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  • Teeth Straightening: Don’t Do it Yourself

    There are lots of “do it yourself” projects you can complete successfully with just a little time and effort. However, “do it yourself” braces is not one of them. Despite that, there are a rising number of videos on YouTube instructing on how to fix your teeth at home, and even more online sites selling braces kits for those who want straighter teeth but want to avoid the orthodontist.

    “There’s a common misconception in the general public that braces are simple — you push on the tooth and it moves where you want it,” says Jeffery Iverson, D.D.S., M.S., an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry. “Orthodontics is very complex. Human physiology, occlusion, biomechanics, craniofacial growth and development, tooth size, shape and morphology, as well as the patient’s overall lifelong dental health, must be taken into consideration.”

    The most basic method of DIY braces is placing a rubber band around teeth in an attempt to move them together. While this may cause teeth to move, it can also cause a number of complications like tooth fracture, gum damage, root damage, tooth loss, or serious medical complications.

    “Blood circulates just below the surface of the oral mucosa, and the placement of toxic, non-sterile items in the oral cavity can injure it and is a good recipe for infection,” says Iverson. “These infections can spread through the blood or through facial spaces, and these infections could become life threatening.”

    He has seen the damage a simple rubber band can do firsthand. “I saw a 12-year old patient during my residency that tried to close some spaces in her lower mandibular incisors using a rubber band,” Iverson says. “X-ray evaluation revealed severe bone loss on the distal roots of the mandibular lateral incisors.”

    The child ended up needing surgery to remove the rubber band, which had done lasting damage to her teeth.

    Another option gaining popularity involves companies that will send consumers kits to take impressions of their teeth, and then will send them clear alignment devices. They claim the process is overseen by a qualified orthodontist and that the kits should only be used by those with a “mild” alignment problem. However, Iverson has his doubts.

    “If overseen means a doctor looks at some pictures and impressions over the internet and the patient is never seen in the beginning, throughout treatment nor has the final result evaluated at completion, I could see multiple problems with that type of treatment,” he says.

    Iverson also says treating even a mild alignment problem is more complex than simply taking teeth impressions and fitting a device. “In an orthodontic office every patient receives a set of orthodontic records, which include orthodontic x-rays,” he says. “I don’t see where these companies are providing an x-ray evaluation on their patients, so many potential problems could possibly be missed.”

    There are also “black market” braces options available, which can cause even greater damage. The materials being used may not be sterile or may even be toxic. There is a chance they could come loose or be swallowed. Then there is the issue of removing them. “Removal of DIY braces can fracture the teeth or extract the teeth depending on the method of cementation,” says Iverson.

    The bottom line? If you want straighter teeth, see an orthodontist — face to face.

    “It takes a trained orthodontist to position the teeth in their correct positions so detrimental damage doesn’t occur,” says Iverson.



  • Kellogg Dental offers free dental services

    Kellogg Dental and the Kellogg Family Dental Foundation will hold their sixth annual Free Dental Day on Saturday at Kellogg Dental, 1250 Byron Road in Howell.

    Dr. Thomas Kellogg and his staff are partnering with Dentistry From the Heart, a nationwide mission hosted by 200 dental offices in 49 states, to provide free dental care to those who cannot afford it.

    Six area dentists — Kellogg, Dr. Brian Bishop, Dr. Carolyn Kim, Dr Shana Francois, Dr Jeff Dunwell and oral surgeon Dr. Aaron Ruskin, together with staff and friends — will provide free dental treatment to those in need. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The team will work diligently to see as many patients as possible in that time frame, performing one service for each patient seen. Services available are cleaning, filling or extraction.

    The event requires over 60 volunteers and takes about nine months to plan.

    “We had many people who were treated last year who are volunteering to work (this) year’s event,” said Sarah Tottingham, volunteer.

    Last year’s donation was over $25,000 of free dentistry. The total since the service began is over $150,000 and over 800 patients served. Kellogg believes the event’s response proves that there is a greater need for this type of event.

    Over 100 million people do not have dental insurance in the United States. For most, the expense of dental insurance is not an option.

    “There are so many people who cannot afford to fix their teeth. Dental pain can be disabling; it is horrible to have to go without treatment. The timing is right for this kind of event. Anyone can help. It feels really good to see these people smile again,” said Kellogg.

