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Medgadget: Bite Down on the Gnathograph

Boing Boing points us to an amazing website of past technology, called Modern Mechanix (“Yesterday’s tomorrow, today!”) and a scary dental device (isn’t that redundant) known as the gnathograph:

WITH the aid of the “gnathograph,” an instrument as mouth-filling as its name, a dentist’s patients may now be assured of a perfect fit for artificial teeth. Fitted to the jaws as shown above, the new device registers the arrangement of the teeth and the direction of the “bite,” to guide the dentist in straightening teeth or fitting inlays, crowns, bridges, and plates. Its inventor, Dr. Beverly B. McCollum of Los Angeles, Calif., demonstrates in the picture at the right how the instrument is then mounted for use in tooling a plate to just the right shape to give the most comfortable fit in the mouth.

We’re not tooth experts, but we think dentists today accomplish similar measurements with soft alginate molds. Alginate, of course, is also used in cake frosting. This, dear readers, is progress

Well, actually there is MORE PROGRESS as Flap’s dental readers know. Here is a much more esthetic approach by Kavo:


ARCUSdigma (3D-ultrasonic navigator)

And the folks at Medgadget (Physicians) should know that occlusal functions cannot be obtained with alginate impressions – just models of the teeth.

Unfortunately, alginate impressions do NOT taste like cake frosting……


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2 Responses to “Dentistry Today Watch: Gnathology of Yesterday”
  1. Hello,

    This is a great blog. I’m going to be sure to link yours to mine. Would you mind doing the same for me?

    Thank you very much.

    My site:

    Take care,

  2. Flap says:


    Thanks and your blog has been added to the blog roll.

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