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New gel invention could encourage bone growth


A so-called gel ‘filling’ made from calcium could help bone to grow back after a tooth has been removed, stopping the jaw bone from shrinking or weakening as a result of tooth removal. Bone loss can cause problems with biting and chewing, and may make it harder to place dental implants in the future.

The gel is designed to be injected into the empty socket and is made from tiny granules of calcium phosphate – which encourages the natural tissue to grow around it; the gel will gradually dissipate over several months and the socket will be made completely of natural bone. The product is currently being tested in Nantes University Hospital in France; patients will either have the gel or no extra treatment after a molar extraction.

Damien Walmsley, professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Birmingham and scientific advisor to the British Dental Association, called the development ‘an interesting idea’ and explained that ‘bone grows slowly, while soft tissue grows rapidly. This approach allows the cavity to be filled with bone rather than soft tissue. It seems like a good approach to preserving the bone.’

Further trials are going on in Switzerland, at the University of Bern, where forty patients will be treated with and without the gel to see how well it works.

Good teeth could help with social success


A top social scientist has claimed that our standing in society depends not on how intelligent or driven we are, but on the state of our teeth. Malcom Gladwell, author of David and Goliath, says that teeth are becoming the new benchmark for success, due to the fact that people with bad teeth are more likely to be turned down for ‘entry-level’ jobs thanks to their dental condition.

Speaking to The Times, Gladwell explained ‘that’s kind of the way we’re moving as the gap between the fit and the unfit grows. The teeth thing and the obesity problems are the same; they are symptoms of the same set of inferences that are being drawn.’ He added that ‘I think those kinds of physical characteristics – that’s completely the next wave of discrimination.’

A poll carried out by VisionCritical also found that people associate white teeth with wealth and status; the results showed that people with white teeth were considered to earn £10,000 more than they actually did on average. Healthy, attractive teeth could also make people look up to five years younger than their age and improve their employment potential by ten percent.

Eddie Crouch, of the British Dental Association, also told the paper that there is a noticeable gap between middle-class teenagers and those from deprived areas when it comes to orthodontic treatment. He explained that ‘Huge numbers of those kids that are referred to us from socially-deprived areas can’t have the treatment they need because their overall standard of dental health is too poor.’

Bruxism cases are on the rise


As the stresses of modern life take their toll, more and more people are suffering the effects of tooth grinding and clenching; a condition known as bruxism, which typically occurs at night-time, making it very difficult to treat. According to the British Dental Association around 10% of the population are currently dealing with this problem and those numbers are reportedly on the rise.

In an interview with the Express, orthodontic specialist Shivani Patel – a London-based dentist – said that ‘We have seen an increase of 30% in teeth grinding problems compared to five years ago. Work-related stress is the most common reason, particularly for women.’ Mr Patel explained that any worries that have gone ignored during the day often come to the forefront while we are sleeping and these can manifest themselves in nocturnal grinding and clenching of the jaw. He added that this problem can lead to pain in the jaw, headaches, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction – a condition that sees the jaw muscles work incorrectly.

Many people may not know that this is a problem until their dentist notices that the teeth are looking worn, as Mr Patel explained ‘we often don’t discover it until the patient has an appointment for something else.’

Mouth guards are typically used to protect the teeth but this method of treatment is not going to get rid of the grinding itself; Mr Patel suggests relaxation techniques – such as yoga – to treat the condition if it is related to stress.

Could a new nasal spray spell the end for dental injections?


A product created by scientists in America could mean dental patients don’t have to fear painful anaesthetic injections anymore; a nasal spray called Kovacaine Mist was found to be as effective as standard anaesthetics in four out of five patients tested, according to researchers at the University of Buffalo. This innovation could make treatment easier for the millions of Brits that suffer with a phobia of the dentist – which number around one in four, according to statistics from the British Dental Association.

The spray combines local anaesthetic tetracaine with oxymetazoline – a decongestant which reduces nasal swellings and lowers the risk of bleeding.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, commented that this could lead to positive changes when dealing with patients who don’t like injections, he said; ‘Patients anxious of the dentist are, in theory, likely to have poorer oral health than those who get regular check-ups. This nasal spray could be a very promising addition to any dental practice.’

The product has passed phase two of clinical trials in the US, and the manufacturers are hoping to complete safety tests with the Food and Drugs Administration by the end of the summer, with final product approval in the USA achieved next year at the earliest.

World’s first 100% ultrasound toothbrush launched


Some ultrasound technology has been added to the design of electric toothbrushes in the past but now a 100% ultrasound product is about to be released; the toothbrush doesn’t even need to move to clean the teeth effectively. The new Emmi-dent brush costs £79.95; it gives off a staggering 86 million sound waves per minute and can clean the teeth without rotating or vibrating at all. The waves emitted cause millions of tiny air bubbles to form; these bubbles get between the teeth and kill bacteria by bursting to dislodge tartar and food particles. The ultrasound technology also gets rid of bacteria on the brush head so the bristles are cleaner than regular brushes – both electronic and manual.

Special toothpaste is needed to get the best results from the brush and the manufacturers have added a slight vibration to the handle so that users know when it is switched on. The brush head needs to be held over the surface of each tooth for between five seconds and fifteen seconds, which should be enough to get rid of any bacteria and food debris.

