Dental health is one of the most significant, if unrecognized, factors in overall health. Poor dental, or oral, health has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, low birth weight and even premature birth.
Contrary to popular belief, teeth are not dead bits of bone. The outer layers of the tooth, the enamel and dentin, protect a living core called the pulp, which is filled with nerve endings. This, in turn, is covered with the cementium, which fits into the jawbone. All this is fed via a blood vessel which originates in the jaw and delivers nourishment to the living layers of the tooth.
Poor dental hygiene, like failing to brush teeth, causes cavities. These cavities, or dental caries, can set up a physiological chain of events that cause dangerous bacteria to leak into the bloodstream, creating or contributing to a number of systemic conditions and illnesses that can persist even when cavities are filled.
Because dental hygiene is so important to overall health, dentist’s offices, physician’s offices, health care clinics, and even individual school rooms, often contain dental anatomical models, which are useful in demonstrating the ABCs of dental health and the consequences of inadequate care.
The simplest models are adult tooth-and-jaw assemblies, three times normal size for easy viewing even from the back of a room. Mounted on a flexible joint that allows for easy opening and closing of the jaws, this display is the most practical model for demonstrating the most effective tooth-brushing and mouth care regiment to children and young adults.
For dental offices, individual models of incisors (cutting teeth), canines (the ‘pointed’ teeth) or molars, with or without caries insets, are useful for showing the structure of individual teeth. The first two models are cut in longitudinal sections and show the interior of the tooth. The molar is a tripartite model, showing both halves and a triple-root system.
A classic, five-part model includes one lower incisor, a lower canine, a lower, single-root pre-molar, a lower dual-root molar with a caries, and a three-part, triple-root upper molar also with a caries. This broad spectrum model, which includes every kind of tooth present in the human jaw, is ideal for education purposes, and each tooth comes mounted on its own stand.
A 15-times life-size molar, visible from any point in a room and mounted on its own stand, separates into six parts to show longitudinal sections of the tooth through the crown, two roots and a removable pulp cavity. Three tooth inserts also show different stages of advancing caries.
For pediatric dental offices, a four-part model, showing how the teeth and jaws develop from infancy to adulthood (with jaw inserts on the smaller models to show the location and formation of adult teeth), is ideal both for educating young children about appropriate dental care and for relieving fears of having teeth drilled and filled. Most young children, and many adults, don’t realize that dental caries can spread from juvenile teeth into formative adult teeth, and this model makes explaining the need for fillings infinitely easier.
A similar but more complex model, showing one half of the lower, immature jaw and teeth in three times normal size, features a removable section of bone to expose tooth roots, dentin, vessels and nerves. Both the canine and molar are removable and longitudinally sectioned.
Finally, for adult education in dental offices and medical education for future dentists, a two-times normal sized lower jaw with 16 removable teeth shows, in two parts, a healthy set of teeth and such diseases as dental plaque, tartar buildup, periodontitis (gum disease), root inflammation, tooth fissures or breaks, and both approximal (between the teeth) and visible surface caries.
With tooth decay on the rise, especially among children, and a lack of adequate dental health recognized as a “silent epidemic”, these instructional tooth models are more important than ever in the battle against poor dental health.
By Engin_Akyurt from Pixabay