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Fear of the dentist could be genetic


The issue of odontophobia (fear of dentists or dental treatment) is a very common issue. Statistics show that it could be as high as twenty five percent of people in the UK. To some, the thought of going to the dentist fills them with fear and dread, which can cause problems for people’s dental health. New research now suggests that this could in fact be inherited from parents.

The research study was performed by the West Virginia University, to explore the subject of dental phobia. The results found evidence to suggest that dental phobia could be, in part, a genetic issue. Research showed that the fear of pain gene was also responsible for people fearing the dentist. One of the researchers involved in the study, Cameron Randall, was quoted in the Birmingham Mail as saying, “The most important conclusion of this study is that our genes may predispose us to be more susceptible to developing dental fear.”

Many people could see this issue as an irrational fear, however, in light of this new evidence, it shows a potentially deeper, underlying issue. Previously, the fear had been attributed to a bad experience during childhood, however these results suggest that it could already be in a person’s DNA.



Dentist wants to clone John Lennon from tooth DNA


A Canadian dentist who bought the extracted wisdom tooth of former Beatle John Lennon is hoping to extract enough DNA from the molar to clone the singer.

Dentist Michael Zuk spoke to host Mark Evans for the Channel 4 programme Dead Famous DNA, saying ‘If there is enough DNA to sequence it, it could be basically genetic real estate. My goal is to own John Lennon’s DNA.’ Zuk revealed that he would like to clone the legendary artist and raise him as his son, explaining that ‘he could be looked at as my son but I don’t think I would be the one, you know, owning his property, he would have the rights when he was old enough to make a claim.’

When asked if he would like the clone to become a musician, Zuk answered that he would try to ‘keep him away from drugs and cigarettes’ and joked that providing guitar lessons ‘wouldn’t hurt anyone.’

Dr Zuk did not seem too concerned with the moral or ethical objections to cloning a dead rock star and instead concentrated on the laws surrounding cloning, saying ‘I think I can… depends where you do these things. If it can’t be done in one country you can do these things in another. To have John Lennon’s DNA sequence outside of the family protection, to me… it is worth millions.’

Dentist plans John Lennon clone using tooth DNA


Canadian dentist Dr Michael Zuk hit the headlines last year when he purchased John Lennon’s wisdom tooth at auction for around £20,000; the rotten molar had been removed in the 60’s and was left with the housekeeper Dot Jarlett, before coming up for auction in 2012. Dr Zuk, an enthusiastic collector of Beatles memorabilia, has decided to go one step further and is considering cloning the song-writer using DNA from the extracted tooth.

Dr Zuk believes that he could create a Lennon clone with the DNA, and a little help from a team of scientists; he told The Examiner that advances in scientific technology have already cloned mammoths, so using the same techniques for human cloning should not be too much of a leap. Dr Zuk is feeling confident about the theory, saying ‘I am nervous and excited at the possibility that we will be able to fully sequence John Lennon’s DNA, very soon I hope. With researchers working on ways to clone mammoths, the same technology certainly could make human cloning a reality.’

He went on to say that the prospect of Lennon ‘re-born’ would be incredible, adding ‘to potentially say I had a small part in bringing back one of rock’s greatest stars would be mind-blowing.’

The tooth is currently on tour across the world to promote cancer awareness.

John Lennon’s tooth goes on tour


A molar belonging to the late Beatle John Lennon is set to go on tour some fifty years after it was extracted; the tooth recently fetched £19,000 at auction and part of it has since been incorporated into a necklace by Beverly Hills designer Ari Soffer. The John Lennon DNA Tooth Necklace is currently worth around £15,600.

Over the coming weeks, the DNA necklace is to be toured around sixteen dental practices in the UK to raise awareness of mouth cancer, as part of National Mouth Cancer Month – which includes free mouth screening, fundraising and promotions at each dental surgery.

Dr Chris Branfield, who works at a clinic in Hull, was the first to receive the tooth/necklace, and said he was pleased that the people of Hull were taking more notice of their oral health by receiving free screenings, giving dentists the chance to diagnose the condition while it was in the early stages. He added ‘People even got to wear John Lennon’s tooth around their neck and have a picture taken too.’

Other sections of the tooth were incorporated into a clay model of the iconic singer, which went on display at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in Canada.

This is not the first time American jeweller Soffer has worked with famous DNA to create pieces; he has also worked with drummer Tommy Lee, and Guns ‘N’ Roses legends Slash and Axl Rose.

Dentist adds the King’s crown to his collection


The Canadian dentist who bought John Lennon’s rotten molar for $30,000 has added another famous dental item to his collection – the spare crown that Elvis took on tour in case he damaged his front teeth, complete with plaster mould of the King’s jaws. It has not yet been revealed how much Dr Michael Zuk paid for the item, but he admitted that his wife was not too happy with his decision to bid on the crown, urging him not to waste his money on ‘another stupid tooth’.

