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CBT techniques being piloted to help children with dental phobia


A self help guide has been produced to facilitate and support children to face their dental phobias head on. The study, led by the University of Sheffield, hopes to cut down the amount of children feeling anxious about attending their dentist through the use of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) techniques.

Figures show that around a third of young people have a fear of dentistry which, inevitably, can have a knock on effect on children’s dental health and hygiene. The study, funded by The National Institute for Health Research, worked with forty eight children from the South Yorkshire and Derbyshire areas. Academics from the university found that a significant number of children in their study, around the sixty percent mark, felt much more comfortable with going to the dentist after reading the guide. The guide offers an array of practical activities to help children manage anxiety, such as, rewards, stress balls and writing a letter to their dentist.

Another positive aspect to the study is the potential for saving the NHS money, as fewer children would need hospital visits or sedation for treatment. Dr Zoe Marshman, an academic involved in the study, spoke on the subject, “At the moment, most of these children end up having sedation or being given a general anaesthetic for their dental treatment. This can be a traumatic experience for children and their parents as well as incurring high costs for the NHS.” Further trials involving the self help guide are planned for the future.




Woman has lived with a dentist’s drill lodged in her jaw for two years


A woman from Leamington Spa has had to live with a broken dentist’s drill in her jaw for the past two years after the instrument snapped off during a root canal treatment. Alison Southwood, 44, was left with the broken drill bit in her tooth for the extended period of time as a string of experts refused to remove it due to risks involved. Dental surgeons feared that trying to remove the drill would leave her with numbness in her face.

Alison told Mailonline ‘I can’t believe how much stress and misery has been caused by what should have been a simple operation.’ Although her mouth was numbed for the treatment, she said that it was obvious something had gone wrong and she explained that ‘a hush descended on the room and the dentist and dental nurse exchanged worried glances. They legged it out of the room for a private discussion. I was just left to lie there and wonder how there were going to break the news to me.’

The treated tooth has since started to decay and Alison faces having the molar extracted so that surgeons can reach and remove the drill. She added ‘It’s a race against time to get it out. If left for too long, the metal could cause a toxic reaction. It’s an absolutely terrifying thought.’

Alison received £5,500 in an out of court settlement from Genix Healthcare in Cirencester, following a sixteen month legal battle after the incident occurred in March 2013. A spokesperson for the company said ‘we are totally committed to ensuring the safety of our patients and the high quality of dental treatment and care provided.’

Tulisa Contostavlos denies surgery but admits dermal fillers


Former X-Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos has denied ever going under the knife to improve her looks but she has admitted that she had dermal filler injections to give her self-esteem a boost as she went through a difficult trial this year.

The 26-year-old singer has sparked many rumours in the last few months as she arrived for court looking swollen and misshapen. Media speculation was rife about her changing appearance but Tulisa has withheld any comment until now; she has told Grazia magazine that the reason for her altered features was a series of facial filler injections. In the interview, Tulisa said that she looked ‘really gaunt’ during the court case because of the stress and she added ‘I wanted to perk myself up a bit and I’d always wanted my lips done.’

The treatment didn’t quite go to plan though, and Tulisa suffered water retention, which led to swelling of the tissue in her cheeks. She told the magazine ‘The worst thing is that it would happen in the morning, so I would wake up like a blow fish when I was going to court. I’ve been having collagen waves to take them down. I haven’t had surgery though. If I had, I would just say.’

Jerry Hall is not a fan of Botox


Former model Jerry Hall has declared Botox to be ‘silly’ in an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine; the 58-year-old added that she doesn’t like how celebrities look after they have undergone the anti-wrinkle treatment

Jerry – perhaps most famous for being the ex-wife of Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger – told the publication that she is ‘very against’ the product, adding ‘I think it looks silly – people with mean-looking eyebrows.’

Despite her age, Jerry insists that she doesn’t try to maintain her appearance by adopting a healthy lifestyle and regularly enjoys drinking and smoking, as well as sunbathing. She joked ‘I am 58. That is pretty old, for God’s sake. I look pretty good for my age, and I am enjoying that. But I smoke, I drink, I like wine, I love sun tanning, I drink coffee; I am doing all sorts of things I shouldn’t do.’

The mother-of-four says that removing stress is the key to keeping skin smooth ‘I think you feel less stressed at my age. You are not so bothered – everything is water off a duck’s back. It is something that happens with age; I am not bothered about anything. What will happen will happen.

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.

Woman undergoes surgery to treat extreme jaw problem


A former shop owner who lost her business during the recession has undergone jaw surgery to treat extreme tooth grinding caused by the stress of her situation; Toni Lovell-Clarke, aged 50, ground her teeth so badly that she was unable to open her mouth or eat properly.

The problem was mild at first and occasional but it soon became much worse as Toni developed muscle dystonia – a disorder that causes repetitive muscles contractions – which caused her jaw to jam shut repeatedly. Toni had £16,000 titanium plates inserted into her jaw to stop the damage from grinding but the problems continued as the dystonia caused her jaw to dislocate. After feeding herself through a straw for four weeks following the treatment, Toni returned to hospital where surgeons decided to wire her mouth shut until the muscles healed properly.

