Tooth Be Told: 10 Interesting Facts About Dentistry

Amazing facts about our teeth – check. Fun facts about dental care – check. Want more? Here is another list of interesting facts. And this time, it is all about the profession itself.

1. The early dentists were blacksmiths and barbers.

The practice of dentistry started in as early as 1800s, with extractions being the most popular dental work. But there was no such thing as dentistry back then, more so professional licensed dentists people can go to.

Majority of dental procedures were performed instead by blacksmiths and barbers because they had the most appropriate “tools” to get the job done.

2. The advice to “visit your dentist twice a year” was invented by a toothpaste company.

Yes, that good old, one of the most popular advices you’ve ever known did not come from your loving dentist. It was actually invented by an ad agency for the popular toothpaste brand Pepsodent. And although most dentists would really ask you to come back every six months, the interval still depends on the overall health of your mouth and your level of care for it.

3. Teeth from dead people were once the most popular tooth replacement option.

When dentures weren’t invented yet, people have their missing teeth replaced with teeth of dead people. These teeth were put into place through surgery, as though they were the modern dental implants.

One popular figure who had such a frightening tooth replacement was no other than the United States’ first president George Washington.

4. The wires in your dental braces were developed by NASA.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration – yup, that one. They developed those modern dental wires that are activated by your body heat.

In addition, these wires are also non-magnetic, which means that they won’t set off those metal detectors, nor will they rust. How cool is that?

5. Tooth colored fillings were introduced in the 90s.

The introduction of tooth-colored restorative materials in the 90s, along with other cosmetic dental treatments such as bleaching and veneers, led to what is known as the era of esthetic dentistry.

But dental bonding, or the mechanism through which the filling sticks onto the surface of your teeth, was actually developed decades prior by Swiss chemist Oskar Hagger.

6. Our ancestors believed that toothache is caused by worms inside the tooth.

A toothache is hard to endure, that’s for sure. We will try everything just to get rid of it – and so did our ancestors.

Unfortunately, though, they did not have the knowledge we have today. The most widespread misconception they had about toothache is that it is brought about by small worms that reside inside the teeth.

In Germany, these worms were described as eel-like while the English described them as red, blue, or gray in color. Some cultures even went as far as saying that these worms were from devils.

7. Our ancestors – again – had weird ways of treating toothache.

Some use different seeds and wax, while others do it with a bunch of chants and magic words or by kiss to a donkey. But the worst, and arguably the most disgusting of them all, is exchanging saliva with a frog.

8. In medieval Japan, black teeth are attractive.

While having that picture perfect white smile is considered ideal, it wasn’t always so. In medieval Japan, white teeth were said to be ugly and black teeth were the standard of beauty.

The Japanese custom of blackening the teeth is known as ohaguro, and the people of Japan did it for various other reasons.

Samurais did it to show loyalty to their masters, while Geishas did it because it provides good contrast to their makeup. Some women also stained their teeth black to let others known their married status.

9. The practice of restoring teeth goes way back to the Ancient times.

In Egypt, fillings were made from malachite or resin. The Romans, meanwhile, had more impressive technology using gold. Other filling materials used by our ancestors include honey, beeswax, crushed eggshells, gum, stone chips, and read this: bird poop.

10. Dentures were a common wedding gift.

That is, in the British Isles. During those times, old people expect that they will lose all of their teeth eventually so having a denture ready would be perfect.

What to Look for In Your Teeth Whitening Products

Even if your oral hygiene is near-perfect, you’re probably still wondering why your teeth is as not as white as you want them to be.

Truth is, there are lot of factors that contribute to the yellowing of our teeth, and some of them there’s nothing we can really do about.

Of course, you can opt to avail of the whitening treatment offered by your dentist as long as you have the time and money.

For those who can’t afford it, or simply are just too busy for a dental appointment, there are teeth whitening products you can use at the comfort of your own home.

But before you pick up that toothpaste that promises to restore your picture-worthy pearly whites, make sure you know how to pick the right products.

Not all whitening products are created equal – it’s the active ingredients that spell the difference on which ones will work and which ones won’t. Find out more about these ingredients in this article.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Peroxide is a staple in almost all teeth whitening products. Two types of peroxide exist – hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is more commonly used, but both work the same way. Basically, the peroxide breaks down to release oxygen into the enamel and whitens it. Hydrogen peroxide exerts most of its whitening power within 60 minutes.

Whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide in varying concentrations; the higher the concentration, the faster and more dramatic the effect. However, it may also result to sensitivity which, albeit temporary, can be very uncomfortable.