    After providing dentistry overseas in countries like, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Guatemala for years, Kellogg’s staff came up with the idea to benefit the local community, partnering with Dentistry from the Heart.

    “We’ve seen a lot of people who have lost their jobs and benefits and we wanted to help,” said Beth Roland, event coordinator.

    Along with free dental care there will be music, raffles, face painting, prizes and free food.

    Kellogg and the Kellogg Dental team offered special thanks to those who donated goods and services to help make the event possible and the enormous generosity of all the volunteers, who give of themselves, serving the community.

    “I challenge other dentists to do this kind of thing. It’s great for everybody. It is truly the highlight of our year in our office,” said dental hygienist, Becky Minca.

    For questions about hosting a similar event or about Saturday’s event, Kellogg can be reached at or 517-546-3330, or visit the Kellogg Dental website at

    — The Livingston Daily

  • Young Finnish men neglecting dental health

    Young Finnish men neglecting dental health

    Research carried out amongst Finnish conscripts reveals that almost half have at least one cavity in need of dental treatment. Smoking and the use of snuff also appear to be on the rise comparative to earlier studies.

    Young men are not taking care of their teeth, according to a licentiate study presented in Oulu on Wednesday. Furthermore, the research shows that previous positive progress on oral health has stalled.

    Clinical research was carried out on around 13,500 conscripts who entered military service in 2011. Nearly half of the young servicemen had at least one dental cavity that required professional dental treatment.

    Tooth decay is influenced by general health habits, socio-economic factors and the conscript’s place of residence.

    Almost half smoke daily

    According to the research, young men are also using snuff and tobacco more than they used to. Amongst conscripts 40 percent smoked daily and nearly 20 percent used snuff occasionally or on a daily basis.

    The oral health of smokers was clearly worse than that of non-smokers. However, snuff users appeared no worse off than those who did not use any tobacco products.

    The research was conducted as part of Tarja Tanner’s Licentiate in Dentistry, which was examined at the University of Oulu on Wednesday.



  • University of Queensland says children are missing out on free dental care

    The University of Queensland says dozens of children are missing out each week on the chance to have free dental work, as chairs in its $134 million oral health tertiary centre sit empty.

    The Herston centre, which replaced a Turbot Street site in the CBD after 73 years , is used to train dental and oral health students who perform dental work for the public.

    Most of the services provided at the UQ Oral Health Centre are free, and there is a waiting list of up to six months for adults.

    However the take-up rate for children has been underwhelming, UQ Bachelor of Oral Health program coordinator Andrea Maguire said.

    She said the school lost many of its regular child patients after an initiative with a Queensland Health dental facility in Yeronga ended in 2014.

    Ms Maguire said the university was hoping to see about 70 children between the ages of 3 and 17 each week.

    Services on offer include examinations, x-rays, fillings, extractions, stainless steel crowns, cleaning, polishing and fluoride applications.

    “The students are very well supervised by registered dentists and oral health therapists,” Ms Maguire said.

    “Generally speaking, [children’s teeth] are not in good health. It’s certainly not as good as we’d like to to be, that’s for sure.”

    A Queensland Health survey of more than 5000 children taken between 2010 and 2012 found one in three children under six had never been to the dentist.

    The survey also showed half of the children aged between 5 and 10 had decay in their primary teeth, and only three quarters of all children brushed their teeth twice a day.

    According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one third of Australians aged between 25 and 44 have untreated tooth decay, and about a third had not visited the dentist in the last 12 months.



  • Her children refuse to brush their teeth!


    Every evening as I get my two year old son Felix ready for bed he will look at me reproachfully – and then run away. I chase after him with pleas and bribes, before resorting to threats about what will happen should he refuse to do as I say. When that, too, fails, I corner him in a headlock, prise his mouth open and force his toothbrush inside. Afterwards there are cross words and tearful recriminations – from me as well as my toddler.

    I have always found cleaning my children’s teeth an emotionally-charged nightmare – as do millions of other parents. A report last month found that 42 per cent of parents have to force their children (aged up to 11) to brush their teeth, with 80 per cent of youngsters throwing temper tantrums as they do so. Only a quarter of the 1558 parents surveyed by Aquafresh believe their children are brushing their teeth properly and one in 10 are so demoralised by the process they send their offspring to bed without cleaning them at all.