Ms Lovell-Clarke has spoken out about her ordeal after making a full recovery, saying ‘It was without a doubt one of the worst things I have ever experienced, but I’m telling my story because I want to show my gratitude to Andrew (Sidebottom – surgeon).’ She can now eat and drink properly and she added that ‘Andrew has turned my life around, I owe him a great deal and the work he does isn’t known about – he deserves a bit of credit.’

Does Miley’s tongue indicate health problems?


After her controversial VMA performance, Miley Cyrus has constantly been in the headlines with her antics and her favourite pose for the paparazzi is currently to stick her tongue out; however, this has led some experts and music industry colleagues to question whether the appearance of Miley’s tongue indicates some health problems. Singing legend Cher recently voiced her opinion, saying ‘Chick, don’t stick out your tongue if it’s coated.’

The co-founder of Shabir Daya also weighed in on the issue, commenting that ‘your tongue is a window into what’s happening in your body; colour, coating, and cracks are all indicators of the state of your health.’

Miley might not think sticking her tongue out reveals much about her health and eating habits, but Daya added that ‘a healthy tongue has a thin, white and moist coating and any deviation from this indicates possible problems.’ He added that ‘small protrusions in the tongue can harbour food allowing bacteria and fungi to thrive and this results in a whitish tongue. Stress, particularly on-going stress, can cause deeper cracks in the tongue since stress releases inflammatory hormones.’ Some Twitter followers have suggested that Miley’s break-up with Australian actor Liam Hemsworth could be a factor in her poor oral health of late – not to mention her smoking.

Daya also gave some advice on how the singer could improve her oral health, recommending that she uses an herbal mouthwash twice a day to improve gum and mouth problems.

London 2012 athletes found to have very bad teeth


Dentists working with the athletes that took part in the London 2012 Olympics have revealed that they found ‘striking’ levels of tooth decay in those competing at the games. A fifth of the athletes surveyed said that poor oral health had some effect on their training and performance.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, revealed that cavities, tooth erosion, and gum disease were all common problems, and researchers added that athletes, as a group, were found to have worse dental health than other people in similar age groups. Lead researcher Professor Ian Needleman said ‘Our data and other studies suggest that, for a similar age profile, the oral health of athletes is poor. It’s quite striking.’ He suggested that the large amount of carbohydrates that athletes were consuming, combined with the sugary energy drinks, could be leading to tooth damage. Prof Needleman also added that the stress on the immune system from training could leave athletes at risk of oral disease.

Although the competitors who visited the dental clinic during The Olympics were obviously more likely to have problems with their teeth, the results of the research still made for shocking reading; of the 302 athletes treated, from 25 sports, 55% showed early signs of decay, 45% had enamel erosion, and 76% had gum disease. A third of those assessed said that their oral health affected their quality of life and one in five said it affected their athletic performance.

Richard III skeleton reveals lifestyle and cause of death


Researchers studying the bones of the last English monarch to die in battle have revealed that damage to the jaw and skull supports recorded evidence that Richard III was killed with blows so heavy that they drove the crown into his head. Dental examination also showed that the king may have been as nervous as he is portrayed to be by Shakespeare; his teeth were ground down by stress and there are signs of tooth decay.

In a paper written for the British Dental Journal, Dr Amit Rai detailed that Richard was ‘likely to have been killed by one or two blows to the base of the skull’ after riding into battle wearing his crown. King Richard died during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and his remains were missing until last year, when they were found under a council car park and DNA analysis confirmed the skeletons identity.

As well as tooth decay, Dr Rai said that the monarch’s teeth and jaw showed signs of medieval dentistry, possibly needed because of a rich diet of carbohydrates and sugar, which the royal family would have enjoyed. The back teeth and upper right teeth had suffered some surface loss, suggesting Richard had stress-related bruxism – although the exact cause of this condition is not clear. Dr Rai also documented evidence that the king had undergone dental surgery and had two teeth extracted, noting that ‘Analysis… will enable the identification of the strains and diversity of bacteria which once inhabited Richard’s mouth and provide a better insight into this diet and oral hygiene habits.’

Scientists in America believe that Botox could help in the treatment of mental illness


Research at the Chevy Chase Cosmetic Centre in Maryland suggests that physical expressions of emotion influence our feelings and therefore smoothing out frown lines using Botox can actually improve the mood of people with clinical depression.

The Centre’s medical director, Dr Eric Finzi, claims that his latest research shows that forcing a frown can cause a depressed mood, while deliberately smiling can, at least temporarily, increase happiness.

The research indicated that cosmetic treatment can dramatically improve the symptoms of severe depression in more than a quarter of patients.

It is the second of Dr Finzi’s studies which has come to this conclusion.

He first proposed the the theory that by preventing frowning, the toxin is interrupting signals to the brain that indicate the body is under stress or cannot cope.

In his latest studies he worked with 84 people with severe depression that lasted for an average of two years and which had not fully responded to treatment with anti-depressants. They all received either Botox treatment to smooth out frown lines or a placebo injection into the same facial region.

They were then assessed three and six weeks later. By the end of the experiment 27 per cent of those receiving Botox treatment reported complete remission of their depression, compared to just seven per cent of those who received the placebo.

Dr Finzi concluded that the trial showed that inhibition of frowning could lead to remission in depression.

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