Monday, September 17, 2007

A Busy Dentist Steps Back for Family Time

Patients of Steven K. Kousournas quickly learn two things about the East Hartford dentist.

One, he is earnest about his work, and two, he can't carry a tune in a bucket. He's the kind of dentist your parents probably had, someone you'd invite to graduations, weddings, family gatherings. (This, even though he once made me late to a meeting because the filling he was building just didn't feel right to him. And he hummed off-key the whole time.)

There's probably a Greek word to describe him, but for the rest of us, he's a mensch, a good guy. And he tells about his recent dark night of the soul as an object lesson.

Kousournas came from Greece to a cold-water flat in Hartford in 1969 with his parents and sister. He was 8; the family carried an English dictionary in a trunk packed with olive oil they feared they'd miss in their new country.

Young Steve wasn't the only immigrant at Burns School. His class was crowded with Italians, Portuguese and other Greeks. His father worked two, sometimes three jobs. A tailor by trade, the elder Kousournas never talked about the sacrifices he and his wife made to give their children a better opportunity. Their move to America - learning English, becoming citizens - was their leap of faith.

Kousournas did so well in school that his teachers encouraged him to be a doctor. His sophomore year in high school, he latched onto dentistry. He went to college, then to dental school (while setting sales records at a men's clothing shop at Westfarms Mall). His parents bought a house in East Hartford, and they renovated the downstairs for their son's dental office. He took over the mortgage, and for a while, his sister worked the front desk.

He set about building the business. He met his wife, Maria, while looking for another receptionist. He called her about the job; she was happy where she was but called him back just to talk. It took him a year to realize she was the woman for him, and if you've ever met Maria, who is half-Greek, you wonder what took him so long.

In his defense, he was putting his immigrant's can-do energy toward advertising, expanding and bringing in more patients. Maria took over the front desk and brought a gentle energy to the go-go drive of her new husband. They had a daughter, Rena, now 12, a studious and artistic girl who grew up in the office. Along came Evi, the middle child, now 4, followed by Kosta, now 9 months, named for his grandfather, the hard-working tailor.

But a few months ago, Kousournas found himself at one of those crossroads no one can warn you about. Those weekends eaten up with lab work started to weigh on him. He always told his staff that family comes first. A beloved dental technician had one girl, then left to stay home with her second. A new dental technician wanted more hours, but if he gave her more hours, he'd have to take on more patients, giving him less time with his family.

He kept coming back to this: You can't buy time. A smaller practice would afford him time.

It's a hard decision, when you're the son of immigrant parents who instilled in you the notion that you work hard, and then you take on more work just because. But he took a deep breath and decided not to hire another dental technician. He would allow the practice to take care of itself. He wouldn't advertise. He'd still see patients, but not at his former frenetic pace. He'd watch his son grow and wonder about what he'd missed with his daughters.

And so that is what he's done. But let's be honest: The decision still bugs him a little, but he attended a friend's wedding recently with Rena, the 12-year-old, and while guests watched a video of the bride and groom growing up apart and then coming together, he welled up a little. Rena noticed and asked, "Daddy, are you thinking of me?"

At first he said no. And then he said yes. And then he knew he'd made the right decision. The practice, he says, will always be there. You can't buy time. This is his leap of faith.

Lab on a Chip for Oral Cancer Shows Promise

Finding out whether that unusual sore in your mouth is cancerous should become a lot faster and easier in the years ahead. Scientists supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health, have engineered the first fully automated, all-in-one test, or lab on a chip, that can be programmed to probe cells brushed from the mouth for a common sign of oral cancer.
About half the size of a toaster, the portable device yields results in just under 10 minutes, or well within the duration of a routine visit to a dentist or doctor. Currently, patients must undergo an often painful tissue biopsy and usually wait three days to a week for the lab results. “What’s exciting is the speed and efficiency that this test will bring to the diagnostic process,” said John McDevitt, Ph.D., a scientist at the University of Texas at Austin and the senior author on the paper, published in the August issue of the journal Lab on a Chip. “No longer will patients need to endure referrals, long waits for test results, and scheduling follow up consultations. Patients will get immediate results and feedback from their dentist or doctor on how best to proceed.”
McDevitt said his group’s proof of principle study showed that their test could accurately measure levels of epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, on three distinct types of oral cancer cells. This protein, which is normally displayed on the surface of our cells, tends to be overproduced in oral tumor cells and serves as a measurable marker of oral cancer.
His group’s next step is to program the device to read not just EGFR levels but those of other proteins and genes that, when altered, are indicative of a developing oral tumor. This work already is well under way, and the group anticipates evaluating their test in the clinic with patients in the foreseeable future. “It could take several months to more than a year before we make the transition,” said McDevitt. “But the diagnostic platform has been built, and it’s just a matter of fine tuning the components that already are in place.”
According to McDevitt, the lab on a chip evolved from a conversation that he had a few years ago with Dr. Spencer Redding of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio about the difficulties of diagnosing oral cancer. Redding explained that dentists routinely face the dilemma of whether or not to refer patients to an oral surgeon for biopsies of suspicious sores, particularly possible recurrences of a previously diagnosed oral cancer. On the one hand, early detection is a key to fighting cancer and saving lives and, on the other, if the pathology report comes back negative, dentists risk upsetting their patients.
McDevitt was uniquely qualified to consider the problem. He studied in his laboratory functional molecular assemblies, or manipulating individual molecules to assemble miniaturized electronic or sensor components. This area of research has contributed greatly toward developing nano scale devices and popularizing the new discipline of nanotechnology.
The McDevitt laboratory already had an excellent track record of assembling novel, easy-to-use sensing devices that involve microfluidics, the science of precisely controlling micro or nano volumes of fluid. Among their accomplishments were a novel, miniaturized sensor to detect anthrax spores for the Nation’s biodefense efforts and thereafter a test for HIV infection and immune function in resource poor African nations. The laboratory also was working in the mouth, having received an NIDCR research grant to develop similar tests that use saliva, rather than blood, as a diagnostic fluid.
Combining these areas of research expertise, the McDevitt laboratory developed a test for oral cancer that begins with brushing cells from a suspicious lesion, suspending them in fluid, and loading roughly a drop of the mixture into their device. When activated, the device conveys the fluid down a tiny, microfluidic channel to a chamber with a porous membrane.
“The cells stick to the membrane floor like starfish in a net,” said Shannon Weigum, a member of the McDevitt laboratory and lead author on the paper. “The floor has little exit holes that drain the fluid out of the chamber and allow us to pump in a cocktail of, in this case, antibodies that are tagged with a fluorescent dye and that are programmed to seek out and attach to the EGFR displayed on the cells.”
“The chamber creates a nice, miniaturized platform with a digital camera interface to display the fluorescent tags for analysis on a computer screen,” she continued. “We can then read the level of fluorescence and determine how much EGFR is present on the cell surface. It automates a process that is done now by a pathologist. Think of the test as pathology on a chip.”
In their initial experiments, the all-in-one test detected significantly higher levels of EGFR in three known oral cancer cell lines compared to normal cells, which would have been expected. This indicated that the lab on a chip had excellent specificity for its protein target. The scientists also found that their results correlated well with those using flow cytometry, the current gold-standard analytical technique to quantify protein expression.
The scientists reported that their lab-on-a-chip protocol took about nine minutes to complete, from sample collection to digital display. For flow cytometry, the protocol took two hours and five minutes. “We are doing our immune function test in eight minutes, and that includes the software manipulation and collecting the sample,” said McDevitt. “I feel comfortable saying that, with further manipulations, the oral cancer test ultimately will be completed somewhere between five and ten minutes. We have developed tests that can be performed in thirty seconds, but there is some loss in accuracy when you do things in an ultra fast manner.”
The Food and Drug Administration approved the EGFR-targeted monoclonal antibody called cetuximab in March 2006 to treat oral squamous cell carcinoma, the most common type of oral cancer. This marked the first new drug approved for this cancer in 45 years. But challenges remain to identify patients who might benefit from this therapy. With further development and clinical validation, the oral cancer lab on a chip could one day fill this diagnostic niche.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) is the Nation’s leading funder of research on oral, dental, and craniofacial health.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — the Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Comprehensive study of mercury in dental fillings

$3 million NIH study builds on ongoing research into mercury and fish

The presence of mercury in dental amalgams, or fillings, is relatively common knowledge; however, whether its presence affects the neurological system is a debate that has been ongoing for 150 years. A new study beginning in less than a week will – for the first time – study whether prenatal exposure to mercury vapor from fillings affects neurological development.

As part of the world’s longest-running study of the health effects of low levels of mercury exposure, Gene Watson, D.D.S, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Eastman Department of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will begin an almost $3 million, National Institutes of Health-funded study on prenatal exposure to mercury from dental amalgams or fillings. Watson will collect hair samples from children in the Indian Ocean island nation the Seychelles, who were enrolled in a study in 2001 to determine their exposure to methyl mercury from fish and other seafood. He will also record how many fillings the children have and how many and which surfaces of the teeth they cover as an indication of exposure to mercury vapor.

Because these children were enrolled prior to their birth, more information is available than any previous mercury/dental filling study. “This study can go back prenatally because we know what the mother’s dental history was prior to and during the pregnancy,” said Watson, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. “Little is known about detrimental effects of early exposure, and we need to examine this because studies suggest the developing brain is more susceptible to mercury than the adult brain.”