    But our acquiescence comes at a cost. A national dental health survey published in May revealed almost half of eight-year-olds have signs of decay in their milk teeth, while a recent report by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) found that tooth decay was the most common reason five to nine year olds were admitted to hospital. Nearly 26,000 children in that age group were admitted in 2013-14, an increase of 14 per cent from 2011.

    Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Royal College of Surgeon’s dental faculty, says the state of our children’s teeth has reached “crisis point” adding that“ it is absolutely intolerable that in this day and age, in a civilised country, children are having so many teeth out for decay, which is over 90 per cent preventable.”

    Sugary treats and drinks – cheaper and more readily available than ever – cause decay by reacting with bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that weakens tooth enamel . Prof Hunt has called for the amount of sugar in food and drink to be better labelled, and last month Tesco took the unprecedented step of banning some of its most popular sugar laden drinks – including Ribena and Capri-Sun – from its supermarket aisles – ostensibly to tackle childhood obesity but presumably the company is aware of their effects on children’s teeth too.

    But substandard brushing and infrequent dentist visits are also to blame for rising child tooth decay – and I am complicit in all three. I find it hard to resist Felix and his four-year-old sister Rosie’s incessant demands for sweet treats and our fraught tooth brushing sessions usually fall short of the NHS recommended twice daily two minutes. And shamefully, until very recently I had yet to take either child to the dentist. A fear of how they would react was the deterrent. With every passing month I grew more worried that my neglect would lead to lasting dental problems, and retreat further into denial.

    However, the spate of news stories on the state of our children’s teeth jolted me into action, and so it was that one day last month, Rosie and Felix were sitting in my dentist’s reception awaiting their first check-up. I tried to build enthusiasm for the visit, but both were nervous. “Are you scared of the dentist, too, Mummy?” asked Rosie, and although I didn’t admit as much to my daughter, my own fear has almost certainly exacerbated my children’s reluctance. Indeed, research by a US dental insurance company found that over a third of kids were frightened of the dentist and that this was often a learned behaviour, picked up from parents.

    Problems with my own teeth have also left me distrustful of NHS dentistry – which I feel has failed me – so I took my children to my dentist, Dr Mervyn Druian, who runs a private practice in North London. Dr Druian encourages parents to bring their children in from the age of two. “As long as parents are brushing their baby’s teeth, I can’t see the point of bringing them to the dentist any younger” he says. “It’s unnecessary until they have grown around 75 per cent of teeth.”

    Girl getting her teeth examined Antonia Hoyle with her children Rosie and Felix who hate brushing their teeth

    But, he warns: “Many parents mistakenly believe that milk teeth don’t matter because they are going to fall out anyway. But they act as ‘space maintainers’ for the permanent teeth that replace them. If a decaying milk tooth has to be removed the ‘wrong’ tooth may come forward in its place.”

    After a few minutes of the children riding up and down in Dr Druian’s chair, Rosie was relaxed enough to have her check-up. On the pretence of “counting her teeth” Dr Druian used a hand-held mirror to inspect her molars as Felix looked on. It took a matter of minutes and afterwards Dr Druian told a delighted Rosie (and her mum) that her teeth were “absolutely fine.”

    Felix, however, had by this time hidden in the corner of the room and was resolutely refusing to open his mouth. Dr Druian was reluctant to force him but after bribes of Spiderman stickers Felix eventually permitted a brief flash of his bottom front teeth, during which , eventually causing tooth decay.

    My heart sank but he told me: “It is unlikely to have led to damage at this stage. I sometimes give children a scale and polish to get rid of it,but because this is his first visit it would be too overwhelming for him.”

    We arranged another appointment for six months’ time, in the hope Felix would be more compliant then.

