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."