Despite his wife’s misgivings, Dr Zuk couldn’t help himself when the Elvis memorabilia came up for auction yesterday in Stockport, he collected this piece and the extracted tooth of Beatles legend John Lennon because he feels that the two men where important icons that should be remembered. Since purchasing the crown, Dr Zuk has been asked to take part in a documentary about celebrity DNA, to discuss the significance of the dental artefact in relation to popular culture.

Dr Zuk is also thought to be selling limited edition commemorative prints of the Lennon molar under the banner of ‘Rot Star Art’, which will go on sale as a celebration of the Beatles arriving in the US in February 1964. The molar – which also has its own Twitter following – is currently being considered for the Guinness book of records, as long as it can be cross-referenced with the DNA of a living relative, to ensure its origins.

DNA testing ‘could treat gum disease’


DNA testing 'could treat gum disease'People wishing to avoid emergency dentistry treatments for gum disease may be interested to learn that a new study has been commissioned in the US to help determine those who may be at the highest risk.

The University of Michigan's School of Dentistry is examining the DNA of 4,000 participants to see if there is a genetic test that can be carried out to show those who may have a higher risk of developing the condition, the British Dental Health Foundation reports.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF, commented: "To have the capability to predict gum disease at an early stage, or even before it happens, obviously has remarkable advantages to our oral health."

According to the NHS, people can help to avoid the onset of gum disease by having a good oral health routine.

This includes brushing teeth for two to three minutes twice per day, as well as using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, flossing two to three times per week and making regular trips to the dentist.

In addition, smokers are advised that the habit means they are at a much higher risk of developing the problem. ADNFCR-2621-ID-800607786-ADNFCR

DNA analysis ‘could cut need for emergency dentistry’


DNA testing may cut need for emergency dentistry treatmentsThe need for emergency dentistry could be reduced through the use of DNA analysis, scientists have claimed.

Breakthrough research from the University of Michigan's School of Dentistry will attempt to use DNA to predict whether or not patients are likely to suffer from gum disease in the future.

If positive results come out of the test, it could have important implications for preventative care against a wide range of tooth and mouth-related problems.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said the ability to diagnose gum disease early could vastly improve people's oral health.

"There is also a considerable long-term financial benefit to stamping out such a potentially harmful disease," he added.

"Cutting the risk of gum disease could save the government millions in costly treatments."

According to the NHS, between 50 and 90 per cent of adults in the UK are affected by some degree of gum disease. ADNFCR-2621-ID-800599343-ADNFCR

New technique for tissue regeneration developed


Tissue regeneration for emergency dentistry is becoming a reality.

A new technique that could see people with severe gum complaints regrowing lost tissue has been developed by researchers.

Scientists from Columbia University have created a technique that utilises stem cells to create tissue grafts that match a person’s DNA signature perfectly – thereby ensuring rejection does not become an issue.

Dr Jeremy Mao, a professor of dental medicine, has designed a form of miniature scaffolding that can be used to ensure tissue growth is regulated to the right dimensions for the task – significantly improving the ease by which dental professionals can carry out these grafts.

Elsewhere, Suncoast News recently reported that the use of new cutting-edge technologies can help dentists to diagnose problems more easily.

The publication revealed how US dentist Dr Garland Forbes is using 3D X-rays to make the diagnosis process much more straightforward.

Reasons for dental implant rejections


 number of reasons why dental implants can fail have been discussed.

While the likelihood of dental implants failing to take hold in a patient are slim, there are a number of cases every year where this happens and patients and professionals have therefore been informed of the top causes of this.

According to WorlDental, it is more likely that implants in the upper jaw will fail and this is an unknown phenomena. However, other reasons can be infection, poor hygiene or a lack of strength in the bone into which the implant is fixed.

The resource noted: “If you don’t take adequate care of an implant once it is in position, it can also result in a failure of the implant.

“If you happen to notice bleeding or pain that is excessive after an implant, you have to get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Korea Times recently reported that older patients planning to have this type of procedure carried out could use familial baby teeth to have bone transplants in the jaw to boost its strength.

The new treatment has been tested by researchers in the country and it was found that the similar DNA types mean there is less likelihood of rejection.

Baby teeth ‘could boost dental implant effectiveness’


Older tooth loss sufferers could use baby teeth to boost bone strength.

People who plan to have dental implants fitted might be eager to learn that using familial baby teeth that contain stem cells is one way to build up layers of bone in a patient whose jaw would not be strong enough otherwise.

The Korea Times reported the similar DNA structure means that rejection should not be an issue and this procedure could therefore be particularly useful for older patients.

Professor Kim Young-kyun of Seoul National University Bundang Hospital said: “Using a family members’ tooth is effective because it does not cause the side effects stemming from genetic differences.

“Also, it can sustain the tooth implant longer and more effectively than artificial ingredients.”

Elsewhere, Vail Daily recently reported that dental implant procedures are less complicated than many people believe and could be a viable choice for many people who have suffered from tooth loss in the past.

Indeed, Vail Dental Health claimed the only prerequisites are a suitable site for the implant and having enough bone depth and strength in the jaw.

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