Monthly Archives: September 2016

Potential New Treatment for Oral Cancer Discovered

Potential New Treatment for Oral Cancer Discovered

Oral cancer is one of the scariest diagnoses you can encounter during your biannual checkup. The importance of your biannual visits are underscored by the fact that 60% of people diagnosed with the disease are already in the later stages, leading to a sub-50% survival rate. A study conducted by Dr. Cara Gonzales of UT Health Science Center of San Antonio has given new hope to those who suffer from oral cancer.

The very promising results of the study showed the cancerous tumors in mice shrinking to half their size in just two weeks! These findings if brought to human trial could be life-changing for those who are in the later stages of oral cancer.

The process of fighting late stage oral cancer can involve invasive surgeries to cut out parts of your mouth and tongue to remove the cancerous material followed by additional radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells. Needless to say, a better, less-invasive treatment option would drastically improve the livelihood and chances for success of those with oral cancer.

The study combined two different already FDA approved treatments simultaneously that have been ineffective on their own in the past, but now together had huge success in mouse models. This new treatment could have applications in both shrinking tumors that were previously inoperable, shrinking tumors prior to surgery and even to kill remaining cancer cells afterward. While many more trials await the treatment before it can be FDA approved, scientists say that this is the biggest step of it’s kind in decades.

Are you overdue for your twice yearly dental checkup? Contact Prescott Dentistry today to stay on top of your oral health and keep an eye out for serious diseases like oral cancer.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/29/2016) US Army Africa (Flickr)

Cute News Alert! Sleeping baby Snow Monkeys smile like humans?

Cute News Alert! Sleeping baby Snow Monkeys smile like humans?

There’s nothing better than an interesting scientific study that is also completely adorable! It looks like patients of Dr. Montes and Dr. Thompson at Prescott Dentistry aren’t the only ones that can have a nice smile! New findings, with evolutionary implications on the origin of the human smile, show that newborn Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) smile in their sleep similar to human babies.

Researchers from Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute in Japan have found that macaque infants engage in “spontaneous smiles”. In other words, the ends of the lips rise regardless of external stimuli during light sleep. While these spontaneous smiles have been reported in chimpanzees and humans up until around one year old, this is the first detailed observation of the behavior in Japanese macaques.

The scientists, led by Masaki Tomonaga, professor of comparative cognitive science, explained that these spontaneous smiles found in the monkey species take a shorter period of time to form compared to humans. The corners of the snow monkeys mouth almost instantly lifted to form a spontaneous smile. It is thought that this behavior in human babies is an evolutionary adaptation to attract attention of the adults and make them handle the baby more gently. However, the researchers in this study claim that the behavior in these macaques is likely to help strengthen cheek muscles, not change the attitude of their handlers. (That doesn’t make it any less cute, though!)

Speaking of babies, don’t forget for the new babies in the family, the American Dental Association and American Pediatric Association recommend the first dental visit be scheduled before their first birthday! Contact Prescott Dentistry today to schedule your little one’s appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/29/2016) Daisuke tashiro (Flickr)

Biomimetic Science News: From Teeth to Tires

Endodontic Therapy in Prescott, AZ

The doctors and team at Prescott Dentistry are very proud to be on the cutting edge of dental offices who take advantage of biomimetic science in the form of biomimetic dentistry. On our blog, we like to take time to do a little research and find out what other exciting advancements in the field are taking place. The fascinating thing about the field of Biomimetics is that it can encapsulate such a wide array of subject matter–from biologically active titanium surfaces to snake scale body armor and chameleon inspired color changing material. Now even tires may fall under the same umbrella as dentistry in the world of biomimetics!

Inspired by the nanoscale threads that give geckos the ability to scale smooth walls and hang upside down, a team from Lehigh along with the Michelin Corporation and the National Science Foundation have started researching materials that mimic the surface architectures of nature to improve the reliability and safety of tires. The team is working on creating bio-inspired film-terminated structures with new, unique characteristics that could have applications with tires and other industrial areas.

The results so far have been quite promising. There is a classic performance conundrum when it comes to tires, and that is the balance between traction, fuel efficiency and tire life. To improve one almost always means degrading another. However, this new material that mimics smooth pad surfaces found on the feet of frogs or grasshoppers may have solved the conundrum.  By using a film of rubber-like material consisting of evenly spaced parallel ridges covered by a thin topcoat, the new material increased grip while not negatively affecting rolling resistance. Read more about the details of the study here.

Are you interested in how Dr. Montes and Dr. Thompson utilize biomimetic science in the world of dentistry? Contact Prescott Dentistry today to learn about this new, exciting and less invasive form of dentistry.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/15/2016) jeff_golden (Flickr)

Dental Specialty Services: What is Endodontic Therapy?

Endodontic Therapy in Prescott, AZ

Endodontic therapy is another name for root canal therapy. It involves treating infected tooth pulp by eliminating the infection and protecting the decontaminated tooth from future infections. Endodontic therapy is necessary because the pulp of cracked, decayed teeth is vulnerable to bacteria. When this happens, blood flow becomes restricted and the resulting pressure can cause intense pain. When our patients are facing painful toothaches and are in the need of endodontic therapy, the team at Prescott Dentistry works to provide a gentle, and comfortable experience.

Three purposes of Endodontic Therapy:

  1. Stop the toothache

  2. Prevent pain and bacteria from spreading into the jaw

  3. Maintain the integrity of the original root and tooth to prevent tooth loss.

The step by step process of Endodontic Treatment:

  1. The first step of Endodontic Treatment is a local anesthetic given by Dr. Montes or Dr. Thompson to provide a more comfortable experience.

  2. We will use some form of isolation to keep your tooth clean and dry.

  3. A small opening is made through the biting surface of the tooth to access the tooth “pulp” (soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves).

  4. The infected tissue and/or bacteria are then removed carefully from the root canal(s).

  5. Each root canal is gently cleaned and shaped to allow it to be filled. Natural antibacterials may be placed in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help eliminate bacteria.

  6. You may also be prescribed antibiotics if there are signs of infection that has spread beyond the end of the root(s). The root canals(s) are then filled, usually with an inert, natural rubber-like material called gutta-parcha made from various tropical trees. This material is very bio-compatible and seldom causes any reaction.

  7. In the final step, the tooth will be restored with a protective onlay or filling to reinforce it and improve its appearance.

Are you in the need of Endodontic Therapy in Prescott? Contact the compassionate, understanding staff at Prescott Dentistry today to schedule your dental specialty service.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/15/2016) Richard foster (Flickr)