Inside Dentistry
September 2008
Volume 4, Issue 8

In the News...

Sheets Receives Shils Fund Award

Cherilyn Sheets, DDS, founding chairman of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF), was recently recognized by the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Education Fund for her visionary leadership.

Dr. Sheets is the founder and chairman emeritus of the board of The Children’s Dental Center (TCDC) in Inglewood, California, a nonprofit prototype dental center providing care to underserved children, which inspired the establishment of NCOHF.

As a winner of the prestigious Shils Fund Award, Dr. Sheets received a $1,000 award check, which was sent in her honor to NCOHF at her request. “Dr. Sheets is an inspiration to everyone who has the honor of working with her,” said Fern Ingber, NCOHF president and CEO. “In addition to being an educator, clinician, author and lecturer, Dr. Sheets is a tireless advocate for underserved children. Her continued leadership in NCOHF is invaluable as we strive to ensure that every child has a healthy smile.”

Yosemite Lectures

Ed McLaren, DDS, and Raymond Bertolotti, DDS, PhD, are teaming up for a series of presentations at Yosemite National Park from October 31 through November 2. The presentations will be focused on making good choices for metal-free restorations, including when to consider using “no-prep” veneers. The important topic of adhesion to all types of ceramic surfaces will be covered in depth.

For more information, visit www.adhesion.com.

Congressman Mike Simpson Awarded Honorary AGD Membership

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is pleased to announce its bestowment of honorary membership to Congressman Michael Simpson (R-ID) and proudly considers him a member of the organization. On July 30, Congressman Simpson was presented with a plaque in his Washington, DC, office by AGD’s immediate past president, Vincent C. Mayher, DMD, MAGD.

The AGD grants honorary memberships to those individuals who exhibit outstanding service to the dental profession and exemplify a commitment to the profession of dentistry through his or her activity. A person must also support and promote dentistry to the public, or represent the vision, principles, and goals of the AGD and has made exceptional efforts in promoting these ideals.

Congressman Simpson is one of two dentists in Congress (the other is Congressman John Linder (R-GA), and has made incredible strides toward filling the shoes of the late Congressman (Dr.) Charlie Norwood, who had been the champion for organized dentistry and oral healthcare. Having been a general dentist in private practice for more than 20 years and sponsoring legislation advancing the importance of preventative oral healthcare, Congressman Simpson exemplifies the traits and qualities associated with AGD honorary membership.

“The Academy of General Dentistry is thrilled to make Congressman Simpson an Honorary AGD member,” says Dr. Mayher. “We look forward to having him on board with us and for him to be able to use the AGD as a dental resource as well as serve as an advocate for our cause.”

AAP Foundation Awards Chasens Fellowships

The American Academy of Periodontology Foundation (AAPF) has awarded Abram and Sylvia Chasens Teaching and Research Fellowships to Patricia A. Miguez, DDS, MS, a postdoctoral student in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, School of Dentistry, Department of Periodontology, and Panagiota Stathopoulou, DDS, MSc, a postdoctoral student in the University of Louisville, School of Dentistry, graduate periodontics program. The AAPF awards two $15,000 Chasens Fellowships annually to outstanding third-year periodontal residents who intend to pursue an academic career path in a US periodontal training program.

Dr. Miguez received her DDS from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, where she also received her Certificate in Periodontology. In 2003 she was awarded an MS in dentistry and certificate in operative dentistry from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in oral biology and certificate in periodontology. Dr. Stathopoulou received her DDS from the School of Dentistry of the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, Greece. In addition to her enrollment in the graduate periodontics program at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, she is also enrolled in the graduate microbiology/immunology program at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, a 5-year program leading to a PhD.

Community Water Fluoridation Now Reaches Nearly 70% of US Population

Nearly 70% of US residents who get water from community water systems now receive fluoridated water, according to a study by the CDC.

The proportion of the US population receiving fluoridated water, about 184 million people, increased from 62.1% in 1992 to 69.2% in 2006, said the study in the July 10 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.

“Community water fluoridation is an equitable, cost-effective, and cost-saving method of delivering fluoride to most people,” said Dr. William Maas, director of CDC’s Division of Oral Health. “We’ve seen some marked improvements; however, there are still too many states that have not met the national goal. The national goal is that 75% of US residents who are on community water systems be receiving fluoridated water by 2010.”

The report, “Populations Receiving Optimally Fluoridated Public Drinking Water—United States 1992-2006,” provides the most recent information on the status of fluoridated water by state. The report says the percentage of people served by community water systems with optimal levels (which are defined by the state and vary based on such things as the climate) of fluoridated water ranged from 8.4% in Hawaii to 100% in the District of Columbia. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have met or exceeded national objectives, while 25 states need improvements.

During 1998-2006, the CDC developed the Water Fluoridation Reporting System (WFRS), a Web-based method to support management of state fluoridation programs and to collect these data. The state has administrative oversight on water fluoridation and the CDC relies on state dental or drinking water programs to provide fluoridation data, including populations served, fluoridation status, fluoride concentration, and fluoride source for individual community water systems.

New Program to Protect Dentists is Up and Running

Building on the success of Medical Justice® Services, which has effectively fought on behalf of physicians against meritless medical malpractice lawsuits for the past 6 years, a new program, Dental Justice, now does the same for dentists.

“Dental Justice really offers the only proactive countersuit/counterclaim service for dentists,” said Vince Monticciolo, DDS, medical director for Dental Justice and principal of Monticciolo Sedation Dentistry in New Port Richey, Florida. “It is designed to deter proponents of frivolous dental malpractice lawsuits and systematically pursue counterclaims against them. Dental Justice provides dentists with affordable, unified solutions against baseless assaults on their reputations and protects them from the financial and emotional ravages of frivolous lawsuits.”

Dental Justice uses a patented system whereby contracts are formed between patients and dentists. There, patients agree not to file meritless lawsuits – and if a genuine dispute over care does arise, to use only qualified expert witnesses who agree to abide by the rules of ethics of their professional association regarding truthful testimony.

If a frivolous lawsuit is filed, Dental Justice attorneys notify the proponent that its member is protected by Dental Justice and any further action in the meritless case may have serious repercussions. Additionally, Dental Justice assists dentists in responding to any patient who is making unwarranted demands for a refund. Such demands are often accompanied by threats that litigation will follow if the refund is not tendered.  

Dental Justice allocates up to $100,000 to file viable counterclaims against plaintiffs and unscrupulous attorneys, if warranted, and pursues complaints against dishonest expert witnesses in their professional societies and professional licensing boards.

If a dentist is named in a suit, the plaintiff and his lawyer learn quickly that the dentist has real pre-emptive recourse and that he need not wait and merely hope for the best. This means that fewer practitioners are sued in the first place.

Monticciolo said that of particular concern to dentists are disgruntled patients, who may ask that their fees be refunded or additional work done without charge; or who may visit a Web site that rates dentists anonymously and give unwarranted and defamatory criticisms.

Dental Justice has proactive solutions for both unwarranted demands and anonymous blogs on the Internet. “Dental Justice acts as a firewall between dentists and possible litigation,” said Monticciolo. “It provides the security that dentists need to practice the way they were trained.”

The best part is the peace of mind that dentists will see on a modest investment, he said. “Dental Justice delivers dentists worry-free protection for a low annual fee,” said Monticciolo. “How much would it cost in legal fees or loss of work to defend a frivolous lawsuit? How much does it cost a year in patient refunds? How much does it cost to retain an attorney? For the same cost as a crown or a root canal, you can have Dental Justice protection for a full year.”

For more information, please visit www.DentalJustice.com or call 877-336-5878.

Press Conference Discussed Significance of Amalgam Separators

Dental Recycling North America (DRNA) held a press conference in Washington, DC to announce its recent certification to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 11143 for Dental Equipment—Amalgam Separators.

NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit, third-party certification organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently verified that DRNA’s amalgam separator, BU10, is ISO-compliant. The press conference discussed the importance of these certified devices in removing dental amalgam, a major source of mercury in wastewater, from dental wastewater.

In attendance was former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner (1993-2001); former US Congressman Tom Downey; as well as former US Ambassador to Sweden Thomas L. Siebert. Representatives from NSF International and DRNA were also present to answer questions regarding the certification to ISO 11143.

Mercury contained in dental amalgam has received increasing scrutiny from regulators in their efforts to reduce the discharge of mercury and mercury-containing materials into the environment. According to Browner, “Waste water treatment facilities are faced with a serious challenge: how to more effectively deal with amalgam at the source. It is critical that we deal with this challenge because mercury is a neurotoxin that affects the brain and central nervous system, and amalgam contains 50% mercury.”

Dental Planning Software and Computed Tomography Identify Optimal Placement and Positioning of Fixed-Partial Dentures

A new study published in the Journal of Oral Implantology reports that increasing numbers of patients with edentulism undergo successful implant-supported fixed restorations because of the use of technology that helps identify their best placement and position.

Although different types of dentures are available as treatment, the most popular is fixed restoration because most patients want to avoid having removable prostheses and wish to experience the improved esthetics, speech, and comfort associated with permanent dentures.

In this report, a man requesting treatment of his maxillary and mandibular edentulism was examined and found to be a candidate for receiving implant-supported fixed partial dentures, which was one of three options and the one he selected as best able to address his chief complaints of poor appearance and reduced function.

Dental planning software was used to determine the best placement of the implants, and computed tomography was used to identify the best position of the dentures. Computed tomography is highly recommended because of its ability to estimate the available bone, which is necessary to determine the implants’ best position, angulation, and length. The dental planning software then used the scans to fine-tune the treatment plan so that the patient’s needs could best be met.

Because the authors of the study intently listened to the concerns of the patient and took the time to perform such detailed presurgical planning through the application of dental planning software and computed tomography, problems that may have been encountered during the procedure were minimized. Indeed, both the patient and authors were satisfied with the procedure and outcome.

To read the entire study, visit www.allenpress.com.

ADA Launches New, Improved “OralLongevity” Web Site

The OralLongevity™ section of the American Dental Association (ADA) Web site has received a “face-lift.” OralLongevity is a cooperative initiative between the ADA, the ADA Foundation, and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. The OralLongevity initiative was designed to support dental professionals in enhancing and preserving the oral health of older Americans.

Retaining its domain at www.orallongevity.ada.org, the refreshed site features an updated design, enhanced navigation, and new content for the initiative that helps increase awareness about the importance of older Americans maintaining good oral health for a lifetime.

In addition, the Web site offers presentation materials to assist dentists in educating other health professionals, older adult patients, and caregivers about the importance of oral health. These online resources can be used in the dental office or in the community. A reference list of articles on various oral health topics is provided for those seeking more in-depth information. A link to “Find an ADA Member Dentist” also can be found here.

Researchers Uncover Higher Prevalence of Periodontal Disease in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

More than 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, inflammatory disease of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling condition, and can lead to long-term joint damage resulting in persistent pain and loss of function in affected areas. A recent study published in the June issue of the Journal of Periodontology uncovered yet another potential side effect of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers in Berlin, Germany, discovered that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher incidence of periodontal disease compared to healthy controls.

For some patients, adverse rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may affect manual dexterity, which can make one’s daily routine quite difficult. One area that may be affected is oral hygiene, which can ultimately lead to periodontal disease. However, these research findings indicate that poor oral hygiene alone did not account for the association between rheumatoid arthritis  and periodontal disease, suggesting that other factors may play a role as well.

The study examined the oral health of 57 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 52 healthy controls. To determine oral hygiene status, each participant underwent a comprehensive oral examination including an assessment of plaque accumulation and gingival inflammation, both indicators of oral hygiene. Probing pocket depth and clinical attachment loss were also measured. Researchers used questionnaires to gauge the subjects‚ risk factors for periodontal disease.

The study findings indicated that patients with rheumatoid arthritis were nearly 8 times more likely to have periodontal disease compared to the control subjects. These findings accounted for demographic and lifestyle characteristics such as age, gender, education, and tobacco use. Researchers then examined the extent to which poor oral hygiene was connected to the increased occurrence of periodontal disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The results showed that while oral hygiene was markedly a factor, it did not fully explain the association between the two diseases, suggesting that there may be other parameters responsible for the increased prevalence of periodontal disease in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

15th Anniversary of the Academy of Laser Dentistry

For 15 years, the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) has been educating dental practitioners worldwide on the proficient, safe, and effective use of lasers in dentistry.

The ALD is an international organization devoted to laser dentistry and includes clinicians, academicians, and researchers in all laser wavelengths. The ALD is devoted to clinical education, research, and the development of standards and guidelines for the safe and effective use of dental laser technology. It was founded in 1993, with the merging of the International Academy of Laser Dentistry, the North American Academy of Laser Dentistry, and the American Academy of Laser Dentistry.

The ALD remains strong and vibrant as a recognized institution for learning, never losing sight of high standards, working side by side with researchers, dental schools, dental professional organizations, developers, and manufacturers for a single cause: education. Today, the ALD remains the unbiased source for dental laser education providing vast member benefits, along with a multi-level certification program and an innovative annual meeting covering all aspects of dentistry and a large variety of dental lasers.

Beginning in 2008, the ALD will honor its members who have shown extraordinary commitment to the use of lasers in dentistry by awarding the designations of Fellow of the ALD and Master of the ALD. These designations are an acknowledgement of the significant efforts a member has made to achieve a high level of knowledge about the application of lasers in dental science and patient treatment.

To further enhance the ALD’s mission of improving the health and well-being of patients through the proper use of laser technology, the ALD continues to foster dialogue and build community among its members and dental organizations, educational institutions, researchers, industry representatives and others. The ALD actively collaborates with state dental boards, dental organizations, and university dental schools in providing a balanced educational experience for the dental practitioner.

For additional information, call 954-346-3776 or visit www.laserdentistry.org.

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