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A dental miracle?!
June 9, 2005 3:57 PM   Subscribe

A dental miracle?! The Japanese have invented a synthetic crystaline polymer which not only safely repairs small cavities, but can also be used to strengthen the enamel of healthy teeth. The before and after pictures are impressive. The catch?! Having it applied to your teeth whitens them at the same time.
posted by insomnia_lj (46 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
*mourns the fact that synthetic enamel has come too late for her teeth*
posted by Specklet at 3:58 PM on June 9, 2005


The downside? It shrinks your penis and gives you bad breath. THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH, SUCKAS.
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:59 PM on June 9, 2005


who said the treatment is free Alex?
posted by matteo at 4:02 PM on June 9, 2005


"Fap Whitening"? Uh...no thanks.
posted by puke & cry at 4:05 PM on June 9, 2005 [1 favorite]


why are all the after pictures so much darker than the befores?
posted by shmegegge at 4:14 PM on June 9, 2005


and they have to take all your teeth out of your mouth to do this? no thanks.....
posted by drinkmaildave at 4:16 PM on June 9, 2005


**warning, may cause loss of scalp and penis**
posted by zuzy at 4:26 PM on June 9, 2005


Apparently they don't want any English reading people to know about it because the English page never loads up for me.

This is probably a strange and complex ploy to allow horny Japanese businessmen to peek up women's skirts on the subway.
posted by fenriq at 4:43 PM on June 9, 2005


tooth fetish?
posted by matteo at 5:18 PM on June 9, 2005


I recently flew to Japan and had this done as part of the test group.

What I didn't realize was exactly how small the Japanese can make crystal radio sets these days. *tunes teeth to the local easy-snoozing station and mellows out to the finest in oldie-moldies*
posted by loquacious at 5:33 PM on June 9, 2005


Whatever happened to genetically altered plaque, which would eliminate cavities and put dentists out of business?


Did I answer my own question?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:04 PM on June 9, 2005


"March 1, 2005 — A team of Japanese dentists has invented a paste of synthetic enamel that seamlessly heals small cavities, according to a paper in the latest journal Nature."

from The Discovery Channel for those of you who can't read the first site linked.
posted by digitalis at 6:31 PM on June 9, 2005


Those Japanese; always doing things. Together. As a Team. Interchangeably. Ain't they smart?
posted by Embryo at 6:34 PM on June 9, 2005


Those Japanese; always doing things. Together. As a Team. Interchangeably. Ain't they smart?

As opposed to the Americans, who have invented such marvels as Velveeta, monster trucks and spray-on toupees.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:39 PM on June 9, 2005


"March 1, 2005 -- A team of Japanese dentists has invested a paste of synthetic enamel that seamlessly heals small cavities, according to a paper in the latest journal Nature."

"March 1, 2035 -- After the great oral cancer plague that swept the nation, caused by a synthetic dental enamel created by dentists in 2005, the Japanese economy has been nearly irreversibly damaged and scores of Japanese are dead. The Japanese Prime Minister, under pressure from his tempest-tossed citizens issued an apology tonight on behalf of the Japanese health ministry which approved the substance for use in early 2-07.

American and European Union health authorities have issued statements which expressed their sympathies to the Japanese people and affirmed to the American and European people that their rigorous testing of this substance showed the risk of cancer from the beginning and despite some suggestion that the oral cancers aren't, in fact, caused by the synthetic enamel, it will not be approved for American or European use."
posted by Dreama at 6:42 PM on June 9, 2005


Great! Now I can laugh at those who said I should've been going to the dentist these past 10 years! In your face, suckas!!!
posted by Busithoth at 6:44 PM on June 9, 2005


Apparently they're hydroxyapatite crystals. More detail here. Unfortunately Nature requires a subscription. Hopefully this will come to the US soon.

If you're looking at straight-out prevention, try gum with Xylitol.
posted by digitalis at 6:45 PM on June 9, 2005


The Japanese certainly need it. I've never seen teeth of a general population so brown and twisted as the Japanese.
posted by Jase_B at 6:59 PM on June 9, 2005


Dreama, so the Japanese don't test their substances first? Have we lost the ability to believe that people can develop new techniques that are Simply Better?

Let's post something about Iraq, that'll get us wailing and gnashing. I vote we get this treatment first so our teeth survive.
posted by Maxson at 7:12 PM on June 9, 2005


Teeth are overrated. Just ask Keith Richards.
posted by jonmc at 7:33 PM on June 9, 2005


weapons-grade pandemonium, looks like that new bacteria might be avalible to the public in just a couple years.
posted by Theiform at 7:33 PM on June 9, 2005


Hydroxyapatite is a substance already used in hip replacements, bone grafts, calcium supplements, etc. etc. So, if it were dangerous, we'd probably know something by now.
posted by jeanmari at 7:38 PM on June 9, 2005


Laziness wins again!
posted by tweak at 7:42 PM on June 9, 2005


Maxson: Dreama, so the Japanese don't test their substances first? Have we lost the ability to believe that people can develop new techniques that are Simply Better?
I believe it, certainly. I was just offering a line of thought. In recent years we've been told that many products were safe only to have them recalled a few years later because they were deadly. Heralding anything as a new triumph of medical technology when it involves placing a foreign substance into the body, especially in a fashion which permits a high level of ready absorbance of the substance into the bloodstream, seems premature to me until there has been substantial -- and I mean substantial testing.

However, given jeanmari's links, maybe this is worth some heralding. With enough data, I'd happily use this stuff, my teeth aren't in such hot shape after years of childbearing and nursing coupled with dentistphobia. I'll take a dental miracle, especially if it doesn't hurt (or I can be knocked out while it's applied).
posted by Dreama at 7:49 PM on June 9, 2005


The thing is, hydroxyapatite is actually what the enamel is made of, so it's kind of like coating your teeth with a new layer of...teeth. According to the article, the miracle paste is made of hydrogen peroxide, phosphoric acid (i.e. the stuff in Coke), hydroxyapatite, and sodium fluoride. Nothing that wouldn't already be found in your medicine chest or your mouth. Compared to the transgenic bacteria, this is way better.

/off to make some synthetic tooth-paste
posted by greatgefilte at 7:58 PM on June 9, 2005


Theiform: They must be busy tweaking these gene-altered plaque so you can't get treated by simply kissing someone who's paid for the fix.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:08 PM on June 9, 2005


Jase_B, ever been to the UK?
posted by mexican at 8:10 PM on June 9, 2005


wgp: They must be busy tweaking these gene-altered plaque so you can't get treated by simply kissing someone who's paid for the fix

If I recall correctly, they dealt with that problem by engineering the bacteria so that it couldn't survive for long without the user taking a special supplement rinse. Then again, their original paper says what the supplemental component is, so I don't think see how that would much in controlling unauthorized product sharing.
posted by greatgefilte at 8:35 PM on June 9, 2005


greatgefilte their original paper says what the supplemental component is

... and what's to say that the bacteria won't mutate to be able to synthesize what they've been made deficient in (haven't read the paper, but I assume it's an engineered deficit in synthesizing a certain amino acid [or something] - so what's to keep the wee beasties from 'suffering' from a reverse mutation to be able to synthesize that requirement again)?

Also, wtf is with the hating early upthread?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:24 PM on June 9, 2005


yah, that was sortof strange.
its like these haters think people with bad teeth should be forced to suffer
posted by Iax at 10:10 PM on June 9, 2005


I wonder if this is why my dentist here in Japan always gives me root canals (the dental procedure that keeps on giving . . .).

(OT: I've always wondered why it is that "American scientists have discovered . . ." or "Researchers in India have discovered . . .", but almost always "The Japanese have discovered . . ." A weird convention.)
posted by Absit Invidia at 10:19 PM on June 9, 2005


I've always figured that someday we'll have a pill to trigger new tooth growth and give you a whole new set of shiny white ones in under a year. At least, that's what I tell myself as I finish off a 2L of Coke.

AI: those wacky japanese.
posted by mek at 11:36 PM on June 9, 2005


mexican - nope, but I've heard the rumours (Big Book of British Smile etc). However I've met hundreds of British people whose teeth were fine. My father is English and his are fine.
posted by Jase_B at 12:00 AM on June 10, 2005


...my teeth aren't in such hot shape after years of childbearing and nursing coupled with dentistphobia.

Childbearing and nursing cause tooth decay? Really?
posted by Chasuk at 1:34 AM on June 10, 2005


mexican & Jase_B: AFAIK, the teeth thing, like a lot of US stereotypes of various European countries & cultures, comes from WWII & after when GIs arrived in war-torn countries that had heath & welfare standards that were less than decent. I'd guess that the European stereotype of USians being loud, stupid & culturally insensitive comes from the same time so nobody really did anyone any favours on that score. Halting the rise of Fascism made up for it tho'...
posted by i_cola at 2:20 AM on June 10, 2005


Childbearing and nursing cause tooth decay? Really?
The kid is more important than you are, to the species, and it gets all the calcium it wants, even if it has to strip it out of your teeth and bones.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:10 AM on June 10, 2005


The kid is more important than you are, to the species, and it gets all the calcium it wants, even if it has to strip it out of your teeth and bones.

Kids are scary.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:51 AM on June 10, 2005


I'll take a dental miracle. My family has some British ancestry and I seem to have been given the genetic gift of "Weird British Teeth."

If this stuff can also make my teeth appear straighter, that would be awesome. My teeth are so weird that they were resistant to nearly a decade of orthodontic devices. Retainers, reschmainers, the minute those braces were off, weirdness took over.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:06 AM on June 10, 2005


The kid is more important than you are, to the species, and it gets all the calcium it wants

Sorry, pedantry: the kid is more important to your genes than your long-term dentistry. Or to put it another way, your genes have created a new vessel, and they don't mind sacrificing the long-term welfare of their older vessel to reinforce the new one. Nothing to do with the species.
posted by alasdair at 6:39 AM on June 10, 2005


Yeah, except when genes get screwy, and they make the older vessel cook the new one...
posted by runkelfinker at 7:08 AM on June 10, 2005


Absit Invidia wrote "OT: I've always wondered why it is that 'American scientists have discovered . . .' or 'Researchers in India have discovered . . .', but almost always 'The Japanese have discovered . . .' A weird convention."

Not when you look at American movies. "The asian kid" in every movie is the smart one, the one who builds the crazy contraptions that always work. Think Richard "Data" Wang in Goonies. Therefore, American or Indian discoveries need to be prefaced by the term "scientist", but thanks to Hollywood, to us Americans, "Japanese" = "Scientist". Adding the word would be redundant.

Please take the preceding with a healthy, healthy dose of sarcasm.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:03 AM on June 10, 2005


This is good.
posted by drezdn at 8:24 AM on June 10, 2005


The thing is, hydroxyapatite is actually what the enamel is made of, so it's kind of like coating your teeth with a new layer of...teeth.

Totally sweet.
posted by kenko at 8:33 AM on June 10, 2005


Sign me up.
posted by Toecutter at 6:19 PM on June 10, 2005


From the Discovery article, it sounds like this stuff is good, but not a miracle. The tricky thing about cavities is detecting them early enough that this stuff is useful, so you still need to go to the dentist frequently. After the decay has gotten through the outer enamel, it undercuts by eating away at the softer dentin much more quickly and vigorously.

But if you went to your dentist (who used this stuff) frequently enough, you could avoid the old-style drill-and-fill routine.
posted by surlycat at 2:44 AM on June 11, 2005


The Japanese certainly need it. I've never seen teeth of a general population so brown and twisted as the Japanese.
posted by Jase_B at 6:59 PM PST on June 9

Twisted? Yeah, I suppose a population that worships giant 50-foot schoolgirl-panty-dispensing robots could be described as twisted. But brown?

Jase_B, ever been to the UK?
posted by mexican at 8:10 PM PST on June 9 [!]

Mexican, ever been to Mexico?
posted by kcds at 6:59 PM on June 11, 2005


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