Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Health and Wellness: Dental Adornments, Gold Teeth or Gold Dental Restoration

 
Nothing has been more of an eye opener than today’s post under the Health and Wellness theme; teeth jewellery. Intriguing, albeit, a subject I have viewed from a distance for many years. My father tells me that in the 60s/ 70s there was a trend at the time where  people were extracting one of their front teeth so as to leave a gap. He says this was the style back then, thankfully, he never fell for it. I have always been critical of people who adorn their teeth with jewellery and ornaments but nothing could’ve prepared me for the bit of information I received from a representative of the South African Dental Association regarding this subject. If you thought gold teeth were merely decorative then you thought wrong. They could also be gold restorations placed to restore a tooth that has been damaged by trauma or decay.
 
Before I delve deeper into the matter let me introduce Professor Joy Shackleton from Wits University, who fielded all my questions regarding this subject.

 
Hello Professor Shackleton and thank you very much for talking to us!
What is the proper term for gold teeth, grills, slits, etc?
No single term covers all of these. Gold fillings that are used to repair teeth are called inlays. Gold slits refers to gold fillings that are placed for aesthetic reasons (i.e. to improve the appearance or the smile, according to the patient’s wishes), rather than replacing tooth structure that has been destroyed by tooth decay, fracture or trauma in the anterior (front) teeth. There are also flat gold patterns (such as a star) or flat jewels that can be bonded to the outside surface of the tooth (the enamel), which are called tooth jewellery. Grills refer to a tooth decoration which is made to fit over the upper front teeth when the person wants to wear them e.g. for a concert or a photo shoot, but the grill can be removed at any time by the wearer. A grill is a bit like the plastic teeth that you wear at Halloween to make you look like a vampire.
Do they serve any dental health benefit or are they purely decorative?
Unless a gold filling is placed to restore a decayed or fractured tooth, it has no benefits for the patient’s oral health. Many patients still request gold slits for decoration, even though their teeth are healthy.

Some people frown upon them. Are there any that are acceptable in professional circles?
No oral health professional should place a gold slit for decorative purposes alone. The reason is that in order to make the slit retentive (stay in place without moving at all) on the tooth and not have sharp edges that irritate the tongue, healthy tooth enamel and dentine must be cut away to make space for the gold.

Tell us about the history of this practice.
Gold has been used to repair teeth for centuries and is still regarded as an ideal material for posterior (back) teeth (like molars) because of its accurate fit, and perfect properties as a grinding surface for food. When front teeth were first repaired after becoming decayed or broken, gold was the only material that could be used, as it could be cast or moulded into the correct shape. So at that time there was a health benefit, because decay was removed and the tooth structure and bite was restored.
Until about 50 or 60 years ago a rotten front tooth could only be repaired with gold, filling or crowns, which were both very expensive. If a patient could not afford the filling or crown, the tooth would be extracted and placed onto a denture (false teeth) or not replaced, leaving a gap.
In the mid-20th century tooth-coloured fillings were developed which were less expensive and made the filling look like natural tooth substance. These filling materials are now so advanced that they will last a long time, and have different shades and reflectiveness, that simulate the different shade of the person’s natural teeth.
However, in many places in the world gold fillings were a status symbol because they were expensive, displayed one’s wealth, and became “fashionable”. This belief persists in some countries and cultures, including parts of South Africa. Even today, people still ask for gold “slits” to be placed in their false teeth to make them look “natural.”

Do the gold inserts have any value? I heard a story recently of someone who was mugged and his tooth was pulled out.
It depends whether the insert is real gold or fake gold.  Real gold is very expensive and pure, and most dental labs and practices no longer use it because of the expense. Real gold can be removed from an extracted tooth and reused to make other gold things like jewellery. Many “gold” inserts are made of gold-coloured metal, which is non-precious and not worth much. They cannot be melted down and reused in the way that gold can.

 
What are some of the reasons that people offer for wanting them?
The majority of patients want gold slits for their decorative value. Patients, who have had gold fillings in their natural front teeth, may request that the gold is replaced even when dentures are made, so that people can’t see that they now have false teeth.

