Last updated 20 hours ago
On the 11th of December, 1844, one of the most important experiments in the history of the world was performed in the office of Dr. Horace Wells, a dentist of Hartford, Connecticut. Dr. Wells, as a patient, was trying a discovery of his own upon himself. His friend, Dr. Riggs, was the experimenter. Dr. Wells inhaled a quantity of nitrous oxide gas, went to sleep under its effect, and had a large, sound tooth drawn out without pain.
It was a wonderful, phenomenal operation. Never before in the history of the world had a surgical operation been performed without pain. Untold thousands of times in previous years legs and arms had been cut off, cancers cut out, and terrible operations of other kinds taken place, and in all cases the patient had to lie wide awake, often suffering frightful agony. Various things had been tried to reduce sensation, but as a rule they had done more harm than good, and surgeons were afraid to use them. To perform such an operation now without making the patient unconscious would be thought shameful and barbarous, and it seems strange to us that the first time it was successfully done was only sixty years ago. About the same time two other American scientists produced anesthesia by other means, so that the great discovery seemed to come at once in several fields. We shall tell the story of these other two when we have told that of Dr. Wells.
Horace Wells was born in Hartford, Vermont, January 21, 1815. His parents were well-to-do farmers. He was a handsome, active, intelligent boy, and he was given a good education. His father dying before his school life ended, he completed his education by aid of money earned by teaching in district and writing schools. As he grew up towards manhood he had serious thoughts of studying for the ministry, but chose the profession of dentistry instead, and at the age of nineteen went to Boston to study for it.
Not much can be said for the dentistry of that period. It was a relic of barbarism, with very little of art or skill in its practice. A movement to improve it had but recently begun. The first College of Dental Surgery in this country was founded in Baltimore in 1840, and young Wells did not find any very skillful professors in Boston in 1834. But he was quick and intelligent, made rapid progress in his profession, invented many instruments for himself, and was not long in practice before he was looked upon as one of the most expert of the dentists of Boston.
Among his inventions was a solder to fasten artificial teeth upon the plate, and to manufacture and use this he went into partnership with Dr. William Morton. Dr. Charles T. Jackson, a noted chemist of Boston, gave them a certificate of the purity and value of the solder, which was much superior to the imperfect substance then in use. Drs. Morton and Jackson were the other two discoverers of anesthesia mentioned, and it is worthy of mention that these three benefactors of mankind came thus at one time into close association.
The firm of Wells & Morton did not succeed very well, and they soon separated, Morton staying in Boston, and Wells opening an office in Hartford, Connecticut. While here he gave much time to the thought that there might be some means of taking out teeth without pain. He was a student of chemistry, and from his knowledge of nitrous oxide gas thus learned he decided to try this substance. He studied its effect upon animals, and when satisfied that it would put them to sleep without danger, he decided to make an experiment upon a man—choosing himself as the man. It was this that led to the notable experiment we have described, in which his friend, Dr. Riggs, drew out one of his teeth with scarcely a trace of pain.
The most beneficial of discoveries had been made. He had given to mankind one of the greatest of blessings. As the poet and physician, Oliver Wendell Holmes, stated it, "The deepest furrow in the knotted brow of agony has been smoothed forever." But, like nearly all new discoveries, the world was slow to accept it. The innovation was too great and sudden. Some chemists and doctors wrote and spoke against it, and there were ministers who went so far as to denounce it on the ground that it was an impious meddling with the ways of the Creator, who had sent pain to the earth as a discipline and benefit to mankind. But it was soon in use by the dentists of Hartford, and in no great time made its way to all civilized lands.
Dr. Wells was a handsome and attractive man, thoughtful in face, cheerful and cordial in manner, his face lighting up in conversation in a bright, pleasant fashion. He was by nature sensitive, and did not make many new acquaintances, confining himself chiefly to the society of his special friends. Shortly after his discovery failing health obliged him to go to Europe for rest and recreation. Here he kept up his studies in colleges and hospitals. To pay his expenses abroad he imported and sold pictures, and also lectured on birds, whose habits he had studied lovingly in his early years.
After returning from Europe, he went to New York for the purpose of introducing anesthetics in the hospitals there. Morton and Jackson had made known their discoveries by that time, and he tried them all, finally becoming convinced that chloroform, Dr. Jackson's discovery, was a better anesthetic than his own. He began experimenting with it upon himself, not knowing its dangerous character, and continued these experiments till his mind was ruined by the perilous drug. He had not been a month in New York before, in an attack of insanity due to his unwise use of chloroform, he took his own life. He was just past his thirty-third year, dying January 24, 1848, a little more than three years after the date of his famous discovery.
