Universal Dental Care

In 1973 the Skylab space travels began marking the start of manned space flights into earth orbit and during this time the astronauts relied on different modern dental equipment as they proceeded with their journey. There was a need for a dental component to be incorporated into the in flight medical support system or IMSS of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA especially during the Skylab flights and so their military dentists developed the necessary component. The dental equipment on board the three Skylab flights managed to assist the three man crews who were sent into space for periods lasting from 28 to 56 days at a time. Having adequate dental equipment was crucial as one military dentist said but the capacity of the machines to treat ailments was limited to conditions that could be treated on an outpatient basis. In the case of such equipment it would be pretty difficult to consider the machines as do it yourself kits.

Each of the three man crews involved in space travels for 28 days had a one percent risk for dental problems and ideas on possible treatments resulted from such a statistic. No room is given for any ineffectiveness during work and when there are cases of pulpitis or periodontal abscess the knowledge pertaining to dental risks allowed for early preparations. Dental assistance may be required for more minor reasons like chipped teeth and the probability for these ranks to five percent. Dental assistance during the Skylab project highly depended on the IMSS dental equipment as this article will further discuss utilizing a wide range of tools from syringes and anesthetic to periodontal curettes and Gigli saws. Conditions in outer space proved to be a detrimental factor to the kind of restoration material that will work effectively for NASA but the Air Force den corps were able to formulate the material which met in flight specifications. Handling or mixing the material can be accomplished in zero gravity.

Before anything else the equipment was subjected to a series of tests and then NASA conducted training programs that taught the astronauts how to use the equipment where both testing and training attempts became successful. Dental procedures that involved skills reaching the level needed for tooth removal became the general focus of the conducted training sessions. The astronauts will be equipped with an integrated and illustrated manual for the dental equipment they will bring along and the manual will not only include guides to procedures but will also have illustrations bearing the oral cavities of each crew member based on earlier radiographs.


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