    If his junior patients need extensive dental work, Dr Druian sends them to specialist children’s dentist (also in private practice) Jeremy Kaufman who is experienced in performing fillings on children as young as two. I asked Dr Kaufman how I can make brushing my children’s teeth less traumatic. “Use star charts, bribery and begging – all the strategies to get a child to do something they didn’t want to,” he advised. “Try and make it fun – let your children choose their toothbrush. Let them use an electric tooth brush if they want. Stand behind them with your hand under their face and give them a cuddle as you clean their teeth. Allow them to start brushing if they want to, before you carry on.” While child-friendly toothpastes like strawberry are also available although somewhat bizarrely, my kids like them even less than the standard mint.

    The evening after our visit to the dentist – chastened by the plaque developing on my son’s teeth – I was determined to embark on an adequate cleaning session. Rosie – enthused by the princess-decorated toothbrush Dr Druian had given her, managed to endure a full two minutes. Felix, alas, ran away before I resorted yet again to the headlock technique. But he insisted on taking his new pirate toothbrush to bed and his last words before falling asleep were “I go to the dentist again soon.” I live in hope.



  • Why a bedtime glass of milk can ruin your child’s teeth: The lactose in it is a type of sugar and can be harmful at night

    Angela Debley took her son Fin, then eight, to the dentist for a check-up, confident that he’d be given the all-clear.

    After all, Angela, an admin manager from Bracknell, Berkshire, was a self-confessed ‘health freak’ who was always careful to give her two sons, Fin and Joe, then three, a nutritious diet. She was also meticulous about their dental hygiene.

    ‘I avoided giving them sweets in favour of what I believed was an extremely good diet full of natural foods,’ says Angela, 40.

    ‘Instead of fizzy drinks, chocolate and crisps, the kids would have pure fruit juice, muesli bars and granola with natural yoghurt and honey. They also brushed their teeth morning and night.’

    When the dentist broke the news that Fin had two cavities in his milk teeth, which had developed since his last appointment six months before, Angela says she ‘felt like the worst parent in the world’ – but she couldn’t work out where she’d gone wrong.

    ‘The dentist seemed to assume I was feeding him junk food and sweets, which was upsetting because we ate well.’

    In fact, it was her children’s healthy diet – and particularly their snacking habits – that had caused the damage.

    Angela later learned it wasn’t just the quantity of sugar that was the problem, but the frequency with which teeth are exposed to it. ‘By offering juice, fruit and honey between meals, I was bathing my sons’ teeth in sugar and acid.’

    As Professor Damien Walmsley, scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, explains: ‘Children today snack far more often than previous generations, which leaves teeth under constant attack.’

    Last month, a Royal College of Surgeons report revealed that one-third of five-year-olds in England suffer from tooth decay, and it is now the leading cause of hospital admissions for under-nines.

    The report, The State Of Children’s Oral Health, found that every year 46,000 children were admitted to hospital for multiple tooth extractions – almost 26,000 of those aged between five and nine.

    Professor Nigel Hunt, of the Royal College of Surgeons, blamed sugary foods and drinks, saying these should carry cigarette-style warning pictures to highlight the risk to children’s teeth.

    But the problem is certainly not confined to children brought up on junk food, or who aren’t taken to the dentist regularly. In fact, dentists say they are seeing more and more children from middle-class homes whose health-obsessed parents are inadvertently harming their teeth.

    Dr Rhona Eskander, of the private Chelsea Dental Clinic, says parents are horrified to discover that they have caused their children’s dental decay.

    ‘Sometimes sporty children may be given unnecessary sports drinks, which are high in sugar and acids that damage teeth,’ she says. ‘Health-conscious parents also like yoghurt drinks – but these “healthy drinks” usually contain high levels of hidden sugars.’

    And while a favourite ‘virtuous’ snack is the muesli bar, some cereal bars have twice the levels of sugar as a similar-sized chocolate bar.

    There are two ways in which these kinds of foods damage teeth. One is acid erosion, which occurs when teeth are exposed to acidic foods such as fruit and juice. Dried fruit such as raisins may cause acid erosion, too.

    Bacteria that live in the mouth cause decay, because as they feed off sugars they excrete an acid that attacks enamel in a similar way to acid erosion

    Tooth enamel begins to soften and be destroyed when acid levels in the mouth drop below 5.5 on the pH scale. (Water has a pH of 7, oranges have between 3 and 4.)

    After 30 minutes to an hour, saliva, which is alkaline, will restore natural pH balance in the mouth and the enamel will harden, but if the exposure to acid is too frequent – as caused by constant snacking – then the enamel begins to wear away.