Last updated 2 days 16 hours ago
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a common and serious problem. Bruxism is usually associated with stress and anxiety. Over 70% of people will deal with bruxism at some point in their lives, and many won’t know until serious symptoms appear.
Watch this video to learn about bruxism and the dangers of letting it go untreated. Bruxism can cause broken teeth, jaw pain, migraines, earaches, and more. The best way to deal with bruxism, in addition to finding a way to cope with stress, is to wear a night guard while you sleep.
If you think you could be suffering from bruxism, Dental Care of Stamford can help. Make an appointment at our dental practice today by calling (203) 803-1815.
Last updated 7 days ago
Do your kids get nervous before heading to the dentist? If so, they’re not alone. Patients of all ages have been known to experience some jitters before a dental appointment. However, it is important to help your kids develop healthy attitudes about seeing the dentist. A positive attitude about dental appointments during childhood will set up your kids for good oral health for life. If your kids are fearful of seeing the dentist, these tips will help:
Start Dental Care Young
The sooner your kids see the dentist, the more comfortable they will be with getting care. When your kids become accustomed to seeing the dentist twice every year and getting regular dental cleanings, it will become normal to them, and going to appointments will be no big deal. It is a good idea to take your child to the dentist by the time his or her first tooth emerges.
Be Careful About the Language You Choose
It’s good to honestly answer your kids’ questions about dental care and what to expect at their appointments, but be mindful of the language you use. Stay away from talking about things like dental drills and other equipment. Kids’ dentists usually use kid-friendly terms to describe their tools and treatments to help kids relax. Follow their lead and keep your language upbeat and your attitude relaxed and positive.
Choose a Kids’ Dentist
Although all dentists may be trained to treat kids, taking your children to a kids’ dentist has many benefits. Kids’ dentists focus exclusively on treating children, and they have the right touch and temperament to help kids feel at ease. It’s natural for kids to fuss at a dental appointment. When you take them to a kids’ dentist, you can rest assured that the dentist and staff will take any crying in stride.
Dental Care Kids at Dental Care of Stamford is the perfect place to help your kids get the care they need in a relaxed, welcoming environment. Trust your entire family’s general and cosmetic dental care to us. Make an appointment by calling (203) 803-1815.
Last updated 2 months ago
If plaque and bacteria are left on the tooth’s enamel or trapped in the areas between teeth, decay can occur. Catching tooth decay early is the key to having it treated with a simple filling instead of more invasive root canal procedures. When decayed teeth are left untreated, pain, gum infections, and tooth loss can occur. This is why it is so important to report any symptoms of tooth decay to your dentist right away.
In many cases, tooth decay is symptomless in its very early stages and is usually diagnosed during the course of a dental exam. Once a cavity starts to form, symptoms begin to appear. A toothache is the most common symptom. Discolored spots on the tooth also indicate decay. Sensitivity to sweets, hot and cold foods, cold air, and pressure are also signs that decay is present. If you experience tooth decay symptoms accompanied by a fever, swollen glands, or a throbbing pain, call your dentist immediately. These symptoms indicate a severe infection or an abscess.
If you suspect a cavity, contact Dental Care of Stamford right away. Our caring team of dentists can diagnose and treat tooth decay to prevent further damage to your oral health. Call (203) 803-1815 for an appointment.
Last updated 2 months ago
Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ disorders, are common complaints that can be diagnosed and treated by experienced dentists. There are a number of different things that can cause TMJ disorders. It’s important for your dentist to determine the root cause of your pain in order to plan your TMJ treatment more effectively. Here are some of the most common causes of TMJ problems:
How you react to stress could explain your TMJ disorder. When you’re stressed, you may clench or grind your teeth, particularly at night when sleeping. These actions can cause soreness in the muscles and joints of your jaw. Eventually, you may experience painful muscles spasm or notice that you have limited range of motion with your jaw. In some patients with stress-related TMJ, only the muscles are affected. In other cases, only the joints are impacted. For other patients, both muscle and joint pain are present.
Arthritis can develop in the joints of your jaw, causing pain and stiffness when you try to open your mouth. Arthritis in the TMJ region is sometimes caused by an injury. Chronic teeth grinding can also cause arthritis to set in. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, may also experience jaw pain related to that condition. In severe cases, rheumatoid arthritis can cause parts of the jaw to fuse together.
There is a small disc located in the region between your jawbone and the bone socket. This disc cushions the bone when it moves, but it may occasionally slip out of place. When this happens, you will usually hear a telltale popping or clicking sound when you open and close your mouth. Range of movement may also be limited.
Let the dentists at Dental Care of Stamford diagnose the cause of your TMJ disorder so treatment can begin. In addition to a range of TMJ treatments, we offer comprehensive pediatric, general, and cosmetic dental care for your entire family. Make an appointment today by calling (203) 803-1815.