The DMD Check-Up: The $400 Toothbrush Arrives


Our weekly roundup of the top dentistry-related news from around the Web.

DMD Critical List

A new smartphone-paired, video-enabled toothbrush will set your patients back about $400, but its dentist-inventor thinks it will improve patient compliance with oral health recommendations. That story tops this week’s DMD Check-Up. Also making the list: Native Americans challenge bans on dental therapists, and a high-profile murder case involving a dentist gets underway in New York.

The $400 Toothbrush Arrives (Chicago Tribune)

Developed by Illinois dentist Craig Kohler, the Prophix is a new toothbrush with a miniature video camera that lets users see inside their mouths with a smartphone app while they brush. “When people understand, they usually take better care of things," explains Dr. Kohler, who has invested more than $1 million in the product.

‘The American Dental Association Is No Friend to American Indian Tribes (The New York Times)

A report in the paper of record on the “poor oral health that has plagued tribal lands across the nation.” Facing a scarcity of dentists, Native American tribes in Washington State are using dental therapists. Since the state won’t pay for care by dental therapists, the tribes are raising private funds. “We had to take matters into our own hands,” explains Brian Cladoosby president of the National Congress of American Indians. The ADA says it understands the tribes’ intentions, but maintains that dental procedures should be performed by trained dentists.

New York Dentist in Sensational Murder Trial (Daily Freeman)

A rather in-depth report on the murder trial that began this week of a New York dentist charged with fatally poisoning his lover’s husband nearly five years ago. The “lovesick” Dr. Gilberto Nunez allegedly used the dental sedative Midazolam to deadly effect.

“Proper Dental Care Should be a Human Right” (Boston Globe)

So says one of the nation’s more prominent dentists—Dr. Donald Berwick, president emeritus at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. “Tooth decay does not make headlines, but the downstream consequences of poor dental care are severe, such as poor nutrition, serious infections, degraded school performance, and acute and chronic pain.”

Fee for Service — Now (

“Would you like to see more patients not only accept treatment but pay for it before or at time of service?” All dentists would. A veteran dental consultant offers many thoughtful, practical, and helpful tips that will make you “wish you had started sooner.”

Dr. Stephen Tracey — RIP (Dental Tribune)

Orthodontist, innovator, dental professor, Ironman athlete, motivational speaker, world traveler, family man, and humanitarian—this California dentist accomplishment so much during his all too brief life. Here’s a thorough biographical-obit. He was “like watching perfection softened by the kind glow of humility.”

Gummed to Death by T-Rex? (CNN)

In the “that’s no fun” department, new paleontology research from the University of Toronto “suggests that theropods—those "beast-footed" terrestrial carnivores—had lips and gums that covered most of their teeth, challenging toothy ideas of what they looked like.”

Baby Teeth Could Be Key to Good Health Later (ABC News)

Medical University of South Carolina researchers “are on the forefront of a major medical discovery—harvesting stem cells that one day could be used to regenerate tissue, other cells, and even entire organs.” Look at baby teeth, “like an investment or as insurance on your own health or your children's health.”

6 Nutritional Rules That Everyone Can Agree On (Los Angeles Times)

The FDA announced this week that it will reevaluate its definition of what is “healthy,” a move that could change how many common foods are marketed and labeled. With that, here are six eating rules that are mostly undisputed.

Half of US Cancer Deaths Due to Bad Habits (NBC News)

As many as 40% of cancer cases, and half of cancer deaths, come down to things people could easily change, according to a Harvard Medical School research team. “If people quit smoking, avoided heavy drinking, kept a healthy weight, and got just a half hour a day of moderate exercise” most cancer could be prevented.

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