Creating Healthy Smiles, One Smile At A Time

Monthly Archives: April 2013

And who said writing letters is a lost art form?

Letter my daughter wrote to the Tooth Fairy after I extracted one of her teeth in the office. She was a little concerned about whether or not the Tooth Fairy would visit if one’s own father took out a baby tooth versus the tooth falling out on her own. Happy to report that the Tooth Fairy apparently pays extra for teeth that are extracted by a dentist.

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The New England Journal of Medicine (one of the preeminent and most respected medical journals in the world) recently celebrated its 200-year anniversary in 2012.  As part of its celebration, readers were invited to nominate and vote for the most important article published in the 200 year history of the NEJM.

The article entitled, “Insensibility during surgical operations produced by inhalation. Boston Med Surg J 1846;35(16):309-317” by Boston surgeon Henry Jacobs Bigelow, was the recipient of this award.  This article described how Boston dentist (Yeah!) Dr. William Morton, demonstrated the use of ether to achieve general anesthesia during a surgical procedure on October 16th, 1846 at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

This was a momentous moment in medicine, as prior to this procedure, painful and gruesome procedures such as limb amputations were performed without general anesthesia.  The importance of the discovery of general anesthesia by Dr. William Morton stands tall as one of the most significant developments in modern medicine.  It was for this reason, that this 1846 article was voted the most important article in 200 years published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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The Ether Dome which is located at Massachusetts General Hospital is still used as a classroom and meeting area for faculty.  In fact, if you are interested, you can still tour the dome (for free) and see in person, this monument to a great moment in medicine.


How to prevent wisdom teeth from forming…Maybe!

Here’s an interesting article that I came across this morning (click on the link above for article.  As many of you well know, the extraction of wisdom teeth is one of those life events that most of us would prefer not to have to go through.  Though the process of having one’s wisdom teeth extracted has been made easier with sedation (so that you are mostly unaware of the procedure itself) and is relatively pain free, it would be nice if one never had to go through it in the first place.

 

Researchers at Tufts University are releasing a compelling study in this months Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) , which is one of the premier dental research journals in the Country.  What these researchers have found is that children between the ages of two and six who received local anesthesia for their lower teeth from were significantly more likely to be missing their wisdom teeth as they got older.  In fact, the data showed that kids that had anesthesia injections were 4.35 times as likely to have no wisdom tooth development compared to kids that had no injections. Interesting……

The researchers aren’t exactly sure why this may be, and think it could have something to do with the positioning of the needle near the very small bud of a developing wisdom tooth. However, it remains to be seen if this finding holds out in other studies using a larger sample of patients.  And if the research holds up, what does it mean? Are we going to be recommending a prophylactic administration of local anesthesia for a young children in the hopes of preventing wisdom tooth development.  I’m not sure how a “Johnny, you’re going to get a shot now because maybe when you’re 17 you won’t develop wisdom teeth” will be a winner with your 4 year old child.

So there you have it.  For now, there may be a silver lining to having that filling done on your 2-6 year old child.  They may have a chance of never ever developing lower wisdom teeth!  That ought to bring a smile to everybody’s face.