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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.

Fake Botox puts US patients at risk


Fraudulent versions of Allergan Inc brand Botox have been sold in the US, according to the Food and Drug administration; the FDA posted an alert on their website detailing the product and letting patients know that the outer carton is counterfeit, whilst the vial inside is foreign and not approved for sale in the United States.

The agency said ‘FDA cannot confirm that the manufacture, quality, and handling of these products follow U.S. standards.’ Allergan added that the illegally imported Botox could be of low quality and may put patient’s health at risk, as well as violating federal laws – authentic products are stored and transported by Allergan to strict specifications.

The FDA added that the fake Botox was being sold under the names ‘’ ‘Online Botox Pharmacy’ and ‘Onlinebotox’ and was actually being solicited by fax, rather than online – by offering prices below those of products approved by the FDA. As recently as last December, the FDA alerted over 350 medical practices to unapproved medication that came from a foreign supplier; now governing bodies in the US are looking to create a national set of standards for tracking prescription drugs through the distribution chain, in order to stop counterfeit or contaminated products from getting through to the public. They suggested new laws that would trace drugs either in lots or as individual packages.

Hangover star had tooth removed for role


Star of hit comedy The Hangover, has revealed that he had a tooth implant removed when he read in the script that his character would have a missing tooth. American actor Ed Helms, who plays Stu in the Hangover trilogy, confirmed that he had an implant taken out for filming and mentioned that it affected his speech to the point where he sounded inebriated on set.

The 39-year-old explained to The Hollywood Reporter that his character needed to have a lateral incisor missing to fit with the storyline but he also had to keep a full set of teeth for his day job, playing Andy Bernard on the US version of comedy TV show The Office. Ed said ‘(My dentist) made me a flipper with the false tooth on it that I could take in and out because I was still shooting The Office.’

Unfortunately the flipper had an unexpected effect, causing a slight slur in Ed’s speech, he told the magazine that he didn’t explain the situation to any of his colleagues because ‘they would lose their minds’, adding ‘I would show up for work (on The Office) with this appliance in my mouth, and it really affected my speech. If you watch those episodes, I sound drunk.’

The Hangover III is set for release at the end of May this year.

American woman loses her teeth after drinking too much tea


A woman in the US has lost all her teeth and been diagnosed with a rare bone condition after drinking 100 tea bag’s worth of tea every day for 17 years. The 47-year-old woman developed skeletal fluorosis after drinking a pitcher of tea made from 100 tea bags every day; it is thought that the fluoride levels in that amount of tea and water would easily be responsible for the disease.

The patient visited a doctor in Detroit, Michigan, after suffering pain and stiffness in her bones; it was discovered that she had very dense bone in her back and calcification in the ligaments of her arms, her teeth had also become so brittle that they all had to be extracted. After x-rays revealed the abnormally dense areas of bone in her vertebrae, the woman’s fluoride levels were tested and found to be four times higher than normal.

Fluoride is good for the teeth and can prevent cavities in small amounts, but when consumed at such a high level over a long period of time, it is not safe for general health. Experts recommend that water should not contain more than 4mg of fluoride; this patient had been consuming at least 20mg every day.

Skeletal fluorosis is not common in the UK but it can develop in countries where the fluoride deposits in the water supply are naturally greater, such as India. The woman is expected to make a full recovery after reducing her consumption.

US Cosmetic surgery market boosted by Botox and fillers


Against the current economic trends worldwide, statistics released this week have shown that the plastic surgery industry in the US has grown for the third consecutive year; and it’s all thanks to non-invasive procedures, such as Botox, dermal filler injections, and chemical peels.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons – which represents more than 7,000 surgeons in the US – said that 14.6 million procedures of this nature were carried out in 2012, which represents an increase of 5% from the previous year. President of the society Gregory Evans said in a statement that this ‘overall growth’ is ‘driven by a significant rise in minimally invasive procedures, while surgical procedures remain relatively stable.’

According to the statistics, Botox treatments were up 8% in 2012, and demand for dermal filler injections was up 5%. Other non-surgical procedures were also on the increase; laser hair removal rose by 4% and chemical peels were up 2%. Looking at the whole picture, this reveals that minimally invasive treatments accounted for 13 million procedures last year, whilst surgical procedures, such as breast enlargements and facelifts, were down to 1.6 million – a drop of 2% from 2011.

Evans’ statement backed the findings, explaining that ‘Female cosmetic breast surgeries such as breast augmentation, as well as body contouring procedures like tummy tucks, were some of the most popular procedures performed in 2012, although they saw declines.’

Movie start meets namesake at dental practice in US


Actor Gerard Butler was travelling from Louisiana to New York by motor cycle when he came face-to-face with his name sake at a dental practice in New Orleans; the movie star was taking some time out after completing filming on his latest project Olympus and decided to take the road trip with a friend when he spotted the dental surgery as the pair stopped to take a rest.