Earlier studies on postnatal mercury vapor from dental fillings showed no significant effect on children’s neurological function. While comprehensive, those studies did not examine whether children may have been exposed through their mother’s dental work while still in the womb.

“Comprehensive studies like these are impossible without cross-departmental collaboration. Dr. Watson’s work will add another important layer to understanding the impact of prenatal exposure to mercury that he and the Eastman Dental Center are uniquely able to provide,” said Cyril Meyerowitz, B.D.S, M.S., chair of the Eastman Department of Dentistry. This study expands on knowledge gathered in the Seychelles on the neurological effects of methyl mercury by a group of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, including Philip W. Davidson, Ph.D., a senior investigator and professor of Pediatrics. The team has not found any ill effects of low level mercury exposure. Davidson said this new study is integral to further understanding the potential impact of all environmental exposures of methyl mercury.

“It’s the only study ever conceived where we’ll be able to look at exposure in the main ways people are exposed to mercury – fish and seafood, and dental amalgams” Davidson said. “No one has ever done this before.”


Mercury has been known to have detrimental effects on the nervous system for centuries; however, it wasn’t until an environmental disaster in Minamata, Japan, that the world began to take notice of prenatal methyl mercury poisoning. In the mid-1950s, heavy mercury pollution in Minamata Bay contaminated seafood the community ate as a major source of food. Thousands of people were poisoned to varying degrees, and many children born of mothers who were exposed to methyl mercury were also affected – even if their mothers didn’t show any obvious signs of poisoning themselves. The children’s symptoms ranged from speech delay to mental retardation.

During a series of poor harvests in Iraq in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Iraqi government bought cheap seed treated with a mercury-based fungicide to give to their people for farming. However, much of the seed arrived too late to be planted, so against orders not to eat it, the seed was ground and eaten. Thousands of people became ill. Much of the grain was dumped in ditches and beside rivers after it was pinpointed as the cause of the poisoning. From there, it entered the food chain again through poisoned fish and birds. As many as 20,000 people were poisoned and half of those died. The team at the University of Rochester Medical Center, including Gary Myers, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and a senior member of the team of researchers studying Seychelles, began its studies of mercury with this tragedy.

The two incidents together showed that levels of exposure that had little or no effect on a mother can seriously damage her fetus’s developing brain and they inspired the University of Rochester team to find the ideal population to study prenatal exposure to mercury. The team chose Seychelles for two main reasons – the fish consumed there have an average level of mercury and mothers eat 12 meals of fish each week (much higher than the average American). Since 1989, 779 children have been followed and no adverse effects on developmental outcomes were attributed to prenatal exposure to mercury in seafood. Studies on these and other children in Seychelles are ongoing.

Regulation of Dental Restorations for Patient Safety?

Industry Asks FDA to Improve Regulation of Dental Restorations to Protect Patient Safety

National Association of Dental Laboratories Finds Cause for Concern in Lax Regulation of Imported and Domestic Dental-Restoration Products

The National Association of Dental Laboratories – the leading trade group for the $5.5 billion U.S. dental-restoration products industry – has formally asked the Food and Drug Administration to implement more stringent regulations governing the dental restorations affixed into the mouths of millions of Americans each year.

Dental-restoration products – the porcelain crowns, provisionals, dentures and bridges that American dental patients have permanently seated in their mouths – are under-regulated, with few legal requirements for technicians to be certified and no mandates for dentists to document or disclose the source of dental work to patients, the association asserted in a Sept. 10 letter to the Presidential Interagency Working Group on Import Safety.

Although dentists prescribe the type of device they need for a dental patient, the product is actually manufactured by a dental technician employed by a dental laboratory, which could be located in the United States or anywhere in the world. Due to the growing number of Americans seeking dental restorative treatment and the growing pressure by dentists to cut costs and increase profit margins, much of the dental work Americans carry in their mouths is now imported from countries such as China, Pakistan, the Philippines and India.

Those products are not tested or inspected for sterilization, for the long-term safety or quality of their components, or for the precision of the fit as required for proper dental care. Even for products manufactured within the United States, most domestic dental laboratories are exempt from registering with the FDA, and most typically employ just 3.5 people.

To protect public confidence in the industry, the association asserted that the FDA must act to protect Americans and:

• Promote certification of dental technicians employed at both domestic and foreign labs.

• Require that dentists label and disclose to patients the source of dental devices, so all dental-restoration products can be traced back to the laboratory that made them.

• Step up inspections of the content and quality of imported dental-restoration products.

• Mandate that dental labs register with the FDA or with state health departments.

• Require that dentists include the registration number of their contracting dental laboratory on a prescription that is kept in patients’ dental records; so that dental devices can be traced even long after they have been implanted in patients’ mouths.

“Such common-sense regulations are critical because in many cases, the dental technician – not the prescribing dentist – makes the selection of dental materials that will be used for a particular patient’s restoration,” said Bennett Napier, CAE co-executive director of the National Association of Dental Laboratories. “Without having some requirement for the person or manufacturer creating the device to have the appropriate knowledge and training, the issue of material selection and/or safety is left to chance.”

Many of the dental crowns and bridges imported into the United States are either porcelain fused to metal or metal-alloy devices. If manufactured incorrectly, these products could be contaminated with lead or other toxic heavy metals that could make patients sick.

“If a problem occurs with a U.S. patient due to a dental restoration that contains a toxic material, chances are that the patient would report their health issue to a medical doctor and not their dentist to determine the root of the health problem,” Napier said. “It is unlikely that the problem would be immediately traced back to the dental device, as most patients are unaware of what materials are in their dental restoration and even less likely to know where it was manufactured.”

Anecdotal evidence has pointed to contamination problems with products imported from emerging markets such as China, but there is no comprehensive data about the scope of the problem because there have been no large-scale inspections of such products.

The National Association of Dental Labs is a trade association with 43 affiliated state and regional commercial dental laboratory associations representing more than 1,400 members. For more information, please visit

Oklahoma Dental History

The state's first dental office was opened in 1885 by Dr. J.E. Wright in the Choctaw nation hamlet of Savanna near what now is McAlester…
A handful of dentists in the 1890s had portable dental equipment carried by horse and buggy from one small town to another.
They often found working conditions less than ideal, according to association historians.
Dr. Theresa Hunt's 1901 practice in Watonga was sandwiched between two saloons, and her patients often showed up inebriated. Once a patient drew a gun on Hunt, demanding she hand over the false teeth she had made for him without being paid.
The Oklahoma Territorial Dental Association was formed in 1891, and the Indian Territory Association in 1903. With the advent of statehood, one inclusive association was believed to be in order. So during a joint session of the two groups in June 1907, the Oklahoma Dental Association was formed.
Now with 1,500 members, the Oklahoma Dental Association is celebrating its centennial milestone…

To see complete article:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dentists Happy to Offer Dentures:

The Wealthy Dentist Survey Results

]The clear majority of dentists (94%) report that their dental practices offer in-house denture services for prosthodontic patients, according to a poll by The Wealthy Dentist. Only 6% of dentist respondents say they refer patients out to a prosthodontist for dentures.

Many dentists questioned whether prosthodontists were really more qualified. "I don't know why one would refer to a prosthodontist. Many of us are more highly trained than some of them are," said a Florida dentist. "Why? Unless it is maxillo-facial reconstruction work, what do they know that I do not?" asked a Pennsylvania dentist. "Prosthodontists certainly cannot make dentures better than I can. Send all of your cases to me, a dentist," wrote a Texas dentist.

Lots of general dentists never refer patients out to prosthodontists. "I have not referred a case in 32 years of practice," stated a Texas dentist. "Having made many thousands of dentures over the years, with the facility of an in-house dental lab with a certified technician at my side, I've never referred a denture patient to a prosthodontist. I have, however, received denture referrals from prosthodontists," claimed a New Jersey dentist.

Of course, the patient's needs always come first. "The needs of the patient take precedence," pointed out a California dentist. "When the patient's needs require the services of a specialist, the dentist refers to the specialist. When the dentist has the capability to treat the case himself, he does so. This has always been true for all types of dental treatment, not just prosthodontics."

In general, dentists only refer out denture patients with specific dental problems. "Only for the most difficult cases. I do not like sending profits out the door," wrote a Delaware dentist. "I refer out very complicated cases, but I have found that most dentures can be handled in my office with the support of a good lab," said a California dentist.

Prosthodontists are particularly likely to end up with not just difficult cases, but difficult patient personalities. "They are a great place to send your nightmare patients," commented an Illinois dentist. "Thank goodness for these specialists. I referred my 'denture patient from hell' to a dentist that specializes in dentures, and he told me the only mistake I made was taking this patient on," wrote a New Mexico dentist.

Dental implant technology gives patients other options besides dentures. "I never enjoyed doing dentures until I began offering dental implants for support and retention; now every complaint has a solution," wrote a California dental implantologist.

"It would seem that there's money to be made off of dentures," said Jim Du Molin, dental marketing consultant and founder of The Wealthy Dentist. "As a dental consultant, I'm surprised to learn that so many general dentists are treating denture patients in-house, but it's clear that they don't want to lose high-value patients by referring them out to prosthodontists."

