5 Fascinating Facts About Dentistry

Charles F. Betts, Jr., D.M.D. is more than just your local full-service dental care provider in the Decatur, AL area. Dr. Betts is an accomplished dental expert with more than 25 years’ experience who wants to help you learn more about the world of general dentistry and ways to improve your smile. While some may consider dentistry to be a pretty bland topic, there are some amazing dental facts and stories that you have probably never even heard of. Here are a few.

5 Fun Dental Facts

George Washington did NOT have wooden teeth – One of the most enduring myths regarding George Washington is that he had wooden dentures. While it is true that he suffered from dental problems that caused him to lose his teeth, his dentures were not made of wood. In fact, they were made out of several materials including gold, lead, and ivory.

With this being the case, you might wonder why someone would mistake a set of gold dentures (he had four sets, in fact) for wooden dentures. One theory is that over time, the ivory used in the dentures became stained. This caused them to have a color and appearance similar to wood. However, no one really knows where the myth started, but we do know that it is still alive and well today.

Dental floss can get you out of jail – Of all the uses for dental floss (a quick Google search will give several lists), escaping from prison is probably not one you would think of. But that is exactly what a prison inmate in West Virginia used it for.

Over the course of time (we have no real way of knowing how long), this inmate gathered enough dental floss to braid into a rope. Once his rope was constructed, he used it to climb to the top of a recreational yard at the newly constructed prison that was holding him.

Hanging at the top, he used a small hacksaw blade to cut the chain-link fence that capped the yard and escape. The inmate, Robert Dale Shepard, remained free for about 40 days. He was recaptured after a failed robbery attempt of a drugstore.

Snails have a TON of teeth – Depending on your age, you may or may have seen the movie Little Shop of Horrors. If so, you have an idea of how a relatively harmless thing can turn into a nightmare if it gets big enough. That is what a snail would become if it ever got big enough. Here’s why.

These little creatures have a mouth that is roughly the size of a pinhead, but within that tiny opening there up to about 25,000 teeth. Yes, thousands of teeth are inside the mouth of a common snail. Makes you really think about what they could do if they got to be the size of a cat or small dog, doesn’t it?

Girls smile way more than boys – The war of the sexes has been waged since we were all in elementary school. By our memory, the competition was pretty even. It seemed like girls and boys won about as often as they lost, but each side would still claim dominance over the other.

Well, there is one area where girls crush boys, and it isn’t even close. That area is smiling. Females smile roughly 70 times per day. This is in stark contrast to the eight times per day that males smile (on average). The reason behind the disparity is a relative mystery. All we know is that the girls decisively take this round.

Dental implants are so great because of an accident – Dental implants are a wonderful option when it comes to replacing teeth you have lost. What makes them so effective is that their material, titanium, has a unique ability to fully bond with the jawbone. This is called osseointegration, and it was found by accident.

In the 1950s, an orthopedic surgeon was doing research using rabbits. He had put titanium cylinders into the femurs of the rabbits to measure blood flow. When he went to remove the cylinders, he found that they were fully bonded to the bone and could not be removed without breaking the bone. This realization led to titanium being used in dental implants, giving us a replacement option that rivals natural teeth in their stability.

Call Charles F. Betts, Jr., D.M.D. today at 256-274-8680 to schedule your appointment for a dental cleaning and exam, dental implant care, or even cosmetic dentistry options to help your smile look its best.