“Bid For Smiles” Online Auction Held to Benefit Nonprofit Dental Clinics Serving Children in Need

Posted on April 21, 2020

America’s ToothFairy held its annual fundraiser to support oral health care for kids in need. Nearly $30,000 was raised during Bid For Smiles, an online auction featuring dental equipment and supplies. Since 2014 the auction has raised more than $630,000 to support safety-net dental clinics and community programs providing preventive services and restorative treatment to children in underserved communities.

Proceeds raised will help members of the America’s ToothFairy Dental Resource Program, which provides an array of support to more than 75 nonprofit dental clinics serving more than 500,000 children nationwide. In addition to financial grants, resources available to member clinics include dental products and equipment, educational materials, and opportunities for community engagement.

“We are especially grateful for the support of our sponsors during this challenging time,” said Jill Malmgren, Executive Director of America’s ToothFairy. “The effects of COVID-19 are far reaching and it appears no one will be spared the widespread consequences of this virus–especially nonprofit organizations like ours that depend on the generosity of others in order to provide help to those who need it most. Even though times are tough, we intend to continue supporting the essential work of the safety-net dental clinics that rely on us to meet the needs of their communities.” The auction ended March 27th, however monetary donations to support the Dental Resource Program are still being accepted at AmericasToothFairy.org.

Bid For Smiles sponsors and major item donors included Henry Schein, GC America, Darby Dental Supply, and MidMark Corporation.

Additional online auctions are being considered for this fall to supplement income lost due to event cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about sponsoring future events, contact Jess McDonald at jmcdonald@ncohf.org.

About America’s ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation

As a resource provider, America’s ToothFairy increases access to oral health care by supporting nonprofit clinics and community partners delivering education, prevention and treatment services for underserved children. Since its inception in 2006, America’s ToothFairy has distributed more than $21 million in donated products, educational materials and financial grants to improve oral health outcomes for children and youth in need. For more information, visit AmericasToothFairy.org.


Under Pressure: New Bioinspired Material Can ‘Shapeshift’ to External Forces

Posted on April 20, 2020

Newswise: Under Pressure: New Bioinspired Material Can ‘Shapeshift’ to External ForcesNewswise — Inspired by how human bone and colorful coral reefs adjust mineral deposits in response to their surrounding environments, Johns Hopkins researchers have created a self-adapting material that can change its stiffness in response to the applied force. This advancement can someday open the doors for materials that can self-reinforce to prepare for increased force or stop further damage.

A report of the findings was published today in Advanced Materials.

“Imagine a bone implant or a bridge that can self-reinforce where a high force is applied without inspection and maintenance. It will allow safer implants and bridges with minimal complication, cost and downtime,” says Sung Hoon Kang, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute, and Institute for NanoBioTechnology at The Johns Hopkins University and the study’s senior author.

While other researchers have attempted to create similar synthetic materials before, doing so has been challenging because such materials are difficult and expensive to create, or require active maintenance when they are created and are limited in how much stress they can bear. Having materials with adaptable properties, like those of wood and bone, can provide safer structures, save money and resources, and reduce harmful environmental impact.

Natural materials can self-regulate by using resources in the surrounding environment; for example, bones use cell signals to control the addition or removal of minerals taken from blood around them. Inspired by these natural materials, Kang and colleagues sought to create a materials system that could add minerals in response to applied stress.

The team started off by using materials that can convert mechanical forces into electrical charges as scaffolds, or support structures, that can create charges proportional to external force placed on it. The team’s hope was that these charges could serve as signals for the materials to start mineralization from mineral ions in the environment.

Kang and colleagues immersed polymer films of these materials in a simulated body fluid mimicking ionic concentrations of human blood plasma. After the materials incubated in the simulated body fluid, minerals started forming on the surfaces. The team also discovered that they could control the types of minerals formed by controlling the fluid’s ion composition.

The team then set up a beam anchored on one end to gradually increase stress from one end of the materials to the other and found that regions with more stress had more mineral buildup; the mineral height was proportional to the square root of stress applied.

Their methods, the researchers say, are simple, low-cost and don’t require extra energy.