Are there any medical reasons why a dental health professional would recommend them?
No

What does the process of inserting gold teeth entail?
The tooth enamel and dentine must be drilled away in a special shape to allow space for the gold to be retained (or cemented) in the tooth. The gold has to be at least 1mm thick (if it is real/pure gold) as it is very soft and can be worn through or distort. So quite a lot of healthy tooth is removed and whenever this happens the tooth nerve can be damaged (sometimes temporary sensitivity; other times permanent damage). In contrast white fillings require only the removal of decayed tooth matter and are chemically bonded into the cavity left behind so that minimal healthy tooth is destroyed.
After that the dentist should take a mould of the tooth which is made into a model in the lab, where the gold is shaped to fit the cavity that has been drilled. While this is done the dentist should use a temporary filling to cover the exposed tooth surface and prevent sensitivity and nerve damage.
At the next appointment the dentist will remove the temporary filling, and ensure that the gold fits correctly. If it does, a thin layer of dental cement is used to bond or glue the gold in place. Once that is set the dentist checks that the gold does not interfere with the way the patient bites and that all the edges are smooth.

Can the process be reversed flawlessly? When some people have opted to take them out the tooth is left with a greyish shade. Is that the original tooth that was there or is it false?
The process cannot be reversed because tooth material has been lost. The tooth left behind discolours because there is seepage between the “gold,” the cement and the tooth which allows discolouration of the dentine. Discolouration may come from non-precious metal alloys in the filling, or be as a result of the ageing of the dentine which gets yellower as you get older. Greyish shades may indicate that the tooth nerve has been damaged or become infected.

Is there permanent damage to the teeth?
Yes, if the tooth is prepared and enamel and dentine is removed, the tooth is damaged permanently. If the gold slit is removed, the exposed tooth surfaces need to be covered with some kind of restorative material; otherwise the tooth will be sensitive to cold, hot and sweet things. This is because there are small channels in the dentine that connect to the dental nerve and blood vessels which are in the centre of the tooth. If the dental nerve is exposed, it can become infected and that is when you get a tooth abscess.
The exposed tooth surfaces are also much more likely to become decayed and to contribute to gum disease because plaque bacteria stick to it.
If the gold slit is very tightly wedged in the front tooth or teeth, it becomes impossible for the patient to floss between them and remove the plaque. This may allow further decay to start where there is a margin between the tooth, the “gold” and the cement that retains it.
Tooth jewellery where a flat gold shape is bonded to the tooth causes less damage because enamel and dentine is not removed. However, when the jewellery is replaced or removed there is a chance that the enamel can be damaged.
The use of a grill does not entail cutting away tooth tissue or bonding to the enamel. The dentist takes an Impression of the teeth, which is used to make a model of the teeth. The metal is made to the patient’s request e.g. 6 gold front teeth (or gold-like) in the lab. The dentist will fit the grill to the patient’s teeth, and make sure that it clips on and comes out without causing damage to the teeth. And the person can still brush and floss and keep his or her teeth healthy. (Refer to Dr Smile on Facebook – he was quoted in the Sunday Times last month).

Professor, is there anything else that you would like to add?
A healthy smile is a beautiful smile. Healthy teeth can never be restored, re-grown or replaced and be as good as new.

Professor Shackleton, thank you very much for talking to us.
 
Professor Joy Shackleton is the head of Department of the Wits University School of Paediatric and Restorative Dentistry. This department comprises the disciplines of paedodontics, restorative dentistry, and endodontics.
 
                                   
     
                                                  PG: Man to man, generation to generation.
      

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Health & Wellness: Shaving, Razor Or Clippers?



I have always been intrigued by the ritual of shaving one's beard. Years ago I started with a razor blade shaver and then moved onto electric shavers because of complications I experienced from a wet shave. I've always wondered why and how this happened. So, in my first Health & Wellness post I reached out to Shana Sandri, the founder and CEO of M.E.G - Men's Executive Grooming. M.E.G is not a salon nor a spa, and they certainly don't believe in complicated treatment menus with hundreds of treatment options. They provide a customised treatment plan for gents who have time constraints giving them a practical approach to their grooming needs.

If you're wondering about the differences between shaving with a razor and electric clippers, well, Shana breaks it down.

What are the differences between shaving with a razor blade and electric clippers?
Electric razors tend to shave hair away faster than manual razors. Because they roll up the skin, forcing hairs up before cutting them, men don’t need to go over the same area as many times. Shaving with an electric razor could reduce nicks, cuts and ingrown hairs. Electric shavers are usually done on dry skin and one does face the risk of the batteries dying in the middle of a shave. You are also unable to use an electric shaver in the shower.
Razor blades/ manual razors, on the other hand, provide the closest shave for a longer period of time than other razors. Manual razors are often the first shaving gear a man relies on since they are so easy to use. The blades and equipment are easily replaced. Although their cost can add up over time, manual razors are usually the cheapest and most cost-effective option available to men. Manual razors are also easy to travel with and to clean. 

