The DMD Check-Up: State's Dental Safety Net a 'Failure'

April 8, 2016
Greg Kelly

Our weekly round-up of dental industry news from around the web.

A bipartisan commission in California finds the state’s dental safety net is dangerously dysfunctional. That story tops this week’s DMD Check-Up. Also making the list: How a dog makes pediatric appointments run more smoothly, and a new report on activated charcoal.

California's Dental Safety Net a Failure (NPR.org)

The nation’s most populous and powerful state has a “dysfunctional” dental health system for the poor, a bipartisan oversight commission has found. Says the Little Hoover Commission chairman of the Denti-Cal program: “in California we have kids' teeth rotting out of their heads. That's utterly inexcusable.”

Dog Eases Child Dental Visits (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

A 6-year-old golden retriever, “a trained comfort dog,” is offering a helping paw to nervous visitors at a pediatric dentistry office in Illinois. JoJo is “so integral to the team that she's on the dentistry's staff page on its website.”

Activated Charcoal: Teeth-Whitening Secret or Total Scam? (Daily Beast)

Is black the new white? A report on recent Internet claims that “brushing with activated charcoal is an all-natural way to remove surface stains caused by coffee, tea, or red wine without bleach or abrasives.” An ADA dentist-spokesperson says: “there’s no scientific indication that it actually works and there are better options out there that do work.”

Father & Son—Fake Florida Dentists (ABC News)

A Miami father and son have been arrested for pretending to be licensed dentists. One victim “was told by the men that she needed two root canals and several teeth pulled in order to get dentures.” The 81-year-old father faces similar charges from for 5 years ago.

Alaska Dental Care Event in Trouble (Alaska Dispatch News)

A gloomy report about the Alaska Mission of Mercy started by a husband-and-wife dentist team. The free dental services program for the low-income is having a hard time raising money, putting its future in doubt. Also a lack of dentist-volunteers for an event that helps 1,600 patients.

Caring for Baby's Teeth Starts Before Birth (Medical Xpress)

“A child's dental health begins at the time of conception, says an expert who recommends mothers-to-be visit the dentist before, during and after pregnancy.” A Baylor College of Dentistry professor explains that “cavities are 'contagious,' because germs in the mother's mouth and family's mouth will be in a baby's mouth.”

Average Pro Baseball Salary Rises to $4.4 Million (AP)

Just a game? With the 2016 Major League Baseball season just underway, the AP reports that the average player’s annual salary is $4.38 million. The minimum annual salary for a player in now $507,000. LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the highest paid player at $33 million/year.

Still Don't Have EHRs for Your Dental Practice? (DentistryiQ)

Some worthwhile information about the growing need and requirement for electronic health records in dental offices. In 2016, “Medicare-eligible dentists who have not successfully switched over to EHRs and demonstrated meaningful use will be subject to a payment reduction.”

Saliva Science: It’s the Calcium (Science Daily)

The salivary gland secretes saliva that helps us chew and swallow the food we eat. A new Science Signaling journal study “uncovers a previously mysterious process that makes these secretions possible.” And it’s “better knowledge of the mechanisms that control the flow of calcium in and out of cells that will advance research on new treatments for many diseases.”

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