Lower concentrations produce less sensitivity, but the teeth won’t whiten as quickly. Single-use products tend to have high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, while everyday products like toothpastes contain less.

If used properly and in the right concentration, hydrogen peroxide should not cause any significant adverse effects on the teeth.

Carbamide Peroxide

Carbamide peroxide is a combination of hydrogen peroxide and aqueous solution of urea.

It breaks down to produce hydrogen peroxide which, in turn, produces the whitening effect.The effect takes longer to be seen, but it is longer-lasting than that of hydrogen peroxide by about six hours.

That’s because carbamide peroxide is more stable and the active oxygen that gives the whitening effect is released more slowly.

But end results are just the same after 12 weeks of use. Like hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide also comes in different concentrations. These concentrations vary for 10-20% for home use products, and as much as 35% for professional products.

These numbers are higher than what you would find on hydrogen peroxide products because carbamide peroxide is only converted to the more active form.

For instance, a product containing 10% carbamide peroxide has about 3% hydrogen peroxide in it. It also applies that the higher the concentration of carbamide peroxide (hence, hydrogen peroxide), the greater the whitening effect and the adverse effects. Furthermore, products with carbamide peroxide have longer shelf-life.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common household item that you can use to whiten your teeth. More and more whitening toothpastes now are adding baking soda as one of the main components.

It does an excellent job of removing surface stains through its abrasiveness. But like the peroxides, it should be used with caution because it can damage the tooth enamel.

Take note that baking soda is effective for enamel stains only – if the stains are located deeper or inside the tooth, this agent won’t produce any effect.


Brushing your teeth everyday to make them whiter makes sense, but it would be better if you use products that are actually meant for such purpose. By knowing what to look for in your whitening products, you can have that picture perfect white smile as soon as possible.

Mind The Gap: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention of Diastema

Diastema, otherwise known as tooth gap, pertains to the spacing between two or more teeth. It is most often seen on the front teeth, although the back teeth may also be involved.

Children are the most commonly affected, albeit temporary and should correct itself once the primary teeth fall off and the permanent teeth comes out.

In adults, however, diastema is most likely permanent and requires orthodontic treatment for correction.

Causes of Diastema

The most common cause of diastema is the discrepancy between the size of the teeth and that of the jaw. Spacing occurs when the teeth are normal in size but the jaw is too big, or if the jaw is normal in size but the teeth are too small for it.

A special condition called a peg lateral refers to the developmental defect of the lateral incisor, resulting to gap between the lateral incisor and the teeth adjacent to it (central incisor and canine).

The spacing may also cause the central incisor to drift into the space, resulting to a small midline gap between the two central incisors.

Other causes of diastema include missing or unerupted teeth, oral habits (such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking), periodontitis, mesiodens, and oversized labial frenum.

If diastema is caused by a missing tooth, the spacing tends to get worse over time as other teeth drift into the space, leading to gaps between more teeth.

Meanwhile, oral habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking push the upper front teeth forward, creating space as they flare out.

Periodontitis, on the other hand, refers to the advanced form of gum disease characterized by bone loss in addition to the inflammation of the gums.

The aggressive form of this disease results to the fast destruction of the supporting bone, causing the affected teeth to become mobile.

Mobility results to gap formation, which tend to worsen over time if periodontitis is left untreated. The labial frenum, a small band of soft tissue located found just above the two upper central incisors, may also cause diastema if it is large enough.

If this tissue extends far below its normal position and passes between the two central teeth, it prevents these teeth from naturally closing the space between them.

Lastly, mesiodens causes diastema the same way as an oversized labial frenum – it grows at the back of the central incisors, thereby preventing them to come together and close the gap.

Treatment of Diastema

Although diastema doesn’t have any adverse effects on one’s health, most patients prefer to have it corrected for aesthetic purposes.

There are several techniques of closing a diastema, and the use of each one depends on the cause of the problem and the amount of space that has to be closed.

The most recommended method for closing a diastema is orthodontic treatment. It involves the installation of dental braces on the upper and lower teeth to pull the teeth together and close the space.

But if the cause of the problem is an oversized labial frenum or mesiodens, then surgery must be performed first prior to putting braces; otherwise, the problem may only recur once the appliance is removed. The surgical procedure for removing frenum is called a frenectomy.

Take note that in children, orthodontic treatment is not always a necessary follow-up as the space naturally closes once the cause is eliminated.

For small gaps, the patient may opt for placement of composite restorations or crowns instead of orthodontic treatment.

If the space is due to a missing tooth, then tooth replacement options like fixed bridges, removable dentures, and dental implants should be considered.