How do you prepare the beard for shaving with both methods?
Preparation is everything! If you prepare your beard correctly, almost 90% of common shaving complaints are eliminated. Always moisturise the skin the night before because moisturised/hydrated skin allows for a more comfortable shave.
Always shave post shower because the heat from your shower softens the beard.
In order to power cleanse in the shower, mix your cleanser and scrub together, so as to clean and remove unwanted dead skin cells and lift the beard hairs. If you have unusually thick beard growth, use a pre-shave guard (I love DERMALOGICA’s one!) and a shave cream. For lighter beard growth use a shaving gel.

Which direction do you use with either method?
Always follow the grain of the hair and if you choose to go against the grain, be sure with the wet method to reapply your shave cream.

What happens immediately after shaving is complete and the hair is removed?
It’s really important to remove any shave cream/gel residue as these have not been designed to stay on the skin. They can cause breakouts. Then I always suggest that you soothe, hydrate and then protect your skin. Apply a post shave balm to soothe (It should be fragrance free because this can irritate the skin). You can hydrate and protect with a good moisturiser and sun protection.

In the past I used razor blades to shave and that resulted with ingrown hairs. Ever since I started using electric clippers I have never experienced ingrown hairs. What was the cause?
An electric shaver is not as “aggressive” on the skin as a razor/wet shave is. Remember that one is mechanically aggravating and removing hair and dead skin cells with each stroke of a razor blade. An electric razor doesn't cut the hair as close to the skin as a wet shave does. This means that there is a small amount of hair that is still exposed and it doesn't need to push through the skin as it would with a wet shave. Ingrown hairs happen when the hair cannot push through the skin and turn back down into the follicle. A well moisturised and exfoliated skin prevents this from happening. So, it is more likely that, had we worked on your skin and shave prepped you, we would of eliminated the possibility of ingrown hairs.

Is there a difference in the way that a Caucasian man’s beard responds to both methods of shaving compared to an African man?
Yes, African men have a curlier hair shaft that often tends to grow back on itself and causes beard bumps and folliculitis. It’s critically important that your skin is healthy and well prepped for shaving to prevent this. Caucasian men have a straighter hair follicle that pushes through the skin more easily.

My beard grows back very quickly, is there a way to slow down hair growth after shaving?
Your beard regrowth is there as you are using an electric shaver. I know that if we perfected the wet shave it would buy you some more time.  There are no miracles in a bottle to stunt growth that I have ever found.

Is the severe itch once the beard starts growing back, particularly after a clean shave, inevitable or can it be prevented?
That itch is most definitely preventable.  The two most critical factors here are, you need to remove all dead skin cells that prevent the hair from breaking through the skin with a good scrub/exfoliant. Secondly, the skin must be well moisturised and supple to allow for this.

How important is aftershave? What purpose does it serve?
I am not a fan of ‘old school’ aftershaves that create a burn, especially if they have alcohol or fragrance. The burn it creates is a problem and stressor to the skin. I prefer using a fragrance and alcohol free soothing gel designed specifically to calm and hydrate the shaved area.

Any products you can recommend for the perfect shaving experience?
I have never worked with a better range than the Dermalogica Shave Line. #incredible!

From a woman’s perspective, what’s a beard style no-no?
I love a clean shaven man, as I hate the tickle of a beard against my skin. However, an absolute no-no would be a very thick beard or musty.  And lamb chops are from another era.

Shana, thank you very much for talking to us. I really appreciate you taking time to engage and educate us.
Ah, it’s my pleasure! I love to educate; so what a wonderful opportunity! Thank you!!!

If gents out there want to get in touch with you or pay a visit to your grooming centre where and how can they get a hold of you?
We are in Umhlanga, Durban.
Go to website www.m-e-g.co.za
Call 0318210018
Email: info@m-e-g.co.za
Twitter : @MEGSkinBody
Address: 5 Park Lane, Mayfair on the Lake, Ground Level, Shop 4, Parkside, Umhlanga Rocks.

A little bit about Shana: She is a highly motivated, passionate and experienced visionary and business owner to a successful specialist men's grooming centre, a first-of-its-kind in KZN and South Africa. She is passionate about life, the Skin Care industry and creating balance.

