This Week in Perio
Dec. 26, 2012

Study: Dental X-rays linked to common brain tumor
The Huffington Post
From April 11: Dental X-rays may help dentists collect essential information about oral health, but a new study is raising questions about their safety. The new research links regular dental imaging to one of the most common types of brain tumors and suggests adults who were regularly exposed to X-rays in the past, before dosages were lowered, might have an especially pronounced risk. For the new study, scheduled to be published online in the American Cancer Society's journal Cancer, researchers examined data from more than 1,400 patients who had been diagnosed with meningioma: This is a type of tumor that grows in membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and generally is noncancerous, but can lead to headaches, vision and memory problems and loss of speech and motor control. The researchers compared those individuals to more than 1,300 adults who were tumor-free.More

Virginia to pay family $100,000 in VCU sedation death
From Oct. 17: The state of Virginia has agreed to pay the family of a Henrico County boy who died shortly after a dental procedure at VCU $100,000. Six-year-old Jacobi Hill went into cardiac arrest at the VCU School of Dentistry and was rushed to the hospital in May of 2010. His mother has never been able to reconcile what happened. "I want to know what happened to my child. I need answers," said Crystal Lewis. Jacobi Hill had asthma, but no other known health problems when he was taken to VCU's dental clinic for a procedure.More

Setting the record straight
American Dental Association
From July 18: Nearly a month after issuing a news release that fueled widespread confusion and controversy, the American Heart Association distributed a second release to clarify its views on the relationship between periodontal disease and atherosclerotic vascular disease. The AHA's newer release, dated May 15, followed an April 18 statement that appeared to downplay the merits of treating gum disease as one way to combat the threat of heart disease. The new release, like the older one, notes that periodontal disease and heart disease share common risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes. But unlike the original release, the newer press statement acknowledges that "studies have found an association between the two diseases that cannot be explained by the common risk factors."More

Periodontitis and atherosclerotic vascular disease: What we know and why it is important
From Aug. 8: A recent scientific statement by the American Heart Association titled "Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: Does the Evidence Support an Independent Association?" has stimulated a wave of media attention on this important subject. Unfortunately, a misleading press release that has since been corrected and re-issued resulted in dissemination of inaccurate information in the print and electronic media and has generated more confusion about a topic that needed clarity.More

Periodontal referral gone awry
From April 4: Lynne Slim writes, "I met Ted Bleckstein, DDS, MS, online when he congratulated me on my article published in RDH in January 2011. When we began our perio talks on Facebook, I learned that Dr. Bleckstein is a periodontist. When I visited his homepage, I found myself staring curiously at the cover of his 2008 book, 'Diagnosis: Deception, The Darker Side of a Trusted Profession.' As an out-of-the-box writer, I was drawn to the title of his book and ordered a copy from Amazon. Reading it, I discovered that I share many of his concerns about the declining ethics in general dentistry, in particular, the GP's departure from dentistry's traditional role as a trusted service profession with high ethical standards, to a business model that is solely preoccupied with meeting profits."More

What causes gum recession and can it be prevented?
The Boston Globe
From Feb. 8
Q: What causes gum recession and can it be prevented?
A: Gum recession is the gradual loss or retraction of the soft tissue of the gums, eventually exposing the roots of the teeth. Unlike the visible part of your tooth, which is buffered by a hard coating of enamel, the roots are much more vulnerable. One of the first signs of gum recession is teeth that are highly sensitive to cold and heat at the gum line. Gum recession is a common problem, and if left untreated over time it can leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and infection.More

Study shows dental implants may cause preventable nerve damage
King's College London via Medical Xpress
From June 20: Experts from King's College London have warned that cases of permanent nerve damage caused by dental implants could rise further if steps are not taken to address risks and prevent injury. The findings, published in the British Dental Journal, reveal that patient consent and information, pre-operative planning and appropriate post-operative referral were inadequate in this patient group. The team has used these findings to make recommendations for clinicians to improve practice.More