    This not only makes teeth more vulnerable to decay, but if teeth are brushed within 30 minutes of acid exposure, the softened enamel can be literally scrubbed off.

    ‘As children’s milk teeth have thinner and softer enamel, they are particularly at risk,’ says Dr Hanel Nathwani, of Reading Smiles in Berkshire. The second major threat is sugar. As Professor Walmsley explains: ‘Bacteria that live in the mouth cause decay, because as they feed off sugars they excrete an acid that attacks enamel in a similar way to acid erosion.’

    These bacteria love refined sugar most, but they also feed on honey, and even processed starchy foods such as bread.

    ‘Acid attacks can last for up to an hour, but teeth can recover provided you limit the sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes only,’ says Professor Walmsley.

    Even if it’s only the milk teeth that are affected, this can still lead to long-term problems.

    Angela used to give her sons muesli bars as an after-school snack

    ‘If children have to have milk teeth removed, teeth start to shift to fill the space, so their second teeth can’t grow into their natural position,’ says Dr Nathwani. ‘This can affect the alignment of their teeth, and mean the child is more likely to need braces.’

    He adds: ‘I often see parents who feed their families generally great diets and are very shocked when they learn that their children have tooth decay because of these apparently healthy foods.

    ‘I feel for them, as they are trying their best to do the right thing.’

    This rang true for Angela. Fin and Joe would have four or more snacks a day, such as granola and honey mid-morning, milk at night, plus juice and fruit whenever they wanted it during the day.

    She used to give her sons muesli bars as an after-school snack.

    ‘I thought they were a healthy alternative to sweets and biscuits, but after I moved the family to Dr Nathwani’s practice, I looked more closely at the labels and noticed they were packed with more sugar than a chocolate bar.’

    Angela gave the children milk before bed, thinking the calcium would be good for their teeth. However, Dr Nathwani says: ‘While milk during the day is fine, the lactose in it is a type of sugar and can be harmful at night, as when we are asleep we produce less of the saliva that would neutralise it

    Angela is far from the only health-conscious parent to discover she’s unwittingly exposed her child to tooth decay.

    Louise Jones (a pseudonym, as she’s too embarrassed to give her real name) discovered her ‘fruit monster’ son needed four fillings at the age of seven because he constantly snacked on oranges, grapes and apples.

    ‘My family call me the “fridge Nazi” at home, because I’m so careful with my children’s diet,’ she says. ‘I was very proud that he loved fruit so much.

    ‘I was horrified when his dentist told me that my son had such bad teeth because constant exposure to acid in fruit was literally dissolving the enamel on his teeth. I now give fruit at mealtimes and just once a day as a snack.’

    The fad for smoothies doesn’t help, as Dr Uchenna Okoye, of London Smiling dental practice warns. ‘Juice from fruits has a high acid content and can damage the enamel of your teeth in exactly the same way as fizzy drinks do.’




  • Toddlers’ teeth rot, as parents feed Coke

    The New Zealand Ministry of Health was shocked with the results of a research carried out among the dental hospitals of the country for the last 20 years.

    In its review of dental admissions to hospitals, a Ministry-commissioned report found a fourfold increase in admissions between 1990 and 2009, with the biggest spike in admissions from children aged under 8.

    Moreover, children as young as 18 months, who only start cutting teeth, have them completely rotten, and they should be pulled out. Some child’s teeth are dissolved down to the gum line and are bleeding.

    The reason as it turned out is that parents feed their toddlers soft drinks through sipper bottles, and chocolate biscuits.

    Principal dental officer for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board Rob Beaglehole recently extracted 11 teeth from a 3-year-old whose parents had let him drink Coke from a sipper bottle to “keep him happy”.

    Another 3-year-old needed four stainless steel crowns, had four teeth pulled and was given four fillings the child’s parents put Milo in a baby bottle to sip on overnight.

    All these procedures, performed under general anaesthetic , cost the Nelson Marlborough DHB about $4000 each.

    Each year 35,000 children aged under 12 have rotten teeth extracted because of excessively sugary diets – mainly from sugary drinks and other junk foods.