For additional information on this and other Wealthy Dentist surveys in the areas of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental Implants, Braces and Sedation Dentistry, as well as more dentists' comments, visit

The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and dental management resource featuring dental consulting expert Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. ( IDA is the largest provider of websites for dentists, email patient newsletters and dental directories in North America.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Eliminate Pain from Cavity Treatment Procedures

New Technology Aims to Eliminate Pain from Cavity Treatment Procedures

Tooth decay and cavities are no smiling matter - especially when fillings are required. The drilling procedure is cumbersome and outright painful in some cases. To alleviate the discomfort and improve the durability and quality of fillings, Missouri researchers are developing a high-tech device that will offer improved treatment for cavities.

Overseeing the project is Qingsong Yu, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His collaborators are Hao Li, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at MU, and Yong Wang, associate professor and director of craniofacial bioengineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The team of researchers recently received a three-year, $270,000 National Science Foundation grant to lay the groundwork for their endeavor - a non-thermal plasma brush using a low-temperature chemical reaction to disinfect and prepare cavities for fillings

"Successful development of the plasma brush could replace the painful and destructive drilling currently practiced in dentistry," Li said.

The brush, researchers said, will operate without vibrations and heat, which disturbs tooth nerves and causes much of the pain that is felt using current dental procedures. In addition, it will operate silently - without the distinctive noise of a drill.

"Plasma treatment would be a painless, nondestructive and tissue-saving way to care for and treat cavities because it relies on chemical reactions instead of heat or mechanical interactions," Yu said. "And the chemical bonding between teeth and fillings that the plasma treatment would create would be much stronger than dentists currently get with drills or laser techniques."

Along with eliminating pain, the brush will change the surface chemistry of its target - resulting in a stronger bond to extend a tooth's lifetime. In addition to patients, the emerging technology also will benefit dentists.

"In general dentistry practices, nearly 75 percent of the dentist's time and effort is devoted to replacing fillings that fail prematurely," Wang said. "The premature failure of materials used to repair and replace damaged tissues in the mouth can be traced to breakdown of the bond or seal formed between the filling and the tooth surface."

Yu and Yixiang Duan, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, have filed two U.S. patent applications for the plasma brush.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Discount dental services has announced an agreement with to offer discount dental services to baby boomers and older adults.

Visitors to can now link directly to more than 30 dental plans offering from 10% to 60% discounts on most dental procedures including checkups, cleanings, crowns, root canals, dentures, oral surgery and even cosmetic dentistry on select plans. As added incentive, visitors to save an extra 10% on any discount by using coupon code LAF10 when they join.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mini Dental Implants In Orthodontic Treatment

Los Angeles orthodontist Dr. Atoosa Nikaeen has concluded after several months of using mini dental implants that they tremendously improve orthodontic treatment results.
In addition to providing proper anchorage for aligning teeth, Nikaeen's innovative use of mini dental implants- also known as temporary anchorage devices, or TADs- in orthodontics is rendering some old standards of treatment- such as elastics and bulky head gear- unnecessary.

"All patients want good results from their orthodontic treatment," Nikaeen said. "I am willing to employ whatever means necessary to ensure my patients receive the best, safest and most successful treatment."
Anchorage control is fundamental to successfully align teeth during orthodontic treatment, Nikaeen said. Until mini implants, orthodontic tooth movement that once was accomplished through extraoral anchorage- devices such as head gear used outside the mouth- required cooperation from the patient by diligently and properly wearing the anchorage device.
"Not everyone is eager to wear head gear or elastics, because the appliances can be bulky and uncomfortable," Nikaeen said.
Using mini implants removes the responsibility from the patient and ensures the best possible results in treatment, she said.
The mini implants are not permanent. They simply provide temporary anchorage during orthodontic treatment. The implants are installed by Nikaeen or an oral surgeon and once the patient's braces are removed, the implants can be removed as well.
If you would like to learn more about mini implants and orthodontic treatment, visit Dr. Nikaeen's Web site:
About Dr. Atoosa Nikaeen_Dr. Nikaeen graduated with honors from dental school in 1993 and received a doctorate in dental surgery (DDS). She gained experience practicing general dentistry for several years before attending Columbia University School of Dentistry and Oral Surgeons in New York, where she earned her post-doctoral education in orthodontics and received an orthodontic specialty certificate.
In addition to running her practice, Dr. Nikaeen is a faculty member at the University of California in Los Angeles Orthodontic Department and teaches orthodontic residents.
Dr. Nikaeen's Los Angeles practice serves patients throughout Southern California, including Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

Banning Amalgam = Costs Up by $8 Billion/ Year?

A study in the current issue of the journal Public Health Reports examines the potential economic impact of a ban or restriction on the use of dental amalgam, a material commonly used to fill cavities. The authors conclude that U.S. dental care costs would increase by up to $8.2 billion in the first year alone -- a staggering 10 percent of current dental expenditures -- if amalgam were no longer available as a treatment option.
Dental amalgam contains a mixture of metals, including mercury, which combine to form a stable alloy that dentists have used safely for over 150 years to fill cavities. Numerous peer-reviewed, scientific studies, including those published as recently as 2006 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, attest to amalgam's safety and efficacy, leading health experts to recommend its continued availability as an option for treating dental decay.
Dr. L. Jackson Brown, a dentist, economist, epidemiologist and former ADA managing vice president for health policy agrees, saying, "The dental community and public health dentists have long known that amalgam restorations are a vital component in the arsenal to manage dental disease. This study documents the large impact the absence of amalgam would have."
A small group of activists has for years called on state and federal governments to ban amalgam, claiming, with no credible scientific basis, that it causes systemic diseases. The ADA and numerous state, national and international health authorities oppose such proposals.
"Dental care would cost more, and untreated caries (dental decay) is likely to increase," said Dr. Brown. "Unfortunately, this impact would fall disproportionately on the disadvantaged populations."
The article, "Economic Impact of Regulating the Use of Amalgam Restorations," can be viewed on the American Dental Association's Web site at:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

PDA Encourages Back-to-School Dental Check-Ups

PDA Encourages Back-to-School Dental Check-Ups

As children head back to school, the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA)
encourages parents to make dental check-ups part of the back-to-school

Remember, it's just as important to examine the mouth as the rest of
the body. Tooth decay is a bacterial disease; it remains the most common,
chronic disease of children.

The statistics speak for themselves. More than half of all 5-9-year-old
children have at least one cavity. Cavities form when bacteria in the mouth
combine with sugary substances from foods and drinks. The bacteria then
produce acid that wears through the enamel and causes cavities. Dental
decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common
than hay fever.

While tooth decay and other dental problems can cause pain and
infection, they can also result in concentration problems in school, school
absences and problems eating and speaking. In fact, more than 51 million
school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. By making a
dental check-up part of your child's back-to-school routine you are helping
prevent tooth decay and other dental problems from occurring. Regular
visits to the dentist can also help detect dental problems in their early

PDA encourages parents to help promote good oral health by making sure
all children get regular dental check-ups every six months, brush twice a
day with fluoride toothpaste, floss once a day to help remove plaque stuck
between the teeth, eat a well-balanced diet and ensure that all health
examinations and necessary immunizations are completed in time for the new
school year.

Soldiers Provide Dental Treatment to Hondurans

U.S. military personnel are providing medical and dental services to residents in Honduras during a two-week medical readiness training exercise that kicked off Aug. 13.

Doctors, dentists and dental technicians from multiple military installations throughout the United States are being augmented by medical personnel assigned to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, for the exercise.

"The main mission is to train," said Army Lt. Col. Manuel Marien, a pediatric dentist assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, who has performed this mission each of the past six years. "Every year, we come with residents and bring them for the training."

The benefits of conducting the medical training in a foreign country helps the doctors and technicians learn how to work in austere environments. Dentists and technicians are providing dental care to hundreds of Honduran children at the Catholic University Dental School in Tegucicalpa.

"When it comes to improvising, everybody learns. It's like tailgate dentistry," Lt. Col. Marien said. "For military doctors, they'll rarely see this. It's great training for them. If they're deployed to a remote area and they have to treat kids, now they'll know what to do."

The children first were given an educational class on the importance of brushing, flossing and good nutrition. From there, dental hygienists performed cleanings before the dentists began their work.

"There were lots of extractions, fillings and crowns," said Army Capt. Tom Stark, a pediatric dentist from Fort Irwin, Calif. "It's a very high-risk population due to the lack of education, poor diet and lack of fluoride in the water."

Because this was a first-time experience for him, Capt. Stark said he wasn't sure what to expect. "It's been a totally eye-opening experience, and some of the worst cases I've seen since I've been a dentist for the last five years."

Air Force Maj. Kim Christian, a dentist deployed to Soto Cano from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, said it was a very rewarding experience to be able to help the children who so desperately need dental care.

"We try to do as much as we can on each patient, depending on their needs and what they can tolerate," she said. "But once the problem is gone, a lot of the pain they have is gone too."

In exchange for the use of the dental school's facilities, Lt. Col. Marien provided teaching lectures to the dental students at the university during the exercise. Because Honduras doesn't have pediatric dentistry as a specialty, most of the students were very curious about it.

Dr. Ramses Montes, dean of the dental school, said it's a win-win situation for everyone involved.

"As a dental school, we can't work on the children because a lot of them don't have the money to be seen (by a dentist)," he said. "But the students talk and communicate with the military doctors and get information from them, (even though) some of the procedures are a little advanced and a higher knowledge level."

