This Week in Perio
Sept. 7, 2011

Without insurance, 24-year-old man dies from tooth infection
ABC News
A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection because he couldn't afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care. According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis' wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks prior. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure because he was unemployed and had no health insurance. When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn't afford both, so he chose the pain medications. The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell.More

Pregnant? See your dentist right away
Scripps Howard News Service via East Valley Tribune
Infections are around us all our lives. Most seem to be short-lived, miserable bouts of intestinal or respiratory bugs that so often drive us to a doctor. But researchers have been steadily peeling away the impact that germs and viruses can have in producing other medical problems. The human papillomavirus causes almost all cases of cervical cancer. Hepatatis B virus is blamed for more than 60 percent of liver cancers. A chronic bacterial infection causes ulcers, and there's continuing research pointing to inflammation from infection contributing to the formation of plaque that brings about heart disease. Many other connections are suspected between infectious agents and conditions affecting the immune system, from multiple sclerosis and arthritis to diabetes and obesity.More

Bacterial genome sequencing offers latest tool against diseases
The New York Times
In a recent review, Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology at Stanford, wrote that researchers had published 1,554 complete bacterial genome sequences and were working on 4,800 more. They have sequences of 2,675 virus species, and within those species they have sequences for tens of thousands of strains. With rapid genome sequencing, "we are able to look at the master blueprint of a microbe," Relman said in a telephone interview. It is "like being given the operating manual for your car after you have been trying to trouble-shoot a problem with it for some time." Relman also is examining the vast sea of micro-organisms that live peacefully on and in the human body. He finds, for example, that the bacteria in saliva are different from those on teeth and that the bacteria on one tooth are different from those on adjacent teeth. Those mouth bacteria, researchers say, hold clues to tooth decay and gum disease, two of the most common human infections.More

The whole 'tooth' about going to the dentist
Upper St. Clair Patch
Have a fear of going to the dentist? Here is a tip from William Sulkowski, DMD, who operates a dental office in Canonsburg, Pa., to make your visits nearly fearless: See your dentist every six months for a regular checkup, and brush and floss daily. "Dentistry is far ahead of medicine in terms of preventive health," Sulkowski said. "Brushing, flossing and regular dental exams and teeth cleanings are essential preventive measures that help us avoid problems like decalcifications that cause cavities and if not treated in time, can lead to root canals. The mouth has so many nooks and crannies; good oral hygiene is key." Maintaining good dental health, however, goes far beyond just caring for the teeth in your mouth, according to Sulkowski.More

Scientists: Resistance to antibiotics is ancient
Scientists were surprised at how fast bacteria developed resistance to the miracle antibiotic drugs when they were developed less than a century ago. Now scientists at McMaster University have found that resistance has been around for at least 30,000 years. Research findings published Aug. 31 in the science journal Nature show antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon that predates the modern clinical antibiotic use. Principal investigators for the study are Gerry Wright, scientific director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, and Hendrik Poinar, McMaster evolutionary geneticist.More

Expert opinion changing on having wisdom teeth extracted
The New York Times
Each year, despite the risks of any surgical procedure, millions of healthy, asymptomatic wisdom teeth are extracted from young patients in the United States, often as they prepare to leave for college. Many dental plans cover the removal of these teeth, which have partly grown in or are impacted below the gum. But scientific evidence supporting the routine prophylactic extraction of wisdom teeth is surprisingly scant, and in some countries the practice has been abandoned. "Everybody is at risk for appendicitis, but do you take out everyone's appendix?" said Dr. Greg J. Huang, chairman of orthodontics at the University of Washington in Seattle. "I'm not against removing wisdom teeth, but you should do an assessment and have a good clinical reason."More

Dental implants and braces: Important facts
Dental Health Magazine
Each and every dentist likes to create his own treatment plan for the patient. One dentist might be opposing the idea of making dental implants while the patient still has to wear dental braces for let's say three months, while another dentist might consider dental implants and braces appropriate. It is basically up to the dentist and his expertise what kind of treatment plan he will follow. Let's suppose you are in the situation where you need to wear the braces for a few months more, yet your dentist suggests a dental implant should be made in the meantime. Then, it is best if you talk frankly to your dentist and ask him about the advantages/disadvantages of dental implants treatment and why he believes this is the most opportune moment.More

10 tips for prompt patient payment
The Modern Office
Slow — or no — patient payment can be just as detrimental to cash flow as claim denials and insurance payment delays. And the longer a patient account goes unpaid, the more difficult it becomes to collect.More

Angry parent attacks California dentist on Facebook
A California pediatric dentist says he is being unfairly accused of mistreating a patient by an angry parent who created a Facebook page to attack him following the extraction of his young son's tooth. The page, which attracted more than 200 members in its first 48 hours, illustrates the power of social media and its potential to do harm as well as good. Chris Cook of Bakersfield, Calif., created the "I Hate Dr. Dove of Bakersfield" page recently, claiming that pediatric dentist Edward Dove, DDS, extracted his 5-year-old son's tooth on Aug. 22 without anesthesia. Cook also claims his son vomited, screamed, and urinated on himself while being held down by several assistants during the procedure. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Oregon dentist board bars daily-deal coupons
Oregon's board of dentistry said daily-deal coupons, such as those sold by Groupon Inc., may violate rules prohibiting the payment of commissions for referrals, and the state's board of chiropractors has banned their use. Groupon and other companies such as LivingSocial sell coupons that offer discounts on products and services from local businesses, making money by taking some of the revenue generated by the sale. Chiropractors in California, the most populous U.S. state, are likely to discuss the matter, said Robert Puleo, executive officer of the California Board of Chiropractic Examiners.More