    Struggling through school with the pain and distraction of rotting teeth could cause behavioural and development problems, while the early loss of baby teeth could cause adult teeth to grow irregularly and trigger the need for braces and other orthodontic interventions, Beaglehole said.


  • Debate brewing over teeth whitening products

    Georgia are now able to have their day in court after the state board of dentistry ordered several to shut down because they’re not licensed dentists.

    The ruling affects customer service-oriented businesses that give customers trays filled with a lightening gel, not over-the-counter strips sold in stores.

    A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Savannah woman can sue Georgia’s dental board, which ordered her business to close or face punishment.

    If you search online for teeth whitening in Atlanta most results are for dental offices. That’s because under Georgia’s Dental Practice Act, teeth whitening services are considered dentistry and anyone else who is not a dentist and is offering it is committing a felony.

    Atlanta resident Jim Valentine ran a successful teeth whitening business called White Smile USA from 2007 to 2010.

    He said the active ingredients in his product are the same as the ingredients in products sold at drug stores over the counter. The difference is at his business the customer gets a gel-filled tray and sits under a whitening light.

    “We were selling hydrogen peroxide, that’s it. So until they can regulate that, they can’t stop whitening,” Valentine told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri. “If you have a custom tray made from a dentist, it’s minimum $300. This was basically $99.”

    Valentine said from the beginning several state dental boards tried to shut him down.

    “They’re dentists and it’s hurting their marketplace,” Valentine said.

    After costly litigation and a weak economy, Valentine said he went under.

    Tuesday a federal judge in Atlanta ruled a Savannah woman can sue Georgia’s dental board to reopen her business after the board ordered she shut down in 2014.

    The Georgia Dental Association sent Viteri a statement that read:

    “When it comes to teeth whitening services, there are safety concerns that must be addressed with the skills and professional diagnosis of a licensed dentist. A discolored tooth may signal dental problems, such as an abscess, that may not be detected by an untrained individual. Often an X-ray is needed to determine the proper treatment, and timely treatment can make a difference in keeping or losing the tooth if it is dissolving away.

    “In addition, improper application of chemicals in the mouth can damage fillings and inflame gums and the palate. Dark teeth can also be caused by tooth decay or leaking fillings, which are not affected by bleaching but need another type treatment. A dentist examines the current condition of the mouth and existing fillings, and is able to treat any side effects that may be related to a future treatment or change in oral condition. Consider a patient who has tooth colored fillings. Whitening does not change the color of the fillings, so the patient may look worse if those are not identified by a dentist, or the patient may have to spend much more money to replace the old fillings in order to match the different color of the bleached teeth. Whitening done improperly can damage some restorations which can not only cause cosmetic issues but can lead to more serious dental conditions, such as avoiding the proper treatment for tooth decay or abscesses while performing treatment that may not be needed.

    “Lastly, everyone needs a dental home with a professional who knows what is normal for that individual, and what to do if some abnormal problem arises. A dentist will work with a patient to determine if they are an appropriate candidate for cosmetic services based on the state of their current oral health and their desire for a beautiful smile. Cosmetic services are only one part of the oral health care a dentist can provide.”

    “If it’s more convenient than I am totally for businesses selling it,” Atlanta resident Mary Agramonte told Viteri.

    “They’re going to lose in court which is going to cost the taxpayers of Georgia, me included, more money on this issue,” Valentine said.

    Viteri contacted Georgia’s dental board and a representative told her they do not comment on pending litigation.

    An attorney for the Institute for Justice, which is handling the businesswoman’s case, said they expect to bring their case against the board within the year.


  • Scientists discover 14,000-year-old evidence of dental work – and it sounds miserable

    A large team of researchers with members from institutions in Italy, Germany and Australia has found what they claim is the earliest example of dental cavity manipulation. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team describes their work on studying the tooth from a 14,000 year old human skeleton uncovered back 1988, and the techniques they used to show that the marks they found were caused by human intervention.

    Cavities occur when parts of teeth decay—in modern times, the fix requires drilling out the decayed matter and filling the resultant hole with a hard material that will stay put preventing further damage or decay. People living during the Late Upper Paleolithic were not so lucky, they had to suffer, or undergo cavity manipulation from a friend using a sharp piece of flint—at least according to the researchers working on the teeth of a skeleton unearthed in Italy over twenty five years ago. No one noticed at the time that a cavity in one tooth appeared to have undergone treatment, or repair. The skeleton was dated back to 13,820 to 14,160 years old and his approximate age at death was placed at 25.