The team expects to see 200 to 300 patients during the two-week mission. Lt. Col. Marien said last year they saw 286 patients and completed more than 1,800 procedures during the exercise.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Whiplash May Produce Delayed Jaw Pain

One in three people exposed to whiplash trauma is at risk of developing delayed TMJ symptoms that may require treatment, according to research published in the August issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Researchers at UmeƄ University, Sweden, studied short- and long-term temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and dysfunction in 60 patients in hospital emergency rooms directly after they were involved in a rear-end car collision and evaluated them again one year later.

According to the study, the incidence of new symptoms of TMJ pain, dysfunction or both between the initial examination and follow-up was five times higher in subjects than in uninjured control subjects. In the year between the two examinations, 7 percent of control subjects developed symptoms in the TMJ versus 34 percent of study subjects.

According to the American Dental Association, the TM joint is one of the most complex joints in the body. Located on each side of the head, these joints work together and can make many different movements, including a combination of rotating and translocational (gliding) action, used when chewing and speaking. Any problem that prevents this system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.

When the patients reported having symptoms in the TMJ either before or after their accidents or both, the authors evaluated symptoms, including clicking, locking and TMJ pain. They also asked patients to rate their pain intensity and report the degree to which symptoms interfered with their daily lives, including sleep disturbances, use of pain relievers and the need to take sick leave.

“One in three people who are exposed to whiplash trauma, which induces neck symptoms, is at risk of developing delayed TMJ pain and dysfunction during the year after the accident,” the researchers concluded._

Delta Dental Has Largest Nationwide Networks

A new report shows that Delta Dental maintains the largest networks of dentists in the nation, a position the nation's largest dental benefit system has held for more than five decades. The report, generated by a third-party resource for data on providers and managed care networks to the healthcare industry, indicates that Delta Dental has over 7,500 more dentist locations than the next closest national competitor.

The Delta Dental Premier provider network offers more than 121,000 participating individual dentists in over 174,000 office locations nationwide. The Delta Dental PPO network includes over 60,000 individual dentists in more than 97,000 office locations. Both networks represent the largest in their respective classes, with three out of every four dentists in the nation participating in one or more of the Delta Dental networks.

"Having the largest networks of dentists in the nation is tremendously important because it means we can deliver maximum access and freedom of choice with minimal disruption or inconvenience to our 50 million subscribers," said Kim Volk, president and CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association. "Our networks represent a critical part of fulfilling our commitment to promoting good oral health by creating access to affordable dental care."

Delta Dental Premier offers a comprehensive package of benefits coupled with cost-saving managed care features and flexible plan designs. Delta Dental PPO provides enrollees a dual network advantage; they receive deeper discounts for seeking care from within the extensive PPO provider network, along with access to the largest network of any type in the nation, Delta Dental Premier, as a secondary safety net.

Enrollees in either program realize significant out-of-pocket savings from a "no balance billing" provision. Dentists in both the Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier networks accept negotiated fees as payment in full, and can't pass costs along to patients for any differences between submitted charges and the charges allowed under Delta Dental's contractual agreements. Enrollees seeking services from network dentists only have to pay deductibles and copayments required by their plans. Delta Dental attributes the size and strength of their networks to a number of factors. First, the 39 independently operating member companies that comprise the Delta Dental System allow for locally based recruitment and dentists relationships, even while all part of a single, uniform nationwide network.

From everyday operations to the highest levels of management, Delta Dental also employs more licensed dentists and dental professionals on staff than other dental carriers. This ensures that dentistry's needs and concerns are represented -- imperative to maintaining network credibility and stability.

In a recent nationwide survey, practicing dentists were asked their opinions about some of the nation's largest dental benefits carriers and to name those characteristics they appreciate most from these carriers. The study, conducted by independent research firm The Long Group concluded that Delta Dental outperformed other carriers in areas identified as most important to dentists such as customer service, claims processing and overall satisfaction.

"We work hard at developing and maintaining relationships with dentists, and it shows in our networks," said Volk. "They're more than just numbers to us -- they're partners in helping to advance solutions for great oral health."

Delta Dental Plans Association (, based in Oak Brook, IL, is a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations. The Delta Dental system is the oldest and largest dental benefits carrier in the nation, specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 50 million Americans in more than 88,000 employee groups throughout the country.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Maybe oldest practicing dentist: 97

He was a child in World War I.
He has been through the horrors of the Holocaust, and then lived under Communist rule.
He became eligible for senior discounts more than three decades ago.
But Dr. Vladimir (Zeev) Lencovski is still open for business. The nearly 97-year-old is likely the world's oldest practicing dentist.
More than six decades after he began working in his native Romania, Lencovski continues to receive patients in his small central Jerusalem clinic, where he fills cavities and does root canal work.
"My hands do not shake and my legs are good so why not work?" he asks…

To see full article and picture:

Ways to Reduce Dental Anxiety

For some people, the fear of visiting a dentist outweighs the pain of a toothache. But putting off that visit almost invariably leads to more advanced oral health problems and lengthier, more complex procedures. What many people don't realize is that they can work with their dentists to learn about and implement anxiety- relieving strategies, according to Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums, a new report from Harvard Medical School.

The most direct approach is to be straightforward with your dentist and explore various strategies for pain reduction together. Improvements in techniques, medications, and equipment over the past 30 years mean much more comfortable visits than those you might recall from childhood.

Dental Health for Adults describes in detail both standard and novel treatments available for pain management, such as local and general anesthesia, anti-anxiety medications, and conscious sedation. The report also includes a lengthy discussion of alternative approaches to dealing with dental anxiety. These are some of the tips in the report:
-- Have your dentist agree on a "stop" signal so you can take a time-out
from the procedure.
-- Avoid caffeinated beverages before your visit, as they may make you
-- Listen to music on a portable music player before and during treatment.
-- Practice relaxation exercises and guided imagery techniques.
-- Get regular dental checkups, which help you build a good rapport with
your dentist and enable your dentist to catch problems early.

Edited by Hans-Peter Weber, D.M.D., Head of the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the 48-page Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums also covers:
-- dental basics
-- the relationship between oral health and general health
-- taking care of your teeth at home
-- dealing with emergencies
-- tooth replacements
-- braces for adults
-- cosmetic dentistry.

Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums is available for $16 from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School. Order it online at or by calling 1-877-649-9457 (toll free).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Reconstructive Dentist Makes Stars' Smiles Shine

Dr. Anthony Mobasser recently added American Idol judge Paula Abdul to his distinguished celebrity client list.

Dr. Mobasser's cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry services have been a staple among Hollywood elite for 27 years.

Abdul began her career as an L.A. Lakers cheerleader and choreographer in the early 1980s. She began a recording career and released her debut album in 1988. After several years of being off the celebrity radar screen, Abdul launched herself back into American living rooms as one of the three judges on the wildly popular talent search program American Idol.

Although Dr. Mobasser has a long list of celebrity clientele, he is not exclusively a celebrity dentist. Mobasser has treated thousands of patients in the Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica area throughout his distinguished career.

Whether it is porcelain veneers, reconstructive dentistry, dental implants or teeth whitening, Dr. Mobasser has the expertise to deliver top-notch treatment and lasting results that draw patients from around the world.

If you would like to learn more about the services provided by Dr. Mobasser, or you would like to speak to a professional about cosmetic or reconstructive dentistry, please call: (310) 550-0383; email us: (; or visit Dr. Mobasser's web site:

About Dr. Anthony Mobasser
Dr. Mobasser is regarded as the authority in aesthetic dentistry in Los Angeles. He is a pioneer of modern cosmetic dentistry and is one of the most experienced and qualified dentists in the world. His refined techniques have set a standard for cosmetic dentists. Dr. Mobasser holds degrees in mathematics and engineering from Cerritos College. He earned a biochemistry degree from University of California Los Angeles and completed his DMD degree at the University of Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Teeth in an Hour Procedure

Dr. Sanderson, DMD, has announced that he is providing patients with Teeth in an Hour implants, making him the first dentist in Alabama to offer this service. Teeth in an Hour utilizes a new and innovative technology created by Nobel Biocare of Sweden, that allows patients to leave their dentist's office with dental implants, permanent or temporary crowns and bridge replacements that same day, after a short and easy procedure.

Performed in April, 2007, Dr. Sanderson - with the help of Dr. Holt Gray, a licensed Prosthodontist in practice with Dr. Sanderson, and Dr. Kevin Sims, an accredited Periodontist - implanted a full bottom set of prosthetic teeth during a minimally invasive, 90-minute surgery. The patient had been plagued all her life with tooth problems - being without her top teeth for eight years and bottom teeth for three. She had worn dentures, but the bottom set didn't work well and popped out easily, which is a common complaint. Teeth in an Hour procedures eliminated this problem.

