Your Oral Health

Tooth Care

Like a car engine, your mouth needs routine maintenance to keep it in top working condition. If you neglect it, things start to go wrong and you’ll wind up in a dentist’s chair begging the doctor to fix it. Quickly.

Luckily, all you need to do to stay out of the dentist’s chair is a little brushing and a little flossing. Just ten minutes out of your day, tops. It’s that easy. All you need are the right tools.

How old is your toothbrush? If it dates back to the last century, run, don’t walk, to the nearest store and buy a new one. It’s a good idea to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. However, if the bristles look worn, replace it right away so you don’t hurt your gums.

All toothbrushes are not created equal. Select one with soft, nylon bristles that have round ends for kinder, gentler polishing. Also look for a brush with a small head so you can easily reach every nook and cranny in your mouth. When buying toothpaste, make sure you pick a winner. Look for one with the Canadian Dental Association Seal of Acceptance – your guarantee that it’s been proven safe and effective. You may want to keep an extra brush at work (or in your locker if you’re a student).

Maintenance Schedule

How long do you spend brushing? Most of us spend less than a minute. To keep your pearly whites both pearly and white, brush them for three or four minutes twice a day using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. That way, you can be sure you won’t miss any spots the next time you brush.

Tips for Effective Maintenance

There are many different ways to properly brush your teeth. Since tooth position and gum condition varies from person to person, you should check with your dentist to determine what’s best for your mouth. Here are some effective tips to get the job done.

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and gently brush both teeth and gums in a circular motion. This technique removes harmful bacteria at the gumline where they mostly hide.
  • Gently brush the outer and inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of all your teeth.
  • Use the tip of your brush to clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth with a gentle up-and-down stroke.
  • Be sure not to brush your teeth too hard or use a hard-bristled toothbrush. This can cause your gums to recede and wear down the tooth structure. These conditions can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Last but not least, remember to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

Flossing…A Little Bit of String Goes a Long Way

You can floss before or after brushing, but it is every bit as important as brushing. Flossing gets those areas between the teeth that no toothbrush or rinse can access. Without it, the risk of bad breath and gum disease increases.

Many of us have floss in our cupboards but never use it. By flossing every day, you can keep that nasty plaque from hardening. To help build the habit, try to brush at the same time every day. According to a Johnson & Johnson consumer survey of daily flossers, most find it’s easiest to floss right before bed. That way your teeth are nice and clean for the 6-8 hours you’re asleep!

It’s up to you what kind of floss you use – waxed or unwaxed, flavoured or unflavoured, even high-tech flosses to thoroughly clean those extra-tight spaces. To make the job even easier, you can buy a floss holder that holds floss tight for you.

Prefer to take care of business the old-fashioned way? Here’s a sure-fire way to handle your floss and thoroughly clean your teeth:

  • Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the rest around the same finger on the other hand. This finger will take up the floss as it is used. Only keep 3-4 inches of floss between your fingers at any one time.
  • Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Guide the floss between your teeth, using a gentle rubbing motion. You will need to place one of your fingers with floss on it in your mouth, next to the tooth you are flossing.
  • When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a “c” shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. If you notice some bleeding, don’t worry. You likely have gingivitis from not flossing regularly. The good news is this will not happen if you floss regularly and properly.
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently run it along the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
  • Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Be sure not to forget the back side of your last tooth.

That’s it! You’re done. Stick to this routine, and, at your next six-month check-up, your dentist will tell you to smile on.

Abutment: A tooth or implant used to support a prosthesis. A crown unit used as part of a fixed bridge.

Abscess: A localized infection in the bone or soft tissue. This is usually caused by an infection.

Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals used to repair teeth. There are noble (mostly silver), high noble (mostly gold) and “base” metal alloys. Cost of a filling or crown depends on the alloy selected.

Amalgam: A dental filling material, or alloy, used to fill decayed teeth.

Alveolus: An opening in the jawbone in which a tooth is attached.

Alveoloplasty: A surgical procedure used to recontour the supporting bone structures in preparation of a dental prosthesis such as a complete denture.

