Pack your toothbrush! Let’s travel around the world and learn about tooth culture in other countries! While the goal of oral health is the same across the globe, other cultures have different values and practices surrounding teeth. At FDA, we love an opportunity to learn…come join us in this dental exploration!
Tooth Fairy or Magic Mouse?
What do your kids do when they lose a tooth? Throw it up on the roof? If you lived in Vietnam, that is exactly what they would do! There are oodles of interesting teeth traditions beyond the tooth fairy. For example, in Mexico, kids put their teeth in a little box for El Raton, a magic mouse, kids in South Africa put their lost teeth in their slipper for another magic mouse, and Yupik children in Alaska feed their teeth to the family dog with the hope it will help a new healthy tooth replace it. You and your kids can learn about more traditions from around the world with the book Throw Your Tooth on the Roof!
Straight Teeth or Crooked Teeth?
Americans are known for their love of straight teeth and can spend a lot of time with a dentist or orthodontist to achieve that perfectly aligned smile. In Japan, however, you might ask your dentist to give you a more crooked, pointy grin with Yaeba. Yaeba, or “double tooth” is a cosmetic procedure to make a cap for the canine teeth that is longer and pointier. It is associated with youthfulness and natural beauty and a popular trend for young women.
Toothbrush or Chewing Stick?
The toothbrush is an integral part of our oral health regimen and key to keeping plaque at bay, but have you ever tried Miswak? Miswak is an Arabic word meaning “tooth-cleaning stick” and is considered to be the first documented form of dental hygiene. Made from the Salvadora persica tree, it is popular throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, and is gaining popularity in other parts of the world as well. In fact, there are some studies that show that using a Miswak is as effective or greater than a toothbrush. Given that it’s 100% natural and biodegradable, more and more people are turning to Miswak as a natural oral health care option.
We hope you enjoyed these fascinating facts from around the world! If you know about any other fun tooth culture trivia, share it on our Facebook page! We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!
Safety and infection control has always been a top priority for us in providing you with the highest quality oral health care. Perhaps you’ve seen our staff wear PPE for certain appointments in the past, but today per the guidance of the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) we now wear them for every appointment. It’s a change for all of us and does shift the feeling of the environment we create for your care. A big part of our oral health care practice is to make sure that as our patient you are comfortable, your needs are accommodated, and you feel connected to our compassionate team of professionals. That can feel harder now that our team is behind layers of equipment, but even if you can’t see our smiles, please know that we are so happy to answer questions and want to do everything we can to help you feel safe and comfortable in our office. Many of you have questions about our PPE, so we thought we’d give you a peek behind the mask and tell you about the components of our protective equipment and what it’s like for us to wear them. We spoke with Dr. Brunacini to learn more.
1. What are the elements of the PPEs you and your staff wear?
We have always practiced “universal precautions” in the clinical areas which include gloves, surgical masks, and safety glasses. Now, because of the nature of dentistry and how coronavirus is spread, we have taken additional precautions to manage what is called the “droplet precautions.” These additional precautions include surgical caps to cover our hair, N95 masks, face shields, shoe covers to protect our shoes, and washable full gowns. We are basically covered head-to-toe! There are even plexiglass barriers installed at the front desk for safety.
2. How does wearing the PPE affect your job?
Of course, wearing many layers of PPE can get pretty hot, so the A/C is running colder than before. Also, I find the need to change gowns for each appointment slows me down in checking patients throughout the day. The biggest challenge is maintaining the relationship aspect with our patients. Feeling buried in PPE can create a challenge for us to help our patients feel comfortable and trusting, especially when we are meeting someone for the first time. Patient comfort is one of our top priorities, so we are all doing our best to find ways to communicate our compassion.
3. I hear there is a shortage of PPEs in our country, is FDA concerned?
During the closure, it was very difficult to obtain PPE through the normal supply chains. There were some days that I simply searched for ways to obtain the PPE, and didn’t know when it would even arrive as a lot of PPE was backordered. It does seem that the PPE production backlog has improved slightly, which is allowing us to get the necessary PPE.
4. What do I need to do to help protect you and your staff during my appointment?
We are requiring all patients to arrive wearing masks until they are escorted into the dental room. We are also asking everyone to be patient and understanding of the screening questions that we must do prior to their appointments. It may be repetitive, but it is prudent to do in order to keep people safe. We are grateful to have our wonderful family of patients to care for, and really appreciate everyone doing their part to keep our office safe for everyone.
Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!
From our FDA family to you and your family: thank you for being our patient…we’re in this together! We’re happy we can continue to safely provide you with the highest quality oral health care. If you have any questions about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice, please visit our COVID protocol page or give us a call at 207.781.5900. If you are overdue for your appointment, rest assured we will be in touch as soon as we catch up on our backlog; we appreciate your patience! We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!
We all know how food choices affect the body, but did you know they also affect oral health? It may not be as evident, but if you were to examine your mouth on a cellular level, you would find a wealth of health information there, often before health problems manifest elsewhere in your body. With that in mind, we’d like to share some dietary nutrients that impact your oral health, and offer some recommendations to improve your diet and your oral health.
Vitamins & Nutrients to Support Oral Health
So what did we mean when we said that you can detect health issues by analyzing your mouth? Well, our mouths contain special cells called mucosal cells, and they generally have a life cycle of 3-7 days. This means that they’re turning over and regenerating frequently, and providing up to date information on the rest of your system. So the first place you’ll be able to find nutritional surplus or deficiency is in your mouth! With this in mind, we wanted to share some nutritional findings that can help support oral (and overall) health.
- Protein, calcium, and phosphorus contribute to strong tooth structure. You can get protein from a wide variety of foods depending on your diet. Calcium can be found in almonds, broccoli, oranges, and cheese, while phosphorus can be found in a number of dairy, fish, and meat products. You could also opt to get phosphorus from certain nuts and beans.
- Nutrients like zinc, folate, iron, vitamins A, C, and D, Omega-3 fats, and antioxidants contribute to the development of mucosal cells and connective tissues as well as immune function. B vitamins support epithelial cell turnover.
- Studies have suggested that low levels of folate are associated with periodontal disease, so make sure you’re getting enough from foods like dark leafy greens, beans, peas, & lentils, or citrus fruits.
- Studies suggest that vitamin D and calcium may also enhance enamel remineralization. To support your usual hygiene efforts and strengthen enamel, snack on cheese, yogurt, tofu, salmon, or milk!
- Vitamin C also has been reported to help collagen maturation, which in turn helps maintain the integrity of the periodontal ligament. For this, make sure to have a share of strawberries, acerola cherries, bell peppers, or citrus fruit!
- Lastly, Omega-3 fats help with inflammatory response in the body. Mackerel, salmon, oysters, sardines, and anchovies have omega-3 fats in abundance. Not up for sea fare? Try working flaxseeds, chia seeds, or walnuts into your diet. Alternatively, you can opt for a fish oil supplement!
It’s important to keep in mind that each of these nutrients might have different outcomes for individuals based on their respective health situations. Be sure to consult a doctor before making any major dietary changes and to ensure there won’t be any adverse effects.
If we’ve gotten you thinking about diet and oral health, make sure to bring your questions or concerns to your next appointment! We are happy to advise you more on the subject and we look forward to it!
You’ve probably heard about 3D printing, but did you know that this technology is applicable to dentistry? Though it seems to have emerged straight from the pages of your favorite cyberpunk novel, it seems that digitally created implants may be in the cards for future dentists and healthcare professionals.
3D printing has also come to be known as additive manufacturing, which means that digital 3D models are turned into solid objects by building up layers of a certain material (matching the parameters of the digital model) to create a real life object!
Though the technology was first introduced as the natural next step after 2D printing on paper, it has quickly evolved into a game-changing manufacturing technology. So far industries including but not limited to aerospace, defense, and art and design have adopted the technology for a variety of uses. Though it’s not definite when or to what degree 3D printing might be adopted by the dental industry, there is great potential for patients’ dental needs to be fulfilled quickly and locally using this technology.
Most dentists would agree: every person’s mouth is unique. This is the main reason why 3D printing could be massively successful in dentistry. Crowns, bridges, retainers, splints, dentures, and surgical guides and instruments, all require some level of custom work to match each patient’s mouth.
“I love the idea of 3D printing as there are many ways for it to be used in dentistry,” Dr. Brian Brunacini commented. “Whether it involves a metal framework for a partial denture or making a crown, the technology can only help. As dentistry goes digital, the impressions we take are so accurate that having a perfect fit is easily accomplished, which reduces costs and the amount of time required for each fitting.”