The Teeth in an Hour procedure is available due to an evolving technology that uses digital images provided by CatScan 3 Dimensional Imaging, which are transferred to a computer. Using an I-Cat Cone Beam Scanner (limiting exposure to 20 seconds) 3-D images of the patient's jaw are captured and thoroughly examined and analyzed so that the doctor can begin the pre-treatment planning process. After the imaging is complete, Nobel Biocare then creates the titanium arch for the prosthetic teeth and a surgical tool identical to the patient's jaw to guide the placement of the implanted screws. The teeth are added onto the titanium bar in a laboratory. The procedure got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004. Because the specialized software allows Dr. Sanderson the ability to do all treatment planning before surgery is even begun, the entire implant procedure can be done in about an hour. For more information about Teeth in an Hour, visit the Web site

About Dr. James Sanderson and Dr. Gray Holt_Drs. Sanderson and Gray received Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees from The University of Alabama School of Dentistry in Birmingham. They have also received advanced training in cosmetic, comprehensive, and laser assisted dentistry from multiple locations across the U.S. and have affiliations with the Academy of Laser Dentistry, the LD Pankey Alumni Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American College of Prosthodontists, the Academy of Sports Dentistry, the Alabama Implant Study Group, and The Crown Council. Additionally, they have been fortunate to receive invitations to lecture and teach both locally and internationally. For more information about Drs. Sanderson and Gray's practice, visit their Web site at

Effects of Bone Drugs on Dental Health

The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) announced today the publication of a report that examines the link between a class of widely prescribed drugs used to strengthen bones and the disorder known as Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). The report, authored by an international, multidisciplinary task force, was convened by the ASBMR to look at the possible association between ONJ, a deterioration of the jawbone, and a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates, which in recent years have been linked to the condition. According to the American Dental Association, some 23 million Americans take oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis.

ONJ was first reported among cancer patients receiving high doses of bisphosphonate drugs as part of their treatment. The disorder typically appears as an area of exposed bone in the lower and upper jaw often developing after tooth extraction, mouth injury and dental surgery. Some cases occurred as a result of no known injury. "Although osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is rare in people taking low dose oral bisphosphonates for osteoporosis, we need more research to identify the risk factors and determine if changing the dosing schedules of bisphosphonates could reduce the incidence of ONJ," stated Elizabeth Shane, M.D., co-chair of the task force and Immediate Past President of the ASBMR. "This new research agenda will help fill the considerable gaps in knowledge regarding this disorder and the recommendations will provide guidance for health care professionals in their care of patients currently on bisphosphonate therapy."

The ASBMR task force formed in July 2006 was an international, multidisciplinary group of experts in the field including representatives from the United States National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Both published and unpublished data on the occurrence of ONJ were examined, a case definition was determined and a future research agenda was recommended. The report reinforces that patients receiving higher doses of bisphosphonates appear to be at an increased risk for ONJ. However, the risk in patients taking oral bisphosphonate therapy is low.

A full report detailing the results can be viewed on the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research website (

Monday, August 6, 2007

Dentist Donates Dental Equipment to Haiti

Two dental clinics in impoverished Haiti will be beneficiaries of the relocation of Kevin G. Murphy & Associates.

Murphy, who has replaced much of his dental equipment with updated equipment, is donating his old equipment to Dr. Jim Taneyhill, a friend and fellow dentist.

Taneyhill, a Baldwin resident who practices in Bel Air, said he will direct the equipment to two clinics in Haiti..

Tooth decay is a huge problem because Haitians eat sugarcane and shred it with their teeth, Taneyhill said...

"Good equipment is hard to come by. But Kevin's stuff is in such good shape, I was confident I could get it down there and have it be useful," Taneyhill said.

He said Murphy's old equipment, including five dentist's chairs, would cost $75,000 to $100,000 to buy, and there's enough to equip five treatment rooms.

"It's amazingly generous of him to do this," Taneyhill said. "He could resell it on the secondary market..."

In the meantime, he, Murphy and Murphy's daughter, Megan, 17, will go to Haiti for 4-5 days in mid-August to treat patients there. They will carry as much small equipment as they are allowed to take on the plane in two suitcases apiece.

"I have to figure out the words for 'open' and 'this won't hurt too much,'" Murphy said.

See complete article:

Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry

Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry recently began offering Vizilite Plus® oral cancer screenings._

The practice began offering the screenings in June, in light of the fact that about 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, said Dr. Charles Nottingham, a cosmetic dentist who is the senior partner of Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry. When caught at its earliest stage, oral cancer can be cured relatively easily.

'We opted to begin conducting the ViziLite Plus® exam because it will help us identify abnormal tissue that might develop into oral cancer,- Nottingham said.

An annual ViziLite Plus® exam, in combination with a regular visual examination, provides a comprehensive oral screening procedure for patients at increased risk for oral cancer.
Although adults should be screened annually for oral cancer, Nottingham said, men older than age 40 who use tobacco products and drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day are at the highest risk of developing oral cancer.

'They certainly should consider the screening,- he said, adding, 'Anyone who uses tobacco products should be screened for oral cancer.-

The ViziLite Plus® exam is painless, fast and non-invasive, according to the company's Web site,

The ViziLite Plus® exam is performed immediately following a regular visual examination. The first step is to rinse with a cleansing solution. Then, the overhead lighting is dimmed and the dentist examines the mouth using ViziLite Plus®, a specially designed light technology. This light technology causes abnormalities that may not be seen by the naked eye to glow a bright white.

About Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry

The dentists at Smile South Florida Cosmetic Dentistry have offices in Broward County and Boca Raton and serve patients from Boca Raton to Fort Lauderdale and Miami. In addition to being trained in the ViziLite Plus® oral cancer screening procedure, they specialize in porcelain veneers, dental implants and extreme makeovers.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Brushing: cell damage may help keep gums healthy

One way regular brushing may help keep gums firm and pink is, paradoxically, by tearing open cells, researchers have found.

Bristles wielded with even gentle force tear holes in the epithelial cells that line the gums and tongue, causing a momentary rupture, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta report in the cover article of the August issue of the Journal of Dental Research.

Tearing enables calcium, abundant in saliva, to move into the cells, triggering internal membranes to move up and patch the hole, says Dr. Katsuya Miyake, MCG cell biologist and the paper's co-first author. But in the seconds that repair takes, growth factors that promote growth of collagen, new cells and blood vessels leak out of injured cells.

Cell injury also turns on expression of the c-fos gene, an early-response gene often activated under stress that may be the first step in a response such as cell division or growth, says Dr. Paul L. McNeil, MCG cell biologist and corresponding author.

"It's very clear that brushing your teeth is a healthy thing to do; no one questions that brushing removes bacteria and that's probably its main function," Dr. McNeil says. "But we are thinking that there might be another positive aspect of brushing. Many tissues in our bodies respond to mechanical stress by adapting and getting stronger, like muscles. We think the gums may adapt to this mechanical stress by getting thicker and healthier. It's the no pain, no gain theory the same as exercising."

The research team, which also includes Dr. Kaori Amano, dental researcher, Kyorin University of Medicine in Japan, and Dr. James L. Borke, MCG physiologist, injected a fluorescent dye into the blood stream that can only get into torn cells. They then brushed the teeth, gums and tongue of rats with a modified electric toothbrush. "We saw lots of bright cells," says Dr. Miyake, co-director of the MCG Cell Imaging Core Facility.

"… (W)e suggest that, in addition to its well-know ability to remove bacteria and their harmful products from teeth, brushing may, by causing plasma membrane disruptions, lead to local cell-adaptive responses ultimately of benefit to gingival health," the researchers write.

"Viewing brushing from this novel context, as a direct physical stimulus that promotes gum health, opens up new avenues for research," Dr. McNeil says. One immediate area of interest is to identify chemical signals produced by wounded oral cavity cells that could promote gum health.

Moreover, the method and/or type of brush might strongly influence the extent of epithelial cell-wounding and subsequent liberation of factors that promote gum health, Dr. McNeil says.

Interestingly researchers found that brushing injures not only epithelial cells on the tongue's surface but muscle cells underneath as well. "The mechanical forces must have been transmitted through the intact epithelium to the muscle cells," says Dr. McNeil, director of the MCG Cell Imaging Core Facility. "It means our epithelium is tough and maintains a nice, resilient barrier but, not surprisingly, since it's not a hard surface, it transmits forces quite readily."

The gum, tongue and other surfaces in the oral cavity are covered with layers of epithelial cells that serve as a natural boundary between what goes in the mouth and the blood supply. As food digests, nutrients and other desirables move across the single layer of epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract to get to the blood.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Dental Procedure Creates Lifelike Gums

Doctors have long known how to make replacement teeth. But gums have been a different story. It's always been tough to recreate something that looks lifelike. Now a new type of material makes the perfect smile possible.,,,

"This is very new. I mean I'm literally developing this technique," says Dr. Thanos Kristallis, prosthodontist. Dr. Kristallis creates ceramic gums that attach to teeth or implants. The innovation is possible because of Zirconia, a strong ceramic that looks lifelike, unlike old metal or plastic dentures.

"It's just as strong as metal," says Dr. Kristallis. "That's a huge breakthrough in our field, which we've seen and for the last 30 years we didn't have a material strong enough."

Dr. Kristallis takes a mold of the patient's mouth, then bakes a mold to attach the ceramic gums. That's followed by painstaking work to get the coloring, texture and tint of the fake gums just right. He even adds a shine to make them look wet.

"What I'm trying to do is I'm trying to recreate nature," says Dr. Kristallis.

It takes 10 minutes to cement the new gum to the tooth. It doesn't hurt and will last up to 30 years. In a recent international dental journal, Dr. Kristallis explained the procedure could be used on a small area or the entire arch...

The new gums are ceramic, non metal, which means patients don't have to worry about allergies. There are no side effects and very little recovery time. But the procedure is expensive. It costs between $1,000 and $2,000 for each tooth attached to a gum.

