2019-01-30 by Isabelle Schumacher
While dental modifications are usually used to restore teeth to their natural appearance, some trends seek a stylized look that is far from natural. These trends—like grills and teeth whitening—may seem modern, but they actually have roots going back thousands of years.
To give you an idea of how far dental procedures have come, and how old some of them are, check out the surprising history of these three dental modification trends.
Tooth Whitening Was Started 4000 Years Ago by the Ancient Egyptians
Graduates of intra-oral dental assistant training may know that teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dentistry procedure. What they might not know is that it’s been around for a long time. In 2000 BC, Ancient Egyptians whitened their teeth using ground pumice mixed with wine vinegar, while Ancient Romans used urine (yes, urine!) to bleach their teeth. Today, white teeth are still widely sought after, although the procedures involved are quite different from those of the past.
Whitening procedures are still popular
However, not all cultures have historically thought of white teeth as desirable. The Vikings, for example, stained their teeth with red resin as a way of frightening their enemies. And until the end of the 1800s in Japan, married women dyed their teeth black in a practice called ohaguro. While ohaguro was a social custom, it actually also protected against tooth decay.
Mayan Jade Inlays Have a Lot in Common with the Inlays Seen by Grads of Dental Assistant School
When you go to intra-oral dental assistant school, you’ll learn about prosthodontics, such as inlays and onlays. Today inlays are commonly used to restore damaged teeth, but inlays have actually been around for thousands of years and not always for tooth restoration. From 300 AD to 900 AD Maya royalty affixed jade inlays to the front of their teeth. These inlays were worn because the green colour of jade was symbolic of agriculture and sustenance. By wearing jade inlays, Mayan royals were symbolically taking on responsibility for feeding their people.
Grills Are a Dental Modification that Can Be Traced Back Thousands of Years
Modern grills (or grillz), which are decorative covers for teeth embellished with gold, diamonds, and other precious stones, are one of the most popular dental modification trends today. Mayan jade inlays are a precursor to modern grills, but they are far from the only one. For example, Etruscans (who lived in Italy from 88 BC to 200 BC) actually invented grills by weaving gold wire into their teeth. The practice was mainly done by rich Etruscan women to flaunt their social status.
Modern grills, however, take root in the 1970s in the West Indies, where gold caps were common. As people from the West Indies immigrated to North America—primarily New York City—these gold caps were adopted and embellished by hip hop artists in the 1980s. As hip hop became more mainstream from the 1990s onwards, celebrities like Katy Perry, Madonna, and Beyoncé started sporting them as status symbols, much like Etruscan women did more than 2000 years ago!
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2019-01-02 by NAHB
Level 2 Dental Assistants handle a number of important responsibilities in a dental practice, including mechanical polishing, obtaining impression and occlusal records and applying anesthetics and whitening. One of the most important of their responsibilities, though, is helping to take and expose dental radiographs, also known as dental x-rays.
Anyone who’s ever been to the dentist likely has some idea of how this procedure works already, having gone through it themselves, but students in intra oral dental assistant training might be interested to learn more about this useful diagnostic tool, how it works and why it’s so useful.
Dental X-rays Use Radiation to Create Images of a Patient’s Teeth and Bones
Dental x-rays are images that use radiation to highlight a patient’s teeth and bones below the surface of their skin, gums and enamel. While these x-rays used to be exclusively done on film, modern dental practices are increasingly using digital x-ray photography, as it’s quicker and easier, and emits significantly less radiation.
However, it’s important to note that the amount of radiation used in either technique is incredibly low and considered safe for children and adults. The use of a lead vest to protect a patient’s chest, abdomen and pelvic region can further ensure the patient’s safety as well. Pregnant women, however, are cautioned to avoid dental x-rays, as radiation may not be safe for developing fetuses.
There Are Many Different Types of Dental X-Rays
Whether using film or a digital process, as an intra oral dental assistant, you’ll be expected to take several different types of intraoral dental x-rays, which you’ll learn about in your intra oral dental assistant training.
