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A brief look at the impact of technology on St John’s Wood High Street and in dentistry.
Having just seen this amazing video showing St John’s Wood from 40 years ago and comparing it to the recent Christmas market in the High Street we thought we would write a blog post about other forms of transformation, particularly in dentistry. Here’s that video which inspired us…
The transformation of St John’s Wood high Street has been very similar to the transformation in dentistry over recent years in that it has been the inclusion of technology which seems to have made the largest impact.
Just looking at the video and image above we can see that the high Street in the 40s didn’t have the bright flashing lights of the high Street in 2014. And dentistry is much the same.
Old Wooden Dentures
In years gone by dentures were made very differently to how they are now, often being made from wood and with the teeth carved from solid ivory. The best at this were the Etruscans who used complex loops, loops and springs to keep the teeth in place.
There are stories of teeth being extracted and then sold, modified slightly and converted into new dentures for the wealthy. One of the problems with doing this, apart from some of the more obvious ones, is that teeth when they are extracted, lose all of their vitality and become bone china white… Perhaps that was part of the appeal!
Modern techniques in dentures have revolutionised the way they look and feel, we can now make dentures with soft lining and even ensure that they click into place by using dental implants.
The transformation of dentures has been similar to the transformation of St John’s Wood High Street in that it has been shaped by the use of modern technology.
Replacing Missing Teeth
In the early 1800s it was commonplace to transplant teeth from one person to another, but this practice escalated enormously at the Battle of Waterloo. With so many people being killed soldiers walked from body to body picking up valuables from inside the uniforms of their victims. They often then extracted teeth which led to a surge in the market for second-hand teeth and dentures made from what became known as Waterloo teeth.
Whilst, by all accounts, this practice was quite common we are sure that the incidence of halitosis or bad breath also increased significantly around the same time!
Fortunately for everyone (including the people that used to have to smell the bad breath) modern dental implants are a far better way to replace missing teeth.
This has been another area of enormous transformation since the 1940s. Dental impressions used to be taken (in fact many times still are) using either alginate or rubber-based material. This impression material is placed into a plastic tray and insert it into the patient’s mouth in order to take a mould of their teeth.
Notice the amount that this impression material has extended towards the back of the patient’s mouth, this can often be uncomfortable and cause a gag reflex. Modern technology has allowed us to dispense with these old types of impressions in many cases and switch to digital impressions. These digital impressions take a three-dimensional scan of your teeth which is then sent via computer to a CADCAM device which creates the mould upon which we can work.
You will probably find many of the new shops which have been refurbished in St John’s Wood High Street use similar technology, many companies now design kitchens using computer technology and then have computerised systems which facilitate the manufacturing process. Dentistry works on a rather smaller scale than kitchen units, but we are all using computer-assisted design and computer-assisted manufacturing (CADCAM) nonetheless.
It seems that technology has had an impact on everything from St John’s Wood High Street to dental impressions, what other areas have you seen big changes in technology? And how has this impacted your own life?