integrating these kinds of procedures into a dental practice, according to Rogers’ research. For a system such as Invisalign, a dentist can assess alignment issues and create molds of patients’ teeth, techniques that are already common in dental practices. These molds are then sent to a laboratory, where 10 to 20 sets of retainers are created. Requiring no new tools or additional staff, systems like this represent a great way for dentists to generate new business.
Dr. Sundeep Patel, a dentist who handles numerous requests for smile correction, sees a growing acceptance of cosmetic dentistry from both patients and doctors. “When I started my practice 15 years ago, only about 1 in 10 adults came into my office requesting cosmetic dentistry. Now we live in a cosmetic age where esthetic treatments make up about 6 in 10 new patient requests. A fair portion of these includes some form of orthodontic treatment.”
From his practice in Winnipeg, Dr. Patel continues to refer patients to orthodontists, but explains that “choosing to refer a patient is entirely up to the dentist. Each day I see more and more dentists doing general orthodontic work and I honestly think you’ll see this trend continue, especially among young dentists in saturated markets.”
But what’s great for dentists may be a cause for alarm for orthodontists.
Dr. Bruce McFarlane, an orthodontist and mentor at ICANDO, explains, “For every orthodontist there are 10 dentists. Naturally oral health care professionals are expanding their services to adapt to the increased competition, but this doesn’t signal the end of orthodontics as we know it.”
There are many cases where traditional orthodontics are necessary for such issues as skeletal issues, overbites, and narrow bite profiles, which cannot be resolved with Invisalign. Adult corrections represent about 30% of Dr. McFarlane’s total practice, and of these cases only about one third are right for braces alternatives. “The worry for me is less about the competition, and more that patients are listening to their doctor’s advice and not fixating on a single treatment option,” he said.
“As far as the link between doctor, patient, and Internet, I think the salient point is that search engines show us what’s trending and we see businesses respond to that,” Shaw said. “I think dentists and orthodontists can learn a lot from what Google tells us, and I think that is a really interesting way to understand what prospective patients want. I would imagine the trends are similar in the U.S.”


History of Dental Instruments

As far back as 5,000 B.C., according to an ancient Sumerian text that claimed tooth decay was the result of “tooth worms,”tooth wormsdentists have been wielding their implements of torture among the populace

The first dental drill was a foot driven instrument invented by John Greenwood in 1790. Far from the high tech dental drills of today, the first dental drill John Greenwood made was really just a modified version of his mother’s foot treadle spinning wheel. While, a bit unwieldy, it did the trick. In 1957, a dentist named John Borden invented the high speed contra angle hand piece with 30,000 rotations per minute, a monumental step forward in dental drilling and polishing.

In 1790, a prominent American dentist named Josiah Flagg invented the first dentist chair, complete with headrest and tray for keeping track of implements. In 1832, inventor James Snell improved on Greenwood’s invention by making the chair recline, making it easier for a dentist to see in his victim’s (or patient’s) mouth. In 1877, the chair once again made dental headlines when the Wilkerson chair replaced the Snell chair as the predominant chair type used by dentists.

In 1864, Sanford C. Barnum invented the rubber dental dam. It’s purpose is to isolate an individual tooth so the dentist can work with a limited amount of saliva present to slow his work. Cutting off the area of concern from the rest of the mouth makes it easier to work.

In 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, invented the x-ray machine most often used by dentists. A year later, in 1896 a well known New Orleans dentist, C. Edmond Kells, took the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S. The ability to see what was happening under the surface improved the precision that dentists could use when isolating dental problems.

There were a number of types of toothbrushes before the nylon brush came along, but since it did in 1938, the nylon toothbrush has been the standard toothbrush used by dentists and people alike. In 1960, the first electric model toothbrush was introduced to the buying public.




Dental hygiene and mouthwash products from a variety of medieval and Renaissance sources

Dental Hygiene Recipes and Suggestions

Water RinseCandles

Hildegarde of Bingen, Physica, 1158 (German)
“One who wishes to have hard, healthy teeth should take pure, cold water into his mouth in the morning, when he gets out of bed. He should hold it for a little while in his mouth so that the mucus around his teeth become soft, and so this water might wash his teeth. If he does this often, the mucus around his teeth will not increase, and his teeth will remain healthy. Since the mucus adheres to the teeth during sleep, when the person rises from sleep he should clean them with cold water, which cleans teeth better than warm water. Warm water makes them more fragile.”  Continue reading Dental hygiene and mouthwash products from a variety of medieval and Renaissance sources