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Fear of dental pain may be worse than the pain itself


According to new research from scientists, patients that are afraid of suffering pain at the hands of the dentist may find that their fear of the pain is actually worse than the pain itself. The findings at Imperial College London may help doctors and dentists to arrange treatment schedules to minimise worry for the patients by getting painful treatments over with faster.

Lead researcher Dr Giles Story said that ‘When people are offered a reward, they prefer to have it as soon as possible, which could be interpreted to mean that we rate future experiences as less important when we’re making decisions.’ He also added that ‘this reasoning would suggest that you would put off unpleasant things to the future as well.’ However, the research revealed that the opposite was actually true; Dr Story explained that ‘If pain can’t be avoided, most people choose to get it out of the way sooner, even if that means the pain is worse.’

The study involved 35 participants choosing between electric shocks of increasing strength, in 71% of tests, people chose to have the more intense pain to start with. The same was found when volunteers had to choose between imaginary dental appointments that had different levels of pain.

Dr Story surmised that ‘The findings would also suggest that deadlines or other ways of making something inevitable is more likely to result in you choosing to get it out of the way, even if it is something you are dreading.’

Could ‘spray-on teeth’ be the answer to enamel repair?


A new development by scientists at King’s College London and Imperial College London could help rebuild teeth that have suffered severe enamel damage; ‘spray-on teeth’ contains calcium that can repair deterioration affecting the hard outer shell of the teeth, covering up any exposed dentin beneath it and making the teeth stronger overall.

Wear and tear or on-going consumption of acidic beverages can lead to enamel erosion, which can make the teeth sensitive and painful; the research is aimed at solving this problem and strengthening the enamel to get rid of sensitivity. According to the scientists who are developing the spray, it contains a type of calcium that can block the tiny tubes in the dentin layer – which expose the inner pulp to outside temperatures. To use, the spray is held a few millimetres from the teeth and compressed so that it projects a dry powder that builds up the dentin and protects the tooth. As well as rebuilding the enamel, the powder contains a mild abrasive so dental stains should also be reduced.

Researchers are hoping that the product could also be useful with orthopaedic surgery to encourage regeneration of damaged bones.

Tooth development linked to treatments


Children’s tooth development linked to future problems.

Children who have fewer teeth coming through by the age of one could be more prone to orthodontic problems in the future, a new study has shown. tooth development

The Telegraph reported the research – which was carried out by teams from Imperial College London, the University of Bristol and the University of Oulu in Finland – showed the delayed appearance of milk teeth has a direct correllation with the need for emergency dentistry treatments as a child grows.

She told the newspaper: “The discoveries of genetic and environmental determinants of human development will help us to understand the development of many disorders which appear later in life.”

Elsewhere, Tod Bigelow recently wrote in a blog for Hattiesburg American parents have been advised by the American Dental Association that letting their children use pacifiers after the age of two could have a detrimental effect on the development of their teeth.

He noted it can lead to a narrowing of the upper jaw in relation to the lower jaw, resulting in an improper bite.

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