The end of sensitive teeth? Doctors reverse painful receding gums with cow heart implant
Mail Online
From March 7: Doctors have found a permanent solution for people suffering from nerve-jangling tooth sensitivity due to receding gums: a patch made from cow heart tissue. More than half of all adults in the U.K. are thought to be affected by receding gums, also known as gingival recession, which is caused by aging, gum disease, teeth grinding and over-brushing. Over time it exposes more of the tooth root, which is far more sensitive as it doesn't have a protective enamel coating.More

Woman sues dentist for injuries to throat
The Record
From Sept. 12: A West Virginia woman is suing her dentist after she claims she was injured while the defendant was repairing her tooth. On Aug. 10, 2010, Sally Neale visited Dr. David Bell's office to have a front tooth repaired, according to a complaint filed Aug. 8 in Putnam Circuit Court. Neale claims while in a reclining position in the dental chair and during the time Bell was working on her tooth, she felt something slide down her throat and she began to gag and choke. Bell was aware that the drill bit had slid down Neale's throat causing the gagging and choking, but neither Bell nor his assistant offered to give any aid to Neale or to call 911, according to the suit.More

Prevalence of periodontitis
American Dental Association
From Sept. 5: Roughly half of American adults aged 30 or older have some form of periodontal disease, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey data reported. "This is the most accurate picture of periodontal disease in the U.S. adult population we have ever had," said Dr. Pamela McClain, president of the American Academy of Periodontology and a practicing periodontist in Aurora, Colo. "We now have a precise measure of the prevalence of periodontal disease and can better understand the true severity and extent of periodontal disease in our country."More

Study: Dental health linked to dementia risk
From Aug. 22: People who keep their teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing may have a lower risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a U.S. study. Researchers at the University of California who followed nearly 5,500 elderly people over an 18-year-period found that those who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily.More

Hulk Hogan's dentist leaves tack in his mouth
From Jan. 18: Hulk Hogan's mouth is messed up, after a dentist accidentally ripped out 50 stitches from his mouth. Hogan tells TMZ in October he went in for dental surgery to get implants. The doctor performed a sinus graft, placing a donor bone in the mouth to support the implant. Hulk then went to a cosmetic surgeon to begin the implant process. When the doctor removed the mold in Hulk's mouth, it ripped out around 50 stitches from the donor bone procedure.More

Romney's right: Obamacare does not include dental care
The Washington Post
From Nov. 21: In his now infamous remarks on the Obama administration's "gifts" to voters, Mitt Romney offered Democrats some free advice on how they could continue to sweeten the deal for the American electorate. "It's a proven political strategy, which is give a bunch of money to a group and, guess what, they'll vote for you," Romney told donors in audio obtained by ABC News. "What I would do if I were a Democrat running four years from now — I'd say dental care ought to be included in Obamacare." That led more than a few people to ask: Wait, there isn't dental care in the Affordable Care Act already?More

The surprising side effect of grinding your teeth
Live Well Nebraska
From Oct. 31: Dr. Stephanie Vondrak writes, "As a dentist with an emphasis on overall health and preventative care, I do so much more than just treat dental disease and fill cavities. Most of us know that for excellent dental health, you must have clean, decay-free teeth and strong healthy gums. But what about your bite? Where does that come into play? A growing concern in the field of dentistry is the epidemic of teeth clenching and grinding. Teeth grinding, also known as occlusal disease (or Bruxism) is a parafunctional habit that often occurs during sleep. Patients will unknowingly grind their teeth with tremendous force."More

Virginia dentist faces millions in medical malpractice lawsuits
From Nov. 21: After WTKR-TV revealed former employees of Chesapeake, Va., dentist Derrick Broadaway are upset over bounced paychecks, investigator Jessica Larche uncovered millions in medical malpractice lawsuits against him. One former patient claimed he "left a drill inside a tooth while performing a root canal" and did not tell the patient. Another said she has been "disfigured" and is "permanently injured" by dental implants Broadaway installed.More