This Week in Perio
April 13, 2011

Institute of Medicine issues report on US oral health
Institute of Medicine
Tooth decay is a common chronic disease in the United States and one of the most common diseases worldwide. Evidence shows that decay and other oral health complications may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. While tooth decay is a highly preventable disease, individuals and many health care professionals remain unaware of the risk factors and preventive approaches for many oral diseases, and they do not fully appreciate how oral health affects overall health and well-being. In 2009, the Health Resources Services Administration asked the IOM to assess the current oral health care system and to recommend strategic actions for Department of Health and Human Services agencies to improve oral health and oral health care in America.More

Dental implants can be successful with less root than crown
Dental Tribune International
Dental implants are now a common way to replace a tooth. But a dentist must first determine that an implant restoration can be successful for a particular patient. As an indicator, dentists use the crown-to-root ratio. However, the ideal crown-to-implant ratio for the replacement tooth has yet to be determined. A new study in the current issue of the Journal of Oral Implantology evaluated the health of implants that had been in place more than five years. By examining the crown-to-implant ratios in these cases, the authors found that this factor was not as important to the success of implants as previously thought. Radiographs were used to examine 309 single-tooth short-length implant-supported restorations in 194 patients. All the implants had been surgically placed between February 1997 and December 2005.More

Experts: Some food can help prevent tooth decay
Dentists often tell patients to avoid sugary foods to prevent tooth decay, but U.S. researchers say there also are consumables beneficial to oral health. "The bacteria that contribute to tooth decay, Streptococcus mutans, feed on the sucrose — the sugar — that we eat," Louis Amendola, Western Dental's chief dental director says in a statement. "As they multiply, the bacteria release acids that lead to tooth decay." Experts at Western Dental, a dental HMO and clinical provider of dental services in California, Arizona and Nevada, suggest some food can help maintain a smile's health and beauty.More

Heart disease risk may be predicted by wrist size
Los Angeles Times
Heart disease is the leading killer of adults in the United States, and the path to heart problems begins in childhood. But physicians don't have an accurate way to assess which children, even the overweight ones, will be most at risk for developing heart disease. Now researchers suggest a new method: measuring wrist circumference. Here's the logic and the current way it's used: Many factors in childhood can raise the risk for future heart disease. Obesity is a big one. So is insulin resistance, in which the body has trouble lowering blood sugar. But traditional ways of measuring a child's body fat — checking waist size or calculating body mass index using weight and height — haven't been reliable in assessing heart disease risk. That's because children often carry baby fat that disappears during puberty.More

Gum disease can spread as easily as a cold
Doctors say you could get tooth decay, even gum disease, from something as simple as sharing a spoon to kissing. Yes, planting a wet one also could plant the seeds to a nasty cavity. Cavity-causing bacteria can easily jump from one mouth to another.More

Teaching the team approach in dental education: An interview with Dr. Samuel Low
Dr. Samuel Low was president of the American Academy of Periodontology in 2009-2010. He serves as professor emeritus of periodontology at the University of Florida with a practice in periodontics, advisory faculty member at the Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education, and the American Dental Association's 17th District Trustee.More

Suit: Dental chain hurt children for profit
Times Union
Ten Schenectady, N.Y., families are suing Small Smiles/Access Dentistry, a national dental chain that has been in trouble before. The suit filed in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County alleges dentists at Access Dentistry at 1839 Central Ave. in Colonie performed unnecessary procedures on the children and physically restrained them. The suit charges the company with fraud, malpractice, negligence, battery and breach of fiduciary duty. "The lawsuit alleges that it is not right to hurt children to meet corporate revenue production quotas," said Patrick J. Higgins, a lawyer at Powers & Santola, who represents the families. Among the claims in the lawsuit are the following.More

Massachusetts residents give high marks to dentists, oral health
Massachusetts Dental Society
A study released by the Massachusetts Dental Society reveals that residents of the commonwealth not only place a high level of importance on their oral health, but also believe access to all dental services should be made available to everyone, including those covered under government assistance programs. The survey, conducted between Feb. 1 and 3 by DAPA Research Inc., surveyed 500 Massachusetts residents on a wide range of oral health issues and has a plus-minus error rate of 4.4 percent. An overwhelming 98 percent of those surveyed said they believe oral health is an important part of overall health, compared with 1 percent who said no, and 2 percent who didn't know.More

Nevada latest state to introduce fee-capping bill
Legislation recently introduced in Nevada could prevent insurance companies from capping fees for dental procedures not expressly covered by their policies. Senate Bill 350 puts Nevada in the company of more than a dozen other states that have introduced similar legislation or already have passed it. According to the legislation, "a contract between an insurer or a self-insured governmental entity and a dentist for the provision of dental care to insureds must not include a provision that requires the dentist to charge no more than a fee set by the insurer or self-insured governmental entity for a dental service that is not a covered dental service under the applicable policy or plan." (May require free registration to view article.)More

Report: 75 percent of dentists use online engagement tools
TeleVox Software Inc., a provider of Engagement Communications technology solutions, has released a research report summarizing trends of how dentists currently are using online tools to engage with patients. The results are based on findings from a recent survey of 9,000 dentists and orthodontists throughout the country.More

Senate sends repeal of hated tax provision to Obama
The Senate has voted to repeal a part of the health care reform law that would require businesses to file a 1099 tax form with the government for every purchase they make over $600. The requirement was designed to fight tax fraud and raise money for the health care reform plan Democrats passed last year. But it quickly became unpopular with both parties when businesses complained it would be too burdensome. The Senate voted 87-12 for the repeal. The House already approved the bill, so it will go directly to the president, who has not said definitively if he will sign the legislation.More