This Week in Perio
Jan. 12, 2011

US wants to reduce fluoride in drinking water
The recommended level of fluoride in U.S. drinking water supplies should be lowered to prevent dental problems, according to a joint announcement Jan. 7 by officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency. The HHS is recommending that water supplies contain 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, replacing the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. That recommendation won't go into effect immediately. It will be published in the Federal Register, followed by a period of comment from the public and others for 30 days. In other action today, the EPA said it will review the maximum amount of fluoride that will be allowed in drinking water, looking at the most recent research.More

Doctors: Gum disease to blame for baby's death
Staci Woo designs and markets her own fashion line. She is also busy taking care of her son, Duke, and preparing for another baby on the way. But it's what happened to her first child, Stella, that changed the fabric of her family forever. "I woke up feeling the baby kick and then mid-morning, I said to my husband, 'I don't feel the baby moving that much,'" Woo said. Just days before her due date, Woo's baby girl was stillborn. An autopsy revealed a bacteria found in Woo's mouth was the same strain discovered in her baby's stomach and lungs. "The big mystery to me was how did it get into the placenta and how did it affect the baby?" Woo said. Doctors believe the bacteria spread through Woo's bloodstream to the placenta, ultimately infecting the baby. It's the first documented case of gum disease linked to the death of a full-term baby, but experts said many miscarriages and preterm births are believed to be caused by gum disease in the mother.More

Tooth loss linked with dementia
Elderly people who lose their teeth may be at increased risk for dementia, new research reveals. The new study included more than 4,000 Japanese participants, 65 and older, who underwent a dental examination and a psychiatric assessment. Compared with participants who still had many of their natural teeth, those with fewer or no teeth were much more likely to have experienced some memory loss or have early-stage Alzheimer's disease. The findings were published online last month in Behavioral and Brain Functions. Participants with symptoms of memory loss tended to report that they had visited the dentist rarely, if at all.More

Georgia dental board wants hygienists to be supervised
The Georgia Board of Dentistry is proposing a rule change that would require indirect supervision of hygienists who provide basic preventive dental services in schools, community health centers and prisons. But the state hygienists' association and the Federal Trade Commission oppose the change, saying it would limit access to care, especially for children in rural and low-income communities. Currently, hygienists are permitted to work at dental facilities regulated by the state and county agencies without direct supervision of a dentist. The proposed rule change would institute indirect supervision, meaning that a dentist need not be present but would have to give either written or oral instructions for patient treatment, according to an e-mail by Dr. Clyde Andrews, chair of the Georgia Board of Dentistry's Rules Committee, to (May require free registration to view article.)More

Tooth implant issues: Something goes wrong during dental implant procedure
Dental Health Magazine
A tooth implant consists of placing a fake tooth in for a tooth that has been damaged and removed. The tooth implant looks the same or better than the original tooth and works just as well. Unlike a bridge or dentures, a tooth implant is considered to be a longer lasting and more functional by most dentists. The advantages of a tooth implant are the usefulness, permanence and their highly artistic value. However, a tooth implant should be performed only by an expert dentist. These expert dentists will make sure that your dental tooth implant is beautiful and highly useful. As far as the dental procedure, it is conducted in consecutive phases, during which the implant is prepared with titanium and is positioned in a hole in the jowl that is pre-drilled.More

New health care reform provisions go into effect
U.S. News & World Report
Repealing the health care reform law is at the top of congressional Republicans' to-do list this year. But as long as President Barack Obama is in office, he will do anything he can to keep his administration's marquee achievement on the books. So, as the law lives on, provisions keep rolling out. With the start of the new year, the Department of Health and Human Services implemented about a dozen more reforms from the Affordable Care Act. Experts say that the 2011 provisions, like some already put in place, could prove popular with consumers — seniors especially — making the path to repeal a bit steeper politically for the GOP.More

Brushing to fight flu
Luke Tjaden is an all-star patient, even when under the weather. "I brush my teeth about what i do normally even when I'm sick." Mason City, Iowa, dentist, Jon Hardinger says that's tough for some to do. "You're miserable and your nose is running and you can't breathe and can't see. Who cares about your teeth? But try to keep up the mouth rinsing and brushing and flossing." Especially since a new study show these habits may keep you from getting sick.More

Kevin Henry: Your practice needs an office manager
Patterson Today
As the managing editor for Dental Economics, one of the things I see from dental offices around the country is that practices constantly are trying to figure out how to differentiate themselves from the practice down the street. Is it a new sign out front? Is it a bigger TV and more beverage choices in the reception area? Is it the newest technological advance in dentistry that can be incorporated into the practice? Everyone always is looking for a hook to reach patients, whether they are new patients, ones who haven't been in the practice for some time, or those who are consistent, valued customers. One thing that often is overlooked in a dental practice that can make a huge difference in the patient's mind is simple and genuine interaction between the team and the individual sitting in the chair. Sounds simple, right?More

Trends in implant dentistry
Dental Economics
Implants are poised for explosive growth in the coming decade. A perfect storm is about to hit in terms of demographics, consumer awareness, and a host of other factors that bode well for restorative and surgical practices. According to conservative assessment profiles — e.g., iData Research, an international market research firm — the U.S. market for dental implants is expected to regain double-digit growth by 2013. The potential market for implant treatment is huge. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons found that 69 percent of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal, or tooth decay. In addition, by age 74, 26 percent of adults will have lost all of their permanent teeth.More

Paperless dental practice: As digitization of practices becomes more widespread, many options make 'going paperless' attainable
The days of putting in orders to OfficeMax for thousands of manila folders are coming to an end. Dental practices have inched toward going completely digital for years by adopting technology like intraoral cameras, digital radiography and CBCT. Many offices now use computerized practice management software for scheduling and treatment planning, which can be viewed on computer monitors stationed in each operatory. As digitization of practices becomes more widespread, more and more options are presented making "going paperless" attainable for every dental practice. As you watch the stacks grow at the front desk, the many sources from which an office accumulates paper are made evident.More