Anaesthetic: Drugs used to block pain and sensation during a dental procedure, which may be given topically or by injection.

Anterior: Refers to the teeth and tissues located towards the front of the mouth (upper or lower incisors and canines).

Apex: The tip or end of the root of the tooth.

Apicoectomy: The amputation of the apex, or tip, of a tooth.

Baby Teeth: Also see primary teeth.

Base Metal: The alloys used for partial dentures or crowns, which do not contain precious metals.

Bicuspid: A two-cusped tooth found between the molar and the cuspid.

Biopsy: A process of removing tissue to determine the existence of pathology.

Bitewing X-rays: X-rays taken of the crowns of teeth to check for decay.

Bleaching: The technique of applying a chemical agent, usually hydrogen peroxide, to the teeth to whiten them.

Bonding: A process to chemically etch or scrape the tooth’s enamel to better attach (bond) composite filling material, veneers or plastic/acrylic.

Bone Loss: The breakdown and loss of bone supporting the teeth, usually caused by infection, gum disease or regions of missing teeth.

Bridge: A non-removable restoration used to replace missing teeth.

Bruxism: The involuntary clenching or grinding of the teeth.

Buccal: The tooth surface that is next to the cheek. Usually only posterior, or back, teeth touch the cheek, so dentists usually use the term “buccal” when talking about back teeth.

Calculus: A hard deposit of mineralized plaque that forms on the crown and/or root of the tooth. Also referred to as tartar.

Canine Tooth: The third tooth from the midline, commonly called the eyetooth or cuspid.

Cap: Another term for crown. Usually referring to a crown for a front tooth.

Caries: The technical and correct term for tooth decay. The progressive breaking down or dissolving of tooth structure caused by acid produced when bacteria digest sugars.

Cavity: The common term for tooth decay. Also, the dental term for the hole that is left after decay has been removed.

Cement: A special type of glue used to hold a crown in place. Cement also acts as an insulator to protect the tooth’s nerve.

Cementum: The very thin, bonelike structure that covers the root of the tooth.

Central Incisors: The two large teeth in the middle of the mouth.

Cephalometric X-rays: Head X-Ray to evaluate growth and/or position of the jawbones and teeth mainly for orthodontics or jaw surgery. A procedure used to make precise measurements for braces.

Clenching: The forceful holding together of the upper and lower teeth, which places stress on the ligaments that hold the teeth to the jawbone and the lower jaw to the skull.

Complete Denture: an acrylic plate that replaces all of the upper teeth and/or all the lower teeth.

Complex Rehabilitation: The extensive dental restoration involving 6 or more units of crown and/or bridge in the same treatment plan. Using full crowns and/or fixed bridges which are cemented in place, your dentist will rebuild natural teeth, fill in spaces where teeth are missing and establish conditions which allow each tooth to function in harmony with your occlusion (bite). The extensive procedures involved in complex rehabilitation require an extraordinary amount of time, effort, skill and laboratory collaboration for a successful outcome.

Composite: A tooth-coloured filling made of plastic resin.

Consultation: A diagnostic and educational service provided by a dentist or dental specialist.

Cosmetic Dentistry: Any dental treatment or repair that is solely rendered to improve the appearance of the teeth or mouth.

Crown: The portion of a tooth that is covered by enamel. Also a dental restoration that covers the entire tooth and restores it to its original shape.

Crown Lengthening: A surgical procedure exposing more tooth for restorative purposes.

Curettage: A deep scaling of the portion of the tooth below the gum line. Purpose is to remove calculus and infected gum tissue.

Cuspid: Also see canine tooth.

Cusp(s): The protruding portion(s) of a tooth’s chewing surface.

Decay: Also see caries.

Deciduous: Also see primary teeth.

Dental Floss: A thin, nylon string, waxed or unwaxed, that is inserted between the teeth to remove food and plaque.

Dental Hygienist: A dental professional specializing in cleaning the teeth by removing plaque, calculus, and diseased gum tissue. The hygienist acts as the patient’s guide in establishing a proper oral hygiene program. Also known as RDH (registered dental hygienist).

