This Week in Perio
Nov. 14, 2012

Oral cancer patient fights Medicare for coverage
Hank Grass has so far successfully fought his submandibular cancer. But the retired policeman is now facing bankruptcy in his losing battle to get Medicare to cover the oral surgeries, dental treatments, and dentures he needs following radiation treatment. The 77-year-old had his salivary gland removed after doctors found cancer at the base of his tongue three years ago. But the radiation and chemotherapy damaged his teeth and gums so much that he had to have all but three of his bottom teeth extracted. Recently, Grass needed periodontal surgery to treat an infection he developed in his mandible from radiation treatments. (May require free registration to view article.)More

Allergy concerns at the dentist
Dental Health Magazine
If you have allergies, whether they're food-related or otherwise, you're no doubt accustomed to exercising caution at parties, the grocery store, restaurants and other places where you might inadvertently purchase or be served something you're allergic to. But there's someplace else where you should be careful that might not be immediately obvious, and that's your dentist's office.More

For dentist with student debt, repaying is like pulling teeth
Los Angeles Times
His jaw clenched beneath a blue surgeon's mask, Opanin Gyaami jerks his right arm and pulls out a prize: the decayed tooth of patient Larry Butler, also known as state prison inmate J22312. By the time he is done, Gyaami's smock and mask are spotted with the inmate's blood. He gently pats Butler on the shoulder and wishes him well. The 71-year-old dentist reports to the state prison in Vacaville, Calif., day after day, long past retirement age. He wishes he could have hung up his drill and forceps years ago, but he's still paying off a student loan. After borrowing $50,000 in the 1980s and ignoring payment notices, Gyaami owes more than $500,000 with penalties and interest. The Justice Department took him to court and is seizing $3,000 from his paycheck each month.More

University of Buffalo participates in national periodontal study
The University at Buffalo is a part of a major study on periodontal disease. UB distinguished professor of periodontics Dr. Robert Genco is the principal investigator for the Buffalo Clinical Center. WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports on the study, "Biomarkers of Periodontal Disease Progression." Biomarkers are inflammatory markers," Genco said. Genco says periodontal disease is an infection and leads to the loss of the soft tissue. If untreated it can create tooth loss or other health issues. More

Tooth tattoo: Tiny oral sensor may help dentists assess patients' oral and overall health
Tuffs Now
Gold, silk and graphite may not be the first materials that come to mind when you think of cutting-edge technology. Put them together, though, and you have the basic components of a new ultra-thin, flexible oral sensor that can measure bacteria levels in the mouth. The device, attached temporarily to a tooth, could one day help dentists fine-tune treatments for patients with chronic periodontitis, for example, or even provide a window on a patient's overall health. The sensor, dubbed a "tooth tattoo," was developed by the Princeton nanoscientist Michael McAlpine and Tufts bioengineers Fiorenzo Omenetto, David Kaplan and Hu Tao.More

Study shows how chronic inflammation can cause cancer
Medical Xpress
A hormone-like substance produced by the body to promote inflammation can cause an aggressive form of leukemia when present at high levels, according to a new study by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The study shows that high levels of interleukin-15 alone can cause large granular lymphocytic leukemia, a rare and usually fatal form of cancer, in an animal model. The researchers also developed a treatment for the leukemia that showed no discernible side effects in the animal model.More

Implant success depends on patient and surgeon
A new study in the Journal of Oral Implantology has yielded data about which characteristics of both patient and surgeon can affect the success of dental implants. Researchers from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry evaluated the success of 50 patients who received implant-supported fixed complete dentures. Encompassing a total of 297 implants, the retrospective study spanned 10 years, with a mean time of three and a half years from surgery to last follow-up. The study examined failure rates for factors including type of prosthesis, surgeons' experience level, smoking, diabetes, bruxism, and implant location (maxillary or mandibular). (May require free registration to view article.)More

Gum treatments can lower diabetes-related medical costs
Diabetes Health
People with diabetes who receive treatment for gum disease can enjoy substantial reductions in hospitalizations, doctor visits, and annual medical expenses according to a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and dental insurer United Concordia Dental. The study's results were based on three year's worth of data from nearly 1.7 million people who have both dental coverage under United Concordia and medical coverage under its parent company, Highmark.More

Testing for dangerous diseases
You could say the mouth is the window to your health. It can show signs of disease or infection before they're visible anywhere else. So why not take the extra steps to make sure you're staying healthy. It's that reasoning that prompted one Colorado Springs dentist to start using Oral DNA tests that could not only help you keep your teeth longer, but help steer you clear of dangerous diseases. Two in particular, help patients battling things like periodontal disease and bacterial infections.More

Get wise about your wisdom teeth
Colorado Health
Dr. Vidhya Sampath writes, "In the past few months, I have been writing based on the experience of all my past patients and my point of view as a dentist. But I write this article from the point of view of being a patient. Dental pain is very unique and once experienced, is never forgotten. It was when I was in my very early 20s. I was in dental school at that time and on the eve of a major final exam. The pain I experienced in my jaw was so excruciating that I almost fainted a couple of times even before I got to my professor's office. He confirmed my doubts."More

'Going green' has cost and care advantages for dentistry
"Going green" is not only environmentally friendly, it's also economically savvy for dental practices, according to a presentation at the recent ADA Annual Session in San Francisco. Adopting eco-friendly practices can save dentists thousands of dollars a year, in addition to preserving natural resources. Green dentistry reduces waste and pollution; saves energy, water, and money; incorporates high tech; and supports a wellness lifestyle, according to Ronald D. Perry, DMD, a clinical professor at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and a member of the Eco-Dentistry Association. (May require free registration to view article.)More

How to save money on dental care so you won't go broke at the dentist
Business Insider
Dr. Jason Cabler writes, "The Great Len Penzo has asked me, nay, compelled me to write a post for you, his followers, on how to save money at the dentist. Well, he came to the right guy because I may just be the only practicing dentist/personal finance blogger on the planet. Pretty cool, huh? So today I'll share with you some of the best things you can do to save money on dental care so you don't go broke at the dentist. Dental care, like any other kind of healthcare, isn't cheap. So it's great to be able to save some money any way you can when it comes to caring for your teeth."More

Drs. Oz and Roizen: Give your whole body a reason to smile
The Oregonian
It's hard to believe, but antibiotics destroyed Charlize Theron's baby teeth: "I had no teeth until I was 11," she says. Wow. Great smile now. How'd that happen? (Hint: Great dental care and flossing.) For most folks, though, it goes the other way: As you get older you tend to neglect your teeth (one-third to one-half of adults in North America don't make their yearly dental check-up, and only 36 percent of women and 14 percent of men floss even four times a week), which is a big reason why 75 percent of adults have some form of gum disease.More

Dentist finds the formula for a cleansing solution
A Dubuque, Iowa, dentist believes he might have helped unlock a dental care mystery 30 years in the making. Dr. Richard Downs, a dentist at Abbadent Dentistry on Dodge Street, has helped create Oracare, an oral rinse developed this summer and already being used by dental professionals across the country. Downs said Oracare is the first oral rinse to unleash the potent yet safe cleansing power of chlorine dioxide, which has been shown to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, destroy biofilms and neutralize bacterial toxins. "It's one of the most effective microbial killers in the world," Downs said of the gas.More

Oral inflammation: The tipping point of healthcare
Dental Economics
"I'm going to let you in on a secret," says Daniel L Sindelar, president of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health. "We are entering the greatest era of opportunity dentistry has ever seen — the era of health and wellness."More