Patient instructions for lip bumper

Lip bumper

A lip bumper is an dental appliance designed by dentists or orthodontists that has the purpose of correcting or holding into position the lower adult molar teeth and making sure that they do not come forward until the adult premolars (bicuspids) have erupted.

When a young patient is wearing a lip bumper, here are the instructions to follow:

  • a lip bumper should be worn 24 hours per day with the only exception being to brush your teeth;
  • the lip bumper has been placed so that it can be removed for thorough brushing; however, should it become obvious that you are not wearing the bumper 24 hours per day, it can be tied in permanently;
  • When wearing the lip bumper, remember to hold your lower lip up and over it rather than letting it rest under the wire;
  • when removing the lip bumper for brushing, pull it out in a straight forward motion; don’t lift up on the appliance or rock it back and forth because this might eventually loosen the bands;
  • The lip bumper is a comfortable appliance and should not cause sore spots or break the skin; If you are having any problems with the it, call your dental office and they will adjust the lip bumper comfortably.

Another dental illustration by Victor Nunes

victor-nunes-12

Last summer, I had displayed some of the artistic creations of Victor Nunes. He is a Brazilian artist who uses foods or instruments to complete his drawings, creating unique masterpieces! He had used toothbrushes as well.

But now I found something new that he designed. A drawing using dental instruments, which look more like orthodontic pliers! Above is what it looks like! And here’s the one with the toothbrushes :)

victor nunes toothbrushes

Palatal expansion

Palatal expansion

A palatal expansion is the use of an appliance placed in the mouth to make a constricted palate more wide. The following video summarizes the procedure.

A narrow palate usually allows less space for upper teeth, causing malocclusion, which is a bad relationship between teeth that gives them a misaligned appearance. Malocclusion also makes it hard to eat and brush your teeth, provoking malnutrition and other dental problems.

It is possible to expand the palate of children, teenagers, and sometimes young adults. There are many types of expanding appliances, but each usually covers the palate and holds on the upper teeth. Activation needs to be done with the expansion screw that is found in the middle of the appliance. The whole process can take several months to a year.

Links

Toothaches were believed to be caused by… worms?

tooth-worms

There was a time that people didn’t know the existence of cavities, and even less the world the microscopic bacteria. Therefore when someone had a toothache, they believed that it was caused by very little worms!

The idea now sounds very nasty, but around the 15th century, the dentist profession didn’t exist, and physicians thought that there were “tooth worms” that were causing teeth to hurt and to break apart! Those doctors prescribed a remedy for toothaches that involved lighting a candle and letting the smoke go inside your mouth and fill it. Then, you would lean your head over a warm bowl of water so the pain-causing tooth worms would fall out of your mouth and into the water.

The idea is very disturbing, even for a dentist like me. It makes me so glad that now, to treat a toothache, you can go to place and let professionals take care of you in a sterilized environment!

Links

Do all animals have two sets of teeth like humans?

shark water

Human beings have 2 sets of teeth, also called dentitions. They are referred to as deciduous teeth (primary, baby or milk teeth) and permanent teeth (or adult teeth). Deciduous teeth in humans start coming out 6 to 10 months after birth, and they are eventually replaced by permanent teeth years later, usually starting around the age of 6.

Humans and all animals that have 2 consecutive sets of teeth are called diphyodont. In contrast, polyphyodont are animals who’s teeth are replaced many times. Most mammals are diphyodont, except kangaroos, elephants and manatees.

Among polyphyodont animals, for example, sharks grow a new set of teeth almost every two weeks because their teeth get worn fast and they need to be replaced. Also young and teenage crocodiles have their teeth changed with larger ones every month for reasons similar to the ones of the sharks, but this rate slows down for adult crocodiles.

Many other species of fish and reptiles are polyphyodonts. This phenomena, especially in crocodiles, is presently studied in order to research possible tooth generation in humans.

Links

Mr. Bean at the dentist!

This is a classic, where Mr. Bean goes to a dental appointment and everything seems to go wrong! But don’t worry as when you see your dentist, these things won’t happen :)

Your heart and lungs look good too!

your-heart-lungs-look-good-too

This is a caricature of a patient opening wide to a dentist, so wide that the dentist can see and examine some of his internal organs. It is funny but there is some truth into it.

When someone has a systemic disease, sometimes it can have oral signs. Like for example diabetes. If the dentist suspects anything, he or she will refer the patient to the general doctor to have it checked.

Also they say that a healthy mouth is a sign of a healthy body. That’s why it’s important to keep your teeth and gums healthy in order not to cause infection or inflammation that can reach other organs of your body like your heart and your lungs.

