This Week in Perio
June. 23, 2010

Periodontal disease and impaired cognition
Progressive inflammation of tissues in the central nervous system, resulting in degeneration of nerve cells, is thought to play a role in the development of dementia. Epidemiologic studies suggest that persons with high levels of systemic inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein and pro-inflammatory cytokines, are at higher risk of dementia than those with lower levels. In addition, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may lower the risk of dementia.More

Health insurance, check. But what about dental?
An estimated 45 million Americans do not have dental insurance, according to a government report released this month, and recently passed health care reform offers little direct help. Overall most non-elderly people who already have private health coverage also have a dental policy, but roughly 70 percent of those who have to buy their own health plan do not, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.More

The changing reality of implant dentistry
Dental Economics
Advances in dental implant technology and increased public awareness have created greater possibilities for general dentists to expand their practices by placing dental implants. Today, many general dentists are realizing that dental implants are an integral part of conventional dentistry and can be offered successfully with a minimum investment of time and money. In this challenging economic environment, as patients encounter financial hardships that limit their discretionary spending, more GPs are realizing the importance of broadening the range of services they are able to offer to the diminishing number of patients with discretionary income.More

Study finds gaps in oral care of visually impaired patients
Only 24 percent of visually impaired people being treated at an eye hospital in the U.K. indicated in response to a dental-needs survey that they were registered with a dentist. And more than half said that not enough dental care information is available for those with visual impairment. Researchers interviewed 100 randomly selected patients who were visiting the low vision aid clinic at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Effexor causes massive jawbone loss in periodontal disease
Gaia Health
The Journal of Negative Results came into being recently to report on trials that didn't have the intended results. This month, the journal has published a report of a study that demonstrated "intense bone loss" in rats with periodontal disease given venlavaxine, the generic term for Effexor. Periodontal disease was instigated in the study's rats. They were given Effexor shortly before surgical treatment and for 10 days after. The amount of bone loss at the site of periodontal induction averaged 1.61 millimeters without Effexor and 4.47 millimeters with Effexor.More

The mechanisms of perio disease development
Dental Economics
Unraveling the mechanisms involved in the development of periodontal disease has occurred during a relatively short period of time. Research continues to add pieces to the puzzle almost daily. For more than two decades starting in the early 1960s, prevailing wisdom held that all the bacteria in the mouth contribute to the development and progression of periodontal disease and that bacterial acids sever the gingival attachment. Home-care recommendations and treatments were developed with this consensus in mind.More

It's time to revisit gingivitis
As dental providers, we know that gingivitis is the reversible precursor to periodontal disease. If it is not controlled, it can progress to full-blown perio disease. It is most commonly caused by inadequate biofilm control, with the remedy being improved home care. The standard of care for gingivitis does not include professional intervention other than a prophy. These facts are so widely accepted that they amount to dental dogma, but are they accurate? Have we, as a profession, been addressing our gingivitis patients properly? Perhaps it is time to revisit our assumptions.More

Forget Botox. Floss your teeth: Gum disease makes you look 'long in the tooth'
If you're like most of us, your dental hygienist scolds you every six months for not flossing. You hear the warnings that sticky plaque tucked between your teeth can lead to gum disease and health problems, but still you have trouble squeezing it into your daily routine. But here's some news that may inspire you to remember: Flossing your teeth, experts say, may do more to fight the effects of aging — at least over the long term — than plastic surgery.More

Dental industry takes aim at gray-market practices
In these tough economic times, everyone's looking for a good deal. While dentists may be tempted by ads in dental magazines and on the Internet offering products at discounts of 10 to 50 percent, they should be aware that the old maxim very likely applies: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. (May require free registration to view article.)More