Friday, September 27, 2013

The End of Root Canals!?

The news is filled with advances of all sorts.  Smart phones have more computing power than the computers used to put men on the moon.  Cars are smarter than the mainframes used at MIT in the fifties. Face, hand, arm transplants used to be science fiction, now while not routine, are not uncommon.
    Dentistry has also come a huge way in a short period of time.  Digital x rays, scanning teeth instead of impressions with purple gooey stuff that not only makes you gag, but tastes disgusting. Just around the corner is three D printing of fillings.
  What is on the horizon is the end of the Root canal.  Looked at it objectively, a root canal is really no ones idea of a great treatment. Cleaning out the nerve knowing that you will never be able to get it all out.  Doing a procedure that I can't see what I'm doing, with a ton of anomalies and deviations. Then having a dead tooth that can't tell you if anything is wrong.  Don't misunderstand, it is a great procedure in that you get to save teeth that would need to be extracted.  Hopefully I can look back and put root canal in the category of "it was the best we could do at the time".  Research in stem cells has been going on in dentistry.  Instead of removing the nerve and putting in a filler researchers are trying to use stem cells to regenerate the nerve.  This is a whole new world where instead of doing something that is almost as good, you get to have a tooth that is as good as new.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stop Cavities Chew Gum

People want to know-What can I do to prevent cavities?  Well, there is the brushing and flossing of teeth.  That's kind of obvious though.  There is eating candy. I know this sounds counter intuitive, Even crazy.   If the candy has Xylitol as a sweetener though, then eat away. Xylitol prevents decay and slows down the progress sometimes even reversing a cavity that is already present.  First off what is Xylitol? It is a sweetener derived from  fibers of many fruits and vegetables, and can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, as well as fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse, and birch. It has 33% less calories than sugar and is the only sweetener that reduces decay, remineralizes tooth, and helps prevent ear aches. If an expecting mother eats it regularly the child has a lower rate of cavities. It has no deleterious effect on the developing baby.  It is best as a hard candy but can be chewed in a gum.  It has been studied extensively and shows no side effects in clinical doses.  Children are more than happy to eat it. It has no problems with long term use.  It is pretty much a win- win, which is a rare thing in dentistry.

Sources: Wikipedia, Dentaltown