This Week in Perio
April 6, 2011

Anesthesia and its effect on the brain
The Plain Dealer
More than 40 million people have surgery in the United States each year so most people will have at least one general anesthetic during their lifetime, and many will have multiple anesthetics. Patients have many different concerns about anesthesia, and hundreds of these questions have been published in the form of questions and answers on the NetWellness website. Common concerns include: "Will I wake up after the surgery?" and "Will I wake up during the surgery?" It's good to know that, while never risk-free, anesthesia has become safer over the years. Although fatalities or complications still occur as a direct result of anesthesia, anesthesiology often has been held as an example of a medical practice in which there has been a deliberate — and successful — attempt to improve safety.More

Research: Cavities are contagious
The New York Times
Everyone knows you can catch a cold or the flu. But can you catch a cavity? Researchers have found that not only is it possible, but it occurs all the time. While candy and sugar get all the blame, cavities are caused primarily by bacteria that cling to teeth and feast on particles of food from your last meal. One of the byproducts they create is acid, which destroys teeth. Just as a cold virus can be passed from one person to the next, so can these cavity-causing bacteria. One of the most common is Streptococcus mutans. Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to it, and studies have shown that most pick it up from their caregivers — for example, when a mother tastes a child's food to make sure it's not too hot, said Dr. Margaret Mitchell, a cosmetic dentist in Chicago.More

Survey: What questions do patients ask about dental implants?
Dental Practice Marketing and Management Blog
A survey was conducted that polled dentists on what questions dental patients typically ask when considering getting implants. It turns out there's a real difference between the questions dental implant patients do ask — and which questions they should be asking. Dentists responded with the following.More

Vermont dentists oppose proposed provider tax
Vermont legislators are considering extending the state's health care provider tax to include dentists in an effort to address budget deficit issues. But the state dental association warns that it may be passed on to patients and could have a "chilling effect" on recruiting new dentists. Gov. Peter Shumlin has proposed extending the tax — now assessed on the net revenue of hospitals, nursing homes, and managed care companies — to include dentists and insurance companies. The 3 percent tax on dentists' gross receipts of services would bring in about $6 million, which subsequently will add about $9 million from the federal government in additional Medicaid funds, he said. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Researchers mimic body's own healing potential to create personalized therapies for inflammation
Scientists at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Harvard Medical School in Boston have found a way of mimicking the body's natural mechanism of fighting inflammation. During inflammation, cells release very small particles termed "microparticles" that retain features of their parent cell. The scientists discovered that certain microparticles were beneficial to health, and that these microparticles contained anti-inflammatory lipids, which help terminate inflammation and return the body to its normal balance. The discovery, featured online in the current edition of the Journal of Immunology, paves the way for new personalized treatments to target uncontrolled inflammation that need not rely on synthetic biomaterials, therefore reducing potential toxicity.More

San Antonio part of gum disease study
San Antonio Express-News
It's long been known that diabetes can lead to gum disease — one of a long list of possible complications. But can treating gum disease improve blood sugar control? Dentists say there's some evidence to think so. And now San Antonio and three other cities are taking part in a large, federally funded study to find out. A number of small and observational studies over the years have appeared to show that treating gum disease improves blood sugar in diabetes. But it's far from proven, said Dr. Thomas Oates, assistant dental dean for clinical research at the University of Texas Health Science Center.More

Sandy Pardue: Where, oh where have your patients gone?
Patients are falling through the cracks in the majority of practices, unbeknownst to the doctor and team. They are focused on getting new patients, and pay little attention to the gold mine available to them with a few clicks of their computer mouse. New patients are vital to every practice, but what about the forgotten patients? I am referring to the patients who missed their last recall visit or haven't been in for a while. Not only are they a hidden treasure, they are counting on you to take care of their mouths. Most consider you their dentist, even though time has passed. You could be losing up to 50 percent of your patient base each year. What actions have you taken to get them back to your practice and in your chair? What are you doing to retain these folks?More

Medical tourism presents health care alternative
Healthcare Packaging
Health care options continue to expand for patients, be they U.S. citizens outsourcing treatment or foreign patients coming to America.More

Christine Nathe: CDC Oral Health Division
Often when we think of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we think of our government's response to incidents of biological terrorism or outbreaks of infectious disease, such as the recent instances of salmonella enteritidis contracted from chicken eggs, and E. coli illness from consumption of beef and cookie dough. In reality, the CDC's work also addresses chronic disease prevention and health promotion, which includes promoting oral health and preventing oral disease. The Division of Oral Health within the CDC focuses on preventing dental caries and periodontal diseases and reducing oral and pharyngeal cancers, along with providing infection control recommendations to prevent disease transmission in dental settings.More

FDA: Toxic Waste® gum is toxic
The Huffington Post
A type of bubblegum sold under the name Toxic Waste® Short Circuits™ now is being recalled by its distributor because it's, well, toxic. Recent tests performed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that Toxic Waste® Short Circuits™ — which is made in Pakistan — contained unsafe levels of lead. Ironically, Indianapolis-based Circle City Marketing and Distributing promotes its products via the buzz phrase, "Hazardously Sour Candy." The company's website features videos with such titles as "Toxically Wasted" and "Black Cherry Holocaust: A Toxic Waste Adventure." It was announced recently that the FDA-tested gum contained 0.189 parts of lead per million; the FDA's limit is 0.1 parts per million.More