“Our findings can pave the way for a new class of self-regenerating materials that can self-reinforce damaged areas,” says Kang. Kang hopes that these materials can someday be used as scaffolds to accelerate treatment of bone-related disease or fracture, smart resins for dental treatments or other similar applications.

Additionally, these findings contribute to scientists’ understanding of dynamic materials and how mineralization works, which could shed light on ideal environments needed for bone regeneration.

As Some States Consider Reopening, ADA Offers PPE Guidance to Dentists

Posted on April 20, 2020

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommended on March 16 that dentists restrict their practices to all but urgent and emergency care. This recommendation was later extended until April 30 at the earliest. The intent of the recommendation was to observe social distancing, help mitigate the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, conserve essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical frontline colleagues, and avoid the need for patients requiring emergency dental treatment to go to overburdened hospital emergency departments.

As of mid-April, conditions regarding virus transmission vary greatly across the U.S. Some state and local governments are now considering reopening certain businesses considered “essential,” including dental practices, as they phase their communities back into normal operations. The federal government has now released criteria for states to use in making decisions related to elective health care availability and sheltering in place mandates.

The ADA recognizes that local or state government decisions regarding closures, including restrictions regarding elective health care, supersede ADA recommendations. In addition, local and state health departments, state dental societies and, in some cases, large urban local dental societies may better understand local disease transmission rates and conditions and make more informed recommendations regarding elective dental care availability.

In states that are considering reopening, the ADA believes dentists should exercise professional judgment and carefully consider the availability of appropriate PPE to minimize risk of virus transmission. The ADA is communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), other federal agencies, and relevant organizations to advocate that dentists, as essential healthcare workers, are prioritized for PPE.

As of April 16, FDA approved tests for COVID-19 are not available to dentists in the U.S. Therefore, dentists should be aware that asymptomatic healthy appearing patients cannot be assumed to be COVID-19 free.

To aid dentists who may be reopening their practices when state mandates are lifted, the ADA has developed interim guidance on the PPE recommended in order to practice during this pandemic and minimize the risk of virus transmission. Additional guidance documents will be issued regarding protocols for office and treatment procedures.

The longer dental practices remain closed to preventive care and treatment for early forms of dental disease, the more likely that patients’ untreated disease will progress, increasing the complexity and cost for treatment down the road.

The safety of patients, dentists and dental team members has been and always will be ADA’s utmost concern.

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org

Upcoming Educational Opportunities for Dental Laboratory Technicians

Posted on April 17, 2020

As the dental community rallies together during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more virtual education opportunities are arising, from virtual events to webinars to continuing education libraries. Check back for the latest as this list is updated!

Online Events

May 22, 12 PM - Whip Mix Digital Dentistry Training Series: 3D Printing Tips and Tricks for Surgical Guides

May 26, 12 PM - Whip Mix Digital Dentistry Training Series: Traditonal RPD Design

May 26, 1 PM - Carbon Webinar: Digital Dental Clinical Steps

May 26, 1 PM EDT - Argen Webinar: 2-Hour 3Shape Abutment Design Training

May 27, 12 PM - Whip Mix Digital Dentistry Training Series: RPD Flexible Design

On-Demand Resources

Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology Learning Library - all courses free through May 31

3D Systems MentorLearn Cloud Platform - free for 3 months during the pandemic

3Shape Online Learning Hub - check for upcoming virtual classes (free through April 30) and webinars

Glidewell Special Webinar Series - free daily 1-hour CE courses via online webinar

Keystone Learning Center "In the Know" Series - free video series of hands-on product demonstrations

SafeLink Consulting - 50% off online courses on safety and quality compliance, extended through the end of May

Amann Girrbach Virtual Exhibition

ROE Dental Laboratory joins the fight against COVID-19 in the production of essential medical supplies

Posted on April 17, 2020

ROE Dental Laboratory has refocused its significant 3D manufacturing capability and employee expertise to the production of essential medical supplies:

• Nasopharyngeal (NP) COVID-19 Testing Swabs – necessary for COVID-19 sample collection

• Facial personal protective equipment (PPE) – essential for personal protection for those on the front line in this viral pandemic