To see complete article and video:

Ethics of advertising

Though dental marketing has become widespread, most dentists are torn over the ethics of advertising, as reported in a recent survey of dentists conducted by The Wealthy Dentist. When asked if dental patient marketing sullies the reputation of dentists in the eyes of the public, respondents were split on the issue. The slight majority (54%) felt that dental practitioners should hold themselves to a higher ethical code than used car salesmen. The other 46% of respondents believe that today's world is filled with ads, and consumers won't judge a dentist negatively for advertising.

Specialists were significantly more opposed to dental marketing and advertising than general dentists. As the general dental marketplace becomes more competitive, general dentists are more likely to feel they must actively market their practices in order to stay in business. Specialists, on the other hand, are more likely to receive new patients via referrals from other dental practitioners.

Those outside of the dental industry are unlikely to realize how different marketing dentistry is from other services. For many years, dentists who engaged in marketing and advertising were viewed as unprofessional, the health-care equivalent of a personal injury lawyer putting ads on late-night TV. Even modest dental practice marketing campaigns were ridiculed, criticized, and taken to court.

Over the years, it has become clear that dentists who want to remain competitive need to have some sort of marketing plan. However, the ADA has strict marketing guidelines against "false or misleading" advertising. For example, a dentist's marketing materials must not "contain a material, objective representation, whether express or implied, that the advertised services are superior in quality to those of other dentists, if that representation is not subject to reasonable substantiation." Claiming that one is better than one's competitors (the core concept behind most marketing programs) is not an option in dental practice marketing.

"If it diminished the profession in any way, the public would not go to those docs, and the ads in the phone book would be getting smaller. As it is, some ads are now two pages. It's a far cry from the ad that got me in trouble for with the dental board 25 years ago," said a Georgia dentist.

It used to be that dentists depended on referrals from friends and family for new patients. "I was brought up to believe that a professional's morals, ethics, quality of dentistry, and honesty brought patients to the office," said a Mississippi dentist. "I have depended on word-of-mouth referrals for the thirty-seven years I have been in practice."

Today, marketing has become such an integral part of the dental industry that those who don't advertise risk falling behind those dentists using internet dental marketing, dental patient newsletters, and other such efforts.. "It costs so much to market, it's hard to tell if its working, and we all have to do it to keep up with the other dentists who have started advertising," said one California dentist.

For many dentists, it's a fine line between advertising that's effective and advertising that's unethical. "Marketing itself does not necessarily demean the profession, but the majority of what is going on in dental marketing does," opined a Texas orthodontist. A New Jersey periodontist agreed, saying, "While most is ethical, it walks a fine line." Complained one Illinois dentist, "Too much unneeded 'cosmetic dentistry!'"

Many expressed concerns that dental advertising lowers the public's esteem for the profession. "Heavy advertising reduces dentistry to a commodity rather than a professional service," said a North Carolina dentist. "We are cheapening our profession," moaned a Washington general dentist. "I am very disturbed in the direction the profession is headed... 'Pain free dentistry' as opposed to what? Painful? It is all feeding into a very unprofessional, cut-throat and unethical atmosphere."

Of course, there's no shortage of those cheering for dental patient marketing. "Today's consumers rely on advertising to make their choices," said a New Hampshire dentist. "People used to rely on neighbors to recommend dentists. Now you are lucky if you meet your neighbor within five years. I have increased my advertising over the past 18 months, and it has been very rewarding financially."

The sheer effectiveness of dentist marketing campaigns has convinced many. "It doesn't matter whether or not we think it negatively affects the public's opinion; it only matters what they think. And since the marketing is so effective if done right, then they obviously are okay with it," commented a Pennsylvania dentist/manager.

Some feel it is just not professional for health care providers to loudly advertise their services."When was the last time that you saw splashy ads (like those common among dentists) placed by your local neurosurgeons or obstetricians? How about anesthesiologists? Pediatric oncologists? Those doctors are regarded by the public as professionals because they act like professionals," said a California dentist. "Dentists are increasingly not so regarded because they increasingly do not act like professionals."

To some, it simply comes down to the financial bottom line. "Something has changed over the years, and 'higher ethical codes' don’t pay for college tuition for the kids, nor do they pay into one’s retirement!" observed a Texas dental sales consultant. "Unfortunately, some dentists did not recognize early on that they were running a business. Because of their inability to market themselves, the business ends up running the dentists and they fall prey to the 'PPO Plague' just to get rear ends in the chairs... If one wants to gain back control of their business they must first change their way of thinking and understand that marketing is part of the game. (Yes, a game!) Every dentist needs to market themselves in all ways, always!"

"Sooner or later, all dentists will realize that if they don't market their dental practices, they're going to go out of business," said Jim Du Molin, founder of both The Wealthy Dentist and the Internet Dental Alliance. "A lot of them still have a hard time with this; it makes them feel dirty somehow. Sure, some dental marketing campaigns are unethical, but it's not fair to paint the entire dental marketing industry with that same brush. I've saved many a dental practice myself."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dental Hygienist Hourly Pay Rates

The Wealthy Dentist asked dentists the average base hourly pay for their dental hygienists. The average response was $36 an hour. However, the range is wide, with some dental hygiene practitioners making $20 or less and others pulling in $50 or more. Dentists' feelings on the subject are mixed; some feel hygienists are grossly overpaid, while others insist they're worth every penny.

Geographic location was highly correlated with hourly rates for dental hygienists. Given that urban areas have a higher cost of living, it is not particularly surprising to discover that urban hygienists make $4 an hour more than their rural counterparts.

In addition, how much hygienists are paid has a lot to do with the state in which they work. California hygienists make the most of all, with an average base pay of $46 per hour. However, in rural and Southern states the average pay was well under $30. Observed one dentist, "In DC, the average is $350 per 8-hour day. Now I live in Utah and it's $250."

The most popular responses to this survey were from dentists who feel hygienists are overpaid. "They get paid too much for what little they do," complained a New York orthodontist; it's also worth noting that this specialist pays $27 an hour, well below the state average of $35. "I do not know what they are thinking. Do they think they are worth more than doctors? I am paying my hygienist too much... and it is the market rate here in Ventura County," commented a California dentist paying $50 per hour.

Some few dentists praised their hygienists."She's worth every penny," raved an Illinois dentist paying his hygienist $55 per hour. "She makes me a fortune."

However, more dentists voiced hostility towards hygienists and how much they get paid. In fact, one California dentist grew so frustrated with hygienists that he eliminated them from his practice. "In my first dental practice I had 7 hygienists working for me. I was not impressed with the return on investment; no matter how much incentive or positive reinforcement I provided, they did the bare minimum. So in my current practice I do all my own hygiene and will hire only associate dentists who will perform their own hygiene as well. My overhead and stress levels are much lower with this new arrangement!"

The shortage of dental hygienists makes them more expensive - a fact that irks many dentists. "We need to open up enrollment at dental hygiene schools," suggested an Arizona dentist. "They could easily run a night program and double enrollment with no increased facility cost." A North Carolina dentist commented, "I think dental hygienists are overpaid in our region. There are so few of them that they can dictate their rate."

Dental hygienists are far from the only non-dentists employed by dental practices. "[Hygienists are] way overpaid for the amount of schooling required for a 2 or 4 year diploma," commented a Hawaii dentist paying $32 an hour. "Relatively, the assistants and front desk people are underpaid."

Not all hygienists are paid by the hour. Some work on commission, generally receiving around 30% of production. Though many dentists find this to be a cost-effective arrangement, others caution against it. "Hygienists should be paid based on their ability to produce. Commission gets too hairy, so base pay is best," declared an Alabama dentist paying $20 an hour - among the lowest wages reported in this survey.

It is important to note that a hygienist's hourly rate does not include benefits - a fact many dentists are quick to point out. Many dentist employers offer health insurance, holiday time, bonuses and pension plans. Some even went so far as to include "birthday lunches" and "gifts" as job benefits.

"Oh, the drama between dentists and dental hygienists!" said Jim Du Molin, founder of both The Wealthy Dentist and the Internet Dental Alliance. "They need each other, they work closely together - of course they're going to bicker and complain about each other. You know, like an old married couple that's been together too long already but is never going to get divorced."

The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and dental practice management resource featuring dental consultant Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada. The Wealthy Dentist is a sister company of the Internet Dental Alliance, Inc. IDA is the largest provider of websites for dentists, email patient newsletters and dental directories in North America.

Improving Access to Dental Health Care

Dr. Jon J. Johnston, President of the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA),
made the following statement after Gov. Ed Rendell signed into law Senate Bill 455,
which allows dental hygienists to perform basic oral health services at
public settings such as schools, correctional institutions and nursing

"The Pennsylvania Dental Association commends Governor Rendell and the
General Assembly for taking an important first step in improving access to
dental care for patients in public settings," Johnston said. "We look
forward to working with the Governor and state lawmakers to build upon this
effort and expand access to oral health care for all Pennsylvanians."

Johnston noted that the PDA worked with state Sen. Patricia Vance on SB
455 to improve patient safety in the legislation. Under the new law, dental
hygienists in public settings must refer a patient to a dentist once a year
for a check up to ensure there are no serious oral health problems in need
of diagnosis and treatment.

Johnston added that the PDA is working with state lawmakers to broaden
the services performed by other dental assistants, allowing more patients
to be seen by dentists and improving access for all patients. In addition,
the PDA is supporting legislation that would add fluoride to public water
systems with 500 or more customers.

