The number of children visiting the dentist has increased while dental care among adults has declined during the past decade, according to the Georgia Dental Association (GDA). The organization also notes that dental emergency room visits are on the rise.
In 2007, for instance, there were about 60,000 visits to Georgia emergency rooms for nontraumatic dental problems, or oral health issues not caused by injuries, costing more than $23 million.
The increase in emergency room visits isn’t because of a lack of capacity in Georgia dental offices, as most dentists in the state can accept more patients, the GDA reports. Instead, patients are afraid of the dentist, they can’t take time off work, or they can’t afford the cost, the group says.
“Many easily remedied dental conditions are ignored until the point that they become a more serious and expensive dental issue,” says Dr. Tom Broderick, president of the GDA. “Simple steps like brushing and flossing your teeth, eating a balanced diet, and seeing a dentist regularly can protect against tooth decay.”
“Pain from untreated dental decay results in lost school and work hours,” said GDA executive director Frank J. Capaldo. “When people are in severe pain, oftentimes they seek care in hospital emergency rooms, most of which are not well equipped to handle dental emergencies and where the cost of treatment is far greater than a dental office visit.”
Dental disease is almost entirely preventable, the GDA says. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, bone or nerve damage, and infections that spread to other parts of the body, possibly with fatal results.
To encourage better oral care, Georgia state legislators appropriated $200,000 this year so more Medicaid dentists could practice in rural areas through a dental loan repayment program. GDA members also regularly volunteer in the state’s free and reduced cost dental clinics.
Earlier this summer, the GDA and its foundation hosted the Georgia Mission of Mercy dental clinic in Perry, Ga. More than 1,400 dentists and volunteers saw 2,000 patients from 80 counties in Georgia and provided $1.5 million of donated care.
Looking ahead, the GDA has launched its Action for Dental Health program to further improve oral care. Its goals include promoting quality attainable dental care for the uninsured and underserved in Georgia, promoting oral health education and literacy to mitigate potential barriers to a dental home, and optimizing the use and availability of publicly supported dental facilities.
Ivoclar Vivadent has promoted 4 members of its North American executive team. Sarah Anders has been named chief operating officer (COO). Dr. George Tysowsky is now senior vice president of technology and professional relations. Dr. Michael Gaglio is senior vice president of marketing and digital communication. And, Pierre Lamoure was promoted to senior vice president of clinical sales.
“This is an exciting time for dentistry, with so much potential for growth,” said Robert Ganley, CEO of Ivoclar Vivadent. “Our success will depend upon clear vision, industry-leading innovation, and forward-based thinking. Under their leadership, we will continue to set new standards in providing outstanding service and support our customers and partners.”
In addition to her role as senior vice president of North American sales, Anders will be responsible for overall company operations as COO. She is a member of the company’s International Advisory Team as well. She holds a BS in biochemistry from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and an MBA from Penn State University.
As senior vice president of technology and professional relations, Tysowsky will continue in his role as head of research and development. He also is a member of the International Advisory Team. He holds a DDS from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and a master’s degree in public health from Minnesota’s School of Public Health.
Along with leading Ivoclar Vivadent’s North American marketing, Gaglio will be responsible for all new digital communication initiatives as senior vice president of marketing and digital communication. He has been invited to join the International Advisory Team as well. He is a graduate of SUNY at Albany and holds a DDS from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.
And, Pierre Lamoure will lead the growth of the company’s clinical sales organization under a sustained territory expansion plan as senior vice president of clinical sales. He joined Ivoclar Vivadent in 1985 as one of 6 clinical territory sales managers in North America and has served as vice president of sales, clinical products, since 1997.
From an early age, children need to learn about proper dental care so they can establish healthy habits that they will practice for the rest of their lives. However, good oral hygiene is a particular challenge for children with intellectual disabilities. That’s why America’s ToothFairy has adapted its popular educational kit to meet their educational needs.
“Oral health has been identified as the number-one unmet health need for children with special needs,” said Fern Ingber, president and CEO of America’s ToothFairy. “We really want to make sure we reach as many children and caregivers as possible.”
The update includes a hands-on and 2-sided magnetic display board; a giant toothbrush; and revised lessons on brushing, flossing, nutrition, handwashing, germ transmission, and other topics. It recommends techniques and modifications to make daily oral health routines more comfortable.
“We carefully adapted the lessons to address sensory issues and physical challenges,” said Ingber.
In July and August, America’s ToothFairy demonstrated the kit for healthcare providers, educational institutions, and other relevant organizations at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. According to Ingber, the kit was very well received.
“Everyone has been very receptive,” she said. “They really love our interactive kit because they understand that oral health is a major issue and this is a tool that, frankly, kids love. They find it interesting. They find it memorable.”
Practitioners, researchers, and students associated with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) were introduced to the kit at their annual meeting. Student chapters of the AADMD will use the kit in their educational outreach programs and become participants in Students United with America’s ToothFairy.