Although initial tests have proved successful, the British Dental Association admitted that further studies need to be carried out to determine how effective the brush really is. Professor Damien Walmsley was keen to make sure that consumers don’t neglect dental hygiene on the basis of new technology, he said ‘The most important factor in maintaining good oral hygiene still remains regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and avoiding excessive consumption of sweet or acidic food and drink.’

NHS cuts could hit vulnerable dental patients


UK dentists have spoken about their worry over the impact of NHS cuts on their most vulnerable patients. A recent survey carried out by the British Dental Association has revealed that most dentists think the budget cuts will affect services badly, limiting access to much needed treatments. 

Although job security was a major worry for the majority of those who took part, most dentists were thinking about the effect on their patients before themselves; 83% of respondents said there were longer waiting times for appointments, whilst 72% felt that there was a reduction in available treatments. 58% of those asked thought that the standard of care had been compromised following the announcement of large NHS budget cuts.

The survey was aimed at surgeons whose work centres on patients with special needs, showing that two thirds of dentists in this sector were concerned with their patients being denied access to dental care and as a result being neglected within the system.

fortunately, it seems their voices are not going unheard, as the British Dental Association has said it will be writing to the Department of Health to persuade against Primary Care Trusts making cuts to the services of special needs dental surgeries.

WHO considers the end of amalgam


A report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has proposed that the use of amalgam in dentistry should be phased down rather than phased out. Future Use of Materials for Dental Restorations considers the impact of different dental filling materials on the patients and the dental industry. The report also suggest that there should be an improvement in the quality of alternative materials used for fillings, saying that this could directly affect whether the movement away from amalgam completely should go ahead.

Chair of the British Dental Association’s representative body, Stuart Johnston, pointed out that this was a very thoroughly researched report, which would add a new voice to the ongoing debate on the subject. Regarding amalgam fillings, he said; ‘Dentists find amalgam to be a stable material for fillings, with good handling properties. Expert toxicologists and medics have reported no evidence that it causes harm to patients. The alternative materials that are available are not so well proven and have their own disadvantages.

He went on to say that although there was a risk surrounding mercury emissions from amalgam, there were procedures to prevent them harming patients, and that he hoped the need for fillings would be much less in the future. Finally, he added; ‘In the meantime, it is important that the potential problems with, and likely impact of, any change in policy are fully considered by the experts and competent authorities who make decisions about the use of dental amalgam and other white filling materials.

Teeth whitening news: Southampton water to be fluoridated


Teeth whitening news: Southampton water to be fluoridatedImage-conscious residents in Southampton who have contemplated teeth whitening procedures could benefit from new plans by the local council.

According to, community members will receive fluoridated water through their taps following proposals from the South Central Strategic Health Authority.

The scheme, which will affect 200,000 people throughout Southampton, Totton, Netley and Rownhams, will be put into action in the upcoming months.

Despite the benefits fluoride provides for oral health, the plans were opposed by a number of residents, who were finally silenced by a High Court ruling.

Backed by members of the British Dental Association, the new initiative will also affect areas of south-west Hampshire.

Fluoride, which is contained in a number of toothpastes and mouthwashes, acts as protection for teeth by strengthening enamel and limiting the risk of decay.

In addition, the substance creates shallower grooves in children's teeth, which makes it much easier to remove potentially harmful plaque. ADNFCR-2621-ID-800607723-ADNFCR

‘Save up for professional teeth whitening’ if you want to be safe


It may be worth saving up for professional teeth whitening.  A writer has advised anyone wanting a brighter smile to save up for professional teeth whitening treatment in order to avoid damaging their teeth.

Miriam Stoppard told the Mirror DIY kits could "permanently damage your teeth and even harm your long-term health".

She pointed out that although kits used by professionals do contain sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide, dentists know what they are doing with the substances.

When these chemicals are used at home, they could damage tooth enamel, actually causing them to turn darker because the dentin below is exposed.

"If you want whiter teeth, ask your dentist's advice … save up money for a professional treatment that's guaranteed to work and be safe," Ms Stoppard urged.

This follows advice from the British Dental Association's Martin Fallowfield earlier this week, who told the Sun that kits bought on the internet or through beauty salons could be downright dangerous for teeth and gums.


Dental health could suffer ‘if chewing gum tax imposed’


Dental health could suffer 'if chewing gum tax imposed'A new tax on chewing gum could increase the amount of people who have to receive cosmetic dentistry in the UK, it has been suggested.

Conducted by Saga, a study found that many people over the age of 50 are keen for the government to impose a tax on chewing gum to help fund a clean-up operation on the streets of Britain.

However, explains this could have a negative impact on the nation’s oral health.

The benefits of chewing sugarfree gum are recognised by the British Dental Association and dentists advocate it as a way of fighting tooth decay.

The news provider quotes the British Dental Health Foundation as stating: “Chewing gum makes your mouth produce more saliva, which in turn cancels out the acid produced in your mouth after drinking and eating.”

It seems as though some people in Scotland could benefit from using chewing gum, as a study recently conducted by Implantium Network found those living north of the border have the greatest number of missing teeth in the UK.ADNFCR-2621-ID-19849633-ADNFCR

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