On March 21, 1889 Bernard Cyril Freyberg was born. He would later become Lieutenant General Bernard Freyberg, and would earn numerous awards in World War I and II , including the Victoria Cross, the Croix de Geurre (France), the Legion of Merit (United States), and the Cross of Valour (Greece), to name but a few. Bernard Freyberg went on to become the Governor General of New Zealand after World War II. What is most amazing to me about this man is that he started his career in 1911 as a DENTIST in New Zealand, a career cut short by war. I think no one would dispute Bernard Freyberg had a more brilliant military career. Nonetheless, Happy Belated Birthday to the dentist who went on to help save the world and govern a nation!
Some time an estimated 7,500 to 9,000 years ago, early man is suspected of using flint tips to drill into the enamel of teeth. Several skulls were found in Pakistan which appear to have molars drilled with flints, as reported in Nature in 2006. More recently though, a 6,500 year old tooth has been found in Slovenia with what is now regarded as the earliest (to date) dental filling material: beeswax. The early Neolithic inhabitants where the tooth was found engaged in farming, and used bees and wax. Many times primitive remedies find modern uses. Modern dentists use beeswax too, but not as a filling material!
Back in 1992 I attended a lecture which convinced me to stop using amalgams, the mercury-silver fillings that look black in people’s mouths. Besides the obvious concern of mercury toxicity to both patients and myself, was the fact amalgams weaken the tooth and set it up for fracture. Tooth colored bondings, on the other hand, help hold the tooth together, and have the obvious esthetic advantage. While the American Dental Association maintains dental amalgams are safe, several European countries have outlawed them. It should be stressed however, there is no proof that having the amalgams removed will improve any ailments. While it is true mercury is toxic, there are no conclusive studies that link the mercury in dental amalgams to any specific diseases. That being said, we still chose to stop placing the silver-mercury fillings and offer the better alternatives instead. Our patients are happier, and so are we!
February is Children’s Dental Health Month. As part of our commitment to the community and the American Dental Association, via the New Jersey Dental Association, we were able to bring dental education and a bunch of smiles to St. Paul’s Calvary Child Care Program. Jennifer Dennisseur and Dr. Schonberg talked to both children and staff. The children were given some basic tooth brushing instruction, and advice on snacking. There was even a fact or two appreciated by the teachers. Starting children out with the proper habits in crucial to long term good habits. These children are on their way to a cavity free life!