Dental Specialist: A dentist who has successfully completed an accredited, advanced educational program in a recognized dental specialty and holds such designation from the New Brunswick Dental Society.

Dentin: The part of the tooth that is under both the enamel, which covers the crown, and the cementum, which covers the root.

Denture: A removable appliance used to replace teeth. See also complete denture and partial denture.

D.D.S.: Doctor of Dental Surgery or D.M.D., Doctor of Dental Medicine. Degrees given to dental school graduates. Both degrees are the same; dental schools identify at their discretion graduates as DMD or DDS.

Diagnostic Photographs: Pictures taken to determine treatment, and used as records.

Diagnostic Cast: A mould of the mouth made by taking an impression of the teeth.

Direct Pulp Cap: The procedure in which the exposed pulp is covered with a dressing or cement that protects the pulp and promotes healing and repair.

Dry Socket: A localized inflammation of the tooth socket following an extraction due to the loss of a blood clot.

Enamel: The hard, calcified (mineralized) portion of the tooth that covers the crown. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body.

Endodontics: The branch of dentistry that deals with injuries to or diseases of the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth.

Endodontist: A dental specialist who has successfully completed an accredited advanced educational program in endodontics and currently holds such specialty designation from the NBDS.

Eruption: A tooth coming through the gum into the oral cavity

Excision: Surgical removal of bone or tissue.

Exostosis: The overgrowth of normal bone.

External Bleach: The use of external bleaching agents to handle tooth discolouration.

Extracoronal: The outside of the crown of the tooth.

Extraoral: The outside of the mouth.

Extraction: The removal of teeth – may be simple or complex (surgical).

Eye Tooth: Also see cuspid.

Filling: Material used to fill a cavity or replace part of a tooth.

First Bicuspid: The teeth behind the cuspids. These teeth have two cusps.

First Molar: The teeth behind the second bicuspids. These teeth also have a level surface with four cusps.

Fistula: A bump or boil on the gum tissue, which is a tract, in which an abscessed tooth can drain. A path by which trapped bacteria can escape from an infected tooth.

Floss: Also see dental floss.

Fluoride: A chemical compound used to prevent dental decay, used in fluoridated water systems and/or applied directly to the teeth.

Frenum: Muscle fibres covered by a mucous membrane that attaches the cheek, lips and or tongue to associated dental mucosa.

Frenectomy: The removal of a frenum.

Full Dentures: Complete replacements for the upper or lower teeth.

Full Mouth X-rays: Twelve to 18 films taken to check on dental diseases.

Gingiva: The soft tissue that covers the jawbone. Also referred to as the gums.

Gingivectomy: The removal of gingiva.

Gingivitis: An inflammation or infection of the gingiva; the initial stage of gum disease.

Gingivoplasty: A surgical procedure to reshape or repair the gingiva, or gum.

Graft: A piece of tissue or synthetic material placed in contact with tissue to repair a defect or supplement a deficiency.

Gum: See gingiva.

Gum Disease: See periodontal disease.

High Noble Metal: See metals, classification of.

Immediate Denture: A denture constructed for immediate placement after removal of the remaining teeth.

Impacted Tooth: An unerupted, or partially erupted, tooth that is positioned against another tooth, bone or soft tissue so that complete eruption is unlikely.

Impaction, Bony: A condition in which a tooth is unable to erupt normally and is covered by bone.

Impaction, Gingival: A condition in which a tooth is unable to erupt normally and covered by gum.

Implant: An artificial device usually made of a metal alloy or ceramic material that is implanted within the jawbone as a means to attach an artificial crown, denture or bridge.

Incisors: The four front teeth, referred to as central and lateral incisors, located in the upper and lower jaws and used to cut and tear food.

Indirect Pulp Cap: A procedure in which the nearly exposed pulp is covered with a protective dressing to protect it from additional injury, and to promote healing and repair via formation of secondary dentin.

Inlay: A cast gold filling that is used to replace part of a tooth.

Internal Bleach: The use of internal bleaching agents on front teeth to address tooth discolouration due to internal causes, such as endodontic treatment (root canal).

