How a Dental Circus shaped today’s dentistry.

While you’re coordinating your calendar for 2017 and planning your April 27 visit to the The Lucy Hobbs Project 5th Annual Celebration in Philadelphia, clear an extra day or two to enjoy a city of firsts.

One historical stop: the Kornberg School of Dentistry’s Historical Dental Museum Collection at Temple University.

According to the museum site, it’s possible to  “trace the beginnings of dentistry in America through three generations of dentists from Josiah Flagg’s Revolutionary War-era practice to his grandson J. Foster Flagg, who in 1863 was one of the founders and a member of the faculty of the Philadelphia Dental College, the second oldest dental college in the country, which merged with Temple in 1907.”

Alongside the recreation of a nineteenth-century Victorian dental office,  dental equipment displays, and the personal possessions of former dental school students, faculty, and alumni, you’ll find evidence of one dental, ahem, showstopper: Painless Parker and his Dental Circus.

Grisly artifacts of this early 1900s charlatan include a tooth necklace and advertisements he used to generate business. aptly describe Parker (who legally changed his name from Edgar Randolph to “Painless” in 1915):

“Donning a top hat, coattails and a necklace he made out of teeth (supposedly the 357 teeth he pulled in one day), he partnered with William Beebe, a former employee of P.T. Barnum, to create a traveling dental circus in 1913. ”

Read more:

The college’s current dean, Dr. Amid Ismail, told that Parker “was a terrible student and only graduated because he pleaded with his dean to pass him.”

If there’s wisdom to be gained from past foibles, Parker’s practices seem a great place to begin:

1. ETHICS: “Parker’s most indisputable legacy to the field of dentistry is his contribution, through his bad acts, charlatanism and relentless pursuit of profits, to the development of professional ethics in dentistry,” Temple University Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry Dr. Amid Ismail told

2. SCIENCE: “Scientific evidence must remain the foundation of clinical care in any health field. Otherwise we will be victims to modern charlatans,” said Dr. Ismail.

3. MARKETING:  Though his messaging was less than truthful, Parker became the first dentist to openly advertise a dental practice. His success later allowed him to open a chain of clinics.

Read the history of this huckster and his “traveling caravan” at:

Plan your walk through history at the Kornberg School of Dentistry’s Historical Dental Museum Collection at Temple University:

Save the Date for The Lucy Hobbs Project 5th Annual Celebration in Philadelphia:


Where do you stand on whipped cream?

Who doesn’t enjoy a dollop of this whipped wonder on a latte or hot chocolate?

How about an anxiety-free dental appointment?

When prioritizing the importance of nitrous oxide during the current nationwide shortage of this gas, medical and dental clients rise to the top.

A recent report  offers the skinny as to why “some major manufacturers won’t be able to keep up with holiday demand” for aerosol whipped creams:

“A key ingredient in whipped cream is nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas” for its ability to relax people and ease pain when getting teeth pulled. But it also acts as a propellant to get whipped cream out of the can and a preservative to keep it from going rancid.

Just two companies, Air Liquide and Matheson Tri-Gas, produce nitrous oxide for all of the United States and Canada. Together, they operate five nitrous oxide plants, which supply the three packing facilities that can the majority of America’s whipped creams.

At each of these highly consolidated nodes, even a small disruption could impact a large number of products further down the supply chain.”

The not-so-small disruption in this instance: an August 28 explosion at the Air Liquide nitrous oxide facility in Florida that took one life and is currently under federal investigation.

What does this mean for dentists?

According to, “Air Liquide has allocated its remaining supply to medical clients first and back-burnered its clients in food manufacturing. With a limited supply of nitrous oxide, ConAgra (think Reddi-wip) and Dean Foods said they had to slash their whipped cream production.”

How does this hearken back to the Eggo waffle shortage of 2009? Read the full story to learn the parallel:

Meanwhile, fear not for your upcoming dental visit.

As for satisfying your  sweet tooth?  Stock up on  Cool Whip (a non-aerosol whipped cream product).

Better yet, start early on your new year’s resolution to trim the fat, and order that morning beverage sans whip.

On a related topic, wherin lies the fate of your Guinness pour?



How is one dental student helping Arizona moms-to-be?

Erik Klintman is pursuing his DMD  — and working to get lower-income pregnant women in Arizona the dental care they need.

A 31-year-old native of Waco, Texas, Klintman is pursuing both his DMD and Master of Public Health degree at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, an affiliate of A.T. Still University in Mesa.

In a recent interview with Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine, he shared with the Managing Editor Brian Dawson what drew him to this pursuit.

“The MPH [degree] necessitates what’s essentially a yearlong experience in which the student comes up with a topic that addresses a public-health issue. Mine is focused on the lack of dental coverage provided to pregnant women through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid agency.

I’ve been spending a great deal of time researching to illuminate whether dental care for pregnant women may help reduce the incidence of pre-term and low-weight babies. In 2014, 86,848 women (in Arizona) gave birth, and of those, more than 6,000 were low-birthweight. The ultimate goal of my efforts is to see AHCCCS provide coverage to pregnant women.”


Read the full story at:

Candy canes as decorations vs. snacks.

Sugar-free peppermint gum might be a safer bet if you’re longing to savor the holiday flavor, but want to avoid chipped or broken teeth.

Recently, The Daily Meal’s Michael Serrur queried dental professionals across the country (nine, to be exact) as to which holiday foods and beverages they will not partake.

Among the experts, Bill Crutchfield, D.D.S. from OBC in Chantilly, Virginia, who weighed in on candy canes.

“These iconic holiday treats are better left as a Christmas tree decoration. Candy canes and other hard candies are notoriously bad for teeth because they are packed with sugar and can also cause chipped or broken teeth, Dr. Bill Crutchfield warns.”

Want to avoid the holiday “triple threat” among other tooth tormentors? Read the full story at :

How one dental clinic helps fill in the gap.


In three Pennsylvania counties, the Greater Susquehanna Valley Dental Clinic is “the end of the line” for a number of people in need of care, according to Dr. Sylvia Noteware, the clinic’s director, in a recent interview with

According to the story:

“After a similar operation closed in the same building, the 501(c)3 nonprofit clinic opened in 2009 with more than $85,000 from private donors to cover startup costs. The practice is funded through reimbursement rates from the government, grant applications, grants from the Degenstein Foundation and the Susquehanna Area Community Foundation and private donors. …

The clinic accepts patients who have qualifying managed health care for low-income families or the federal Medicare Assistance program, ACCESS. Others may qualify for dental health services at the clinic based on federal poverty standards, household income and uninsured status. Accepted programs include ACCESS, Aetna Better Care, Geisinger Health Plan Family and AmeriHealth.

The services include general dentistry, covered by ACCESS Plus including Preventive/Hygiene and Restorative. Fees include ACCESS Plus co-pays where applicable. Patients pay a flat rate fee of $100.”

The clinic opened in 2009 with six exam rooms, and then  renovated another floor  in January to add four more exam rooms. Two years ago, all records were changed to electronic forms and a panorex, an X-ray that provides a full view of the upper and lower jaws, teeth, temporomandibular joints and sinuses, was installed.

The majority of equipment and furniture has been donated from various sources, including Benco Dental, the dental hygiene program at Luzerne County Community College, retired Dr. Reynold Crane and landlord Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way.

Hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Read more about the clinic and hear from patients and members of the staff :