Digital x-rays as well as scans and models have already begun to “digitalize” dentistry work systems. These systems are becoming increasingly commonplace. In fact, you may have already encountered 3D printing in dentistry, though you might not realize it: Invisalign utilizes 3D modeling and printing technology in the creation of their products.
Despite initial barriers as 3D printing tried to gain a foothold in the industry, it seems that further technological advances are removing issues like high cost, software unreliability, and material limitations. With the introduction of desktop 3D printers, the cost of professional 3D printers has dropped substantially. Desktop and large-scale printers alike have been able to perform accurately in a clinical setting. In particular, the usability and relative low cost of desktop models have made the technology accessible for dental firms of every size.
As more 3D printers, software, and materials continue to be released, the industry continues to change. 3D printing is already possible with pure metals, metal alloys, thermoplastics and thermoplastic composites, ceramics, and edible food materials. Materials can also be formulated to take on different textures. As one example, gum tissue can be replicated with materials that have a rubbery texture. The most important factor in assessing materials is the quality of the final printed product.
Each year, more and more materials are released in accordance with FDA regulation. Soon, companies will release biocompatible materials that will be compatible with certain printers models. This development will further expand the potential of the technology, and would result in printers being able to create custom dental implants, like crowns or bridges, right there in the office.
Dr. Brunacini offered his perspective on the future of this technology. “There are still a lot of hurdles ahead for 3D printing in dentistry,” he stated. “Something to keep in mind along the way is that the art of dentistry is very important to as well, and that art could be lost with machines fabricating a crown.”
Whatever is in store for 3D printing and dentistry, you can rest assured that you’re able to rely on the care and craftsmanship of your trusted team at Falmouth Dental Arts. Interested in dental technology and how it has evolved over the years? Let’s talk more at your next appointment!
We’re pretty approachable here at Falmouth Dental Arts, and yet, we know and appreciate that a trip to the dentist may not be exactly what some of you have in mind as ‘fun.’ This is certainly the case when and if a root canal comes into the picture, but the future is looking bright in that regard: a recent breakthrough has many people thinking (and hoping) that root canals may become a thing of the past, thanks to stem cells.
Over the past year, regenerative dental fillings have generated much scientific attention. Researchers from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute have found that fillings utilizing stem cells could change the future of root canal procedures for the better, by stimulating teeth to repair and regenerate their own damaged tissues.
What role do stem cells play in this process? Stem cells are undifferentiated (aka non-specialized) cells that are capable of transforming into different cells. Stem cells have been utilized in other regenerative therapies that have developed over the past several years. To date, most applications of stem cells in the health industry involve repair of diseased and/or injured tissues.
It’s technology that could change many people’s lives. For those who don’t know about root canals, they can be intimidating experiences for some patients because the root canal – also referred to as the pulp – and the nerve of a tooth are removed due to extensive tissue damage. Usually the damage is from a prior cavity in the region that spread beyond the enamel into the tissue below. Removal of a tooth’s pulp and nerve also dramatically weakens the tooth, and might require further dental work like crowns or caps to reinforce the tooth. Additionally, materials inserted into fillings as a result of cavities or root canals are also often toxic to cells. Regenerative fillings would hypothetically negate all these risks, and would not require invasive procedures.
Our own Dr. Brian Brunacini shared his thoughts on the potential of the technology. “In dentistry, we are always searching for ways to make the experience as non-invasive and comfortable as possible. It is exciting to see new treatment modalities coming out in dentistry. Regenerative dentistry would be a complete paradigm shift in how teeth are repaired.”
During initial tests, regenerative fillings successfully stimulated the development of dentin, the tissue that makes up the tooth below the visible white enamel. Theoretically, injecting these stem cell-powered biomaterials into a damaged tooth would prompt the cells to regenerate dentin in their natural environment, right where it’s needed the most. This could mean that in the future a damaged tooth could heal itself!
As supporters of holistic and integrative dentistry, we’re excited about this breakthrough. We’ll have to curb our enthusiasm for now: regenerative fillings are only in the initial stages of research and much must be done to develop the treatment before it’s ready for use on humans. The research is promising however: regenerative fillings received second place in the materials category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition in 2016.
This development could mean a great deal to dental patients who require fillings and root canals across the globe. Are you curious about the prospect of regenerative dental fillings? Call and talk with us about them, or let’s chat at your next appointment.