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Gettysburg Dentist Discusses the History of the Toothpick

Posted by Peter Samuels on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 @ 14:04 PM

 

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"Pick not thy teeth with thy knyfe, but take a stick, or some clean thyng, then doe you not offend" ~ Rhodes: 15 century philosopher

Apparently, picking the teeth with some type of dental implement has been around for a while, probably long before there were dentists! Although the quotation above dates back to the 15th century , toothpicks have been around long before that. A short portion in the Talmud reads: “one may take a splinter from the wood lying near him to clean his teeth” in reference to what the people can do before a festival suggests the use of tooth-picking sticks.  Today, toothpicks have become part and parcel of life; they make convenient aids to dislodge food particles. Despite its humble appearance, the mere 3-inch toothpick has an interesting history.

Various archaeological finds reveal striated grooves on fossilized teeth. In 1911, grooved teeth found at the La Quina Neanderthal site suggest the use of an abrasive implement on the teeth. Across different continents, similar grooved teeth were found among the remains of Australian Aborigines, North American Indians, Canary Islanders and the Upper Dynastic Egyptians, with some dating as far back as two million years. These early forms of toothpicks may have served more than picking out food as these grooves on the teeth suggest. They may also have been used to soothe the discomfort of periodontal disease and dental caries.

With time, different cultures put their own creativity into honing the toothpick. The lowly toothpick has evolved from a necessary tool for dental hygiene to status symbol. In Europe, kings, queens and lords used designer toothpicks made of gold, silver or ivory, sometimes inlaid with precious stones; while the common man used twigs or porcupine quills. In China, a curved pendant toothpick made of cast iron was found. The Chinese loved toothpicks, using mint-tipped toothpicks in between meals to clear the palate.

Charles Forster of Maine was the first American to manufacture toothpicks. At first, he handmade them, but with growing demand, he duly invented a machine to keep up. He went one step further when he decided to make disposable toothpicks, after a trip to South America, where he saw natives using slivers of wood to clean their teeth. To create demand for disposable toothpicks, Mr. Forster hired Harvard students to eat at restaurants and instructed them to loudly ask for toothpicks after finishing their meals! He used the same tactics in retail stores and with time, toothpicks became part of the dining experience.

We don’t manufacture toothpicks, but we hope, when you need a dentist, you’ll pick us!

Topics: Dentist in Gettysburg, Gettysburg dentist, Dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Dental Phobia Treatment

Posted by Peter Samuels on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 @ 19:04 PM

 

 Sedation Dentist

A fear of dentists is a very real problem for thousands of people.  Whether they've had a negative experience at a dentist previously or they've heard horror stories from friends and family members, fear often multiplies, causing loads of dental problems.  The treatment of dental phobia is incredibly beneficial to oral health and better overall whole-body health.

It may sound silly to people who have had good experiences with their dental practitioner, but dental phobia is a real and common phenomenon.  Fortunately for fearful patients, there are various treatment options available that allow patients to have the dental care that they need while alleviating a lot of their anxiety.

Experienced dentists understand dental phobias and will work with anxious patients to alleviate their anxiety before it can become a problem.  Dentists with experience in the treatment of phobic patients can calmly explain the process of the treatment and put the patient in control.  They make sure that the patient understands what's going to happen, and they ask for permission to continue the treatment.  This gives patients a sense of control over their treatments, and removes a lot of the out-of-control feelings that often accompany dental treatments.

For patients who are experiencing dental phobia, several suggestions have proven to be successful.

1. Go to your first visit with a friend or family member that you know well and trust.  Sometimes having a friendly and familiar face is all that's needed to make the process run a lot more smoothly.  Your friend (preferably one who has sufficient experience in the dental office as a patient) can assuage your fears before they have a chance to become overwhelming. 

2. While receiving treatment, find a way to distract yourself from the procedure itself.  Many dentists will play music or have a TV available in the treatment room to keep an anxious patient's mind off of what's happening.  If a TV is not available, listen to music on headphones and don't pay attention to what the dentist is doing.

3. Some dentists now offer sedation dentistry, which can relax an anxious patient and allow necessary treatments to occur without undue stress. With I.V. sedation anesthesia safely provided by an anesthesiologist, years of work can often be caught up in one, comfortable visit. Most patients feel like they were in the chair for just a few minutes!

4. Practice relaxation techniques.  Anxiety is often accompanied with shallow, light breathing, which can make stress feel even more profound.  Simply practicing deep breathing techniques can make a world of difference in a patient's mental state, and don't be afraid to ask to take a break if things start to seem too overwhelming. 

The most important thing for patients with dental phobia to remember is that they need to find a dental office and dentist they feel comfortable with.  Finding a dentist you can trust is incredibly important.  The more comfortable you feel with your dental practitioner, the more likely you will be to continue to be treated for any issues that may arise.  If patients distrust their dentist, they're likely to skip appointments or refuse to make them when there is a problem.  Finding the right dental office is worth the effort if it means treating problems sooner rather than later.   By practicing good oral care and nipping potential issues in the bud, extensive treatments may not be necessary - and regular checkups can identify and tackle issues before they become problems.

Topics: Sedation dentist Gettysburg, sleep dentist Gettysburg

Gettysburg Dentist discusses Gum disease and diabetes

Posted by Peter Samuels on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 @ 18:04 PM

 

Gum disease and diabetes

On their own, gum disease and diabetes are pretty serious conditions. When they go hand in hand, they're even worse. But what is the connection? How does one relate to the other?

Gingival disease is considered a potential complication of diabetes. If your blood sugar is not controlled, you are at a greater risk for gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In turn, tooth loss causes the jaw bone to shrink. This can throw your whole bite off, called malocclusion, and that can open up a whole host of problems ranging from the merely uncomfortable to the downright painful.

Diabetes can cause a thickening of the blood vessels. This hampers the body's ability to get the necessary nutrients to the right places. It also restricts the flushing out of natural waste material in the blood, which greatly reduces your gums' ability to fight off infection.

Sugar is a great attractant for bacteria. Glucose in particular is a big breeding ground for bacteria. As a diabetic, your body is a haven as the bacteria will be attracted to the glucose in your body. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria builds up on your teeth and gums and look for any way in. A weakened defense system will let them in quite handily.

Finally, if you have diabetes and you smoke, you're hitting your poor gums with a double-whammy. As well as the weakening of the gums from diabetes-related complications, smoking further weakens the body's defense systems. The accelerated build-up of tartar combines with the destruction of gum tissue and leaves your mouth open to bacteria and other infections.

The best way to mitigate this damage is to follow your doctor's instructions about your diabetes and your dentist's instructions on your oral care. Though you may not think about your gums much, any compromising of your gums' health can lead to worse conditions that could include heart disease. To maintain healthy gums, brush and floss twice daily and see your dentist regularly. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Topics: Dental Hygiene, Periodontal Disease, Dentist Gettysburg

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