If it is brought about by periodontal disease, professional cleaning and deep scaling are the initial steps because the aim is to control the disease first. This will be followed by splinting of the involved
teeth, installation of dental braces, or restoration with a fixed bridge or denture.

Prevention of Diastema

If diastema is caused by developmental defects, then there’s no way to avoid it. Further widening of the space, however, can be prevented by using splint to stop the teeth from moving farther away from each other.

Orthodontic treatment is also preferred as early as possible. For diastema due to periodontal disease, the best method to prevent further widening of the gap is to practice proper oral hygiene.

Brushing and flossing can do so much to halt progression of periodontal disease. Then, splinting the involved teeth is also recommended to stop the teeth from moving away some more.

For cases caused by oral habits, the most logical thing to do is to break such habit. You can go to your dentist for counselling and placement of appliances that can help control the habit.

Teeth Whitening: Frequently Asked Questions

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures today, and that is for one very simple reason: your smile is among the first things people notice about you.

If your pearly whites aren’t as “white” as they are supposed to, then that might give a little bit of a thumbs down.

If you looking to undergo teeth whitening to bring back that spark in your smile, then might as well learn more about the procedure.

Listed here are some of the most common questions patients have regarding teeth whitening.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure wherein your dentist restores the natural color of your teeth by removing stains on the enamel and applying a specially-formulated whitening product.

It is different from teeth bleaching, which involves whitening the teeth beyond its normal color through professional application of products that contain peroxides.

Today, “whitening” and “bleaching” are used interchangeably and practically means the same thing for patients.

How is teeth whitening done?

Your dentist will first perform a thorough dental examination to determine if you are suited to undergo teeth whitening. Take note that both teeth whitening and bleaching can only target extrinsic stains.

If the discoloration is caused by intrinsic stains (flurosis, tooth decay, etc), then neither whitening nor bleaching can solve the problem.

Once cleared, your dentist will now present you with two options – to have the whitening done in the clinic or at home with a teeth whitening kit.

In chairside whitening, which is done at the dental clinic, your dentist will first put a rubber shield or use a special gel on your gums to protect it from the whitening agent.

Once the gums are fully-protected, the whitening or bleaching agent – also in gel form – will now be applied on your teeth.

This whitening agent contains either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide and is activated by a special blue light.

For at-home whitening kits your dentist will first take an impression of your upper and lower teeth.

This will help create a replica of your teeth which, in turn, will be used to fabricate custom-made trays that fit perfectly in your mouth. This tray will serve as vehicle for the whitening agent that will be provided by your dentist as part of the kit.

You will be provided with instructions as to how much gel should be used and how often you have to apply it.

How many appointments does chair-side whitening require?

It depends on how discolored your teeth are prior to the treatment, and how much whiter you wish them to be. Typically, it takes at least three appointments to see the difference.

In each appointment, your dentist will monitor the improvements and provide you with further instructions as needed.

How long will the effect of teeth whitening last?

On the average, the whitening effect lasts for up to three years, but it can be shorter or longer depending on your behavior and habits.

Shorter effects are expected in patients who smoke, or those who love to consume heavily-colored food and beverages. Not to mention, poor oral hygiene can also cause your teeth to darken much faster.

Will teeth whitening affect my existing restorations?

Whitening agents have very little or no effect at all to restorative materials. They do, however, affect the bond strength of composite filling to the tooth enamel.

But this effect is only temporary and won’t cause the restoration to fall off. A consultation with your dentist should answer concerns like this before the actual whiting procedure.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Both teeth whitening and bleaching are absolutely safe if done by well-trained licensed dentist. There will be some sensitivity after the procedure, but it is only temporary and should go away after a day or two.

None of the whitening or bleaching agents used should cause damage to tooth structure. With regards to at-home whitening kits, there shouldn’t be any problem as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions thoroughly

How much does teeth whitening cost?

The cost of teeth whitening varies, ranging from a measly $20 to a whopping $1000. Chairside whitening costs $300-800 on the average, while at-home kits are only a bit cheaper at $200-600. And since teeth whitening is done mainly for cosmetic purposes, dental insurance plans don’t cover it.

Most Common Dental Treatments – Explained! (Part 1)

The very thought of going to the dentist can be overwhelming for most patients, regardless of whether it is just for a simple dental check-up or a lengthy treatment.

But knowing what to expect per visit, especially information on the dental treatment you are about to receive, can help your next experience at the dental clinic go a lot more smoothly.

So in this article, we will try to explain the most common treatments provided by dentists, and these include the following:

Scaling and Polishing

Scaling and polishing are your dentist’s term for what you probably know as professional cleaning. It involves the use of hand instruments or an equipment called ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and calculus deposits (a.k.a. tartar) from the surface of the teeth.

Aside from removing these deposits, scaling also results to micro-scratches on the tooth surface. That is why your dentists always follow it up with polishing.

Polishing makes use of a polishing paste delivered to the teeth by a rotary instrument. It is advised that you undergo scaling and polishing at least once a year to maintain the health of your teeth and gums.


Restoration pertains to replacing missing tooth structure caused by decay or trauma. The restoration may either be a simple filling, a veneer, or a crown.

Fillings are used to repair small holes in the tooth surfaces. They can either be silver-colored or tooth-colored depending on which tooth needs to be restored.

Silver-colored fillings are known as amalgam and are indicated for the back teeth. Tooth-colored fillings, on the other hand, are used mainly on front teeth because they are more esthetic.

A dental veneer is commonly used for a discolored tooth instead of a decayed or damaged one. Made from a thin shell of either porcelain or composite, it is placed on the facial surface of the front teeth. Putting a veneer requires some slight modification of the front surface of the tooth.

Meanwhile, a crown is a type of restoration that covers the entire tooth crown. It is usually indicated for teeth with extensive damage, particularly the ones that underwent a prior root canal treatment. The materials used to fabricate a crown include metal, porcelain, or a combination of both.

Like your dental veneers, modification of the tooth crown is also required, and a greater amount of tooth structure reduction may be necessary. A dental laboratory will fabricate the crown, but it is your dentist who will put it on your teeth through the use of special dental cement.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment (RCT), otherwise called endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure done on badly-broken down teeth wherein the infection or decay has already reached the pulp.

The dental pulp is the soft tissue at the center of the tooth. This tissue houses the blood and nerve supply of the tooth.

Pulp infection is always irreversible, and the only way to save the tooth is to perform RCT. If RCT is not done and the tooth is left untreated, the infection will spread into the supporting structures of the tooth and it may have to be extracted eventually.

In RCT, your dentist will remove the entire pulp tissue to get rid of all the infection. The root canal, or space previously occupied by pulp, will then be cleaned, shaped, and obturated with a rubbery filling material.

The filling material will help seal the canal and prevent it from becoming infected again. Once RCT is complete, the tooth will then be restored with a crown to seal it from the oral environment. Multiple appointments are required for this treatment.


Extraction basically means pulling the tooth out of its socket, and it is done whenever the tooth is so damaged that not even RCT can save it.

It is often the last resort after your dentist has decided that other treatment won’t just work. A special, more complicated type of extraction called odontectomy is performed on impacted teeth.

A simple extraction is done under local anesthesia, while odontectomy may be performed under local or general anesthesia.


Odontectomy is an extraction procedure done on impacted teeth. A tooth is said to be impacted if it fails to fully erupt in the mouth due to some sort of impediment and/or lack of space.

The third molars, also known as the wisdom teeth, are the most commonly impacted mainly because they are the last teeth to erupt and by then, there’s not enough space left for them.

Other teeth that are often impacted include the upper canines and the premolars.
Odontectomy is usually done under general anesthesia, although local anesthesia may sometimes be enough.

A general dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs the procedure. The operation starts with your dentist creating an incision in the area of the impacted tooth. The gum tissue overlying the tooth will then be lifted, and bone reduction will be done as necessary.

This will be followed by sectioning the tooth to facilitate easy removal from its socket. The crown will be removed first, followed by the roots.

After the entire tooth is removed, the gum flap will now be re-positioned and closed with stitches. Your dentist will provide you with some post-operative instructions to minimize bleeding and swelling. You will also be asked to come back after a week for check-up and removal of stitches.

So that’s it for now. Think we missed something? You’re right. Learn more about the other procedures on the second part of this article.

Combine Traditional Braces & Invisalign for Best Results

As patients turn out to be more educated about the sorts of orthodontic treatments accessible to them, numerous get some information about choices that aren’t as observable as traditional braces.

In any case, despite the fact that treatment, for example Invisalign braces can adjust a wide variety of orthodontic issues and innovative changes keep on expanding the range of cases that are treatable with Invisalign, there stay a few cases that are excessively complicated for Invisalign alone.

There are many traditional techniques, such as the use of rubber bands and different appliances that can be used in combination with Invisalign in achieving optimum results for patients.

Combining Old and New

There are numerous traditional strategies, for example, the utilization of rubber bands and distinctive appliances that can be utilized as a part with Invisalign for accomplishing ideal results for patients.

Orthodontist’s additionally can utilize partial braces on some teeth that would be harder to move with Invisalign.

Indeed, even in those cases, in any case, patients don’t need to stress over having very observable braces on their teeth.

Frequently the supports must be put just on the back teeth or the base teeth, neither of which is exceedingly noticeable. They likewise utilize clear or earthenware sections that all the nearly matches shade of the normal teeth, making them less noticeable.

Invisalign cases that might require the utilization of a few braces include severe rotation, tipping of the teeth or the long distance root movement of the teeth.

Rotation is the point at which a tooth has turned to the point that it confronts sideways as opposed to adjusting appropriately close by the encompassing teeth.

The bases of the teeth should be straight, pretty much as the crowns of the teeth should be straight.

Invisalign and Orthographic Surgery

The orthodontists additionally utilize Invisalign with patients who require orthognathic surgery. Orthognathic surgery includes surgically moving facial skeletal components to accomplish a suitable practical and anatomic appearance in patients with facial structure and development variations from the norm that can’t be dealt adequately with supports as it were.

First, Dr. Safarian will use photos, X-rays, and impressions to create a complete 3D image of your teeth. Then, he will use this image to craft you a custom set of smooth and clear BPA-free thermoplastic aligners.

Every two weeks you progress to the next aligner, slowly moving your teeth in the exact direction that Dr. Safarian has plotted out to build your perfect smile.

That’s all you really need to do: put in a new aligner every two weeks. Also, be sure to wear the aligners for about 20 hours a day (don’t forget to take them out during meals) and come in for a check-up about once every six weeks to make sure you’re progressing at the proper rate.

Not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign. The treatment is only recommended for mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth. Unfortunately, those with severe cases will likely only have the option of metal braces for their straightening solution.

For more details and advise get in touch with Dr. Shahin now.

Difference between Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers

Do you know most politicians & celebrities don’t have ideal teeth or smile?

Nowadays it’s exasperate to see crooked or yellow teeth on TV screen. In order to overcome these problems you might have heard about the terms like porcelain veneers and lumineers. These procedures can work best to,

  • Align Teeth
  • Straighten crooked teeth
  • Provide ideal gum and tooth balance
  • Lengthen, or widen teeth
  • Correct stubborn discoloration that some tooth whitening may be unable to correct
  • Fill chipped teeth
  • Give uniform, even sizing presentation of all teeth

Both Veneers and lumineers are used for correcting teeth imperfections. They are used to repair the damaged or crooked teeth. These types of procedures come under cosmetic dentistry.

Veneers and lumineers can likewise be utilized to cover fillings which have changed shading and have an unpleasant appearance or to cover gaps between teeth.

These gaps can be adjusted by orthodontic procedures, yet porcelain veneers or lumineers give a quicker arrangement.

Both porcelain veneers and lumineers have a characteristic look, are exceptionally solid and don’t change color over time.

What Veneers are

A veneer is a layer of material placed over the tooth in order to improve the aesthetic s of tooth to protect tooth surface from damage. There are basically two types of materials exist in order to fabricate veneer:

  • Composite Veneer: can be directly or indirectly fabricated placed by dental practitioner in a lab and later bonded to tooth.
  • Porcelain Veneer: Can only be indirectly fabricated.

Difference Between Porcelain Veneers and Lumineers

Porcelain veneers:

Porcelain veneers are more durable and look more natural than composite veneers.

These are more expensive than composite veneers. In case of dental veneers, reshaping of tooth can be done and this can be quite tricky because veneers needs to be placed on tooth, in order to avoid bulky look dentists remove around 5 mm from surface of tooth.

Having done this, person will lose its natural enamel and are protected by porcelain veneers only.


Lumineers on the other hand are improved variant of Porcelain veneers.  They are same as that of porcelain veneers in terms of functionality.

The only difference between porcelain veneers and lumineers is that they don’t require the removal of enamel and hence can be better and long term solution than porcelain veneers.  While placing lumineers, structure of tooth remains unchanged.

Lumineers are sleeker than porcelain veneers, but this doesn’t make them less durable. Given that lumineers are placed without the tooth being altered, they do add to the overall structure of the tooth and might feel a little bulkier than the classic porcelain veneers.

However, the additional benefits are well worth it; the tooth is still protected by its natural enamel, even if the lumineers need to be taken off.

In terms of costs, lumineers have similar costs as that of porcelain veneers.


Both veneers and lumineers are used for protecting tooth surface from damage. The only difference lies in the face that lumineers don’t require the removal of enamel and hence can be better and long term solution than porcelain veneers.

Contact Dr. Safarian for Cosmetic Dental Treatment in San Diego.