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The DMD Check-Up: The End of Root Canals?

Our weekly look at the top dentistry-related news from across the web.
Greg Kelly
PUBLISHED: Friday, July 8, 2016
Stem cell technology holds the potential to someday eliminate the need for root canals, according to scientists working on just such a project. That story tops this week’s DMD Check-Up. Also making the list: Access to care is a major issue for seniors, and a program in Los Angeles makes major inroads in children’s dental health.
 
The End of Root Canals? (Popular Science)
“What if damaged teeth could heal themselves? That's the inspiration behind a new project from Harvard and the University of Nottingham to create stem cell stimulating fillings. A filling made from synthetic biomaterial that can stimulate the growth of stem cells in the pulp of the tooth.”
 
State of Decay: The Oral Health of America’s Seniors (LMT Communications)
“More unsettling news about the nation’s dental health condition. Oral Health America is out with a state-by-state report of the oral health of the country’s 65+ population and the success or failure of states to address those needs.” About 60% of lower-income older adults have no dental insurance.
 
Benefits of Integrating Dental Care with Medical Visits (The Daily Sentinel)
A Colorado pediatric dentist believes the nation is “facing a silent epidemic. The CDC reports that cavities, which are largely preventable, are the most common chronic illness among American children. And the state’s Medical Dental Integration Project is a promising new model of delivering dental and medical care.”
 
Healthcare Professionals Get Billions From Drug and Device Makers (Boston Globe)
Drug and device makers paid doctors and teaching hospitals nearly $6.5 billion last year, according to new CMS Open Payments database figures. And doctors or their family members held $1 billion in ownership or investment interest in those companies. Novartis topped the list with over $539 million in honoraria.
 
Child Oral Health Program Triples Preventive Visits (UCLA)
From LA, “an innovative program that serves low-income and uninsured children, called the UCLA–First 5 LA 21st Century Dental Homes Project, has more than tripled preventive dental visits for children from birth to age 5, according to this report from UCLA health scientists. Progress with “methods that can be applied universally, said Dr. Jim Crall.
 
App Can Help Dentists Remain HIPPA Compliant (HomeCare.com)
“Thousands of today’s dental professionals are breaking HIPAA rules by texting patient data—and many don’t realize they are doing so,” explains the application’s Boston-based CEO. The issue is certainly worth some education for those dentists who are uncertain of their own compliance.
 
E-cigarettes Linked to Oral Disease (Medical News Today)
The vapor from electronic cigarettes contains toxic compounds and nanoparticles that destroy the outer layer of skin cells in the mouth, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS One. UCLA researchers show the devices, whose usage has doubled among middle and high school students, are not without risk.
 
Answering Patients Questions About “Dental Insurance” (Dentistry iQ)
A former dentist, Texas rancher, and current career coach asks and answers the more pertinent payment questions that patients ask when they come to the office for oral care. First of all, “dental insurance is not the same as medical insurance. In fact, it’s not really ‘insurance’ at all.”
 
Dental Risk Assessment Can Help Improve Care (Medical Xpress)
Taking patients' risk of developing dental caries into account can help dentists effectively tailor individual prevention and treatment efforts, according to a recent study by UC San Francisco School of Dentistry researchers. “Dental caries, like so many chronic diseases, follow a social gradient.”
 
Coalition to Dentists: Quit the American Dental Association (PR Newswire)
Inspired by the recent July 4th holiday, TEAM 1500, a group of dentists and other concerned healthcare professionals, is calling on all general dentists in the United States to drop their membership in the American Dental Association. "The ADA has effectively segregated and economically oppressed general dentists—and their patients—for more than a decade.”



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