Here are our top three things to be thankful for when it comes to dental health:
- Sedation: Can you imagine trying to calm a child preparing for tooth extraction in the days before sedation? Not until Massachusetts dentist, William Morton used anesthesia in 1846, was sedation used for tooth extraction, so before that, it was largely a grin-and-bear it procedure. By the time Lincoln was president, sedation methods were on the rise, but in the case of the Pilgrims, they would not have been as fortunate – nor, as comfortable.
- Modern Orthodontics: Orthodontics as we know it today has been influenced tremendously by technology clearly not available in the time of Lincoln. While the French had been experimenting with straightening teeth in the 1700’s, the results and efforts to achieve the desired result would be a far cry from the approaches used today. No doubt teenagers around the world are thankful for this cosmetic advance!
- Safer Pain Management: In the 1800’s the pain blocker of choice was one still used today — Morphine. Back then, however, it was used in its “whole” form; what was known as Laudanum. Mixed with alcohol and administered via glass or dropper, this most potent formulation required enhanced supervision to protect against accidental overdose, and patients ran a high risk of addiction. Certainly a worry for any adult, let alone any parent.
With the country still amidst the turmoil of the civil war, Lincoln believed recognizing Thanksgiving as a national holiday could be a way to officially – and universally – give thanks, despite the separation of the country. This month, let us give thanks officially, as we do each day throughout the year, for those for whom we hold dear.