    Upon noticing that it appeared that the cavity had been cleaned, the team decided to take a closer look. They studied the surface inside the cavity with an electron microscope—that revealed grooves and ridges that appeared to be caused by scraping. The team then conduced several experiments on teeth that were subjected to rocks, wood and other abrasive material to see if they could replicate the grooves and ridges found in the ancient tooth—marks made by sharpened flint, they found, matched nearly exactly. The evidence suggests that the young man underwent the first found example of corrective dentistry—someone had dug around in his cavity with a sharpened piece of flint attempting to remove the decayed matter and thus, most likely, alleviating a tooth-ache.

    The finding predates other examples of known early dentistry, such as a tooth with a beewax filling from approximately 6,500 years ago and evidence of dental drilling that occurred approximately 9,000 years ago. The researchers suggest it marks a major milestone in dental manipulation and shows that early people combined with creative thinking to alleviate suffering due to tooth decay.

    More information: Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 12150 DOI: 10.1038/srep12150



  • Graduate Work on Dental Health Brings National Honor

    Lindsay Argyle M ’15 has plenty of reasons to smile.

    The certified dental hygienist officially completed her master’s degree in community health from SUNY Cortland last week when she presented her culminating project on a national award-winning program she helped develop. Her work, which relied on second-year students from SUNY Canton’s dental hygiene program educating schoolchildren in Rome, N.Y., earned recognition from the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) earlier this summer at the organization’s annual session in Nashville, Tenn.

    The Student Member Community Service Award sponsored by Colgate recognized a collective effort.

    “The national award really is a reflection of both the (SUNY Canton) students’ hard work and dedication to their community and the quality education I received at SUNY Cortland,” said Argyle, of Fayetteville, N.Y.

    An adjunct instructor in SUNY Canton’s dental hygiene program, housed in Rome, she also serves as the dental hygienist for Family Health Network’s local school health program, educating children throughout Cortland County on the importance of taking care of their teeth and other oral health services.

    As Argyle finished all of her other master’s coursework in December, she saw a way for one quality program to fulfill two needs: the service component of a SUNY Canton community health course for undergraduates and her own capstone project at the College. SUNY Cortland Associate Professor of Health Jena Nicols Curtis encouraged Argyle, who collaborated with Kasey Penoyer, the community health instructor at SUNY Canton.

    Image of woman
    Lindsay Argyle M ’15

    “It all went together,” Argyle said. “In my master’s courses at Cortland, I structured the framework to attempt an oral health promotion or tooth brushing program. After collaboration with Kasey and learning of the need for a community outreach program for the Canton students, I thought, why not structure one program that combines the two?”

    The award-winning work started as an oral needs assessment among youngsters in Oneida County. It involved 16 dental hygiene students educating and screening more than 100 second graders at Bellamy Elementary School in the Rome City School District on vital habits such as proper brushing and flossing techniques as well as how to make food choices to ensure oral health.

    Schoolchildren who showed signs of tooth decay were given referrals to a dental provider. Others took a field trip to SUNY Canton’s teaching clinic, where many received a dental exam, x-rays and sealants if they were eligible, as well as a fluoride treatment.

    Dr. Terrence Thines, the chief of dental surgery for SUNY Upstate Medical University’s dental residency program, and two residents offered dental exams. Dental supply providers GC America, Dentsply, Patterson Dental and Ultradent donated products. And the Cortland College Foundation provided additional funding for the community outreach project.

    “Our assessment showed that there was a large percentage of the students who were covered by insurance —including Medicaid — but the percentage indicating a dental visit within the past year was around 30 percent,” Argyle said. “Our needs assessment revealed unmet needs that included dental decay and issues with access to care.

    “That’s what this project was about: providing much needed dental health education, identifying gaps in access to care, providing some free preventative services where care was needed, and providing appropriate referrals for problems that may have otherwise gone undetected. It was beneficial for all parties involved.”

    The national honor proves as much.