Saturday, January 22, 2005

Visiting the Dentist

The next time you go to the dentist to have your teeth cleaned, think about what is going on. You lie on your back with your mouth wide open. Seated next to you is a woman dressed like a space alien (goggles, face mask, rubber gloves, tyvek biohaz suit...)(OK, maybe no tyvek, but close) and she is wielding instruments of torture. She reaches into your mouth with a scraper and a little mirror and scratches off pieces of calcified tartar one tooth at a time....

Is it possible to get any more primitive than this???? It is so sad.

It reminds me of the sort of stories you hear about "surgery" in the civil war, where the only treatment for a serious wound in an arm or leg was amputation using a saw. No anesthetic, no sterile operating theater, no antibiotics. Just cut if off and hope for the best. That was sad -- no other word for it (OK, the words disgusting and barbarous also come to mind). These were primitive people and amputation was all they had.

Today, when we go to the dentist, we are primitive people. What we have is a person reaching into our mouths with a scraper. When that doesn't work we get cavities, and we turn to a dentist with a drill. A drill of all things! And when that doesn't work, the tooth gets pulled out. This does not sound a whole lot more advanced than civil war surgery...

Dentistry really has not changed much in the past several centuries. The whole idea of "brushing your teeth" is pretty amazingly primitive, and don't even get me started on flossing. Imagine what the grandkids will have to say about that -- "What, you had to thread a piece of STRING through your TEETH every day??? That's totally insane!". By 2050 the entire profession, I pray, will be largely eliminated. Someone will come up with a pill or a spray or a mouthwash that completely eliminates the bacteria that cause tartar/plaque.

When we tell our grandkids about dentistry in the early 21st century, they will either a) throw up or b) laugh with disgust. Common exclamations will be things like, "The woman reached into your mouth with a scraper and did WHAT???" or, "He drilled right into your TOOTH???? Didn't that HURT????"

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16 Comments:

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing that is sad - dentures!

 
At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He lives!

SWetzel

 
At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard that a 50% dilute of hydrogen peroxide gargle with 3% food grade H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide), swishing for about 60 seconds kills most bacteria that cause teeth and gum probles. Is this true, Marshall?

 
At 8:44 AM, Blogger Marshall Brain said...

On the H2O2, I doubt that it would work as a total solution. For example, you may have heard about the lawsuit recently against Listerine. There's an article about it here that says:

"Calling a Listerine print and TV ad campaign false, misleading and a public health risk, a federal judge has ruled that mouthwash is no substitute for dental floss."

That would seem to indicate that there is, as yet, no liquid substitute for denatl floss.

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger pat said...

I can't help but mention a post from biologynews.net that seems directly relevant to your comment about finding the microbes responsible for tooth decay:

"The human mouth teems with millions of
enamel-eroding, gum-inflaming microbes.

One of these, Porphyromonas gingivalis, is
a bacterial homesteader that stakes a claim
deep within the spaces between teeth and
gums. It’s also the leading cause of tooth
loss — secreting proteins that destroy the
soft tissues and bone that support teeth to
cause periodontal disease.

Now scientists have identified the thousands of
proteins the bacterium produces, shedding light
on how it interacts with healthy cells in order
to thrive, according to dental researchers from
the University of Florida and the University of
Washington. They describe their findings in the
current issue of the journal Proteomics.

“Determining which proteins are expressed
in greater levels in the mouth has allowed us
to gain clues as to how P. gingivalis might be
causing disease, and what we might be able to
do with drugs or vaccines to prevent it,”

You can read the details at:

http://www.biologynews.net/archives/uf_researchers_map_bacterial_proteins_that_cause_t.html

 
At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=571&ncid=571&e=1&u=/nm/20050223/hl_nm/science_toothpaste_dc

"Researchers in Japan have developed a new synthetic tooth enamel that can repair early tooth decay without the need for drillings and fillings."

 
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At 8:34 PM, Blogger garydrew01 said...

Yeah it makes me lonely every time I visit my dentist. But not when I tried going to Dentist in Orange County. They have great services!

 
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At 12:59 AM, Anonymous teeth whitening said...

Hello yeah i know that we need to visit the dentist but for me is very hard cause im afraid to them .

 
At 7:01 AM, Anonymous dentist savannah said...

Although some old practices are still being used, there have been a lot of major breakthroughs in the dental industry. The emergence of digital dentistry and utilization of pain-easing techniques like traces of nitrous oxide and local anesthesia are examples of the recent developments. Even dental equipment has evolved.

Also, drilling through the painful part is the only way to take out the infected nerves in root canal. In Savannah, dentists are also employing dental assessments to know the most apt treatment for a certain patient. That way, teeth alignment and other corrections would be successful.

 
At 1:48 AM, Anonymous dentist manhattan beach said...

We have to take proper care of our family and we have to visit dentist regularly for the proper care of our teeth and gums. Dentist provides useful and helpful tips for your teeth and gums.

 
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