“We also work with a terrific group called Health Occupations Students of America—Future Health Professionals. It has 4,600 chapters and 180,000 students. These are future health professionals across a wide spectrum of health disciplines,” said Ingber. “We are working with these organizations to integrate oral health into their conversations and make sure that they know that we have these special modules available to help them in better serving all children.”
The America’s ToothFairy Scientific Advisory Board, which comprises dentists, hygienists, nurses, and academics with experience in working with children, developed the kit. These advisors include Steven P. Perlman, DDS, professor of pediatric dentistry at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine.
“Dr. Perlman started the Healthy Athletes Special Smiles Program of the Special Olympics,” said Ingber. “Helping young children and families with intellectual disabilities has become a driving passion for him as well as his vocation. We are very proud that he serves as a member of our Scientific Advisory Board and has facilitated our growing partnership with Special Olympics.”
A range of health professionals reviewed the lessons. Input was also gathered from dentists and physicians who devote much if not all of their practices to children with special needs.
In addition to providing the ToothFairy 101 Community Education Kit to its network of partners, including the National Association of School Nurses, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, America’s ToothFairy is making it available to everyone engaged in oral health promotion.
“We are working with all of these organizations as distribution points to get the information out and drive positive health behaviors for children,” Ingber said.
Multiple partnerships are necessary to achieve widespread use and education among the more than 6.5 million people in the United Sates with intellectual disabilities. Families of children with special needs often face significant challenges in accessing oral care, including finding a dentist with experience in treating patients with special needs—which also motivates the organization to reach out to professional societies.
“It is important for more and more practitioners to be comfortable treating children with intellectual disabilities,” Ingber said. “Then we need to make sure we can connect these children with practitioners who will provide care.”
America’s ToothFairy designed its Practice of Distinction program to support dentists with a turnkey marketing program that helps them attract patients and engage their community in improving oral health. Members receive access to co-branded materials for their practices.
Meanwhile, America’s ToothFairy is taking the kit international by providing it to mission groups serving at-risk children around the globe and translating it into Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other languages. It has even been used in India, according to Ingber.
“We hope to see more and more mission groups not only providing dental care, but also offering education and helping train someone from the village or the community to continually help educate,” Ingber said, adding that you don’t have to be a dentist, hygienist, or even a nurse or teacher to conduct lessons with the kit. “This kit becomes a great leave-behind.”
The kit is just one example of the educational tools that America’s ToothFairy offers. For example, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can earn patches related to dental activities. The #MySmileMatters youth movement engages middle school and high school students in oral health leadership and advocacy.
Members of the free Kids Club receive personalized monthly emails from the Tooth Fairy featuring activities that promote better oral care. America’s ToothFairy wants to dive deeper into the digital realm, too, with aspirations for developing an app.
“We would love to identify angels that would like to work with us to support the development of some great apps,” Ingber said. “We certainly have the content, we have the programs, all ready to go to create a great app that could be co-branded.”
But the best oral care starts with prevention. While oral health ranks high as an unmet healthcare need in surveys of families of children with special needs, Ingber said, it is much easier to continue good oral health habits than it is to find care for a child who has serious tooth decay or other significant, painful issues. And the kit teaches those habits.
“When you show sticky and nonsticky foods to kids, that’s something they remember. When they see a visual of what happens if they don’t wear a mouthguard, it’s memorable. When they can see how permanent teeth are already sitting in the gums, sitting on top of the deciduous baby teeth and ready to come down, they can really understand why baby teeth are so important, how decay can spread,” Ingber said. “That’s why this kit is so effective.”
Periodontal therapy offers some significant challenges. Oral biofilms reform just hours after patients leave the hygiene chair. Also, brushing, rinsing, and flossing often don’t get deep enough below the gums. Patients need an easy way to manage pathogenic bacteria below the gums on a regular basis.
That’s why Jim McCreight, DDS, and Tanya Dunlap, PhD, will present “Kill ’em Quick, Dead, and Often” at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) for LVI Global on Friday, October 23.
Prescription tray delivery of anitmicrobials into periodontal pockets can help, according to LVI. The most extensively tested antimicrobial is 1.7% hydrogen peroxide gel.
“The research supporting the use of peroxide is significant,” said Dunlap, managing director of Perio Protect LLC, “because hydrogen peroxide overcomes many of the limitations of antibiotic therapy. The trick, of course, is how to get the medication deep into the pockets. That’s why the Perio Tray is important.”
Developed by Perio Protect, the Perio Tray has an internal peripheral seal corresponding to pocket probing depth scores. It is custom made for each patient to deliver and maintain medication in the pocket long enough to have therapeutic effect.
“I’ll review the clinical trials and microbiological data,” said Dunlap. “But Jim gets the exciting part, a presentation of the real-world results he’s documented with the trays for his own patients.”
“We’ve had great success for many different kinds of patients, including those who continue to struggle after periodontal therapy, who refuse surgery, or who even refuse scaling,” said McCreight, an LVI clinical instructor. “It’s so rewarding to have options that help patients.”
