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The DMD Check-Up: Dentists, Drugs, and Dependence


Our weekly roundup of the industry's biggest news from around the web.

Dentists are taking a big chunk of the blame for the opioid addiction crisis, and a new report claims dentists are chronic over-prescribers. That story tops this week's DMD Check-Up. Also making the news roundup: a big loss for organized dentistry, and huge gains for one of the industry's biggest names.

The Deadly Triangle: Dentists, Drugs, and Dependence (NBC News)

A hard-hitting report from a national media outfit about a national crisis. “Dentists are among the leading prescribers of opioids, particularly for surgical tooth extractions. And the highest number of these painkiller prescriptions were for teenagers. “Maybe 50% of the patients need a prescription … we just don't know which 50%.”

Poll: Oral Health Impacts Quality of Life (The Ledger)

A report from New York about the sorry condition of oral health there and across the nation: “Nearly 30% of Americans across all income levels say dental problems affect the quality of their life.” Costs are the big issue “with low, middle, and high income. It’s always a battle: what is covered vs. my needs.”

Serious Miconazole-Warfarin Interaction Warnings for Dentists (BDA.org)

British dentists “are being reminded of the potential drug interaction between the antifungal miconazole (Daktarin, Daktacort) and the blood thinning medication warfarin,” according to the British Dental Association. The recent death of an impacted patient in Wales brought on the alert.

“Warren Buffett of the Dental Industry” (Fox Business)

A quick piece about the outstanding leadership of Stanley Bergman, the CEO of Henry Schein, Inc. “Since taking the company public in 1995, Bergman has produced a 1,400%-plus return for investors, more than double that of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway,” a Barron’s profile finds.

Alarming Number of Doctors Busted for Bribery (NJ.com)

A troubling news report from New Jersey on malpractice: officials say that healthcare professionals (including dentists) “have been in front of judges in federal and state courts with alarming frequency this past year. Officials have also raised concerns about the unusually large scope of some of the cases and the widespread extent of the problem.”

Dentist Wants $9 million for Hamptons Home (Metro)

Just in time for summer! Celebrity dentist Dr. Marc Lowenberg —who has made a fortune taking care of the teeth of Heidi Klum, Martha Stewart, the Rolling Stones, and more—is selling his Hamptons home for $9 million. “The 9,400 square feet seamlessly intertwine on three custom designed levels of living space,” explains realtor Douglas Elliman.

Can Your Mouth and Gum Disease Really Cause Heart Problems? (Cleveland Clinic)

A useful report from one of nation’s top cardiac care institutions. “No research is strong enough to link gum disease and cardiac disease, heart attack or stroke … but people who brush and floss regularly have better overall health with less gum disease and less periodontal inflammation.” Good patient education piece.

Organized Dentistry Loses Big (Huffington Post)

A hatchet job on official US dentistry over the issue of dental therapists. “The underdog is celebrating a huge win. One so big, in fact, that it most certainly will embolden groups in other states to take on the same adversary—organized dentistry.” Right or wrong? You decide.

Feds Increase Funds to Improve Oral Health (Healio)

The US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $156 million to increase access to integrated oral health care services and improve oral health outcomes.” Funding will go to 420 health centers in 47 states for patients who participate in the Health Center Program.

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