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Have You Heard The One About The Dentist? It'll Make You Smile!

Mar 24, 2008
If you are anything like me, then your first thought when the dentist is mentioned is one of grimace rather than joy. Thoughts of Laurence Olivier in 'The Marathon Man', where he played an ex-Nazi dentist who tortures Dustin Hoffman's character as he tries to hide his identity from the world, flash before my eyes!. Fortunately, the association with dentists and pain is now mainly historic and stems from the evolution of the profession rather than the experience you are likely to encounter today.

There have also been some colorful characters through history who have adorned the title dentist. Most notable amongst them was Dr John Henry Holliday or 'Doc Holliday' as he was better known.

Born in Georgia in 1851, John Holliday was the son of a prominent Georgian who served as a Major during the war between the states. His familys' prominence meant John was forced to choose a profession and he entered dental school in 1870 graduating from the Pensylvanian college of dental surgery in 1872. He practiced briefly in Atlanta, before being diagnosed with tuberculosis which forced his move to a drier climate and the start of his infamous life as a gambler and gunslinger in the western states. His most notorious years came with his association with the Earp family and its showdown with the Clantons at the OK Corall on October 26th 1881. Eventually, the tuberculosis got the better of him and he died in a sanatorium in Glenwood Springs, California on November 8th 1887 from the disease that he had tried so hard to outwit.

As the profession of dentistry has evolved it has become increasingly specialized. In the US you can now find nine distinct fields of dentistry. Many of these are self explanatory, Periodontics, for example, being the study and treatment of the periodontium. This is the tissue surrounding the teeth and literally means 'around the tooth'. Periodontics also covers the maintenance and positioning of implants.

Cosmetic dentistry, whilst not a board certified specialty combines the skills of several specialties including Periodontics, Prosthodontics and Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. In addition to this a cosmetic dentist will also deal with issues such as whitening of the teeth, bonding, veneers and gum lifts. It is a combination of all these areas that produce the results of a cosmetic dentist which is the alteration of teeth and gums for a positive aesthetic result.

Today, a visit to the dentist is very different to the experience of only twenty-five years ago. Procedures today are painless, for the most part!, and advances in the materials used in dental surgery mean that it is possible to achieve near perfect results. It is possible these days to alter a smile, shape and sculpt the gum-line to produce straighter, longer teeth. Some of this work can be restorative following accidents or to correct developmental problems. It can also be used to build self confidence in those who find their teeth a source of embarrassment.

For my part, I will always carry those memories of my earliest visits to the dentist and will always purport to the best dental treatment as brushing your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day!
About the Author
Kissdental is a specialist in cosmetic dentist London England. Read more Health Articles at OMDN
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