The bitewing technique, for example, requires a patient to bite down on a special piece of paper in order to judge how well the crowns of their teeth line up and to check for interdental cavities. Occlusal x-rays, on the other hand, are done with the jaw closed and, unlike bitewing x-rays, take in all of a patient’s teeth with one shot. Periapical x-rays provide a view of an entire tooth, from the crown to the bone that supports the tooth. Panoramic x-rays are done with a machine that rotates all the way around a patient’s head, giving a 360 degree view for checking wisdom teeth, planning for dental devices or investigating jaw problems.
Panoramic dental x-rays offer a 360-degree view of a patient’s teeth and mouth
Why Dental X-Rays Are Important for Students in Intra Oral Dental Assistant Training
Students in intra oral dental assistant schools should know that X-rays are important in examining those elements of a patient’s dental health that can’t be seen with the naked eye. This could include any number of issues of varying severity, such as tooth decay, misalignment, changes in the condition and position of teeth and bone loss in the jaw. Without dental x-rays, dentists and dental assistants would be limited to what they can see and what the patient can report, which would mean a lot of dental problems would only be found after developing into more severe cases. Dental x-rays, then, allow dental practices to be more proactive in their care.
Dental x-rays are also important for children, as they allow a dentist to monitor the growth of adult teeth and the development of wisdom teeth, ensuring that no teeth are impacted and there is sufficient room for the adult teeth to come in. This is why children generally require more frequent x-rays than adults.
Even adults, however, should be getting dental x-rays about once a year as part of their regular dental care.
Regular dental x-rays are an important element of good dental care
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2018-09-05 by NAHB
Anesthesia is often used in dentistry during many types of dental surgeries and minor procedures. Used to ease the experience for patients in the dentist chair, there are different types of anesthesia that teams turn to depending on the dental work that needs to be done. Each anesthetic serves a different purpose and provides specific benefits when administered in certain procedures.
Those interested in pursuing a career as an intra oral dental assistant learn about anesthesia and how it works when administered to patients. Here is a closer exploration of what anesthesia does and how it affects patients once it is administered.
What is Anesthesia and What Does it Do?
Delivered through injection or inhalation, anesthesia is a drug that causes deep relaxation in patients and is used as a sedative during dental or surgical procedures to decrease the feeling of pain or discomfort. Without anesthesia, it would be difficult for dental teams to effectively work on patients.
Anesthesia injection is one of the most common forms of administration in dentistry
Since most procedures involve drilling and scraping, and since the mouth and gums are a sensitive area, anesthesia is necessary for patients to endure the duration of the work. Anesthesia is usually injected by dentists to complete repairs without any difficulty or discomfort for the patient.
Individuals who complete intra oral dental assistant schools are introduced to the effects that anesthetics may cause afterwards. While some patients may feel normal, some may experience drowsiness and numbness until the sedation wears off, which usually lasts for a couple of hours or longer, depending on the patient or the amount injected.
Grads of Intra Oral Dental Assistant Schools Should Be Familiar With These Types of Anesthesia
Intra oral dental assistant training introduces students to the types of anesthetics that are primarily used in dentistry. General and local anesthesia are sedatives used for different dental procedures and have different effects after each is administered.
Knowledge of anesthetic effects is crucial for working in dentistry
General anesthesia is applied during major dental procedures such as tooth extraction, root canals, or other surgeries. It causes patients to enter a deep sleep due to the lack of consciousness brought on by the sedative, since it does not target one specific area when administered.
Perhaps the most frequently used form of anesthetic is local anesthesia. In contrast to general anesthesia, dentists use this method to affect a specific area of the mouth or gums to decrease the amount of pain that may arise during the procedure. In local anesthesia, there are two types of additional anesthetics that are associated with it: topical and injectable. Topical is used right before the dentist injects the anesthesia into the area. It is applied with a cotton swab, spray, or adhesive patch on the gum in order to lessen the feeling of the proceeding injection.
Once the topical anesthetic has been applied, the injectable anesthetic is administered to start the procedure and ensure that pain in the area is prevented. Both topical and injectable anesthetics are applied before procedures that involve fillings, crowns, restorative treatments, aesthetics, and other minor repairs. The patient is unable to feel any pain since the injectable anesthesia works by blocking the nerve endings, which causes numbness in the desired area.
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