Friday, April 30, 2010

Dental-related Decor

Dental Ninja reader/dental hygienist Mike Danley has created a comic strip dubbed "Life in the Sulcus". Here's a sneak peek:

Much like this blog, the comics play on the unique knowledge and experiences we in the dental profession share. Head over to for more, as well as some deals on vintage dental related posters.

Here's one that's sure to impress patients:

Ok, maybe not so much, but on the bright side, look how far we've come as a profession!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tyrant Leech King Discovered in Little Girl's Nose

This sounds like a bad sci-fi movie, but three years ago scientists discovered a new animal - a leech with HUGE teeth, in the unlikely location of a 9-year-old Peruvian girl's nose.

I can picture the 1st day of school getting-to-know-you activity now:

"So, tell us something interesting about yourself"

"They discovered a new animal in my nose once"

As far as leeches go, this one was so fierce it was dubbed Tyrannobdella Rex a.k.a. the tyrant king of the leeches. This isn't the only leech with dentition, but the chompers on the tyrant king are 5 times larger than any other leech. The teeth only line one jaw, and the tyrant uses them in a sawing motion to open up a wound and cause bleeding.

How do I know if a tyrant king is living in my nose?
Victims typically report a frontal headache. So, next time you are in Peru and have a headache, just think - maybe there's a king in your nose!

Full story with pictures and other leech fun-facts from

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dentists have phobias too

Dr. Jason Bodnar is afraid of bridges. I know what you're thinking, a dentist? Afraid of bridges? And no, I'm not talking about bridges of the dental variety but rather the traditional "bridges" people drive around on over water. (Although he quite possibly encourages patients to get implants instead of bridges because he doesn't like the word "bridge". He didn't say that, I'm just thinking this might be the case).

Despite this fear, Dr. Bodnar ran 7 miles in just 37 minutes 43 seconds to win first place in the race dubbed the "Seven Mile Bridge Run" - the entire course taking place on a bridge.

How did he do it? "....when I'm running, I stay toward the middle and don't look side to side."

He may be onto something here. Imagine how much faster you would run if, during the race, you were accompanied by your biggest fear but you knew that upon finishing, the source of anxiety would be gone? Don't be surprised if this becomes a popular trend, and you soon see marathon runners being followed by spiders, snakes, and maybe even a dentist or two.

Full story from USA Today.

Friday, April 16, 2010

We Droppin' Finish Lines

I'm sure dental students everywhere can appreciate this little diddy done by dental students at MUSC.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Open wide......wider.....WIDER!!!

This news item made me realize that no matter how difficult it is to get a good look at the teeth of a small child - it could always be worse! Recently the Loyola University Medical Center donated a CT-scanning machine to the Brookfield Zoo. This enabled the zoo's veterinarians to finally do a thorough evaluation of the teeth of an aardvark.

Just to refresh your memory, this is an aardvark:

Apparently tooth decay is an issue with elderly aardvarks. In the wild, they typically live around 10 years, which generally isn't long enough for tooth decay to become a major problem. However, in captivity the animals do much better and can live as long as 30 years, during which time tooth decay is typical. Full story from the Chicago Tribune.

The aardvarks unique dentition is also worth noting. From wikipedia:
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the Tubulidentata is (as the name implies) their teeth. Instead of having a pulp cavity, each tooth has a cluster of thin, upright, parallel tubes of vasodentin (a modified form of dentin), with individual pulp canals, held together by cementum. The teeth have no enamel coating and are worn away and regrow continuously. The aardvark is born with conventional incisors and canines at the front of the jaw, which fall out and are not replaced.
They are the only remaining species on earth to exhibit tubulidentata.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More on Tiger's Teeth

Last December I passed along some gossip from a tabloid which stated that the wife of Tiger Woods performed an extraction on one of his incisors using a cell phone from across the room. This she did in her fury after, you know, finding everything out.

As the master golfer returns to his sport, it seems that at least one fan has noticed a difference in his smile.

Notice the slight darkened appearance of #9. Perhaps there is some truth to the rumor? It's not the best quality picture but one can certainly speculate that the central incisor may have been avulsed and replanted.

Incidentally, if you plan on playing "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10," or any other video game for that matter, perhaps you would be wise to first read about the new research from the University of Iowa showing a correlation between the amount of time spent playing video games and the incidence of tooth decay. Apparently hard-core gamers are more than twice as likely to have tooth decay than people who lead more active lifestyles.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some Ninja-esque Dental Vengeance

An important figure in ninja folklore is Kumawaka - a 13 year old boy who used what would eventually become key aspects of ninjutsu (namely stealth, cleverness, and deception) in avenging the death of his father.

Recently, an oral surgeon in Washington, Dr. Clem Pellet, similarly tracked down his grandfather's killer using the not-so-ninja-like qualities of persistence and hiring a private detective. It turns out that the man escaped parole in 1969 after serving a 15 year prison sentence, completely vanished, and was recently re-discovered operating a wedding chapel in Arizona.

Actually, Dr. Pellet seems even less like a ninja when he was quoted as saying, "I'd like to talk to him. What happens to him is up to the justice system. He's 78-years-old. I just have no animosity towards him at this point."

Either way, the Dental Ninja salutes you, Dr. Pellet, for your excellence in both dentistry AND criminal justice.

Read the full story from the local news.