5 Ways Children Dentists Have Changed The World
When picturing something that’s significant enough to change the world, pediatric dentistry may not immediately come to mind. But it doesn’t take the invention of the atomic bomb, leading an emerging country into the Revolutionary War or becoming the invincible Superman to start making a positive change on this planet.
In fact, all it really takes to start changing the world for the better is a honest hankering to do good for others. Child Dentists have done this by providing dental care to the little ones who guarantee our future, and in doing so they have enriched the world one baby tooth at a time. The importance of well-kept teeth range from a beautiful smile to a better chance to influence others and can even improve one’s financial success, all of which are benefits any parent would wish to bestow upon their children.
But what about those who aren’t able to provide their children with the dental care required for a healthy set of choppers?
World Changer Number 1: Dental Volunteering In Third-World Countries
It isn’t news that third-world countries sometimes lack the proper facilities or money needed to produce adequate medical care for their communities and children. Often though in our first-world mindset we forget the simple privileges that our country provides for us and the benefits that come from such a service, like Orthodontics for instance (that’s right kids, getting braces for your teeth is a privilege!).
Dental volunteers have made a difference by going overseas into developing countries to contribute to the well-being and proper growth of teeth for children who would otherwise be without such a valuable service. There are many websites such as HelpTheChildren.org that are dedicated to helping young people through the goodwill and charity of others – including Pediatric Dentists.
By providing the facilities and skills necessary to give children healthy teeth and gums these volunteers have greatly reduced the chance of young ones experiencing pain and infection from untreated cavities, have promoted a healthier development of jaw bones and muscles as well as assisted in their permanent teeth coming in correctly.
World Changer Number 2: Famous Celebrities Who Have Undergone Dental Work
We live in a society that offers a lot of influence to those who have delighted and entertained our senses as famous actors or musicians on the big-screen. While many of these celebrities are known for their characteristically white smile, not everyone started out with such a stunning award-winning grin.
For instance, did you know that Tom Cruise used to have a set of teeth most unbecoming for someone who would go on to be one of the better-known movie stars of all time? Some of the more well-known examples of the classic smiles of famous celebrities who have touched the lives of millions (and how Dentists have benefited them) include:
- Shane McGowan
- Liam Gallagher
- David Bowie
- Nicolas Cage
- Catherine Zeta-Jones
- Cheryl Cole
- Keith Urban
- 50 Cent
- Elliot Yamin
World Changer Number 3: The Commitment It Takes To Put Children First
Pediatric Dentists, as I’m sure you know, specialize in children. When we say that somebody “specializes” in something, it might seem like a pretty vague term – so what does it mean exactly?
In order to become a General Dentist, one must go through 3 or more years of undergraduate school plus 4 years of dental school. In order to further focus their expertise as a pediatrician of dentistry, one must go through an additional 2 to 3 years of specialty training in providing oral care only for infants and children through adolescence.
So if we take an average estimate of the years it takes to specialize, Pediatric Dentists dedicate a decade of their life in college learning to care for your little one’s teeth. That’s a kind of commitment not many people are able to make, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to providing the highest level of care to the young people of our world.
World Changer Number 4: Laughing Gas and Painless Tooth Extraction
While the earlier discovery of how gases can lead to the painless extraction of teeth doesn’t directly involve any children (thank goodness), we can all certainly be thankful for those who pioneered this research. Taking a child to get their teeth pulled or operated on is a painful experience even for the parents, but imagine if we didn’t have the common convenience of laughing gas?
Today, we thank Dr. Horace Wells for the initial discovery of nitrous oxide’s benefits as laughing gas. Admittedly, his original demonstration of its benefits in the year of 1845 didn’t go well and he ended up ruining his reputation. The general consensus is that he didn’t use enough gas before removing his patient’s tooth in front of Harvard students and colleagues, leading to an embarrassing performance and all too much agony from his patient.
However, more than a decade after Dr. Well’s death, the use of nitrous oxide as a dental anesthetic was popularized by a dental supply salesman known as Gardner Quincy Colton. In 1864, the American Dental Association honored Dr. Wells as the discoverer of modern anesthesia, forever changing modern medicine and dentistry for the better.
So, next time your child is fearful of having a tooth pulled, remind them that they are actually very lucky to have been born into a time with such modern conveniences as anesthesia!
World Changer Number 5: The Dazzling Smiles Of The Future
While this article primarily focuses on the past tense of how Child Dentists have changed the world, here’s a bonus for what our children may be able to smile about in the future.
Much of the forward advances in Dentistry have been due to a greater understanding of our genetic makeup as well as the genome of bacteria, viruses and yeasts. Researching the genes of Streptococcus, a bacteria majorly associated with tooth decay, may allow us to devise better ways to prevent the transfer of such material to infants – promoting a higher level of oral health-care starting from birth!
We’ll continue to see advances in digital dentistry as well (computer assisted radiography, more commonly known as x-rays). This branch of technology may be further aided by nanotechnology, which will be able to manipulate matter at the molecular and even atomic level. In fact, there is already such a thing as silica-based nanoparticles that are used to polish teeth. These nanoparticles are 90,000 times smaller than a grain of sand!
In addition to this, some scientists have found a possibility of growing new enamel, dentin and cementum. In other words, you may be able to grow brand new teeth. We may be able to use our saliva to diagnose and determine risk for disease and we’ll devise new ways of using biological materials to judge the effectiveness of treatment.
Our children have much to look forward to, and the constantly-changing landscape of this world is something that we all have to keep up with. Pediatric Dentists go through many years of education and discipline to provide the best to our children.
As we said in the beginning, it doesn’t take a lot to change the world. With such advances in technology, we believe Pediatric Dentistry will continue to provide more positive change than ever.