469 Medical Drive Suite 200 Bountiful, Utah (801) 292-5812

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

George Washington's Dental History

Have you heard the stories of George Washington's wooden teeth? Did you know that this story is actually a myth? We thought it would be fun to celebrate Independence Day by sharing some interesting facts about George Washington's dental work. 

"Washington had a long history of illness. In 1751 he wrote of having smallpox and the following year complained that he had a bout of "violent plurise." As a young lieutenant colonel in 1755 serving with General Braddock in the French and Indian War, he suffered "pain in the head" and dysentery. In 1761 when he was twenty-nine and back at Mt. Vernon, he got "breakbone fever," now known as dengue fever, characterized by headache, fever, and severe muscles and joint pain. Over the ensuing years there were attacks of malaria, flu, and rheumatic complaints. Adding to the stress as commander of the continental Army were constant unrelieved toothaches. In some instances, one cannot help but wonder if his teeth might have been the source of the chronic infections he suffered"

"According to his accounts, he received the standard medical treatments of the day, which included heavy doses of the infamous calomel (mercurous chloride) that can lead to destruction of the teeth. This, combined with what may have been naturally poor teeth, led to dental problems beginning when Washington was twenty-two. Over the next thirty-five years, he would lose all his teeth."

During this time, tooth powders (since they didn't have toothpaste) were made from pumice, borax, roots and herbs, even burnt bread and tobacco were sometimes used. It was likely that people used a mouth rinse solution that contained herbs or resins of balsam or myrrh, salt, wine, or even vinegar may have been used. 

Tooth extractions became a yearly occurrence for our founding father. "There were frequent episodes of infected and abscessed teeth, inflamed gums, and finally ill-fitting dentures." George Washington didn't have wooden teeth, but he did have several sets of dentures throughout his life. His first set came shortly after he was inaugurated for his first term as president in 1789. It was made of hippopotamus ivory carved to fit the gums, ivory teeth, and also human teeth. In 1791 he received his second set of dentures and then a third set in 1795. Another large set of dentures was made for him in 1796. "His final set was made in 1798, the year before he died. This set was a swagged gold plate with individual backing for each tooth which was fastened by rivets. The lower denture of this set, along with others, are on display in the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore."

Here at Davis Dental we are grateful for modern dentistry and to be able to share that with our outstanding patients. Happy Independence Day! 

To learn more about Davis Dental visit or call us at (801)292-5812

Information gathered from 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Importance of Replacing Missing Teeth

We see patients on a regular basis who are in need of tooth replacement, whether it be a single tooth or several teeth, there are essentially three options. 

Option 1: The first and best option is a dental implant.  It is essentially a screw or a post with rivets made of titanium that is placed in to the jaw bone (we also offer a ceramic implant for patients who are looking for a metal free option). It is then allowed to heal for four-six months so that the bone can fuse to the implant. After healing is complete, a different type of post called an abutment is screwed into the implant so that a replacement tooth can be placed on top. A crown or cap is placed on the post. The process is then complete and the patient may use the implant normally.
Implants are the most similar to a natural tooth. You eat, brush, and floss as you would without an implant. 
Implants also have a much longer life span than other treatment options. 

Option 2: The second option is a bridge. It is made of porcelain, metal, or a combination of both. A bridge is three or more teeth that are fused together and then attached to the neighboring teeth. The bridge will fill the empty space left from the missing tooth. In order for the bridge to fit onto the existing teeth, they must be prepped or ground down to create enough space for the bridge to fit. It is then cemented into place. 
The biggest risk factor with a bridge is bridge failure. This happens when either one or both of the neighboring teeth get decay on them. If this occurs, the entire bridge needs to be removed to have the decay taken out properly. Then a new bridge would need to be made and cemented into place.

Option 3: The third option is a removable partial denture or a retainer that has teeth attached to it. An impression or mold of the upper and lower teeth is taken. The impression is then sent to a Dental Laboratory for fabrication. Once completed, the patient will return to the dental office for an appointment to ensure a proper fit.
Partial dentures are fairly easy to care for. They come in and out of the mouth and can be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush. At night, it is recommended that partial dentures be removed from the mouth and placed in a cup of water with an effervescent tablet like Polident to clean it thoroughly.
The biggest downside to a partial denture for patients is the fact that it does come in and out of the mouth. Over time, it will also need adjustments to keep it fitting well and eventually will need to be replaced. 

It is important to replace missing teeth for the following reasons:
1. Teeth will shift over time. For example, if you had your second to back tooth on the lower left side, extracted, eventually the tooth behind it will begin to move forward at an angle to fill the space. Also, the upper teeth will begin to move down until they touch the opposing teeth again. This process is called super eruption. When teeth begin to shift or move up or down, sometimes they will do it to the point that they are no longer savable and need to be extracted.
2. If you have a tooth extracted and you wait several years before deciding to replace it, there may not be room for an implant or another option because the teeth around it have shifted too much.
3. The other problem with waiting several years before replacing a tooth is you will begin to lose the bone in that area. Which results in needing a bone graft if you have decided to have an implant placed. When having a bone graft done, this will delay healing time and also prolong the implant process. 

Here at Davis Dental, we want to help you have a long lasting, fully functioning, beautiful smile! Contact us for more information. (801)292-5812