Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Bite Of Rock And Roll History

One man’s rotten tooth is another man’s treasure.  That’s the case for one of Beatle John Lennon’s pearly whites -- actually an unhealthy brown molar covered with tartar.  The tooth was sold at auction last November for $31,000 to Canadian Dentist Michael Zuk.  Dr. Zuk is a collector of animal teeth and celebrity memorabilia, and jumped at the chance to purchase this unusual piece of rock and roll dental history.

The tooth’s tale goes back to 1968 when John Lennon, after visiting his dentist, gave the extracted tooth to his housekeeper asking her to dispose of it, “or better still, give it to your daughter as a souvenir.”  Instead, the housekeeper kept the tooth with her over the years, but last fall, at age 90, decided to let the valuable piece of oral history go to auction, even providing an affidavit to confirm its authenticity.

What does one do with an almost 70 year old rotted piece of history?  Dr. Zuk plans to have the tooth mounted for display in his office.  He also plans to loan it out to dentists, dental schools, and anyone else interested in showcasing it.  

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any of our dental team directly at

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Ultimate Holiday Bling: Tooth Tattoos

(Courtesy Times of India) 
Want to be the talk of this year's holiday celebrations? Try a temporary “tooth tattoo.”

Though this unique form of self-expression has been around for more than a decade, tooth tattoos have recently come into fashion in Japan. Japanese girls preparing for a special occasion often have tooth tattoos applied, as well as matching nail art for a total “personal statement.”  And, like many other Japanese fads, trend spotters expect this one to quickly travel west.  

In fact, to celebrate the marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William, a male plumber in England made headlines when he had tiny pictures of the royal couple tattooed temporarily onto his teeth.  

Temporary tooth tattoos are glued on to the teeth with a special water resistant adhesive that fixes to the tooth enamel.  The glue is strong enough to withstand eating and light brushing, yet gentle enough to not damage tooth enamel.  The tattoos only last a few days, and experts caution that they shouldn’t be used too often (teeth should get a “break” between tattoos).

Will the temporary tooth tattoo fad find its way to the North Shore?  That’s doubtful as most patients prefer to stick with clean, white teeth.  But some fads are irresistible.  (Ask to see old photos of me wearing striped bell bottoms back in the 70s!)   

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stem Cells May Come From Your Mouth

These are endothelial cells derived by indirect lineage conversion from human fibroblasts (skin cells). Cell nuclei are in blue; proteins that are hallmarks of endothelial cells are green and red. (Credit: Image: Courtesy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

Researchers in Japan working with dogs have recently been able to regenerate bone between canine parents and their offspring by grafting stem cells extracted from teeth and dental pulp.  This finding means that one day, stem cells used for a variety of medical purposes might possibly be obtained from oral sources.

While much more work needs to be done before dental stem cells can be used to promote new bone growth in humans, the study does highlight the promise of obtaining stem cells from unusual sources, such as teeth. 

It never ceases to amaze me how science is constantly connecting teeth and gums to new medical breakthroughs.  Dentistry is definitely an exciting field!

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, please consider Wilmette Dental, a North Shore tradition in family dentistry for more than 30 years.  .  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online at

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Miracle Mouthwash

(Photo Courtesy of The Earthy Report)

Preventing tooth decay may be as easy as rinsing with a revolutionary new mouthwash developed by a scientist at the UCLA School of Dentistry.   The mouthwash is the product of nearly a decade of research conducted on new antimicrobial technology -- “smart bombs” that eliminate specific harmful bacteria and remain effective for an extended period.  The mouthwash contains a type of antimicrobial peptide that targets Streptococcus mutans bacteria, the principal cause of tooth decay and cavities.

In a recent clinical trial, 12 subjects who rinsed just one time with the experimental mouthwash experienced a nearly complete elimination of the S mutans bacteria over the entire four day testing period.  Based on the success of this limited study, scientists will work with the FDA on more extensive trials.  

If the FDA ultimately approves the mouthwash for general use, it will be the first such tooth decay fighting drug since fluoride was licensed nearly 60 years ago.-- and has the potential of wiping out tooth decay in this lifetime.  Moreover, this groundbreaking antimicrobial technology for teeth may lay the foundation for developing more “smart bomb” drugs to fight other diseases.  

If you are looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, Wilmette Dental is accepting new patients.  Feel free to call our office at 847-251-0085 or request an appointment online

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wilmette Dental featured in Wilmette Life Newspaper!

Wilmette Dental is honored to be featured in the business section of this week's Wilmette Life (Sun-Times Media)!