Links

Dangers of thumb sucking

dangers-of-thumb-sucking

As the image above suggests, if thumb sucking persists with your child, his or her upper jaw will grow in a more forward way, changing the appearance of the face, creating an abnormal bite, and maybe causing speech problems.

Here are some ways to make your child break the thumb sucking habit:

  • It is important not to turn it into a confrontation by telling your child not to suck their thumb anymore. Try to recognize and praise them when not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing when they are.
  • Talking to your child about thumb sucking is also important, in a way that you help them understand that when they are ready to stop, you will be there to help. You empower them to say “Mommy, I don’t want to suck my thumb anymore.”
  • Don’t prohibit your child if he tries to suck his thumb or fingers after being hurt or injured. They need to be in this comfort zone, and by not letting them go there, you’re only traumatizing them more.
  • Practice self-awareness with your child by saying “Do you know you are sucking your thumb” when you see them do it. If they say no, help them recognize that, and find another way to soothe them if they needs it, like a blanket or stuffed animal.

fixed-palatal-crib-thumb-sucking
If you have tried all of the above and at a later age your child did not lose the habit:

  • at night, you can gently remove the thumb from your child’s mouth while he or she is sleeping;
  • you can cover your child’s thumb with a bandage to remind them that they should not suck anymore;
  • if nothing works, there are appliances that can be put in the mouth of your child, by a dentist or orthodontist, that will stop the habit.

photo-fixed-palatal-crib-thumb-sucking
Links:

History of anesthesia for surgery

william-thomas-green-1846

The first person to have historically used anaesthesia to perform surgery was a dentist!

William Thomas Green Morton was the first dentist to use anaesthesia to achieve a painless tooth extraction on September 30th 1846. He used ether as an anaesthetic agent in his own dental office. Then, on October 16, 1846, Morton participated in a surgery where Dr. John Collins Warren used ether as anaesthesia on a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital to remove a tumour in the neck without pain. Following this procedure, the news spread out globally and Morton convinced the medical world of the importance of performing surgical procedures without pain.

Links

Art by Victor Nunes

victor-nunes-1

victor-nunes-portraitVictor Nunes is a retired art director living in São Paulo, Brazil. He now has a creative hobby which is very unique: he uses bits of foods and other household appliances in which he completes by drawing faces and other sketches.

His artwork is very imaginative. In this example he utilizes old toothbrushes to draw faces, people, and even what looks like to be a dentist! On his other sketches he uses everything from popcorn, scissors to bits of lettuce, designing the most funny but impressive pieces of art! He mentioned that he draws everyday, and he regularly publishes his remarkable masterpieces on his Facebook page, which will surely make you smile!

Here’s a showcase of his most impressive pieces!

victor-nunes-9 victor-nunes-10 victor-nunes-11 victor-nunes-2 victor-nunes-3 victor-nunes-4 victor-nunes-5 victor-nunes-6 victor-nunes-7 victor-nunes-8

Health benefits of bleach

bleach-bottlesBleach, or sodium hypochlorite, is known to remove colour, whiten or disinfect, often by oxidation. Most people associate it with its ability to clean and make whiter clothes. But bleach can be used for other purposes as well, as much for dental, medial and household purposes.

In high concentrations, bleach has an anti microbial effect and is a dentist’s best friend for root canal therapy! Liquid sodium hypochlorite quickly reacts with microbes to irreversibly denature and destroy many of them that are considered pathogens. In most countries, bleach is used by the dentist during root canal treatment to disinfect an abscessed tooth. It has also been reported that in lower concentrations, bleach can be used as a mouthwash, when very diluted in water, in adjunction with gum disease treatment.

When bleach is in very low concentrations, it can be used to treat eczema. BBC News documented a study that involved 31 children with eczema and who took baths in water that contained a small amount of bleach. All children ended up having less skin irritation. The reason bleach helped was its disinfectant ability, killing germs that usually make eczema even more challenging to treat. These microbes cause infections and alleviate eczema’s symptoms like redness, irritation and the spread of the rash to other parts of the body. Diluted bleach disinfects those germs and reduces the symptoms. But it’s important not to conduct this bleach treatment alone and be medically assisted because high concentrations of bleach can be toxic.

Another study suggested that bleach treatments can slow down aging of the skin. Older mice were given daily 30 minute baths in water containing small amounts of bleach. They have all gained a baby skin. Bleach is not only a disinfectant but also an anti inflammatory agent that multiplies skin cells, providing those mice with thicker epidermal layer that became thin with age. Again the study does not encourage humans to add bleach in their baths.

Source of photo: Foekje Fleur
BBC article: ‘Bleach bath’ benefit for eczema

How I feel after the dentist

post-dentist

A funny way to start the year :) Here’s how some people feel after they’ve had local anaesthesia and a dental treatment. But they don’t really look like that :)