"Currently in Pennsylvania, only 50 percent of public water systems
have the recommended levels of fluoride to prevent tooth decay and
disease," Johnston said. "Studies show that fluoride reduces between 20 to
40 percent of tooth decay for all who drink the water. It is the easiest
and most affordable way to ensure that as many Pennsylvanians as possible
receive the first level of preventative oral health care."

Dental equipment = $2.85 billion in 2011

Demand for dental equipment (excluding supplies) in the U.S. is forecast to rise 3.8 percent per year to $2.85 billion in 2011, aided by favorable economic conditions and population trends, as well as a strong interest in technology updates among professionals and consumers alike. Solid growth in the over 50 population will provide opportunities as older individuals are more likely to require dental procedures than other segments of the population. An increase in dental procedures will expand the need for equipment, particularly those items that require relatively frequent replacement such as hand instruments and tools used with hand pieces. These and other trends are presented in "Dental Equipment," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

In general, equipment that features advanced technology, such as lasers, intra-oral cameras, digital radiography and CAD/CAM systems, will provide the most rapid gains. Dentists are seeking higher tech equipment to improve office productivity; expand their procedure capabilities; and attract new patients with a state-of-the-art office appearance.

Furniture and lighting are expected to achieve moderate growth, due to the lengthy useful lifespan of these items. Nevertheless, this product category will benefit from dental chair purchases, as dentists attempt to create comfortable settings for their patients. Lighting will benefit from a technology shift to higher value-added technologies, such as LED and fiber optics.

In the consumer market, gains will be sluggish due to the market maturity of toothbrushes, the dominant product. Outside of toothbrushes, penetration rates for other consumer dental equipment (e.g., tongue cleaners and oral irrigation tools) are much lower, providing opportunities for growth. Nevertheless, consumer use of equipment other than toothbrushes will remain negligible.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dentist Offers Alternative To Root Canal

Few patients may know about an alternative treatment to root canals that's less painful and less expensive.

Menucha Burston cringed when her dentist mentioned that she possibly needed a root canal, but in her case, there was an alternative called MTA pump capping…

See complete story and video:

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Low Cost Preventive Dental Option

-- Plan Can Cover Everyone from Children to Pre-retirees --

Aetna has launched Aetna Dental Preventive CareSM, a new low cost dental plan option that covers preventive and diagnostic procedures. Members also receive reduced fees from Aetna’s PPO dentists on non-covered services like fillings, orthodontia and cosmetic tooth whitening.
“This low cost plan enables employers to offer full coverage on preventive and diagnostic procedures for their employees,” said Alan Hirschberg, Head of Aetna Dental. “Encouraging employees to seek early, regular dental care for themselves and their families helps ensure better oral health and overall health.”
Features of the plan include:
• No copays on various procedures such as full-mouth X-rays, fluoride treatment for children and two cleanings within a 12-month period
• No out-of-pocket expenses when a procedure is performed by a participating Aetna dentist
• The ability to choose an annual limit on benefits
• Non-covered services like orthodontia and bleaching provided by participating dentists at discounted fees
• Access to over 93,500 available practice locations throughout the country
• Access to discount programs, including vision and fitness, available to all Aetna members
“Businesses considering a voluntary plan that promotes preventive care may also find this is an ideal option for their employees,” said Hirschberg.
Aetna also provides dental health information through its website, Simple Steps to Better Dental Health (, which offers articles, illustrations, interactive tools, information on dental conditions and treatments

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Laser used to help fight root canal bacteria

High-tech dental lasers used mainly to prepare cavities for restoration now can help eliminate bacteria in root canals, according to research published in the July issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

The study, conducted by researchers in Austria, credits the development of miniaturized, flexible fiber tips for allowing the laser to be used in endodontic (root canal) treatment.

Dr. Ulrich Schoop and a team of researchers in the dental school at the University of Vienna used 60 extracted human teeth with one root each to test the effects of laser irradiation on root canals using an erbium, chromium:yttrium-scandium-gallium-garnet (Er,Cr:YSGG) laser.

Dr. Schoop and colleagues inoculated the root canals with one of two types of bacteria (Enterococcus faecalis and Escherichia coli) and then irradiated the canals using either a 1- or 1.5-watt power setting.

The team found that the laser reduced the amount of E. coli at the lower power setting and reduced it to below the detection level at the higher setting. It also was effective in eliminating E. faecalis.

Researchers found, too, that the laser removed the smear layer and debris from the root canal walls and that the temperature rise during irradiation was within safe borders.

The authors concluded that the Er,Cr:YSGG laser may be suitable for cleaning and disinfecting root canals and that it can be used safely if the common precautions for using lasers are observed and the energy levels and irradiation times are within the proposed range. They also suggested that clinical studies are needed to confirm their laboratory findings.

In a related article in July JADA, Dr. Roy H. Stevens and colleagues at the Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University, describe their study of an Er,Cr:YSGG laser with a new tip that emits radiation radially.

Dr. Stevens and colleagues examined the efficiency of this new laser tip in disinfecting root canal dentin walls infected with E. faecalis. They found that it significantly reduced the amount of E. faecalis in contaminated root canals.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dr. Virgilio Mongalo

Nobel Biocare has selected Dr. Virgilio Mongalo as a clinical instructor for their computer-guided surgeries.

A Miami cosmetic dentist and an associate professor of prosthodontics at the University of Florida, Dr. Mongalo's experience in the field is extensive. He was involved in the initial testing of the computer-guided procedures in 1993 before the system was approved by the FDA.

The system relies on a combination of computer and imaging technology to dramatically advance patient care. According to Dr. Mongalo, "It has enhanced our ability to ensure the success of implant procedures over traditional methods."

In the past, dental implants required multiple surgeries over the course of 4-9 months. With computer-guided surgeries such as Teeth in an Hour, it's a quick, minimally invasive procedure for replacing several or all of a patient's teeth in about an hour.

Performed in the office, dentists use computerized tomography to scan a patient's mouth. The CAT scan provides a detailed view of the patient's teeth and jaws. The data is transferred to a computer and displayed in 3 dimensions using software developed by Nobel Biocare. The 3D images enable a dentist to analyze the teeth and jaws from a variety of angles and even perform virtual surgery on the images.

Nobel's factory uses these same images to create a stencil-like mouthpiece to guide the dentist through the implant surgery. The images are also used to fashion new teeth to fit the patient's mouth before the surgery.

Consequently, patients can have new teeth implanted in about an hour.
The migration of digital technology into the dental office is revolutionizing the field. Medical practitioners must transcend disciplines. Accomplished instructors are required to provide the sophisticated training for these new skills and treatments.

About Dr. Virgilio Mongalo

As a private practitioner in Miami, Dr. Virgilio Mongalo has performed cosmetic dentistry and implant procedures for more than 17 years.

As an associate professor of prosthodontics at the University of Florida, Dr. Virgilio Mongalo lectures on new technologies in cosmetic and prosthetic dentistry as well as dental implantology to students and dental professionals in Miami and throughout Latin America.

Awarded his Doctorate of Medical Dentistry from the University of Florida, Dr. Mongalo is also a member of the International Congress of Oral Implantology, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and is president of the Scientific Committee for the Latin American Organization of Dental Implants.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Negative Experiences With Dental Consulting

Dental consultants have disappointed many dentists, according to a Wealthy Dentist poll. The survey found that the majority of dentists report having had negative experiences with dental consulting.

Most dentists report having had at least one negative experience with a dental consultant. In a recent dental survey conducted by The Wealthy Dentist, dentists were asked if they had been disappointed by dental consultants. The majority (62%) indicate they have had problems with consultants in the past. On the other hand, 38% report being smart and/or lucky enough to avoid the bad ones.

The survey did not differentiate between dental marketing consultants and dental management consultants, but complaints about both groups were similar. Some consultants simply lack the experience and knowledge dental practices require. "I had the experience of working with a consultant who knew nothing of accounts receivables, good ratios, etc.," recounted a New Jersey dental office worker. "He was a podiatrist who decided to become a business consultant on the side. He should have stayed with feet!"

The cost of bad dental consultanting can exceed a hefty price tag. "I paid an excessive amount to a team who guaranteed a 30% increase in production and collections, then proceeded to almost destroy my practice," moaned a Kentucky dentist. "It has taken two years to repair the damage caused by following their 'program.'"

Other dentists were disappointed by consultants who act as though all dental practices in all areas have the same needs for dental management consulting. "Every dentist has his or her own style, both in management and clinical skills," said a South Carolina dentist. "Most consultants say they customize their 'plans.' However, they are all the same cookie-cutter ideas disguised as something different."

Sometimes consultants can be disastrous for a dentist's relationship with team members. "I ended up being sued by my staff... I never ever want to go to a dental consultant again," said one Michigan dentist. A Massachusetts pediatric dentist described another unpleasant experience: "She had the staff in tears at her initial presentation! She came on like a drill sergeant to the staff within minutes of meeting them." A North Carolina orthodontist commented, "The most recent consultant I had was very negative to my staff and did not return calls... Very bad experience."

Of course, some dentists have been delighted by their experiences with dental marketing consulting. "They absolutely turned our practice around with quality care and profitable days!" raved a Pennsylvania dental hygienist.
In the end, all agreed that it's the dentist's job to pick a dental practice consultant that will suit their practice. "As business owners, we must take responsibility to do due diligence when making decisions concerning our future," said a North Carolina dentist. "We cannot become lemmings and blindly follow the ideas of a so-called expert."