Family friendly dental practice has been in neighborhood since late ’30s

BY JACKIE PILOSSOPH | Contributor December 4, 2012 9:18AM

WILMETTE — “You know you’re from east Wilmette if Dr. Chinnock was your first dentist.”
That’s what Michelle Giczewski hears around town about the dental practice her grandfather, Gordon Chinnock started in Wilmette in 1937.
The practice is now owned by Dr. Peter Neuhaus, D.D.S. and called Wilmette Dental.
I think my grandfather had such a commitment to the community and his patients, and he treated it like an extended family,” said Giczewski, who is a patient at Wilmette Dental, along with her husband and children. “So when it was time to choose a successor, so much diligent thought and interviewing went into who would take his place. He handpicked who would take over.”
When he retired, Chinnock sold the practice to Dr. Stephen Graham, who hired Neuhaus in 1990. Graham retired in 1993.
“We have generations of patients, some who can be traced back four generations,C said Neuhaus, who graduated from University of Illinois college of Dentistry and who worked in private practice in the city for several years prior to joining Wilmette Dental, “I get such a kick out of seeing Chinnock’s patients, some who still have the dental work he did in their mouths.”
Wilmette Dental offers preventative, routine and cosmetic dental care for adults and children. Services include cleanings, fillings, root canal therapy, crowns, gum treatments, tooth whitening, bonding and veneers.
Along with Neuhaus, the practice has a full-time hygienist, dental assistant and office manager. Neuhaus’s wife, Anne, also works for the practice in marketing, customer service and website management.
“This practice is a North Shore tradition,” said Anne, “We’re a neighborhood, family friendly practice and we truly care about our patients.”
“Dr. Neuhaus is the most reliable, competent doctor I know,” said Frank Jamora, who has been a patient since 1993. “I once broke a tooth in China and I didn’t trust anyone else to fix it, so I waited until I got back to have Dr. Neuhaus fix it.”
“My husband chats with each and every patient at length,” said Anne, “We really get to know all our patients on a personal level and that’s something you don’t see a lot.”
Peter Neuhaus also believes strongly in keeping up with the newest trends in dentistry, such as single tooth anesthesia, where the patient has no numbness of soft tissue, like the lip or tongue. However, when it comes to technology, it’s not all about the wow factor, and that durability and safety are high priorities.
Preventative care is also important to Neuhaus.
“It’s about staying on top of things before they turn into something expensive and painful,” he said, “For instance, having your teeth cleaned and checked every six months really is important.”
Wilmette Dental, located on Linden Avenue has been in the same location since 1980. Chinnock’s original practice was across the street, until a fire in 1979 destroyed the building.
“I love this neighborhood,” said Anne. “It’s gone through some rough times, but it’s getting such a resurgence now. The beauty of this practice is that it’s been here forever.”
“My work is so rewarding and meaningful,” said Neuhaus. “We really enjoy coming to work and helping our patients.”
“I’m not surprised that the practice continues to do so well,” said Giczewski, “There’s longevity of the patients here, but also, this has always been and still is a caring practice that’s active in the community.”

Floss -- A Jailer's Nightmare

Photo By Steven Kayser -- Courtesy of AP
Dental floss may well be considered “public enemy #1” when it comes to jailbreaks.  Last month, a group of New York prisoners sued for access to dental floss -- a demand officials said they had to give serious consideration to because of “security issues.” Their reluctance to fork over the floss is because many a jailbreak attempt has been tied, literally, to dental floss.

In Texas, guards believe a prisoner used floss to cut his way out of his cell, then jump and kill a fellow inmate.  In Maryland, Illinois, West Virginia and Wisconsin, inmates have been caught with large amounts of floss that had been braided into ropes for planned escapes.  One clever Illinois inmate used dental floss to stitch together a life-size dummy that he left in his bed to throw off guards when he escaped.  And, many an inmate has fashioned floss into devices used to hoist contraband from one cell to another.  

One successful floss escape occurred in 1991 at the Hays County Jail in Illinois when three prisoners bought hundreds of yards of floss from the prison store and braided it into a makeshift ladder incorporating used cardboard salt and pepper containers for stirrups.  

“It was ingenious,” said U.S. Attorney Gerald Carruth of the creation. “That dental floss is strong.” (The men were caught.)

No wonder floss is a prison guard’s worst nightmare.

To prove -- or dispel -- the floss-to-escape theory, an episode of the science TV show "Mythbusters" set up an experiment using a floss-equipped robot to test whether floss — combined with toothpaste to make it more abrasive — could really saw through a bar on a jail cell.  The result:  it IS possible, given 300 days at eight hours a day, just the kind of time that an inmate might have.

“Inmates can make a weapon out of a chewing gum wrapper,” says Steven Kayser, whose company sells “Floss Loops,” a floss product advertised as prison safe.  Floss Loops are small rubbery circles, with no hard plastic, that is specifically designed to break before it can be used as a weapon.

Regulations of dental floss in prisons vary around the country.  California allows only Floss Loops.  New York’s state prison permits floss -- but only the unwaxed kind, which they consider less strong than the waxed version.

The bottom line on floss is that it can be your best weapon against tooth decay...and an even better weapon for a jailbreak!