Interproximal: The area between two adjacent teeth.

Intracoronal: The area within the crown of a tooth.

Intraoral: The inside of the mouth.

Labial: The area pertaining to or around the lip.

Lateral Incisors: These teeth are located next to the central incisors, one on each side.

Lateral Tooth: The teeth adjacent to the centrals.

Laughing Gas: Also see nitrous oxide. A controlled mixture of nitrogen and oxygen gases (N2O) that is inhaled by the patient in order to decrease sensitivity to discomfort.

Lingual: The area pertaining to or around the tongue.

Local Anaesthetic: The injection given in the mouth to numb the areas where a tooth or area needs a dental procedure.

Malocclusion: The improper alignment of biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth.

Mandible: The lower jaw.

Margin: The point at which prepared tooth structure ends and unprepared tooth begins.

Mastication: The act of chewing.

Maxilla: The upper jaw.

Metals, Classification of: The noble metal classification system has been adopted as a more precise method of reporting various alloys commonly used in crowns, bridges and dentures. These alloys contain varying percentages of Gold, Palladium and/or Platinum. High noble contains more than 60% of Gold, Palladium, and/or Platinum (with at least 40% gold); noble contains more than 25% Gold, Palladium and/or Platinum; predominantly base contains less than 25% Gold, Palladium and/or Platinum.

Molars: The broad, multicusped back teeth, used for grinding food. Considered the largest teeth in the mouth. Adults have a total of twelve molars (including the four wisdom teeth, or third molars), three on each side of the upper and lower jaws.

Night Guard: A plastic mouthpiece to prevent damage from grinding teeth at night. May be a hard or soft material.

Nitrous Oxide: A controlled mixture of nitrogen and oxygen gases (N2O) that is inhaled by the patient in order to decrease sensitivity to discomfort. Also referred to as laughing gas.

Non-Vital Tooth: A tooth that contains no living nerve tissue.

Novocaine: A generic name for the many kinds of anaesthetics used in the dental injection, such as Xylocaine, Lidocaine or Novocaine. See local anaesthetic.

Occlusal X-ray: An intraoral X-ray taken with the film held between the teeth in biting position.

Occlusal Surface: The chewing surface of the back teeth.

Occlusion: Any contact between biting or chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth.

Onlay: A cast gold or porcelain filling that covers one or all of the tooth’s cusps.

Oral Surgery: The removal of teeth and the repair and treatment of other oral problems, such as tumours and fractures.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon: A dental specialist who has successfully completed an accredited advanced educational program in oral and maxillofacial surgery and who currently holds such specialty designation from the NBDS.

Orthodontics: A branch of dentistry that corrects malocclusions and restores the teeth and/or jawbones to proper alignment and function. Several different types of appliances are used in orthodontics, one of which is commonly referred to as braces.

Orthodontist: A dental specialist who has successfully completed an accredited advanced educational program in orthodontics and currently holds such specialty designation from the NBDS.

Overbite: A condition in which the upper teeth excessively overlap the lower teeth when the jaw is closed. This condition can be corrected with orthodontics.

Palate: The hard and soft tissues forming the roof of the mouth.

Panoramic X-ray (Panorex): An extraoral full-mouth X-ray that records the teeth and the upper and lower jaws on one film.

Partial Denture: A removable appliance used to replace one or more lost teeth.

Paediatric Dentistry: The branch of dentistry that deals solely with treating children’s dental disease. Also referred to as pedodontics.

Pedicle Soft Tissue Graft: The replacement of damaged gum tissue.

Periapical: The area that surrounds the root tip of a tooth.

Pedodontics: Also see paediatric dentistry.

Pedodontists or Paediatric Dentist: A dental specialist who has successfully completed an accredited advanced educational program in paediatric dentistry and currently holds such specialty designation from the NBDS.

Pericoronitis: An inflammation of the gum tissue around the crown of a tooth, usually the third molar.

Periodontal: Relating to the tissue and bone that supports the tooth (from peri, meaning “around,” and odont, “tooth”).

Periodontal Disease: The inflammation and infection of gums, ligaments, bone and other tissues surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two main forms of periodontal disease. Also called gum disease or pyorrhoea.

Periodontal Pocket: An abnormal deepening of the gingival crevice. Caused when disease and infection destroy the ligament that attaches the gum to the tooth and the underlying bone.

Periodontal Surgery: A surgical procedure involving the gums and bone that support the teeth.

Periodontics: The branch of dentistry that deals with and treats the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth.

Periodontist: A dental specialist who has successfully completed an accredited advanced educational program in periodontics, and currently holds such a specialty designation from the NBDS.

Periodontitis: Inflammation of the supporting structures of the tooth, including the gum, the periodontal ligament and the bone that supports the teeth.

Periradicular: The area that surrounds a portion of the root of the tooth.

Permanent Teeth: The thirty-two adult teeth that replace the primary teeth. Also known as secondary teeth.

Pit: A recessed area found on the surface of a tooth, usually where the grooves of the tooth meet.

Plaque: A film of sticky material containing saliva, food particles and bacteria that attaches to the tooth surface both above and below the gum line. When left on the tooth it can promote gum disease and tooth decay.

Pontic: An artificial tooth used in a bridge to replace a missing tooth.

Porcelain Laminate Veneer: A thin porcelain shell bonded to the tooth to correct imperfections in shape, colour, size and position of teeth.

Posterior Teeth: The teeth in the back of the mouth (bicuspids and molars).

Premolar: Another name for bicuspid.

Preventive Dentistry: Education and treatment devoted to and concerned with preventing the development of dental and periodontal disease.

Preventive Treatment: Any action taken by the patient, assisted by the dentist, hygienist and office staff, that serves to prevent dental or other disease (i.e., sealants, cleanings and space maintainers).

Primary Teeth: The first set of teeth that humans get, lasting until the permanent teeth come in. Also referred to as deciduous teeth or baby teeth.

Prophylaxis: The scaling and polishing procedure performed to remove calculus, plaque and stains from the crowns of the teeth.

Prosthodontics: The branch of dentistry dealing with the replacement of missing teeth and other oral structures.

Prosthodontist: A dental specialist who has successfully completed an accredited advanced educational program in prosthodontics and currently holds such specialty designation from the NBDS.

Pulp: The hollow chamber inside the crown of the tooth that contains its nerves and blood vessels.

Pulp Canal: Also see pulp chamber.

Pulp Capping: The use of medicine on decayed areas of teeth to protect pulp and aid in healing.

Pulp Chamber: The very inner part of a tooth containing nerve cells and blood vessels.

Pulpectomy: Removal of the entire pulp from the canals in the tooth’s root.

Pulpitis: An often-painful inflammation of the dental pulp or nerve.

Pulpotomy: The removal of a portion of the tooth’s pulp.

Pyorrhoea: Also see periodontal disease.

Quadrant: The dental term for the division of the jaws into four parts, beginning at the midline of the arch and extending towards the last tooth in the back of the mouth. There are four quadrants in the mouth; each quadrant generally contains five to eight teeth.

Rebase: The process of refitting a denture by replacing the base material.

Receded Gums: A condition characterized by the abnormal loss of gum tissue due to infection or bone loss.

Referral: When a dental patient from one office is sent to another dentist, usually a specialist, for treatment or consultation.

Reline: The process of resurfacing the tissue side of a denture with a base material.

Replantation: The return of a tooth to its socket.

Resin Filling: The tooth-coloured plastic material used in place of alloys for a more natural appearance.

Resorption: Breakdown and assimilation of the bone that supports the tooth (i.e., bone loss).

Restoration: Any material or creation used to replace lost tooth structure (e.g., filling, crown) or to replace a lost tooth or teeth (e.g., bridge, dentures, complete or partial).

Retainer: A removable dental appliance, usually used in orthodontics, that maintains space between teeth, or holds teeth in a fixed position until the bone solidifies around them.

Retrograde Filling: A method of sealing the root canal by preparing and filling it from the root tip, generally done at the completion of an apicoectomy.

Root: The part of the tooth below the crown, normally encased in the jawbone. It is made up of dentin, includes the root canal and is covered by cementum.

Root Canal: The hollow part of a tooth’s root. It runs from the tip of the root into the pulp.

Root Canal Therapy: Process of treating disease or inflammation of the pulp or root canal. This involves removing the pulp and root’s nerve(s) and filling the canal(s) with an appropriate material to permanently seal it.

Root Planing: The process of scaling and planing exposed root surfaces to remove all calculus, plaque and infected tissue.

Scaling: A procedure used to remove plaque, calculus and stains from the teeth.

Sealant: A composite material used to seal the decay-prone pits, fissures and grooves of children’s teeth to prevent decay.

Second Bicuspid: The teeth behind the first bicuspids. These teeth have two cusps.

Second Molar: The teeth behind the first molars. These teeth have a flat surface with four cusps.

Secondary Teeth: Also see permanent teeth.

Six-Year Molar: The first permanent tooth to erupt, usually between the ages of five and six.

Socket: The hole in the jawbone into which the tooth fits.

Space Maintainer: A dental appliance that fills the space of a lost tooth or teeth and prevents the other teeth from moving into the space. Used especially in orthodontic and paediatric treatment.

Stainless Steel Crown: A pre-made metal crown, shaped like a tooth, which is used to temporarily cover a seriously decayed or broken down tooth. Used most often on children’s teeth.

Subgingival Scaling: The removal of calculus and plaque found on the tooth below the gum line.

Supragingival Scaling: The removal of calculus and plaque found on the tooth above the gum line.

Systemic: Relating to the whole body.

Tartar: Also see calculus.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD): Also see temporomandibular joint syndrome.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ): The connecting hinge mechanism between the upper jaw and the base of the skull.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome: The problems associated with TMJ, usually involving pain or discomfort in the joints and ligaments that attach the lower jaw to the skull or in the muscles used for chewing.

Third Molar: The teeth behind the second molars. These teeth have a level surface with four cusps. Also known as wisdom teeth.

Tooth Surface: One of the five sides of a tooth above the gum line.

Torus: A bony elevation or protuberance of normal bone. It is generally seen on the upper palate located behind the front teeth or under the tongue inside the lower jaw.

Treatment Plan: A list of the work the dentist proposes to perform on a dental patient based on the results of the dentist’s x-rays, examination and diagnosis. Often more than one treatment plan is presented.

Twelve-Year Molar: Another name for the second molar.

Veneer: An artificial filling material, usually composite or porcelain, that is used to provide an aesthetic covering over the visible surface of a tooth. Most often used on front teeth.

Vital Tooth: A tooth that contains living nerve tissue.

Wisdom Teeth: Also see third molar.


Q: What did the vampire say after the dentist finished checking his teeth?
A: Fang you very much!

Q: What do explorers call it when they go searching for fossil teeth?
A: A molar expedition!

Q: Why didn’t the astronaut bring her toothbrush?
A: She thought that the moon had no cavities!

Q: Why did the male deer visit the orthodontist?
A: He wanted to get his buckteeth fixed!

Q: When the dentist went to the fair, what did he like even better than the roller coaster?
A: The fluorride”!


An elephant’s tooth can weigh three kilograms, which is heavier than a big jug of milk!

Even though whales are very big, some of them don’t have any teeth. Instead, they have rows of stiff hair-like combs that take food out of the ocean.

Snails are very small but they can have thousands of tiny teeth all lined up in rows.

Minnows have teeth in their throats.

Rabbit teeth never stop growing. They keep them worn down by gnawing on bark and other hard foods.

Lemon sharks grow a new set of teeth every two weeks. They grow more than 24,000 new teeth every year!

Every year in China, people celebrate a special holiday called “Love Your Teeth Day.”

Three million miles of dental floss are bought each year in North America.

James Dean, the 50s heartthrob, had no front teeth and, therefore, wore a bridge.

George Washington wore false teeth made of ivory.

The Chinese first invented toothpaste 3,000 years ago.

Mick Jagger had an emerald chip put in the middle of his upper-right incisor but later changed it to a diamond.

The first toothbrush with bristles was developed in China in 1498.

Pierre Fauchard created the first braces in 1728.

According to a Time magazine survey, 59% of North Americans would prefer to go to the dentist than sit next to someone using a cell phone.

Did You Know?
“Painless” Parker

Famous dentist Edgar Rudolph “Painless” Parker, born in New Brunswick in 1872, was booted out of a New Brunswick divinity school for “bad misdemeanours and barefaced falsehoods.” He then took up dentistry, holding street-corner lectures on oral hygiene and pulling teeth on the spot.

Working with a local druggist, Parker, in 1915, developed hydrocaine, an analgesic that contained cocaine. After testing the drug on himself, he billed himself as “Painless Parker, the famous dentist,” and took his show on the road. Parker began as a “street dentist,” setting up a dental chair on the back of a wagon. He offered to extract teeth for 50 cents, and he guaranteed patients that if they felt pain, he would reimburse them $5.

Painless Parker also used showgirls, circuses and whatever other distractions he could think of to bring dentistry to the masses. He once extracted 357 teeth in one day on a vaudeville stage.

He also fathered the modern concept of a group dental practice, in which all services are available under one roof. When he died at 80 years of age, he was running 27 offices on the west coast of the United States, employing 75 dentists.

Doc Holliday

John Henry Holliday was originally a dentist before he became an outlaw. On March 1, 1872, he received the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. Later that year, he opened a dental office with Arthur C. Ford in Atlanta.

Shortly after beginning his dental practice, Holliday was diagnosed with tuberculosis (generally called “consumption” in that era). He was given only a few months to live, but thought moving to the drier and warmer southwestern United States might reduce the deterioration of his health.

In September 1873, he went to Dallas, Texas, where he opened a dental office. He soon began gambling and realized this was a more profitable source of income. In Dallas, he was indicted for illegal gambling, and arrested after trading gunfire with a saloon-keeper, but no one was injured and he was found not guilty.

Holliday first met Wyatt Earp in 1877. Their friendship was cemented in 1878 in Dodge City, Kansas, where both Earp and Holliday had traveled to make money gambling with the cowboys who drove cattle from Texas. Holliday was still practicing dentistry from his rooms in Dodge City, (he promised money back for less-than-complete customer satisfaction). In an interview printed in a newspaper later in his life, he said that he only practiced dentistry “for about 5 years.”

Through his friendship with Wyatt and the other Earp brothers, Holliday made his way to the silver-mining boomtown of Tombstone, Arizona Territory. There, Holliday quickly became embroiled in the local politics and violence that led up to the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Time to schedule a visit the dentist? Whether you’ve been putting it off for months or years, it’s not as scary as you remember. Really.

And the longer you put that visit off, the more extensive the care you need will become. Visiting the dentist can actually be a pleasurable experience, when you find the right one for you. Here are some tips from your New Brunswick Dental Society dentist to help make your next visit as stress free as possible.

Step One
Schedule your visit for the time of day when you’re most likely to be at your best. There’s nothing worse than going into a situation when you’re stressed.

Step Two
Wrestle your inner demons to discover the cause of your anxiety. Once you know why you’re scared, it will be easier to control your fear.

Step Three
To maximize your comfort level, get a good night’s sleep the night before your appointment. Eat a light breakfast on the day of your appointment and wear comfortable clothing.

Step Four
Talk to your dentist and dental hygienist. Tell them what makes you nervous and what concerns you. Often, talking about your fears will help ease them and make you feel more comfortable about the situation. Remember that most regular dental visits involve only a professional cleaning, examination and consultation. In other words, there won’t be any drilling. Take advantage of this time to get to know the dental staff and become comfortable in the office.

Step Five
Keep the dialog going. If your doctor says you need further treatment, ask for the details. The more you know about the reasons for a certain procedure, and what will actually take place, the more confident and relaxed you’ll be.