Moreover, it requires work on the dentist's part to find the right dental management consultant. "I've had good experiences, but not all dental consultants' styles or messages are right for you. Before you sign, seriously interview the consultant and have a trial period," suggested a Connecticut dentist.

It turns out that a number of dental consultancies actually have quasi-religious affiliations; this was the most common complaint cited by dentists in this survey. (In fact, there have been a number of lawsuits on that subject.) One Arkansas dentist explains his experience: "I got invited to a teaser meeting and returned the next week to experience an aggressive attempt to humiliate me into signing on to an outrageously expensive no-end-in-sight series of coaching meetings. Not only that, it would eventually involve a religious change."

"I'm a dental consultant myself, and have been for more years than I'd care to remember," commented Jim Du Molin, founder of both The Wealthy Dentist and the Internet Dental Alliance. "Now, it's possible I'm just a little biased, but I consider myself one of the good ones. And I know there are plenty of other great dental consultants out there as well. But some of the bad ones can be so monstrously bad that they scare some dentists away from the profession as a whole!"

Sugar with their tea reverses benefits

Sugar with their tea reverses benefits

The UK’s leading dental health charity has backed reports that tea can be good for oral and general health - but says many of these benefits will be reversed if people take sugar with their tea.

The British Dental Health Foundation was reacting to a report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition that drinking tea can be even better than drinking water when it comes to health.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented: “It is absolutely true that tea can have a variety of oral and general health benefits.

“It contains fluoride which strengthens tooth enamel and has been proven to reduce tooth decay, it has anti oxidants that clear your system and it re-hydrates you.

“However, many people take sugar with their tea and this can cause tooth decay if consumed too frequently.

Oral Healthcare Habits Worsen

People only brushing their teeth once a week, using household items like forks, shoelaces and drill bits to pick the teeth, toothbrush sharing and using old brushes were just some of the habits uncovered by the National Smile Month Survey 2007.

The survey, commissioned by the British Dental Health Foundation in association found a worrying trend of people making little effort to look after their teeth – and leaving themselves at risk of a wide variety of oral and general health problems.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation commented: “The number of people who don’t even brush once-a-day is eight times that of last year, while the number of people who can’t remember when they last changed their toothbrush is up by a similar amount.

“When you put that alongside the fact that people are using anything from drill bits and hammers to fish bones and toe nails to pick their teeth, then you can see that there is still a long way to go in improving oral healthcare in this country.

“Good oral healthcare is needed to prevent a wide range of conditions and, in particular, tooth decay and gum disease - which has been linked to heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, strokes and low birth weight babies.

Dental Survey Statistics 2007 versus 2006:

• 12% brush ‘a few times a week’ or ‘never’ – compared to 1.5% last year
• Only 30% say they brush for two minutes – compared to 47% last year
• 17% ‘can’t remember’ when they last changed their brush – opposed to only 2% last year
• 60% of people would share their brush with their partner, child, friend or favorite celebrity

Top 10 strange things people floss with:
1. Drill bit
2. Saw
3. Shoelaces
5. Hammer
6. Fish bones
7. Fork
8. Twig
9. Safety pin
10. Toe nails

Bad breath a stinking problem for couples

One in five people believe that their partner has bad breath according to a new UK-wide dental survey.

The National Smile Month Survey, commissioned by the British Dental Health Foundation found that 20% of people would describe their partner as ‘having bad breath’ – and the result was the same for both men and women.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented: “Bad breath can be a real turn-off for both sexes so it must be a worry that so many people are noticing it in their partners.

“With a further 42% revealing they have friends or colleagues with bad breath it seems that this is still very much a common problem.

“Although there can be other causes, such as spicy foods and some medical conditions, most bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene. People need to brush their teeth twice-a-day with fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often they have sugary foods and drinks and visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

“With the survey’s findings that the majority of people wouldn’t risk their friendship by telling someone they had bad breath it seems that people need to find out for themselves.

“Try the ‘lick and sniff’ test to see if your breath smells. Simply lick the inside of your wrist, leave it for a few seconds and the sniff. If the smell is unpleasant the chances are your breath is too.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Periodontal bacteria found in amniotic fluid

Study evaluates women at risk for premature labor and finds periodontal bacteria in amniotic fluid

A study appearing in the July issue of the Journal of Periodontology found bacteria commonly found in the mouth and associated with periodontal diseases in the amniotic fluid of some pregnant women.

The study, which evaluated 26 pregnant women with a diagnosis of threatened premature labor, found the presence of periodontal bacteria, P. Gingivalis, in both the oral cavity and amniotic fluid in 30% of the women. Amniotic fluid is a liquid that surrounds an unborn baby during pregnancy. Any disruptions in the amniotic fluid, such as a bacterial infection, could potentially be dangerous to both the mother and baby.

“We evaluated women who were at risk of premature labor,” said study author Gorge Gamonal, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Chile. “We know that there are many reasons a woman can be diagnosed with threatened premature labor, including bacterial infection. Past research has shown a relationship between adverse pregnancy outcomes and periodontal disease, a chronic bacterial infection.”

“While this study’s findings do not show a direct causal relationship between periodontal diseases and adverse pregnancy outcomes, it is still important for women to pay special attention to their oral health during pregnancy,” explained Preston D. Miller, Jr., DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. “Woman who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should speak with their dental and health care professionals about their oral health during pregnancy.”

Be sure to also keep in mind your “pocket size” guide to periodontal health; periodontal pockets of one to two millimeters with no bleeding are not a concern but pockets of three and four millimeters may need a more in depth cleaning called scaling and root planing.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Federal Preemption of State Dental Practice Act

American Dental Association Comments on Court Ruling in Case Finding Federal Preemption of State Dental Practice Act

The American Dental Association (ADA) released the following statement regarding the decision yesterday to preempt the State Dental Practice Act.

- - - -

"We're plainly disappointed with this ruling," said Dr. Kathleen Roth, ADA president. "Our only objective in this litigation has been to improve access to high-quality oral health care in remote areas of Alaska, to ensure that dental personnel providing this care are properly trained, and to maximize patient safety. Our pledge to the tribal community, both in Alaska and elsewhere in the United States, is that this judgment will not deter us from joining them in fighting for the public health resources that will ensure that Alaska Natives have access to the same dental care as all other Americans. As the Native American/Alaska Native community well knows, the ADA has a long history of advocating for Indian Health Service dental programs, and those efforts will continue."

The issue argued before the state Superior Court, Anchorage, was whether the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), a federal law governing the provision of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives, preempts Alaska state law that requires those who perform invasive, permanent, and irreversible dental procedures to be properly trained and licensed. The ADA believes that Congress never intended the IHCIA to remove these important safeguards in connection with the dental services provided to Alaska's native population and that the state law does not conflict with the IHCIA.

"While we respectfully disagree with the court and will have to review our legal options," Dr. Roth continued, "we want to work with the ANTHC and other interested parties to develop the means to get sufficient dentists into remote Alaska to meet the complex dental needs of Alaska Natives."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dentist Educates Consumers via Podcasts

Boston Dentist Educates Consumers via Podcasts About Oral Health and Cosmetic Dentistry

Successful Smiles podcasts, produced by Boston cosmetic dentist Dr. Helaine Smith, available at no charge from iTunes

Helaine Smith, DMD, recently made available a series of podcasts regarding oral health and cosmetic dentistry. Titled "Successful Smiles," the complimentary podcasts can be downloaded at or via the Apple iTunes store under the "Health" category.

The first three of a series of planned broadcasts, the informative podcasts cover topics such as bad breath and its causes, frequently asked questions about cosmetic dentistry, and the questions people should ask dentists when considering veneers. Future broadcasts include the relationship between sex and oral health, dental care for the elderly, and the different methods of tooth whitening available.

A firm believer in educating the public about the issues surrounding oral health and the dental industry in general, Dr. Smith's podcasts are an extension of her e-newsletter and Website where consumers can learn about procedures such as teeth whitening and dental implants.

"The dental industry has changed dramatically in the last ten years or so," said Dr. Smith. "Due to the Internet, people are online researching dentists and cosmetic techniques well in advance of making an appointment. In addition, you now have dental offices located in strip malls and dental professionals advertising on radio and TV and writing blogs."

"Cosmetic dentistry has gone mainstream," she adds, "which means more people are considering procedures, such as veneers, that they wouldn't have thought of fifteen years ago. My goal with these podcasts is to educate consumers and help them make knowledgeable decisions when choosing cosmetic dentistry providers and/or procedures."

Each "Successful Smiles" podcast is approximately three to six minutes long and is available as an MP3 audio file. Each file is easily downloaded to an MP3 device or computer. For more details about each podcast, see Dr. Smith's blog at

About Dr. Helaine Smith
Dr. Smith, a Boston, Massachusetts cosmetic dentist, has combined a dedication to patient care, volunteerism, and business acumen since beginning her dentistry career in 1991. She is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry and a Las Vegas Institute graduate, and she recently completed an executive MBA program at Suffolk University.

In May 2006, Dr. Smith's practice was named first runner-up in the prestigious Cosmetic Practice of the Year Award competition, sponsored by Levin Group, Ascend Media, and Philips Oral Healthcare. For more information about her practice visit: