Will dental cleaning technology ever make it to the 20th century?

As long as I can remember, and I ain’t no youngun, the dentist, and later, the hygenist, have cleaned teeth by scraping and picking at them. It’s often reminded me of that big hook they use in the circus and the zoo on elephant’s feet. It’s such an archaic and barbaric procedure - and painfully uncomfortable sometimes. With all the advances in medical and dental technology, why hasn’t some major advance occurred on that front? Why not a rinse that could be used to dissolve some of the plaque and calculus? Or how about a teflon-like coating that they could put on your teeth that would keep the plaque from adhering to the teeth? I mean, why do we have to keep subjecting ourselves to such brutal treatment? Is there any hope on the dental/techno front for those of us who loathe prophylaxis? What’s out there? xo CC

Good question. And I would like to know why, with lack of advances that CC bemoans, there are no fast-dentistry type places, where for, say $19.95, you can get a quick clean and enamel shine, on a walk-in basis?

Well, they already have dental sealants (not Teflon, however) that are supposed to prevent tooth decay.

And they already have ultrasonic teeth cleaning.

And they already have anti-plaque mouthwashes and rinses.

So, maybe it’s just your dentist who needs to come into the 20th Century? :smiley:

As far as a rinse that would dissolve the really hard calculus, I’d guess that anything that would be strong enough to dissolve calculus would also dissolve the tooth enamel. I did find a reference to using vinegar to dissolve calculus–but it’s for dentures and retainers, not real teeth. Presumably plastic teeth can handle being soaked in vinegar.


So, I suppose that theoretically, if you could figure out a way to soak your teeth in vinegar without destroying the enamel, you could have a rinse that would get rid of calculus.

Me, I think I’ll just go to the dentist. :smiley:

P.S. If you have a hamfisted dental hygienist who is hurting you with her big hook, go somewhere else–there’s no reason to keep paying her to hurt you. There are DHs out there with gentle hands who know what they’re doing, and don’t hurt. Mine doesn’t.

Aren’t these procedures already in the twentieth century? Wouldn’t you want them to enter the twenty-first?

I got these in 4 teeth and had cavaties in all 4 teeth within 5 years. They basically let bad stuff seep in while keeping you from cleaning it out. Highly unrecommended.

Hey, if I could get rid of my calculus that easily, I would.

Oh, goodie, I’m SO glad to hear that! :smiley: Seriously, my kids’ dentist has been pushing these sealants at me for the last X number of years, and I keep telling him, “Um…I don’t think so”, because I thought that’s what it sounded like it would do–the whole emphasis, as he explained it, was on getting the teeth absolutely spanking clean before you apply the sealant, and I didn’t see how that would be physically possible.

But of course, I’m not a Dentist, so what did I know? :rolleyes:

Hee. Mom gets to be right sometimes…

Talking to Cisco, of course…

DDG & Cisco,

I’ve had sealants on all of my molars since I was around 8 years old or so. I go back every few years and have them replaced. I’m in my 20’s now, and I’ve never had a cavity. My brother had them too, and never had a problem. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen, but just wanted to chime in with a positive experience.

It can be kind of ukky though when they fall out (which happens every so often) and you find yourself chewing on a small bit of what seems to be cement or plaster. eck.

My dentist has a baking soda spray for cleaning. I tried it once. I had the taste of baking soda in the back of my mouth for weeks. Now I have it marked in my chart to do it the old fashioned way.

If you can wait 10 or so years for the technology to develop, then this may be the ultimate in dental care.

I can’t tell if sealing is the way to go to prevent gum disease in late years, but the bots don’t look any more comfortable for patients than what we endure now in the chair. The ultrasonic “advertisement” in the link is no where near as pleasant they claim. It’s a version of sandblasting with a coldwater rinse to keep your teeth from bursting into flame - at a pitch just high enough to bring chills to every part of your skin. Plus, can you see what would happen to a guy if the nanobots decide to go independent and refuse to respond to the remote control? Hundreds of micro motors having a revolution in your mouth? Argh. Ok - then. Is there anything short of full mouth anesthesia that could make the process at least easier to endure?

Personally, I’m surprised Dental Lasers aren’t more widespread.

My father was one of the first 10 or so dentists in Florida to get a dental laser, a good number of years ago. I haven’t heard of it being used for cleanings (the hygienists still do hand scaling in his office for cleanings – and he has an ultrasonic scaler too, I believe). But the laser tool can definitely be used in some situations in place of drilling or even numbing with regular anesthetic.

I don’t know how widespread they actually are, but if they are still sparse, I’ll join you in expressing surprise that they haven’t caught on more.

The bots in the pictures were scaled up 1000 times by the artist so you could acually see them working. I imagine they would be like so much powder in actuality. As for them not responding to controls, out of the millions that you may be asked to swish with at the dentists office, several hundred probably will not function as the onboard computer instructs, but they are too small to do any damage before the power supply expires and they are either rinsed out or passed through.