Butler and his friend Freddie where in North Carolina when they decided to take a break from the road; they stopped at a 7-eleven – a type of store in the US – and were surprised to see a familiar name on the awning of a nearby building. Butler explains ‘We stopped to get some refreshments and I looked across the road and I’m like ‘Do you see what I see?’ and there was a dentist called Jerry Butler’.

Despite having no dental problems currently, the 43-year-old thought it would be entertaining to speak to the dentist, ‘So me and Freddie go across the road and Freddie knocks on the door and says, ‘Hi, I have an appointment with Jerry Butler…’ and [his assistant] says, ‘Who should I say is calling?’ and I step forwards and say, ‘It’s Gerry Butler.’

The 300 star also joked that it was a moving experience, saying ‘I went in and met Jerry Butler, the dentist, which was actually a big honour for me.’

Britney Spears denies claims of bad oral health


It’s fair to say that child star Britney Spears has had her fair share of problems in recent years, and just as it looks like she’s put her troubles behind her, US gossip magazine National Enquirer has published a story claiming that the mother-of-two has bad breath, due to her extreme diet. Representatives of Spears have come forward to deny claims that were quoted from an unknown source, saying that ‘Britney’s breath absolutely reeks!’

According to the source, it’s the pop-stars diet that is causing the decline in oral health, as they added that ‘It must be the acids in her tummy or something from this crazy diet she’s on because her breath will start smelling twenty minutes after she brushes her teeth.’ Her meal plan has been described as ‘absolutely brutal’ including egg whites, whey protein shakes and lean meats, as she attempts to keep in shape for her role as X-Factor judge in the US. This combination of foods can apparently cause halitosis by ‘producing breath-affecting by-products or ammonia in the body.’

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence to support this other than rumour and hearsay, and Internet site Gossip Cop has reported that Britney’s people are saying the rumours are ‘not true’; they have also denied that the so-called source is a friend of hers or has ever even met the star. 

US firm arranges dental tourist trips


A company in the US has begun arranging dental tourist trips to let Americans take advantage of cheaper treatment outside their home country. Jaime Bellos and his business partner Richard Dziurda have created a website called, designed to help people in need of expensive dental care to find a dentist in another country who can provide this for them. It is estimated that about a quarter of a million Americans travel outside the US to get their teeth treated every year, and now they can easily find contact details of reputable clinics in places like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama.

The idea came from founder Dziurda when he was told he would need thousands of pounds worth of dental procedures; rather than pay up, the entrepreneur decided to combine a holiday with his treatment and save himself some money into the bargain.

The website allows patients to upload their medical records and contact details, after which dentists around the world bid for the right to carry out the necessary work at a lower price than they would pay in the US – where healthcare is notoriously expensive. Lots of different procedures are available, such as dental implants, porcelain crowns, root canals, and dentures. It costs nothing to read up on the initial bidder, then $25 for each one after that – customers could save thousands of pounds and enjoy a holiday at the same time.

Katie Price wishes she had kept her natural teeth


She might be more famous for her other fake accessories, but it’s her teeth that Katie Price would like to change if she could. Katie admitted to The Independent Magazine that she wishes she still had her natural teeth after damaging them in childhood and getting them repaired with dental veneers. The glamour model explains that she fell from her brother’s skateboard, knocking her teeth, and has been living with veneers ever since, adding ‘If I could change one thing about myself I would have my own teeth.’

It was only a couple of years ago that the mother-of-three flew to the US to get her veneers fixed after they came loose again as a result of her bruxism. Katie was told by the LA dentist that she was clenching and grinding her teeth while she was asleep and this was causing damage to the veneers, loosening the cement and making them shift when put under pressure. It is thought that her busy lifestyle is to blame for her bruxism.

Luckily, Katie isn’t dwelling on the past too much and hopes to move on from her dental problems, telling the Independent that she tries to live every day as though it is her last, she also offered some words of wisdom, saying ‘You only live once and you’re a long time dead, so enjoy it.’

Poorly trained dentists are putting US children at risk


Poor training and careless attitudes towards patient safety means that thousands of children across the USA are being put at risk when they visit the dentist, as some unscrupulous characters attempt to increase their profit by sedating very young patients. By pushing parents to add expensive sedation to their child’s treatment, badly trained dentists are making huge amounts of profit on what should be routine treatments.

In some cases, providers are administering oral sedatives to patients as young as 18-months and current research suggests that at least 31 children have died as a result of this careless practice in the last fifteen years. The parents of eight-year-old Raven Maria Blanco have set up a foundation in her memory after she passed away in the dentist’s chair in 2007, due to a lethal dose of sedatives. The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation was created to warn parents about the dangers of poorly trained dentists, Robin and Mario Blanco spoke to Diane Sawyer on ABC news about the tragedy and how it could have been prevented; they said ‘Parents assume that a dentist should know what he’s doing and that’s not always the case.’ ABC continued to investigate and found that there were very few regulations in place for dentists and that some states required just a weekend of training for administering oral sedatives.

Spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr Indru Punwani, called the weekend course ‘inadequate’, and suggested that this was not long enough to teach the dentists how to deal with the possible emergencies that could occur during surgery.

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