Portola Dental

Restorative material such as composites and porcelain crowns provide longevity and beauty. Dental implants are the most predictable replacements for missing teeth. Dental Implants restore full function and strength of natural teeth while providing a life time of success and predictability. Invisalign braces are now the treatment of choice for patients who always dreaded wearing traditional metal braces. Invisalign braces are easy to use, extremely comfortable and provide a very predictable treatment that usually takes half the time that traditional metal braces take. And when it comes to cosmetic dentistry, Dental Veneers provide immediate and most predictable result for patients who desire a more beautiful smile. Dental Veneers are the treatment of choice for patients who would like to improve their looks in a short period of time.

I have never felt happier to live in 21st century. Today's Dentistry is light years ahead of what it was in 18th century. Inventions such as anesthetic agents and dental instruments combined with advances in science and technology have helped dentistry become one of the most successful practices to render patients the most predictable treatments.

At Portola Dental, we provide our patients with comprehensive care by combining the use of Dental Implants, Invisalign braces and Dental Veneers along with other restorative procedures such as composite fillings, lava and porcelain crowns to maximize function, longevity and beauty.

For many, there is nothing to be dreaded more than a trip to the dentist’s office. Just like today, tooth decay was an unpleasant part of life in the past. Unlike today, however, there was not a lot that could be done to prevent it. Most people who found themselves with a toothache ended up in the hands of the local barber-surgeon, who would then extract the rotten tooth sans anesthetic. Before the 18th century, this often involved tying a string around the tooth; a drum might be played in the background to distract the patient, getting louder as the moment of extraction grew nearer. To advertise their services as ‘tooth-pullers’, many barber-surgeons hung rows of rotten teeth outside their shops.

As time wore on, new techniques were invented for extracting teeth. The tooth key was first mentioned in Alexander Monro’s Medical Essays and Observations in 1742. The claw was placed over the top of the decaying tooth; the bolster, or the long metal rod, was placed against the root. The key was then turned and, if all went well, the tooth would pop out of the socket. Unfortunately, this did not always go to plan. Often, the tooth shattered as the key was turned and had to be plucked from the bleeding gum tissue piece by piece.

Of course, the loss of a tooth could leave a person aesthetically challenged. Wealthy patrons were increasingly unhappy to go around in public with missing teeth. In the 18th century, surgeons began experimenting with implants. Patients who could afford it might choose between ‘live’ or ‘dead’ teeth. With the former, the recipient would have his or her rotten tooth removed before a ‘selection of donors’, who would then have their own teeth extracted until one was found that was ‘deemed acceptable in appearance’. Afterwards, the tooth was inserted into the empty socket and fixed using a silver wire or silk ligatures.

Although desirable, having a ‘live’ tooth implanted into one’s mouth was a costly endeavor. For the thrifty costumer, teeth extracted from the mouths of the dead proved cheaper. According to one resurrectionist, ‘It is the constant practice to take the teeth out first…because if the body be lost, the teeth are saved’. During the 19th century, a good set of teeth could fetch as much as 5 guineas. Indeed, the practice was so profuse that one Professor of Anatomy at Trinity College remarked, ‘very many of the upper ranks carry in their mouths teeth which have been buried in the hospital fields’. Unfortunately for some unlucky recipients, syphilis and tuberculosis were unknowingly transmitted into their mouths from infected donors.

Dentistry, as we understand it today, did not emerge as a licensed profession until the end of the 19th century. That said, one need not suffer in the past with a toothache as long as a barber-surgeon was at hand. For little cost and a lot of pain, the rotten tooth could be extracted and put on display in front of the barber’s shop.

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