John Lennon’s Tooth Used for Kid’s Dental Health

children-dentistIn a particularly unusual series of events, the tooth of famed Beatle and pop culture icon will be used to help promote children’s dental health, through its incorporation into a statue of the late singer. The tooth was originally given to Lennon’s housekeeper in the 1960s for disposal or for her to keep if desired. It was eventually auctioned off through an English auction house, and purchased for $32,000 by a Canadian dentist named Dr. Michael Zuk. A small portion of the tooth has been used in the statue, with plans for the remainder of the tooth remaining a mystery.

Buying a Piece of Dental History

Dr. Zuk, who works in Alberta, Canada, is the third owner of this unique piece of rock and oral health history. After Lennon’s housekeeper, whose name was Dot Jarlett, received the tooth in the late 1960s, it found its way into the hands of Alan McGee, who was a co-founder of Creation Records. McGee built up a notable collection of rock memorabilia, and it was he who eventually released the collection for sale with Omega Auctions in Stockport, England. The auction took place in November, 2011, and Dr. Zuk was the lucky bidder.

According to Dr. Zuk, he had very little doubt over the wisdom of this purchase. “Once I heard (the tooth) was up for sale I had to have it,” he stated in an interview with the BBC last year.

Creating Art for the Benefit of Impoverished Children

Yet Dr. Zuk was not the only person to benefit from his purchase. Shortly after purchasing the tooth, he had the idea that art could be made from small pieces of it. His sister, Kirsten Zuk, is an artist and was a natural choice to do something using a piece of the legendary tooth. “I love John Lennon – I’ve been a huge fan all my life,” she stated, and has now turned that fandom into a three-dimensional homage to the singer. Zuk’s sculpture has the small piece of tooth built into the work, and shows Lennon in his younger days, with shaggy hair and a delivery-boy cap.

Kirsten Zuk, who lives in Edmonton, Canada, is also excited about the timeless aspect of this project. In her words, “this is like a time capsule, it will contain his DNA.” In this way, the sculpture will serve as a long-term memorial of a man who lived such a short life, with unknown implications for future use as DNA technology rapidly expands.

Another benefit of the statue is its potential charity use. Kirsten Zuk hopes to use the sculpture to increase funding and awareness for a children’s charity called Smile Train. This organization works to provide children who live in poverty with surgeries to repair cleft lips and palates, transforming their lives and futures with a simple, inexpensive procedure. She plans to exhibit the sculpture at Edmonton’s Fringe Festival.

Canadian Dentists Offering In-Office Botox Injections

Many cosmetic dental patients leave their dentist’s office with their teeth looking cleaner, healthier and younger. Now some patients who visit Canadian dentists have been emerging with younger, healthier-looking facial skin as well, as a result of regular Botox injections. According to a recent Maclean’s article, some areas of Canada allow dentists to perform Botox injections, and others are considering expanding their regulations to include Botox. This is all part of the ever-expanding scope of the modern cosmetic dentistry practice, which has helped develop many dental offices into full dental/medical spas.

This combination of services is something that many patients have appreciated. One patient commented that she was glad to be able to get her Botox injections at her regular biannual dental exam, saying “I’m already there, I don’t have to make another appointment, I don’t need to land on a wait-list.”

Alternative Uses for Dental Injection Experience

In 2007, the Canadian province of British Columbia expanded their professional scope of dentistry to include Botox injections, a decision that was made by the B.C. College of Dental Surgeons. Other provinces, such as Ontario, are now considering expanding their dental regulations to include procedure such as Botox. Dentists are already trained in the medical use of Botox for several oral health issues, and making the switch from medical Botox injections to cosmetic Botox injections is a relatively straightforward one, as much of the knowledge is already there.

Dentists are thoroughly trained in facial anatomy, often taking similar classes during their training as the doctors who traditionally provide Botox injections. In fact, the focus of the average dental practice means that most dentists are particularly experienced in injections, as they are a significant and constant part of many dental procedures. According to dentist Warren Roberts, who is the founder of the Pacific Training Institute for Facial Aesthetics in Vancouver, “The average dentist in his first year does more injections, on awake patients who move and squirm, than the average physician does in his whole life.”

Blurring the Lines Between Dentistry and Medicine

As cosmetic dentistry continues to expand in scope to include more and more aspects of aesthetic medicine, the boundaries between medical, dental, aesthetic and health areas are beginning to blur. Some of these offices have transitioned into dental and medical spas that encompass services traditionally outside the scope of dentistry. These services may include Botox, facial filler injections, skin treatments, and even professional photography.

