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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wonders of Modern Dentistry and Where To Go For The Best Dental Service In The World

The Most Fascinating, Interesting, Comprehensive and Upbeat Article On Dentistry You'll Ever Read.

How important are teeth?  How important is your overall health to you?  How important are your looks?  Your teeth give your face it's shape.  Not just your pretty smile but the actual shape of your face.  From a purely superficial "good looks" stand point I'd say that's pretty important.
How important is being able to eat?.  Without your incisors you can't cut your food.  Without your cuspids you can't tear your food and then there are your premolars.  Without these you can't crush and tear your food.  You need both your cuspids and your premolars working together, cutting, tearing and crushing.  And last, but not least, the grand daddy of all teeth, the molars.  Without these guys you can't grind your food or open beer bottles. (Disregard the last comment I don't know what I was thinking.) 


Graphic from Evansville Pediatric Dentistry

This was the "state of the art" when I was a kid. (Note: I don't think the men in this picture are actually Dentists.  They look more like actors for the Ritter Dental Equipment Company, then again with those tie's they could be CIA or U.S. Navy C-130 pilots.) 

Co-incidentally a short history of the Ritter Company can be found here. )  The Knight Ritter company ceased to exist in 1997.
The photographs below are the last models of dental chairs and "Operatories" (As they say in the business.) that they produced.

The 1997 Knight Operatory 

The Last 1997 beige Knight Operatory

Knight Ritter was bought out  and became the MidMark company, an international medical and dental equipment company.  Their website can be found here.  Their latest models look like this.

I provide these photos so that the next time you go to your dentist you can determine how current his equipment is.

This one is my personal favorite.  I think the high intensity lamp looks like a "bot" from some science fiction movie.

When I was a young boy in the 1950's a trip to the dentist was a harrowing experience.  Expecially since my family dentist,  Dr. Paul Nelson, believed that young boys who needed novicane injections where sissys.  I think there may have been one or two occasions in my whole experience with Dr Nelson that he obliged me by giving me a shot and this was only in extreme cases when he knew he as going to drill into and expose the root nerve of the tooth.  Consequently, as an adult I've never required, asked for, or had Novocain or other pain medication when I've had dental work performed.  I amaze and confuse my doctors.
The use of the simple dental dam not
 only helps to keep the tooth being worked
 on dry it is also psychologically less stressful
 for the dentist to work in this environment.

Nicely Positioned Dental Dam.  Looks
 like this baby needs a crown. There is
 almost more amalgam than tooth.
  Not much holding this bad boy together.
Shock and Awe, Shucks
I am fascinated and awe'd at how seemingly effortlessly a good dentist today can go in and reconstruct a badly decayed tooth.  They really are like artists and believe me, your tongue is one of toughest critics out there.  When it's all over you instinctively run your tongue over the newly restored tooth searching for flaws.  For the most part this is usually an exercise in futility.  I have rarely been disappointed with the smoothness, contour or fit of a restored tooth.   I always try to imagine as I sit in the chair, tilted back like an astronaut about to take off in Challenger, what is going on in my mouth as the high speed super sonic drill is breaking away pieces of decayed tooth enamel.  I can almost see the drill as it approaches a nerve or skirts along the gum line spattering slavia, small pieces of tissue and blood.  Once the decay has been removed and the mouth and cavity cleaned, the dental team goes into high gear.  It may supprise you to learn that many dentist often spend time in advance of your appointment planning out their approach and the materials/compounds they will use on your proceedure    

 While the chair on the left does predate my own experience the basic design has not really changed all that much even to this day.  In 2011 my six year old can still identify this as a dental chair.
The basic hand tools, and I stress hand tools, of the trade have not changed all that much over the years.

Going to the dentist has been a lifelong experience that I have only come to appreciate in the last 10 or 15 years of my life.

Many people are not aware that dental hygiene in America was almost non-existent. until a campaign to teach dental care to soldiers was initiated by Union Doctors during the Civil War. The details of this campaign can be found in this excellent publication by the U.S. Army's Borden Institute Here.  