The course is open to all attendees of the LVI 20th Anniversary Gala, Oct. 22-24 at the LVI Campus in Las Vegas. All attendees of the presentation will have the option to become Perio Protect providers following the course. They do not need to complete additional training, though doctors and teams are encouraged to attend together for seamless implementation.
“The goal is to provide the scientific and practical information for an office to get started immediately after the conference,” said McCreight.
Researchers have uncovered the genetic sources of dental traits commonly found in East Asians, including upper central incisor shoveling, enamel extensions of the first maxillary molar, and 4-cusped second mandibular molars. These variations can be traced to the human kallikrein cluster (KLK), comprising 15 genes found on chromosome 19.
KLK4 has a recognized role in tooth enamel maturation. It cleaves enamelin, a component of tooth enamel, which increases the mineralization levels and thicknesses of the outer surfaces of teeth. But amelogenesis imperfecta (2A1), a genetic condition caused by KLK4 loss of function mutation, is associated with abnormal tooth development and enamel hypomaturation, brownish hyper-pigmentation, and hyper-sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli.
The researchers performed a detailed evaluation of KLK3-KLK5 variability in the samples from the 1000 Genomes project from East Asia, Europe, and Africa, sustained by their own sequencing. By doing so, they identified 2 genetic variants (rs198968_T and rs17800874_A) that synergistically operate to reduce KLK4 expression. While the chromosomes carrying both variants are highly prevalent in Asians (65%), they are found at very low frequencies (5%) in other populations like Europeans.
“By reducing KLK4 activity, these variants may contribute to the outer surface shape and structure of teeth, which is established during enamel development,” said Susana Seixas of the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto in Portugal. “It is interesting to note that one of these variants was already associated by other authors to reduce protection against early childhood caries.”
The study, “Adaptive evolution favoring KLK4 downregulation in East-Asians,” was published by Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Typically, dentists need to use ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and then chlorhexidine (CHX) to irrigate, clean, and disinfect root canals. Irritrol from Essential Dental Systems (EDS), though, turns that process into a single step used as a final rinse after sodium hypochlorite.
And while EDTA can chelate away calcium ions and leave the dentinal surface severely eroded, Irritrol does not include high concentrations of the acid. So, it can efficiently remove the smear layer less aggressively than conventional irrigants.
“Traditional irrigants typically use concentrated solutions of EDTA (17%) to remove smear layer, resulting in highly demineralized dentin,” said Carrie Moncrieffe, marketing manager at EDS. “With its proprietary blend of surfactants and chealtors that work together in synergy, Irritrol can accomplish a highly efficient removal of smear layer without excessive demineralization.”
Furthermore, independent testing by Nelson Labs (time kill study protocol #STP0158) shows that Irritrol has a disinfection rate of 99.99% and disinfects against Enterococcus faecalis better than 2% CHX alone, which only removes about 25% of bacteria.
The pre-mixed solution is available now. For more information, call (201) 487-9090 or go to edsdental.com/irritrol.
Henry Schein has launched a disaster relief hotline for dentists, physicians, and veterinarians experiencing operational, logistical, or financial issues as a result of the flooding in South Carolina. The toll-free number for all Henry Schein customers is (800) 999-9729. It is operational from 8 am to 7 pm ET.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those struggling to cope with the effects of the disastrous flooding in South Carolina,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein. “For our customers who have practices affected by the storms, we are here to help and encourage practitioners to call our hotline for assistance.”
The Henry Schein Disaster Relief Hotline is open throughout the year to assist practitioners affected by disasters.
DentiMax has updated its Dream Sensor system with a tougher package and improved imaging. For example, a new protective plate acts like a shock absorber when a patient bites down or it’s dropped on the floor. Also, Kevlar reinforcement in the cord improves its durability.
“Most sensors fail right where the cable connects to the sensor housing—the sensor itself,” said David J. Arnett, DentiMax co-founder. “With the Kevlar reinforcement, we have never had a single sensor fail at that point.”
Users can expect a sharper picture too with improved filters that remove noise, otherwise known as pixilation. Improved calibration files also filter out noise in the image in addition to fixed pattern noise to make the image as clear as possible.
“The image quality is better than film,” said Arnett. “The image is as clear and diagnostic as film, but we have additional diagnostic tools that allow the practitioner to zoom, spotlight areas, and enhance areas of suspected caries or other areas of concern.”
The Dream Sensor can link or bridge from virtually all of the practice management packages on the market, including Henry Schein’s Dentrix and Easy Dental, Patterson Dental Supply’s Eaglesoft, and Carestream Dental’s SoftDent and PracticeWorks. It requires Windows-based computers, with Windows 7 and above recommended.
“Windows 10 works wonderfully,” Arnett said.
As a true open platform system, the DentiMax imaging system works with almost all of the dental hardware on the market. It also integrates natively with all of the sensors on the market, except Dexis. It works with all digital panoramic units, intraoral cameras, and cephs as well.
Training is included with any sensor bundle purchase. For more information, call (800) 704-8494 or visit dentimax.com.