Step Six
Schedule short dental appointments and have different procedures performed on different days. If you feel any discomfort during treatment, set up a signal, such as raising your hand, to let your dentist know you need a break.

Step Seven
Work to establish a positive dentist-patient relationship. You should feel at ease and comfortable with your dentist. Take an active role in your dental care and determine, along with your dentist, the best treatment for you.

Follow these tips and your fear of dentists will prove to be no more real than the monsters that hid under your bed when you were a child. Smile on, and enjoy your happy, healthy smile.

Taking care of your teeth is like a good housecleaning. Once or twice a year, it helps to clean out every nook and cranny.

That’s what your New Brunswick ‘s Dental Association dentist will do for your teeth during your annual check-up. Next to regular brushing and flossing, a regular check-up is the most important thing you can do to keep your smile and oral health in tip-top shape. After all, check-ups aren’t just about cavities – they’re about prevention.

Here’s what your dentist will look for during an exam after updating your medical history:

Outside the mouth

  • The health of your jaw joints (TMJ), muscles and surrounding lymph nodes

Inside the mouth

  • Signs of gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions
  • Oral sores or irritations to gum tissue
  • Fit of dentures, crowns or bridges
  • Proper bite

and signs of other diseases or medical conditions that may first appear in the mouth.

To feel right, it’s important to eat right. That means a balanced diet full of foods that provide you, and your family, with the proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.

If you don’t, your teeth will suffer. The tissues in your mouth will have a harder time resisting infection. You’ll be more susceptible to gum disease. Your children’s oral health will be forever compromised -especially if they don’t get the proper nutrients during the first three years of their lives.

Even if you eat right, your oral health could still be in danger. Most foods provide nourishment for bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria feed on sugar and turn it into acids that erode your teeth, which can lead to cavities. This doesn’t mean you should eliminate sugar from your diet. Just use carbohydrates – sugars and cooked starches – wisely and in moderation.

Carbohydrates aren’t the only decay-causing foods you need to be aware of. Here are some dos and don’ts for good dental health.

  • Do watch what you eat. Sticky foods such as raisins, dates, dried fruits and chewy candy hold acid against teeth for a long time and increase your risk for dental decay.
  • Don’t be a snack master. Every time you eat, acids attack your teeth for at least 20 minutes. The more often you snack, the more often you let that nasty acid loose.
  • Don’t be a sucker for sugar. Do you spend the day popping breath mints, sucking on hard candy or sipping soda pop? If you constantly have a sugary food or beverage in your mouth, you’re giving those nasty acids permission to wreak havoc with your teeth.
  • Do eat rounded meals. For the best dental health, carbohydrates should be eaten as part of a complete meal.

More Nutritional Musings

The National Dairy Council offers the following tips for keeping your – and your family’s – gums healthy and your teeth cavity free:

  • Follow a nutritionally balanced diet with a variety of foods from the five major food groups: fruits; vegetables; breads, cereals and other grain products; milk, cheese and yogurt; and meat, poultry, fish or dry beans, peas, eggs and nuts.
  • Limit between meal snacks. If you do snack, choose anti-cavity and nutritious foods such as cheese, plain yogurt, fruit, raw vegetables, peanuts, popcorn and peanut butter.
  • Combine decay-causing foods, such as cookies and candy, with nutritious ones, like milk and cheese.
  • Visit your dentist at least once every six months, brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
  • Talk to your dentist about applying dental sealants to your child’s teeth
  • Never allow infants or young children to fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk.
  • Water is always best at a child’s bedtime or naptime.

Another Reason To Drink Your Milk

According to the Journal of Dental Research, adults who drink three servings of milk each day have lots to smile about. They’re not only building strong bones, they’re keeping their smiles healthy. Researchers found that adults (especially those ages 20-39) who were not meeting their calcium recommendations were at greater risk for developing gum disease than their milk-drinking counterparts. To keep your gums healthy, you should try to get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, the equivalent of at least three servings of milk or foods from the milk group.

Don’t Forget That Toothbrush

While eating right is important, be sure to brush and floss daily, and use a fluoride toothpaste or rinse to keep your smile shining brightly.