U.S. Army Civil War Field Dentisty

Many volunteers for service in the civil war were rejected because they did not have a sufficient number of teeth with which to chew their food. Civil war soldiers were required to have a minimum of four (4) opposing front teeth Given the Civil War soldiers diet of hard tack and tough salted beef or pork (jerkey) one can understand why.  If a soldier didn't have teeth he couldn't eat the food supplied by the Army.    Hungry soldiers don't make good fighters.  The complete history of dentistry in the U.S. Army can be found here.

Dispite the work of Army dentist in the Civil War oral hygeine didn't really take off  until the 1950's.  Most people didn't brush their teeth in America in the early and mid 1900's.  Brushing didn't really become wide spread in the United States until after WWII in the 1950's when massive numbers of returning veterans brought back their "habit" learned in the service of good dental hygiene.  And again, we have to credit the U.S. Army for this development.  And you thought it was Mom who was behind making you brush, but it was really good old dad. Thanks dad.  Thanks General Patton!

Current Information you can use.  The information I'm about to give you is going to save you thousands of dollars, open up your life to a new experience of exotic travel, if you don't already live in Asia, and best of all it's going to result in your having the most positive and rewarding oral hygenic experience of your life.

Although, one can still receive world class, state of the art dental care in the United States the cost has become prohibitively expensive.    For the last few years I have been having all my dental work done in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  The dentist and dental clinics in Chiang Mai are world class.  They all speak English and  many in fact have advanced degrees in variouis dental specialties from Universities in the United States and Europe.

Traveling to Thailand for Dental Care

The cost of a round trip ticket to Thailand from almost anywhere in the United States is less than $1,500.  That's about the same as the  cost of a root canal and a crown.  If you have a few cavities, need a cleaning, a root canal and a crown or two you can easily spend more than $4,000 or $5,000 in the USA for this work.  In Thailand you can get a root canal and a crown for about $600 or around 20,000 Thai Baht.

My advice,  Save your self some money, have a nice vacation and have your teeth put back into tip top shape all for less than staying home.  If you have children and they need dental work bring them to Thailand,  not to save money, although you will, but to give them the best dental care they can possibly get anywhere in the world from Dr. Nik Kantaputra

While there are many great dentists and clinics in Chiang Mai, my personal favorite is Dr.  Piranit Nik Kantaputra or just Dr. Nik.
Dr. Nik is a specialist in Pediatric Dentistry and also a world renowned lecturer on the subject of  Microcephalic Osteodysplasdtic Primordial Dwarfism and on Pediatric Dentistry. Here is a link to some of his publications.  Dr. Nik also runs a dental clinic in Chiang Mai called Dentaland which you can see here at Dentaland or here.  Dr. Nik has an advanced degree from the University of Minnesota and he is on the faculty at the University of Chiang Mai, Thailand  One final interesting point.  In the Thai language or, an approximate transliteration of it "Teeth" are called,  "Fun" and a Doctor is called a "Maw".   So you see they really do have maw fun over in Thailand. 
Dr. Nik always involves and keeps his young patients involved.  Note:  Dr. Nick offers his young patients there choice of very cool eye gear for the procedures.
Dr. Nick has an incredible talent with young people.  He has developed techniques and procedures which he teaches to other Dentist all over the world.

 If you appreciate the art of dentistry you might find the following additional links of interest.

History of Modern Dentistry

Going to the Dentist in the 1960's

Journal of Forensic Dentistry

Death at the hands of your dentist

1960's Crest Commercial

1960's Crest Commercial 2

1960's Crest Commercial using Asian actors.

Street Dentists


Anonymous said...

Waooo...Naam Tuan Mak Mak...

Sam Smith said...

Awesome post! My Dentist San Antonio would find this very interesting, i will pass it along.

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jelly andrews said...

Great post! This is really interesting. I guess there is quite a change in the appearance of a dentist’s clinic. It seems that as technology is innovating, so is the dentist’s equipment. And the innovation is for the convenience of both the doctor and the patient.

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