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August 22, 2016

Five Things I Learnt At The Dentist

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I was never a fan of going to the dentist. I'm not actually certain why, but it could be linked to the fact that my parents showed an extreme dislike of going to the dentist and I possibly caught the fear from them. I think I only ever saw my father go once throughout my conscious life and my mother has not been since before she and my father married, which was over 30 years ago.

I don't remember having a particularly traumatising experience with the dentist of my youth but as an adult I rather enjoy it. And perhaps it has to do with the dentist himself: my dentist is so interesting to talk to and forthcoming with all information about teeth and dentistry. As such, I always leave with the feeling that I have not only received excellent care for my teeth but have also learnt something.

Some of my favourite lessons include:

1. The reason 'laughing gas', or nitrous oxide, has such a giddy effect on our system is because it is giving your body a heavy dose of oxygen without all the other things we breathe in normally. And what does your brain do when you're breathing well? You feel calmer and may even think clearer. According to this article, however, it appears there is no certainty as to why nitrogen and oxygen in this formulation provides an anaesthetic effect, although it may have something to do with how tension is created in the brain between the gas, the alveoli, and the blood in the brain.

2. Why does it seem as though your the whole side of your face feels numb after an anaesthetic injection? At least for me, it was because the needle with the anaesthesia was injected into the main nerve that controls the feeling of the side of the jaw. Imagine the talents of the person performing the injection to get it perfectly numb?

3. Feeling cold on a tooth means the nerve inside is still alive. My dentist tested whether the nerve inside my wisdom tooth with the filling I had done last year was still alive with intense cold.

4. Have you ever wondered why a person has all of their wisdom teeth removed at the same time, even if it's only one tooth that's an issue? It's because these teeth require some opposition on the opposite jaw if they are to avoid erupting: something needs to be creating pressure from the other side.

5. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash is not actually as beneficial as advertisers would have us believe. We have natural bacteria everywhere in our bodies and our mouths are no different. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash makes sense if there is a wound or other issue but if we have otherwise healthy mouths, a simple flouride rinse is actually better. If you'd like to read more on this subject, here is something about the benefits and disadvantages of using a mouthwash, a comparison between mouthwash and fluoride rinse, and a guide on oral rinses.

What are your best (or worst) experiences with dentists?

{Image credit: 1. By Marco Antonio Aguilar Lizarraga - Template:Empresa dentadec, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8709732
2. By http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/f9/b7/8b6378e59c2c136332816e827d33.jpg Gallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0005630.html, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35870248
3. Colgate Plax By Editor182 (talk) - I (Editor182 (talk)) created this work entirely by myself.Transferred from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16407847}

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