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Dental News You Can Use

Did you know?

Shark teeth contain fluoride!

This explains why a shark’s teeth are so perfectly suited for ripping, cutting, and tearing their prey. They rarely crack or chip, and don’t get cavities, unlike human teeth.

Human teeth contain hydroxyapatite, an inorganic constituent also found in bone, while shark teeth contain the same fluoride that is often added to toothpaste and mouthwashes. In fact, shark teeth are actually made up of almost 100% fluoride on the surface. Sharks also have the added advantage of being able to regrow their teeth several times throughout their lifetime, so if a tooth were to become damaged, their food hunting and consumption would not be compromised in the long term.

Interestingly, Shark teeth are not any harder than human teeth, even though they prove to be more durable in general.

Scientists are excited about this discovery as it addresses how effectively teeth have evolved to deal with the particular stresses they encounter.

Did you know?

Teeth are helping people with total single-ear hearing loss to hear correctly again!

It’s true!

A new hearing system uses a patient’s teeth to transmit sound wirelessly. The system, called SoundBite, relies on the conductive properties of bone, which allows sound to travel from teeth to the bones in the skull.

Soundbite isn’t a hearing aid, meaning it isn’t a sound amplifier. Instead, it helps people who are completely deaf in one ear, usually due to a problem with the cochlea, a structure in the inner ear. The system bypasses the damaged cochlea completely by utilizing a tiny microphone placed in the patient’s problem ear, which then transmits signals wirelessly to a receiver hooked to the patient’s molars. The receiver, styled much like a mini dental retainer, transmits the sound waves to the functioning cochlea, which sends the signals on to the brain.

Soundbite is currently available in a pilot launch, and costs about $6500. And while it’s certainly not inexpensive, it may prove well worth the price for those with complete hearing loss in one ear.

—Dr. Shannon Norman-Kotre, Ann Arbor Dentist


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