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Horror over painless extraction method


Swiss dental surgeons have developed a system that claims to be a painless way of extracting teeth. Many people have a fear of the dentist, and for some this new procedure has amplified their concerns more so.

The Benex Extraction System is a fairly new development in dentistry, however despite claims that the procedure is ‘painless’, it has got some people recoiling in horror, after watching clips posted on Facebook last month. Some described the footage as gruesome, after it clocked up one hundred and twenty thousand views in one month. One woman wrote, “Good lord I can only imagine the pain. I don’t want nothing sweet no more ever. This makes me want to brush my teeth every other hour.”

The procedure involves the dentist making an incision at the top of the tooth to allow the root to be loosened using specialised equipment, this is followed by a diamond drill that creates a hole inside the root. The dental surgeon then places an extraction screw into the newly created hole, which is attached to a clamp and used to lever the root out of its socket.

Although this procedure has been tried and tested in other parts of the world, it has been acknowledged that the British public have concerns. British Dental association professor, Damien Walmsley, issued a statement of reassurance, saying that if anyone had watched any footage and were worried about a tooth extraction they should discuss this with their dentist first.



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.

‘Five a day’ could damage children’s teeth


Health-conscious parents will be disappointed to learn that encouraging their children to drink fruit juice and smoothies every day could be doing more harm than good, according to the Royal College of Surgeons. Half of five-year-olds in the UK showed signs of enamel erosion during a recent study, because the acid in fruit juice attacks the porous shell of the teeth as it releases sugars.

Kathy Harley, Dean of the dental faculty at the College has suggested that schools should provide an alternative to juice during the lunch hour, such as water or milk. She also said that it would be a good idea to limit the intake of smoothies and juice drinks to once a week, as a weekend treat perhaps. The NHS doesn’t go that far, but dentists are in agreement that the amount children drink on a daily basis has to be monitored carefully, otherwise their teeth could become severely eroded, and they advise parents to offer fruit juice during mealtimes, as this is thought to do less damage to the enamel.

Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association spoke to the Daily Mail, saying that juice drinks should be kept to meal times, ‘That [may] go against the [recommendation of] five portions of fruit and vegetables a day,’ he says, ‘but it is not a good idea snacking on it because of the continual drip, drip, on to the tooth.’

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