18 Dec 2012

USA - A 'Silent Epidemic,'

A 'Silent Epidemic,' Coloradans Increasingly Taking Their Toothaches To The ER By Colorado Public News and Carol McKinley Nineteen-year-old Vesha Gilbert’s toothache had become so unbearable, she ended up where no one wants to be: Sitting in a dentist’s chair, cringing at the thought of having her decayed back molar pulled. “I’m scared, but I’m glad I’m here,” she said. “It feels like somebody’s knocking me on the side of my mouth with a hammer, like, constantly, and it goes in and out like every five seconds.” Gilbert had rushed to an urgent care clinic for relief from her throbbing mouth, but doctors there couldn’t do anything, except send her to the dentist to have her tooth pulled. Gilbert is not alone. Last year, Coloradans with dental complaints went to emergency rooms 39,000 times – even though they could have been pain-free if they had simply stayed on top of regular cleaning and maintenance, according to the Colorado Dental Association................ But read this. Fluoride research had its beginnings in 1901, when a young dental school graduate named Frederick McKay left the East Coast to open a dental practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. When he arrived, McKay was astounded to find scores of Colorado Springs natives with grotesque brown stains on their teeth. So severe could these permanent stains be, in fact, sometimes entire teeth were splotched the color of chocolate candy. McKay searched in vain for information on this bizarre disorder. He found no mention of the brown-stained teeth in any of the dental literature of the day. Local residents blamed the problem on any number of strange factors, such as eating too much pork, consuming inferior milk, and drinking calcium-rich water. Thus, McKay took up the gauntlet and initiated research into the disorder himself. His first epidemiological investigations were scuttled by a lack of interest among most area dentists. But McKay persevered and ultimately interested local practitioners in the problem, which was known as Colorado Brown Stain.

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