ADAA 24/7 News Brief
May. 5, 2015

What the heck is a virtual dental assistant, and does your office need one?
The dental industry is changing. Consolidations and acquisitions are leading to more group practices, corporate dentistry is on the rise, and PPOs are estimated to be 70 percent to 80 percent of all insurance plans. In addition, patients are now relying on their dental practice to understand their individual insurance plan and patient portion amounts. This leads to pressure on the dental practice to contact a patient's insurance company before the patient even steps a foot through the door. These changes in the insurance landscape are creating more administrative paperwork with less reimbursement. This can take a toll on small dental practices.More

Dental patient names on radiographs and HIPAA violations
QUESTION: Is it a HIPPA violation to have a patient’s entire name printed out on the radiograph? If I print a radiograph it will show only the patient’s first name and first initial of the last name. We have always received radiographs labeled with the date and the patient’s entire first and last name. Can someone explain this to me or help me find the information in the HIPPA compliance manual?More

US updates water fluoridation guideline for the first time in 53 years
The Washington Post
More than 50 years after issuing its previous guideline, the government on Monday recommended that drinking water contain .7 milligrams of fluoride per liter. It was the first change in the recommendation since the previous level — a range of .7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter — was set in 1962.More

What would Dayna do … about the ethics of waiving copayments in the dental practice?
Dental Practice Management
Dental practices may be often asked by their patients to just bill them for whatever insurance charges and to write the rest of the treatment off. It seems like a growing trend, according to Duncan. "It's definitely becoming a problem in our industry. It's definitely a problem where there is a lot of competition and lot of PPO coverage like Southern California, southern Florida, and New York City. In these places, you will hear this question a lot," Teresa Duncan said. More

The myth that patients should know their benefits
Dental Products Report
Most of us wouldn’t know the first question to ask or even what department of the insurance company to call. We look to the surgeon’s administrator to know his or her way around the insurance maze. It's a stretch to expect our patients to know enough to ask about alternate benefits such as amalgam-priced payments for composite fillings or partial denture payments for implant placements. More

High costs of dental care leave many with too little money for basic necessities
Having to pay for dental health care can put a considerable strain on household finances in many countries, according to an international study. The assessed the extent of household "catastrophic dental health expenditure" in 41 low and middle income countries. Expenditure was defined as catastrophic if it was equal to or higher than 40 percent of the household's capacity to pay.More

Study findings challenge current thinking on BPA toxicology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers say that while a large majority of newborns are exposed in their earliest days to bisphenol A (BPA), a much-studied chemical used in plastics and in food and soda can linings, they can chemically alter and rid their bodies of it. The findings, published April 23 in The Journal of Pediatrics, challenge the current thinking on BPA toxicology. TMore

Dental germaphobics: When patients are not 'crazy'
Aerosols are a well-established environmental concern in the dental office. Air in a dental office is contaminated. Research demonstrates that fluid and particulate aerosols hang in the air for protacted periods of time. Aerosols don't just stay in your room or the operatory down the hall. They travel throughout the entire office. Like it or not, you and everyone else is breathing air contaminated by microbes, detergents, solvents, particulates, and metals.More