NP Testing Swabs

In a partnership with Formlabs, USF Health, Tampa General Hospital, and Norwell Health, ROE Laboratories, an FDA-registered facility, has been granted a production license for 3D printed NP test swabs. NP swabs are flexible sticks with a bristled end that are inserted into the nostril to the back of the nasal cavity and swept around to collect material that sticks to or wicks up the bristles. The current product capacity is over 21,000 test swabs per day. The swabs are being printed from biocompatible, autoclavable, and FDA cleared surgical guide resin, a material ROE is very familiar with in their typical day-to-day operations. For additional information visit – www.roedentallab.com/NPswabs

Facial PPE

ROE has created two options: 3D printed headgear with a replaceable face shield and disposable headgear/face shield option. ROE has the capacity to provide over 1,000 shields per day. Since the decision to changeover production capability to providing PPE, ROE has fabricated and shipped over 10,000 headgear/face shields around the U.S. For videos and more information visit – www.roedentallab.com/PPE 

“All of us at ROE Dental Laboratory are about delivering precisely crafted products in a short time frame. When we learned there was a need for NP Testing Swabs and PPE equipment in the fight against COVID-19, we realized that not only did we have the technology and skill to fabricate these but it fit perfectly into our core competencies as an organization.“ stated BJ Kowalski, President of ROE Dental Laboratory. He continued, “We have re-organized our resources to allow the production of over 150,000 testing swabs and almost 10,000 face shields per week. We want to help the cause and get everyone safely back to work.”

Armed with over 40 3D printers from Formlabs, Carbon, Stratasys, and Kulzer, ROE is ready to do their part in the ongoing battle with COVID-19 and to help return its outstanding technical team back to work! Contact BJ Kowalski or Chris Moore for additional information – 800 228 6663.

About ROE Dental Laboratory

ROE Dental Laboratory is a full-service modern laboratory who has partnered with the dental community since 1926. We integrate innovative technology and manufacturing processes with the most up-to-date dental science to develop dental products that exceed the expectations of dentists nationwide. With a dedicated service team, we aim to provide our customers a level of personal attention they do not experience elsewhere. ROE Dental Laboratory has three locations with its headquarters located in Independence, Ohio. Learn more about ROE Dental Laboratory at www.roedentallab.com


Pacific Dental Services® CEO, Stephen E. Thorne, IV, Joins Acclaimed Clinicians in New Webinar, “Rising Above a Financial Downturn”

Posted on April 17, 2020

Founder & CEO of leading dental support organization (DSO) Pacific Dental Services (PDS®), Stephen E. Thorne, IV, BA, MHA, was joined by notable clinicians for a sought-after new webinar, “Rising Above a Financial Downturn.” During the event, Mr. Thorne discusses the impact the global healthcare crisis is having on the dental industry, alongside two clinicians supported by Pacific Dental Services: Owner Dentists Jaime Toop, DDS and Robert Seymour, DMD. In addition, attendees were treated to a surprise visit by Mr. Thorne’s father, Dr. Stephen Thorne, III, a celebrated clinician who has been practicing dentistry for 45 years. During the 53-minute webinar, which was attended by dental students and residents throughout the country, the thought leaders discussed how the dental industry responded to previous economic declines following 9/11 and the recession that was triggered by the 2008 stock market crash - and how they’re navigating the Coronavirus pandemic now. To watch the full webinar, click HERE.

The leaders also provided their insights about the dental profession in the coming decade, where they see dentists fitting into the greater scope of the healthcare system, and the new grassroots movement, #DentalER. This new campaign urges dentists throughout the United States to get involved in their communities by providing emergency and essential dental care for patients, to preserve capacity at hospital emergency rooms. For more information about the #DentalER movement, click HERE.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the healthcare and dental industries, many DSOs including PDS have had to quickly develop strategies that best position their organizations, while also being thoughtful about the future. In fact, it was recently announced that Pacific Dental Services launched the new TeleDentistry platform. Available for anyone with a smart phone, tablet or a computer, TeleDentistry provides patients the opportunity to be screened by a clinician from the comfort of their homes. For patients needing in-office care, same-day appointments will be scheduled for them.

For more information on the “Rising Above a Financial Downturn” webinar, click HERE.

