Tooth tattoos. Who knew? They could be the dumbest thing ever. Or the smartest.
The dental website dentistry.com recently highlighted the dumb kind. It seems some dentists are now bonding tiny gold images such as crosses or letters to their patients front teeth as “fashion statements.”
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The ornaments are supposed to be temporary. But critics point out that most folks who pay good money to get them will then proceed to wear them as long as possible, posing a risk to the tooth.
“Dentists who perform this procedure may believe it to be safe,” Cheryl Watson-Lowry, D.D.S., a general dentist who practices on Chicago’s South Side told dentistry.com.
“It is possible that plaque can build up around the tattoo, causing an increasing chance of tooth decay. They seem to be easily removed, so if patients do elect to have them placed on their teeth, I would encourage them not to leave them for a long period of time.”
Now for the smart kind of tooth tattoo.
It’s an innovative tooth-mounted sensing device, fashioned from a sheet of gold foil, an atom-thick layer of graphite known as graphene, and a layer of peptides specially designed to sense bacteria within the mouth.
Researchers hope the device, which must overcome a number of hurdles before it is clinically tested, might someday provide a window into patients’ oral and overall health. Continue reading