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Dentists are constantly innovating procedures and techniques to help make your visit more comfortable. Sometimes, these innovations take a step outside of the dental chair and lead to inventions that are used everyday. Here are some of those inventions, ranging from what you’d expect a dentist to invent to the more… bizarre…

Levi Spear ParmlyInventor of Dental Floss

It’s no wonder a dentist is credited with inventing dental floss. Although, people have been picking at their teeth since the beginning of mankind, it wasn’t until 1819, that New Orleans dentist Levi Spear Parmly published a book called A Practical Guide to the Management of the Teeth. In the book, he recommended that people floss with waxed silk thread “to dislodge that irritating matter which no brush can remove, and which is the real source of disease.”

Dr. William MorrisonInventor of Cotton Candy

Some people might cry “FOUL” when they learn dentist William Morrison created Cotton Candy. Yes, the air spun, sugary treat, that has been found guilty of many a cavity, was developed by a dentist. To add insult to injury, Dr. Morrison first called his sweet treat, “Fairy Floss.” Was this to make people use sugar as they would dental floss or did he get the recipe from some real hyper fairies? No one will ever know. At least the sugary confection has lead to millions of smiles throughout amusement parks around the world… and probably a few more dental appointments.

Dr. Bob SmithInventor of the Modern Snow Goggles

Dentist Bob Smith was an avid skier and was tired of his goggles constantly fogging up. So he did what any normal dentist would do: innovate the first double-pane goggle with a sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam, to dramatically reduced foggy goggles on the slopes. Once he got a patent for the open-cell foam used for venting, he produced the goggles by hand with his wife and friends using dental tools and employed dental students to glue the pieces together.

Dr. Alfred P. SouthwickInventor of the Electric Chair

This invention is definitely on the bizarre side. Dentist Alfred Southwick saw a drunken man accidentally shock himself to death in 1881. This inspired him to invent the electric chair, which he figured would be a better alternative to hanging because it would be quick and painless (insert “going to the dentist” pun).

Is your dentist an inventor? You should ask. If you don’t have a dentist to ask, use DentistUSA to find one! Your smile will be happy and you’ll probably get an interesting conversation.

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