About Pacific Dental Services®

Founded in 1994, Pacific Dental Services (PDS) is one of the country’s leading dental support organizations, providing supported autonomy that enables dentists to concentrate on clinical excellence and the highest levels of cost-effective comprehensive patient care. PDS originated the Private Practice+® model to enable dentists to focus on their passion: serving patients. PDS also pioneered the concept of Modern Dentistry so that dentists are equipped to combine advances in the latest technology with the best operational practices and procedures, highly skilled support staff and a commitment to ongoing training and education. PDS continues to grow, with more than 800 supported dental offices across the United States and plans to expand into several new markets. PDS has been on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America 14 times. PDS supported dentists aim to be the provider of choice in all the markets they serve and to develop Patients for Life™.

For more information, visit us at https://www.pacificdentalservices.com

To learn more about the #DentalER social media campaign, visit https://www.dentaler.org/

COVID-19: A Call to Action to the Dental Profession

Posted on April 17, 2020

A message from the Volunteer Members of the Santa Fe Group:

In our 25-year history as an action-oriented, nonprofit think tank, passionate about improving lives through oral health, the volunteer members of the Santa Fe Group have never experienced anything like the COVID-19 pandemic. We share in the nation's collective shock and grief as every hour brings news about rising health care systems demands, critical stay at home orders, new cases, and deaths. We also marvel at the extensive work of our dental colleagues who fight under unprecedented conditions for ways to address emergency oral health services.

Therefore, as part of our well-established mission to connect, convene and communicate with healthcare professionals to help catalyze change, we ask you to consider two important endeavors:

Addressing Response and Recovery:

Currently, the Santa Fe Group is working with our partners to develop a thoughtful plan, including appropriate testing protocols and in-office mitigation techniques, to win patient confidence and help bring back the practice of dentistry. Also, the Santa Fe Group will work with other organizations to develop a comprehensive consensus statement and white paper on the role of dentistry in the COVID-19 response that takes into account all phases, including preparing for the second wave and facilitating with future testing and vaccine administration. If you are interested in keeping abreast of these efforts, please send your email/contact information to: SantaFeGroupOralHealth@gmail.com

Answering the Call to Volunteer:

Although the entire dental enterprise and dental professionals are experiencing tremendous volatility, we must not overlook dental team members' much needed skills to support both the public health and clinical care needs while we collectively work to return to practice. Given the urgency of the moment to save lives and contribute to this stage of the response, we call upon the dental profession and the entire dental enterprise to consider joining us in an effort to contribute to the COVID-19 crisis through volunteering. Needed services are diverse, vary geographically and include support for contact tracing, hotline management, health education, triage and screening services, provision of consultations for oral problems, and much more. Should you wish to join in this effort, please see below for helpful links and resources.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long lasting and its imprint on all health professions will be profound. However, right now the passing minutes are too precious to waste. We call on you to use your time and your critical skills to help make a difference.

With gratitude and support,

The Volunteer Members of the Santa Fe Group




• Go to the Medical Reserve Corps site to learn more and access your local unit: Medical Reserve Corps

• Contact your local hospital or your State’s hospital association, or try: Health Guide USA Hospital Associations

• Access the Emergency System for Advanced Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals (ESAR-VHP) to preregister as a volunteer health professional. ESAR-VHP

NYU Dentistry Awarded $2.2 Million NIH Grant to Investigate How Oral Cancer Causes Pain

Posted on April 17, 2020

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded NYU College of Dentistry’s Yi Ye, PhD, a $2.2 million, five-year grant to study the role of Schwann cells, the most prevalent type of cell supporting neurons in the peripheral nervous system, in oral cancer progression and pain.

Oral cancer patients suffer from excruciating pain; their ability to speak, eat, and drink is often severely impaired. Cancer penetrates the nerve, a process termed perineural invasion, causing pain and making the cancer more difficult to treat. How oral cancer invades nerves and causes pain is poorly understood.

“A deeper understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of how oral cancer cells invade nerves will help researchers to identify new targets for treating patients with oral cancer and associated pain,” said Ye, an assistant professor at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research at NYU College of Dentistry.