These changes that are occurring are sending various ripples of opinion through the healthcare field. “Any plastic surgeon or dermatologist is going to say ‘Of course dentists can’t do it,’ ” says the president of the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics, a dentist named Louis Malcmacher. “A dermatologist will be in the same war with a physician,” says Malcmacher, “who’ll say that nurses shouldn’t be doing it either.” And yet, more and more nurses, dentists, gynecologists and aestheticians are offering these procedures to their patients with high levels of patient satisfaction.

Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Whole Bunch?

Avoidance of dental care can lead to some pretty serious consequences. Isolated incidences, such as the unsanitary conditions found in the office of a Tulsa Oklahoma dentist, can leave those who suffer from dental anxiety known as “dentophobia,” feel even more vulnerable.  But avoiding dental care is no answer to the issues created by one dental professional who failed to consistently utilize the CDC’s infection control requirements, which is also upheld by the American Dental Association.

In a press release, Dr. Sam Muslin, a reconstructive and cosmetic dentist in Santa Monica, CA. with over 30 years experience, knows first-hand that making patients feel comfortable is only half of the equation of an effective dental setting.  With Dr. Muslin, maintaining CDC guidelines like mandatory sterilization, employing only certified and trained personnel and complete disinfection of all surfaces is not just “talk.”  His state-of-the-art office boasts lead-lined walls, powered glass doors and other conveniences that put his patients first and foremost.

Dr. Muslin has also received high praise from California OSHA inspectors that claim, “his office is consistently the cleanest and safest I have ever seen.”  Don’t let the media hype scare you from the dental care you need to be productive and healthy, each and every day.

European Dentists Told to Stop Using Dental Amalgam

Dental amalgam fillings, often misleadingly called ‘silver fillings,’ are the most common dental filling in history. Yet more and more dentists are starting to phase out these fillings, with some countries removing or banning them entirely. This is due to the fact that amalgam fillings are generally 49-54% mercury, a dangerous material that has long been known to cause significant health problems. According to a recent story on, a European Commission report is recommending that dental amalgam and mercury be completely phased out by 2018, with many hoping that the United States will follow their lead in working toward complete removal.

Hazards of Dental Amalgam

Though having dental amalgam within your mouth may be directly damaging for a number of reasons, the European report mainly focused on the systemic impact of a country’s dental amalgam use on the environment and the secondary effects on the population. These included:

Release into the environment through water, air and soil. The water and materials used in dental clinics contain significant levels of mercury, which are released into the water supply and landfills with minimal regulation. The disposal of fillings in deceased patients through burial or cremation also releases significant levels of mercury into the ground and air.

The impact of this mercury release on the environment is significant. The report estimates that 70% of the European Union is currently at risk due to mercury release. Particularly dangerous levels have been noted in central, southern and western Europe.

These high levels of mercury are having a negative effect on the wildlife population. The report details that these mercury levels may be interfering with mating, child raising and the gathering of food in several species, due to the negative impact of mercury on the muscle and nervous systems. Some of the animals mentioned include: eagles, other birds, otters, mink and other animals that have fish as a large portion of their diet.

More and More Americans Choosing Alternatives

When fully informed that their amalgam fillings would contain mercury, American dental patients choose to have an alternative filling used over 75% of the time, a number which would certainly increase if the full effects of mercury where widely known. While alternatives may sometimes be more expensive in the short term, when the costs of fixing the environmental and long-term health damage of mercury amalgam fillings are entered into the equation, amalgam fillings become much more expensive. Some of the additional benefits of alternative fillings include:

Safety – One of the most popular alternative fillings is resin composite, which contains no mercury or other hazardous materials. This means that it produces no environmental pollution, either during production, implementation or disposal. It is also completely safe within the mouth, regardless of age or sustained damage during an accident or trauma.

Structural benefits – The use of amalgam fillings requires the removal of existing tooth enamel for proper installation, which can weaken the structural integrity of the resulting tooth. Alternative materials do not require such significant removal, keeping the tooth structure intact, and may actually strengthen the teeth.

Improved Flossing Tips for Better Teeth

flossingRegardless of a nearly universal understanding that everyone “should be flossing,” the average dental patient is unlikely to do so with any regularity. Yet according to an August article by EmpowHER, flossing may be one of the most important things you can do to protect your teeth between dental appointments. Uncertainty regarding proper flossing technique and the real benefits of flossing may be holding some patients back, but with a few simple tips, it is possible to protect your teeth from real damage that may require restorative dental procedures such as dental implants, porcelain veneers or crowns.

The Science of Tooth Protection

Protecting your teeth from serious damage comes down to the removal of plaque from the surface of the teeth, known as the enamel. Plaque is a bacterial film that can form on your teeth from particles of food that remain behind after eating. With time, plaque hardens into tartar, a mineral deposit that may lead to long-term damage. While tartar may only be effectively removed by a dental professional, you have the ability to remove much of the plaque buildup on your teeth by maintaining proper dental hygiene.

Brushing your teeth is a critical aspect of this process, and should be done at least twice a day, for 2-3 minutes. Yet brushing cannot control plaque buildup alone, as toothbrush bristles cannot penetrate the tight spaces between teeth. Proper flossing is the only way to address the plaque in these areas, which is known as interproximal dental plaque. In addition to plaque removal, flossing may have a number of social benefits, as it polishes the surface of the teeth for a more attractive appearance, and minimizes bad breath.

Tips for the Best Possible Flossing

As a technique that may be mastered by dental patients of any age, flossing properly may be accomplished by following a few key tips:

Proper timing: The best time to floss is before or after you brush, in order to ensure regular use. In addition, many people keep floss or disposable flossers in handy locations for convenient flossing before social situations or after meals when brushing is not an option.

One-time use: Discard your used floss following each use. Saving floss for reuse puts bacteria back in your mouth, and may result in floss that is more likely to fray or wear on your gums.

Use the right amount: Only one strand of floss should be used at a time. You should use enough to wrap it several times around your two pointer fingers and leave 3-6 inches between them for use in the mouth. Individual disposable flossers may also be used if preferred.

Have good technique: Hold the floss so that it forms a relaxed C shape and slide it in between the teeth. Tighten the floss slightly and slide it up and down between the teeth, going very close to the gums but not pressing against them, as this can cause gum damage. Floss the front and back of each tooth on the top and bottom of your mouth.

Choose floss you like: Some patients prefer flavored flosses, or particular brands. Waxed floss may be better for patients who have had problems with unwaxed floss getting stuck in their teeth. Choosing a floss that you will want to use consistently is a great way to ensure the most regular usage and the best oral health.

Cost of Dental Veneers

For dental patients who want to get that million-dollar smile, the question “How much do veneers cost?” is one that is frequently asked. As much as I want to give them a one-size-fits-all response, there are just so many factors that we need to consider before having a rough estimate.

Veneers are used in cosmetic dentistry either for aesthetic purposes or to protect a damaged teeth. Veneers share the same function but they vary according to the patient who will use them. In other words, different veneers are made for different problems. For example, veneers that are used for teeth with normal alignment are different from those being used for abnormal teeth. Other factors to consider in choosing veneers are the quantity of teeth needing repair, patient’s history of smoking, and whether or not discoloration, gingivits and fillings are present.

Now, once the problem is clearly identified, it’s now easier to determine the right type of veneer to be used. For example, if you have a damaged incisor, the dentist can conceal it using either a composite veneer or a ready-made veneer manufactured outside the clinic.

The number of teeth that need veneer placement largely determines the cost of service. For example, a set of 8 to 10 teeth costs more compared if you only intend to put veneer on 2-3 teeth. However, a set of veneers will give you the freedom to choose the color (natural or bright white) that perfectly suits your facial skin tone, ethnicity and even the color of surrounding teeth.

Constructing materials also vary from one veneer to another. Some are made from cheaper resin while others are made from expensive porcelain. Dentists also differ in terms of their choices, using either feldspathic porcelain veneer systems or leucite reinforced porcelain veneers. Apart from the brand name (popular choices include da Vinci, Empress, Emax and Mac), a patient should also ask the dentist why he/she chooses a specific veneer type and whether or not tooth reduction is associated in the process.

In terms of longevity, porcelain veneers, with their life span of 10 to 15 years, have an edge over composite veneers which only have 5 to 7 years of life span. Pressed porcelain, on the other hand, is a better choice than feldspathic types especially for dental patients with high risk for gradual teeth degradation or wear-and-tear.

The final cost of placing veneers will be determined by other factors including the location of the dental office, medical insurance coverage and the reputation of the dentist who will perform the procedure. Veneer placement is considered an elective cosmetic surgery so it’s basically not covered by insurance. Cosmetic dentists who are known to serve celebrities and high-end clients obviously charge more than general dentists around town.

On average, veneers cost $1,100 per tooth or $8, 800 for eight teeth nationally although specific locations can charge as much as $650-$2,500 per tooth. Additional consultation costs $50-$200 on average while incidental charges usually come from tooth impression waxes, anesthesia, among others. For this reason, it is better to ask a dentist about available packages and discounts to save more time and money.

The Causes for Dental Caries

Dental caries is often dubbed as the pre cursor to the onset of cavities, and addressing its signs before cavities become compounded cases stands to be a smart move in ensuring the health and well being of teeth.

Taken after Latin and Greek words, the term caries is translated from “dead tooth” or “decayed tooth”, but in no way does this mean that a tooth afflicted with caries is far from any form of treatment.

Proper oral hygiene and regular trips to the dentist remain to be the best safeguards against dental caries, and understanding its root causes – including bacteria or plaque build up, impact of plaque and acidic substances, and time – helps keep dental caries conditions away.

Here’s a quick take over how bacterial build-up, plaque and acidic combinations, and time can have their effect in the rise of a dental caries condition.

Plaque build up and Bacteria

Also known as pellicle, coating or coated substances on the teeth are known to play the role of host for a number of “elements”, bacteria included. There is really no known way for stopping the build up of pellicle on teeth, since they naturally occur in the mouths of human beings, though newborns are born without any traces of bacteria in their mouths.

In time, however, plaque-forming bacteria eventually do find their way into the mouth, and the inclusion of bacteria in pellicle surfaces becomes a given.

Typically, saliva-derived proteins matched with bacteria can be found in pellicle, and their continued build up often leads to the build up of plaque. Actinomyces, Lactobacilli and Streptococcus mutans are among the most often types of bacteria which build up in pellicle layers.

Acidic substances and plaque

Roughly speaking, the frequent addition of sugar into plaque/bacterial build ups tends to cause acidic reactions, which causes damage on the teeth.

How this happens is – as sugar is introduced into the mouth, the bacteria in pellicle layers would digest the sugar, which would result to by-products which are acidic in nature. Acidic “environments” tend to cause an increased wear and tear in teeth, causing loss of essential calcium and minerals on a tooth’s enamel, which would eventually lead to the breaking down of a tooth’s healthy state.

Time and its effects

If a bacteria/plaque build up, matched with the acidic combination is left unchecked over significant periods of time, the result would be the onset of dental caries, which in turn could lead to the onset of cavities in teeth.

Simply put, time’s role in the development of dental caries is quite elemental, which means that regular brushing and flossing stands to be the best safeguards against the development of bigger, more compounded dental conditions which spring from dental caries.

Why This Amazing Cavity-fighting Fluid May Make a Dentist’s Drill Obsolete?

Fearing the whine of a drill, the sting of a needle and the numbness that follows the filling of a cavity?  You’re not alone.  But a peptide-based fluid that is literally painted on a patient’s tooth may silence drills and remove needles from the process of a tooth filling forever.  People who neglect to see a dentist or who otherwise fail to get an “achy” tooth checked, may have one less reason to procrastinate when it comes to making their next dental appointment.  When a tooth aches and pains are ignored, it can often lead to something far worse like an invasive or painful procedure.

How Traditional Fillings Work

The procedure of having a cavity filled has two basic components: removal of the decay from the tooth and rebuilding what’s been removed to stabilize the tooth structure.   Using a local anesthetic, the dentist isolates the tooth and uses a high-powered drill to remove the decay.  Generally a liner is placed in the tooth to reduce sensitivity.  The most commonly used liner is a compound called Dycal.  Dycal contains calcium hydroxide, and is preferred when filling deep cavities because of its regenerative properties.  Dycal is known to stimulate the dentin, which is found below the enamel of a tooth, and protect the pulp, the softer inner tissue where nerves and blood vessels reside.   Deeper cavities may also need a base, which insulates the tooth from changes in temperature.  Two types of bases used are zinc phosphate cement, and glass ionomer cement. Both a dentist and patient have many choices when it comes to the type of material to use for a filling.  The most common filling material is silver or amalgam, white (resin), porcelain or gold.  Any one of these fillings can be placed on top of the liner to rebuild a tooth.

Say Goodbye to the Drill

Changing how patients perceive dental work is the solution to changing the association most patients have with dental treatment and pain.  What’s even more remarkable is the fact that most cavities, when caught early, are completely painless.  That’s because the enamel or outer layer of the tooth has no nerves.  But once decay infiltrates below the enamel and into the dentin, a cavity can become sensitive.

To reverse this mindset, researchers at the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds have discovered this fluid known as P 11-4 that contains peptides that literally leaches into the microscopic pores, caused by decay, to form a gel-like substance.  This substance builds a structure that draws calcium and restores the tooth’s enamel from within for a chemical and pain-free repair.

Taken out of a laboratory setting, the fluid has been tested on a small group of subjects by University of Leeds Dental Institute.   Heading the trials is Professor Paul Brunton, who believes that once this small group of testing is complete; testing on larger group of participants can lead to dentists using this fluid within three years.

Just think in the not-too-distant future, you may actually be looking forward to dental treatment without the pain.  Subtracting fear and pain from the cavity-filling procedure means more decay is caught early, and more frequently, as long as patients continue their twice-yearly dental check-up routines.  Proactive and progressive dental technologies may just have you shocking your grandchildren when you say “In my day, dentists used drills to treat cavities!”

Breast Reconstruction Following Mastectomy

iStock_000009676683XSmall12% of American women today will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime during their lifetime. Many of these women will subsequently undergo mastectomy and should be informed by their general surgeon of the options in breast reconstruction. There have been tremendous advancements in both the immediate and delayed reconstruction of the breast and nipple giving much more natural outcomes. We work closely with many area general surgeons to coordinate your care and reconstruction in a seamless manner following your diagnosis and mastectomy.

Breast and nipple surgical reconstruction options include:

  • Immediate breast prosthesis
  • Tissue expanders
  • Latissimus dorsi flap
  • TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominus musculocutaneous flap)
  • Nipple flaps and grafts
  • Nipple/areola tattooing

In addition, there are a number of surgical procedures for the uninvolved breast which can help to improve its appearance and provide a more balanced result at the same time.

Premier Plastic Surgery is committed to providing patient-centered care that meets each woman’s specific concerns and needs for breast reconstruction following mastectomy or lumpectomy. Our staff realizes that this is a very stressful and challenging time in a woman’s life and we are dedicated to making the process of informing you of the complete options you may have in as sensitive and thorough manner as possible. Our staff will support you from the initial consult through your complete surgical recovery.

Our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons have been extensively trained and have vast experience in surgical breast reconstruction and have provided care to hundreds of women across the Kansas City Mo and KS metropolitan area and surrounding communities.

For further detailed information on breast reconstruction procedures, please refer to our Main Surgery Web Home Page and go to the appropriate section on Breast Reconstruction. We welcome you  to schedule a consultation with one of our Board Certified Plastic Surgeons at 913.782.0707.

Can TMJ Be Treated?

TMJ has been affecting many people around the world. This potentially painful disorder cannot be cured, but it can be treated depending on the extent of the pain. Getting relief can help you to sleep better at night, and reduce the pain that you have been experiencing.

There are a variety of treatments such as drug treatments, and home remedies that you can do with out the consultation of a doctor or dentist. Some of the different types of medications that you can get prescribed from your doctor that would be helpful would be muscle relaxants or Flexeril. Muscle relaxants will help you to reduce the strain and spasms that you are experiencing.

But before you begin taking medicine you should attempt other treatments. Taking prescription medicine can lead to additional side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, blurred vision, constipation and many other potential side affects.

Beginning with some of the natural methods of treating your TMJ pain is the best place to begin. You can use a mouth guard when you go to bed at night. This reduces the stress that you put on your jaw joint when you are grinding or clenching your teeth. Changing the foods that you eat such as reducing the amount of sugars that you eat and start eating more fruits and vegetables. Also doing some jaw exercises should help to improve the pain and reduce the symptoms of TMJ. These are only a few different things that you can do to help decrease the pain associated with TMJ. You can find many others by searching online.

Different people experience different levels of pain with TMJ. If you are experience a great amount of pain you may want to consult a doctor or dentist. Taking medicine may help you to reduce the initial pain while introducing natural cures.