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Teenagers are risking their teeth as they try out new ‘gap band’ trend


Orthodontic treatment can be a lengthy process and some teenagers just aren’t prepared to wait for their tooth gaps to be closed up using normal methods; lots of teens are risking tooth loss by trying out the new ‘gap band’ trend, which involves placing elastic bands around the teeth to pull them together and close up gaps. However, dentists are warning that anyone trying this is more likely to lose their teeth rather than get the perfect smile.

Numerous teens have posted videos of themselves starting the practice, according to The Metro, and some even claim that their tooth gaps were closed up in just a few weeks, compared to months or years it could take with conventional orthodontic treatment. Due to the price of dental care in the USA, this is becoming a popular trend across the pond, despite the risks of bone loss, root damage, and perhaps even tooth loss later on.

According to Juan Rendon, a Texas-based dentist who spoke to US website Refinery29, this practice could initially seem attractive as an alternative to expensive orthodontic treatment, but could ultimately leave the teeth in a very bad state. He said ‘when you move a tooth, the colour of the tooth might change because you are damaging the blood supply. You’re also going to have problems with your gums.’ If the gums are put under pressure this can cut off the blood supply and this can lead to inflammation, followed by infection and possibly tooth loss.

Crest launches new flavoured toothpastes


After feedback suggested that customers found the range of toothpastes on offer boring, US company Proctor & Gamble has launched a new ‘Be’ line of products as part of a reinvention of the Crest brand. The new line will include Vanilla Mint Spark and Lime Spearmint Zest; all flavours will still contain fluoride to help fight cavities and keep the teeth healthy.

The Mint Chocolate Trek flavour, costing £3, could soon find its way to Britain if the company takes notice of the customer opinions on current toothpaste choices. Head of scientific communications for Procter & Gamble, John Scarchilli, said that perfecting the exact flavour for the toothpaste was sometimes tricky. He said ‘We actually use a proprietary flavouring-and-cooling technology that delays the onset of the mint, to let the chocolate make the first impression. Holding back the mint long enough – 30-to-40 seconds – lets the chocolate be satisfying.’

Spokesperson for the company, Michelle Lohman, said that customers in the USA could expect to see the line in stores during the first week of February and it is expected to enter shops in Canada shortly after; no news yet on whether the line will be launched in the UK in the near future.

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.

Dinosaurs may be first creatures to develop toothache


Scientists from China, the USA, and Canada have been studying the fossilised jawbone of a Sinosaurus and have discovered that the animal, presumed to have lived around 190 million years ago, could be the earliest creature to suffer with toothache. X-rays were taken of the teeth and it was found that some of them were damaged, possibly after the dinosaur bit into something hard.

Co-author of the report Xing LiDa told China Daily that ‘It was common for carnivorous dinosaurs to lose teeth, but this specimen we were studying was different. Its tooth socket was completely filled, which indicates the tooth loss was because of dental problems instead of external force.’ The skull was found in Lufeng Basin of the Yunnan province in 2007 and was expected to have 13 or 14 upper teeth, but was found to have several broken teeth still in the sockets. Zing explained the apparent damage, saying ‘When the dinosaur’s teeth were lost or removed while it was alive, the bony socket remodelled over time, so that there was no longer a tooth socket.’

The researchers also found that this kind of problem was common with mammals but not with reptiles, such as dinosaurs. Canadian Palaeontologist Phil R Bell suggested that the Sinosaurus might have damaged its teeth while eating hard nuts, he also added that ‘The study of disease and other abnormalities in the fossil record can reveal unique insights into the behaviour, biology and development of extinct animals. For example, among theropod dinosaurs, injury-related trauma like bites, exostoses, fractures, infection and stress fractures are the overriding cause of osteopathy.’

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.

Putting in dental implants ‘can have a massive impact on patients’


Dental implants are not as new a phenomena as people may think.Dental implants can positively impact upon people's lives, it has been said.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, dentist Mike Heads explained dental implants can stimulate jaw bone growth, improve the look of a face and help protect other teeth.

Poorly maintained teeth can affect speech and individuals may also have a lack of confidence.

The dentist said that while many Britons may think dental implants are relatively new, they came to the fore in the USA in the 80s.

He told the newspaper: "The great thing about implants is that you are not pratting about doing a few fillings."

Dr Heads became aware of the potential of dental implants when he was a guest of the American Dental Association after he won a British Dental Association award.

US dentist Dr Daniel Pittman recently told the Dothan Eagle that dental implants were "the closest thing to natural teeth you can get".


Cosmetic dentistry ‘helps build confidence’


Cosmetic dentistry treatments can help people be more confident.

People who undergo cosmetic dentistry treatments can have their confidence boosted by the process, it has been claimed. cosmetic dentistry

A range of treatments are now available for individuals looking to gain the perfect smile, according to Black Hills Today.

Teeth whitening, Invisalign braces and dental implants can be three of the most effective procedures to give a person confidence, as they all result in a smarter smile.

“While dental implants are not for every patient, the ideal candidate should be in good health and does not have any major health problems, such as diabetes,” commented Dr Anh Nguyen, of Ray Dental Group in Rapid City, USA.

He added visiting a dental professional to have teeth whitening treatments carried out can often result in a better outcome for the patient than using over-the-counter alternatives.

Elsewhere, Santa Cruz-based dentist Rajneesh Sethi recently noted that having dental implants fitted could be a better solution than a bridge for people who have missing teeth.

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