This Week in Perio
Apr. 4, 2012

Study: Gum disease care lowers costs
Pittsburgh Business Times
People with diabetes who receive treatment for gum disease have lower medical costs, according to a study conducted in collaboration with Highmark Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, United Concordia Dental. "The study showed that periodontal treatment and ongoing maintenance is associated with a significant decrease in the cost of medical care for people with diabetes — in the amount of $1,800 per year," United Concordia Chief Dental Officer Dr. James Bramson said in a prepared statement. "The findings also showed that hospitalizations decreased by 33 percent and physician visits by 13 percent across the entire study population of diabetics when gum disease is treated and managed afterward."More

Excess alcohol affects oral health
Clinical research discovered people are three times more likely to suffer from severe gum disease if they are dependent on alcohol compared to an occasional drinker. A study, presented in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, also discovered when combined with smoking, the chances of developing severe gum disease further increased. Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter, sounded out the research as a further warning shot to those who enjoy alcohol in excess. "The growing body of evidence suggests what we once thought were safe alcohol consumption levels are in fact not so, particularly if it's compounded by smoking," Carter said.More

Study: Bovine pericardium based non-cross linked collagen matrix for successful root coverage
The Wall Street Journal
Scientists have developed a novel technique to repair receding gums that uses a specially treated animal membrane to jump-start the growth of new gum tissue over exposed dental roots, according to a small study published in Head & Face Medicine. Gum recession is common as people age and can lead to decayed and hypersensitive roots. Treatment traditionally involves grafting a flap of skin from the roof of the mouth to the gum around exposed roots.More

Sedation dentistry helps patients overcome anxiety issues
The Reporter
Barb Nelson is a business manager at an office that caters to people with dental anxiety. For a long time, no one knew she was one of the fearful. When Dr. Kent Botsford of Fond du Lac, Wis., began helping Nelson with an issue beyond a routine cleaning, he recalled seeing tears of fear. There are a number of reasons people are fearful of dental procedures, just as there are reasons people have phobias associated with spiders, cobwebs, blood and heights. "My focus is not what [the fear] is, but how to show the patient in a nonjudgmental way that I understand their emotional level of fear," Botsford said. "That, in and of itself, is a fear-reducer."More

Truths, misconceptions about periodontal disease
Florida Today
Let's talk about periodontal disease, the truth and the misconceptions. Here's a misconception. You or your dentist missed something, so as a result, you now have a disease. Could that be true? Only if you believe that people get heart attacks because their doctors miss something or people get cancer because their doctors miss something, or asthma or Alzheimer's, etc. The fact is periodontal disease falls into a class of diseases known as chronic degenerative disease. Chronic means that it's continuing. Degenerative means that it's breaking down something. And that's what's happening. The critical attachment fibers between your teeth and your bone are breaking down.More

Metformin may lower risk for oral cancer development
New findings published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, suggest that metformin may protect against oral cancer. J. Silvio Gutkind, Ph.D., chief of the Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Branch of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues induced premalignant lesions in laboratory mice and studied the effect of metformin on progression of these lesions to oral cancers.More

Genomics to make dentistry more personalized
The next paradigm for dental healthcare will be more personalized, and scientific advances such as genomics will lead the way, according to Dr. Martha Somerman, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, during a presentation at the American Academy for Dental Research annual meeting. As part of the 2012 Distinguished Lecture Series, Somerman discussed several vehicles that dentistry will use to offer diagnoses that are more precise, tailored to the patient, and, consequently, better able to preempt disease. "What's new about 'The right treatment for the right patient?'" Somerman asked. "Some are insulted by that, asking 'How have we not been doing that all along?' But it's the science that is coming along." Some obstacles do remain, however. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Brush up on oral health
The Regina Leader-Post
Taking care of your pearlies does more than ensure a bright and white smile — it helps keep your entire body healthy. Kellie Hildebrandt, registrar and executive director of the Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists' Association, encourages people to brush up on their dental health to prevent some serious illnesses. Increasingly, research shows a direct link between periodontal disease and a variety of conditions including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and lung disease, she said.More

Health tip: Warning signs of gum disease
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Periodontal disease affects the thin crevice between the gums and teeth called the sulcus. This causes the attachment of the tooth and nearby tissue to disintegrate, causing a pocket that becomes deeper as the disease worsens. The American Dental Association says warning signs of gum disease include the following.More

Periodontal referral gone awry
Lynne Slim writes, "I met Ted Bleckstein, DDS, MS, online when he congratulated me on my article published in RDH in January 2011. When we began our perio talks on Facebook, I learned that Dr. Bleckstein is a periodontist. When I visited his homepage, I found myself staring curiously at the cover of his 2008 book, 'Diagnosis: Deception, The Darker Side of a Trusted Profession.' As an out-of-the-box writer, I was drawn to the title of his book and ordered a copy from Amazon. Reading it, I discovered that I share many of his concerns about the declining ethics in general dentistry, in particular, the GP's departure from dentistry's traditional role as a trusted service profession with high ethical standards, to a business model that is solely preoccupied with meeting profits."More

Isolating plaque culprit could spell relief for gum disease
Irish Dentist
The mechanism that oral bacteria use to form communities in the mouth has been identified, leading to hopes that plaque could one day be prevented by medication. Researchers from the University of Bristol hope that stripping some pathogenic mouth bacteria of the "access key" they use to form communities with other strains could help prevent gum disease and tooth loss in the future.More

Weird symptoms that could signal something serious
NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman talks about certain symptoms that are usually not cause for concern, but can sometimes indicate a trip to the doctor is necessary. She explains how to know when to make an appointment.More