Qualifications and Specialisations:
Shana is a qualified Heath and Skin Care Therapist ( SAAHSP and CIDESCO – 2001). She has four years experience as a Regional Manager, Post Graduate Trainer and business consultant for The International Dermal Institute of South Africa (DERMALOGICA) that focused on driving sales, developing new business and Post Graduate training. She specializes in Sports Massage, Reflexology and Aromatherapy and is also a contributor to ‘The Lounge’ magazine and is East Coast Radio’s online Skin Expert and ‘Men's Health’ magazine’s Grooming Expert.

PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Health And Wellness Week


Welcome to the inaugural Perfect Gentleman Health & Wellness week. This theme has been under consideration for two years, ever since the first series of posts under the Quality Week theme back in 2011. I have a number of questions that pertain to men's health and wellness; questions which I feel a number of gents may be asking as well. These posts are essentially subjective because I am asking questions based on my own experiences, however, these are issues that gents can definitely relate to.

I decided to tackle three issues that have been intriguing to me for many years: the differences between shaving with a razor blade and electric clippers, gold teeth and similar ornaments that people insert into their teeth and, foot care and the myriad ailments that plague men's feet. The greatest lesson I have come to learn when exploring these subjects has been to refrain from being judgmental, especially the post dealing with gold teeth.

So, in my quest to get answers to my inquiries and questions, I reached out to professionals in the men's grooming, dental restoration and podiatry fields, to get them to educate us on the above mentioned issues. I tried my utmost best to broaden my line of questioning so that 'all' gents are accommodated, although, I believe that we can all glean something from the rudimentary information. It's been an invaluable learning experience for me because the answers can be applied to my life and imparted to some of my peers, associates, family and friends. My sincere hope is that gents out there can learn something from these interviews and also apply the knowledge in their lives. 


PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Brands: Vince Camuto Autumn/ Winter 2014

Brown Sugar Cotton/ Nylon Vest
 
This is a brand I have had my eye on for a while and I must say that in the context of seasons and how they differ between northern and southern hemisphere, the Vince Camuto collections are always timely for the South African seasonal market. These are a few pieces from their Autumn/ Winter 2014 range, and these are casual pieces which would bolster any autumn wardrobe needing a change. Vince Camuto is also credited with being a co-founder of the women's wear store Nine West. Therefore, I think that South African women can vouch for the quality of Vince Camuto clothing because Nine West is held in such high regard in South Africa. These are light layering pieces, very versatile and en vogue with current trends and fashion. They're also available in other colours, so one is spoiled for choice. These are just a few of my favourite pieces from quite an extensive range which caters to a variety of gents.

Navy Reversible Mock Neck Jacket
 

The Sportwear Coordinates Vest and Trousers 

Pomegranate Long Sleeve Chambray Henley
 

Flint Grey Merino Wool Colour Block Hoodie

Charcoal Sweater Blazer with Elbow Patch detail

Black Turtle Neck Sweater
 
L-R Dark Denim Modern Fit Pant, Otter Slim Fit Cargo Pocket Pant, Navy Slim Fit Chino, Dark Earth Slim Barre Pant, Grey Sportwear Coordinates Pants 
 
 
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Style: Autumn Colours For Casual Pants

Levi's 511 Maroon
 
Levi's 501 Green Ivy
 
Levi's Kangaroo Brown Commuter Jeans
 
Levi's Autumnal Orange Cargo Pants
 
 
 
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.
 
 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pick Of The Week: Jordan Drew Loafer

 
Still on the Runway Sale, the black Jordan tassel loafer in suede is a keeper. Within a voluminous shoe rotation it can last you a long time and its sale price, of R199 down from R390, allows you to source more than just the ones in black. It is also definitely more suited for casual outfits due to its soft construction. It's a black shoe, therefore, it can work during the day or at night, and treat it as a shoe to ease your way into autumn as the suede material guides you to start wearing 'heavier' textures.
 
 
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Style: Worsted Wools And Shades Of Blue

 
Yesterday we got a taste of some real autumn weather, with an overcast sky and light showers just after midday. And really, with a slight nip in the air the change from cotton to light woollen textures has manifested. I opted for a navy blue jacket made from a wool/ silk blend and the trousers are charcoal worsted wool I've had for 12 years. The trousers have undergone various alterations, including a case where the hem was glued, so as much as I would like to have some cuffs/ turn-ups inserted it won't be possible.
 
 
I also had fun playing around with shades of blue. The necktie is predominantly powder blue, the pocket square has a light blue trim and my socks were navy blue with powder blue pin dots. These are not autumn colours because our nature's palette doesn't change at all, however, the fabrics were a warm buffer against the cool weather.
 
p.s. please excuse the BONAesque setting, that twig hanging in front of me wasn't there when I took the pic.
 
 
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.