Ye studies the neurobiology of oral cancer pain; her research program is dedicated to the understanding of shared molecular and cellular pathways underlying oral cancer progression and pain. In recent years, her lab has been focused on the interaction between oral cancer cells and Schwann cells, which are found in the peripheral nervous system. In response to nerve injury, Schwann cells convert into an activated form to repair neuronal structure and function. One way nerve injury could occur is through cancer cells invading the nerve.

Ye hypothesizes that Schwann cells are activated by oral cancer and can attract cancer cells, creating an environment that supports cancer growth and invasion of the nerve. Activated Schwann cells can also release molecules that are responsible for oral cancer pain. In the newly funded study, Ye and her research team will use a combination of genetic, molecular, electrophysiological, anatomical, and behavioral approaches to understand how Schwann cells are activated by oral cancer cells and identify the pain-causing mediators released by activated Schwann cells.

“Controlling Schwann cell activation or the production of pain-causing mediators could be used as novel strategies for oral cancer pain,” explained Ye. “Our study will explore the potential of shutting down Schwann cell activation to prevent oral cancer from invading the nerve and causing pain.”

The five-year grant (1R01DE029493) began April 1.

About NYU College of Dentistry

Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the US, educating nearly 10 percent of the nation’s dentists. NYU Dentistry has a significant global reach with a highly diverse student body. Visit https://dental.nyu.edu for more. 

Penn Dental Medicine Working Toward Advancement of an Oral Drug for Hypertension

Posted on April 16, 2020

Drug also shows promise for helping to alleviate lung and cardiac symptoms associated with COVID-19

In pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), high blood pressure in the lungs' arteries causes the heart to work extra hard to pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. The condition is rare but deadly, and current treatments have side effects and are expensive and inconvenient to administer. There is no cure.

With a goal of developing a more effective, convenient, and affordable therapy, research led by Penn Dental Medicine's Henry Daniell produced a protein drug in lettuce leaves to treat PAH. He worked with colleagues from Penn's Perelman School of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine; Stanford Research Institute, and RTI International.

The protein drug, composed of the enzyme angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) and its protein product angiotensin (1-7), can be taken orally and, in a PAH animal model, reduced pulmonary artery pressure and remodeling. In addition, rigorous toxicology and dose-response studies suggested the drug's safety in animals. The findings appear in Biomaterials.

Coincidentally, ACE2 is the binding site for SARS-COV-2 entry into the lungs. Decrease of ACE2 in COVID-19 patients leads to acute lung and cardiac failure; clinical trials are getting started to orally deliver ACE2 directly to the lungs to relieve these symptoms in COVID-19 patients.

Daniell has employed his innovative platform to grow biomedically important proteins of many kinds in the leaves of plants. The system bombards plant tissue with the genes of interest, prompting chloroplasts to take up genes and then express that protein. Propagating those plants creates a kind of pharmaceutical farm from which the powdered plants can be encapsulated.

A 2014 publication in Hypertension, on which the current study was based, earned Daniell an American Heart Association prize, and support from the NIH's Science Moving TowArds Research Translation and Therapy (SMARTT) program.

That earlier study showed that ACE2 and angiotensin (1-7) could be expressed in tobacco leaves; this study moved to a lettuce-based platform. The new work takes advantage of other advancements the Daniell lab has made during the last several years. He and colleagues have successfully devised methods to enhance expression of human genes in the plants and to remove the antibiotic resistance gene that is used to select for angiotensin-producing plants. They've also worked with a partner to produce genetically engineered plants in a production facility that adheres to FDA standards and completed third party toxicology/pharmacokinetic studies. 

Loss of a Master: Vincent Alleluia

Posted on April 14, 2020

The dental laboratory technology community is mourning the loss of Vincent Alleluia, MDT, CDT, who died April 11 at the age of 92.

Alleluia worked in the profession for more than 50 years and served as Chairman of the American Society of Master Dental Technologists (ASMDT), where he taught IDT Editor-in-Chief Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT, and Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT, among many others. Alleluia also was a founding member of IDT’s Editorial Advisory Board.

“Vinny’s passing is a huge loss for the dental industry, and his legacy, mentorship, and teachings will undoubtedly be forever engrained in many professionals’ careers and lives. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to work closely with Vinny as my career evolved, and I have his family, and his ASMDT family, in my thoughts and prayers at this difficult time,” Alter says.

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