This Week in Perio
Sep. 19, 2012

Do heredity, genes play a role in gum disease?
Heredity is so important in whether or not you get an illness, that doctors often joke "pick your parents carefully." However, one area in which that has not been true is severe destructive gum disease — at least not until now. Severe gum infections with bone and teeth damage are called periodontitis. Now, a group of dental scientists is trying to find a link between the destructive process and the genes which run in a patient's family. If you had a heart attack, one of the first things doctors ask about is your family history. Now, for people with severe gum disease, doctors are asking the same questions.More

Dentists look toward new trend
Times Record News
A midlevel dental provider might sound like a good idea in Texas at face value, but it's causing some gnawing and gnashing of teeth among some local dentists. Reality is that it's just a subdiscussion at some level at the Texas Dental Association, but it's not even close to gaining any sort of traction in the Lone Star State. It might be years and decades away from coming to fruition, just like the concept of physician's assistants and nurse practitioners were years ago. Even though there may be resistance now, it's not necessarily a question of if, but when.More

More dental options open for uninsured residents
Orlando Sentinel
For much of her adult life, 47-year-old Bernice Bennett has been reluctant to smile. Unable to afford dental care, her front teeth had turned nearly black and many of the others were plagued by cavities. But just before her wedding day last month, the uninsured east Orange County, Fla., resident found a dental savior. A new program based in Bithlo, Fla., is bringing dental care to the community for the first time.More

Leaders in dentistry: Dr. Pamela McClain, AAP president recently spoke with Dr. Pamela McClain, current president of the American Academy of Periodontology and a private practice periodontist in Aurora, Colo., who also serves as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Dentistry. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene from the University of Colorado in 1980, her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Colorado in 1983, and completed her postgraduate work in periodontology at the University of California-San Francisco in 1987. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Almost half of US adults have gum disease
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Gum disease affects nearly half of American adults ages 30 and older, a new study finds. The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research. Periodontitis is an infection of the gums and a major cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the American Dental Association. For the new study, researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative study on more than 3,700 adults ages 30 and older and found that about 47 percent had periodontitis — about 9 percent with mild gum disease, 30 percent with moderate disease and 8.5 percent with severe disease.More

Dental visit ends with boy's death
Just minutes after 10-year-old Marcos Tirado received anesthesia at a Harlingen, Texas, dental office, he was rushed to the hospital. The Lamar Elementary School fifth-grader died two days later. It's a pain no parent wants to endure: the loss of a child who's too young to be gone. It's a hard reality for the Tirado family. He was undergoing a tooth filling at Harlingen Family Dentistry off Dixieland Road. "Every time there was a procedure there was a lot of precautions that had to be done, the time we took him to the dentist, the doctor said it was a simple procedure, but obviously is wasn't." said Marcos Tirado Sr. Marcos had a medical condition called Treacher-Collins syndrome.More

Inmate sues over gum disease
The Associated Press via WNEM-TV
An inmate who blames Michigan prison officials for gum disease is getting his day in court. Jerry Flanory's lawsuit against three people is going to trial in federal court in Marquette. He claims he lost a tooth in 2006 and suffered gum disease because he was denied toothpaste as a punishment for not attending prison classes.More

Universities team up to tackle dental phobia
Researchers from West Virginia University, Indiana University, WVU-Charleston, and the University of Charleston are teaming up to address dental phobia and avoidance. This is a new collaboration for the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which have been awarded $50,000 for the joint partnership pilot project. Funding will support the design of a clinical trial focused on using a combination of psychologically based exposure therapy and a medication, D-cycloserine, that enhances learning to reduce the fear experienced by some patients when visiting the dentist, according to WVU. (May require free registration to view article.)More

5 things to know about dental implants
Money Magazine via CNNMoney
Implants are a good long-term solution to replacing lost teeth, but they're not cheap.More

Brushing your teeth may lower dementia risk (and 8 other reasons to brush)
The Huffington Post
There are benefits to keeping your pearly whites so, well, pearly white that go beyond having a picture-perfect smile. According to a recent study from the University of California, daily brushing is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia later on, Reuters reported. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study included 5,468 people with an average age of 81, who were part of a retirement community in California between 1992 and 2010. Over the 18-year study period, 1,145 eventually developed dementia.More

Speedier and better now
Through the centuries, humans have created replacement teeth from seashells, metals and even donor teeth from other humans. But it was only in 1952 that a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark, discovered that titanium could bond with living bone tissue. The phenomenon, which he named osseointegration, led to the birth of modern implants. Design improvements of the implant surface mean patients need less time now for their implants to fuse to the jawbone. This has improved the success rate for people with poor healing abilities, such as diabetics. The placement of dental implants and their accompanying prostheses are done in two surgical procedures.More

Unlicensed dentist bonds out of jail
Less than 24 hours after he was arrested for running an unlicensed dental office out of his home, a Miami man bonded out of jail. Local 10's Sasha Andrade was at the jail when 81-year-old Humberto Perez left the jail. The Perez family refused to answer reporters' questions as they ushered the elderly man away from the media and into a pickup truck. Perez then covered his face with a blanket and turned away from cameras. According to investigators, Perez had set up a makeshift dental office inside his home and employed his wife and daughter. Perez, Maria Perez, and Odalis Hernandez-Perez were all arrested.More

4 teeth, all decayed: Portland, Ore., dentist praises fluoride vote
NBC News
Pediatric dentist Michael Biermann was at work when Portland, Ore., city council members voted to add fluoride to the city's drinking water. But his thoughts immediately turned to two severe cases he treated recently. One was a 13-month-old girl who had only four teeth — but all four were decayed down to the gum line, Biermann said. The other was a 3-year-old boy who had 21 teeth — one more than normal — all riddled with caries, or cavities. "All 21 teeth were decayed. All 21 needed crowns," recalled Biermann, 65, who devotes about 60 percent of his practice to treating children enrolled in Medicaid, the federal program that provides healthcare for the poor.More