This Week in Perio
June. 9, 2010

Red Flags Rule for dentists: An update
Dentistry IQ
What a difference a week makes. The lobbying paid off! The dental industry now is exempt from the Red Flags Rule. The sole purpose of the Red Flags Rule is to safeguard our patients against identity theft. But should we rest easy? Teresa Duncan, MS, of Odyssey Management, offers this advice: "Please consider the consequences if you do not place reasonable safeguards within your dental office. Civil suits against your office could emerge if an employee absconds with patient data."More

Glow stick test helps screen for oral cancer
Dentists have a new tool called Vizilite that helps detect oral cancer. It's a painless screening that takes about five minutes in the dental office. Harvey Haufler, 70, of San Antonio is diligent about seeing the dentist. Four years ago, a doctor took a biopsy from the inside of his mouth and Haufler got a diagnosis he never expected: oral cancer. "He sent it off to the lab and called three days later and said that it was malignant," Haufler remembered.More

Growth factors used to grow new teeth
Researchers at Columbia University have claimed another advance in the quest to grow biological teeth that could eventually be used instead of implants. Writing in the Journal of Dental Research, the researchers said they had used growth factors to stimulate cells to grow along a scaffold in the shape of a human molar and also in the shape of a rat incisor. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Documentation, record-keeping in the dental practice
Dentistry IQ
Kevin Henry talks with Jane Weiner, RDH, about the subject during the recent Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries symposium in New Orleans.More

Are dentists treated fairly when complaints are filed?
Dr. Kristin Norlander says her world fell apart when her license was revoked in 2002. Norlander, who now practices in Massachusetts, says she was disciplined after complaints were filed with the Maine Board of Dental Examiners. The board licenses dentists and other dental professionals, comes up with rules, investigates complaints and imposes punishment. Norlander was investigated for psychiatric problems and abandoning a patient. She says the allegations were unfounded.More

ADA offers support for separator goal
American Dental Association
The American Dental Association supports a "very aggressive" amalgam separator goal under a memorandum of understanding with the Environmental Protection Agency, the ADA told Congress on May 26 in invited testimony. The goal would call for a 20 percent gain in voluntary use of separators within 12 months and 25 percent annual increases thereafter.More

US homeless lack dental care
More than 40 percent of homeless US adults cannot get dental care, according to a survey reported in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program analyzed data from the 2003 Health Care for the Homeless User Survey, a nationwide sample representing 436,000 homeless people in the U.S. (May require free registration to view article.)More

New York dentist faces prison for insurance fraud
North County Gazette
A Scarsdale, N.Y., dentist faces up to seven years in prison for fraudulently billing Met Life for thousands of dollars in dental services that were not actually rendered to Met Life insured patients. Joanne Baker, 52, has pleaded to third degree grand larceny and third degree insurance fraud — both felonies. She was arrested following an extensive investigation that uncovered multiple instances of medical insurance fraud.More

Study may shed light on when it's appropriate to remove wisdom teeth
The Washington Post
Bethesda oral surgeon David Ross studied the X-ray of my 17-year-old daughter's mouth. She had 28 fully grown adult teeth, with long roots, looking pretty straight after a few years of orthodontia. In her upper jaw, though, two errant teeth floated above the rest out of alignment, lurking in the shadows.More