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Archives for April, 2011

Who Lives on Drill Lane?

National Smile Month kicks off on 15 May, and to get into the festive spirit the British Dental Health Association is asking all dental and health professionals to take part and go “absolutely dental” in coming up with fun, dental themes to replace street names around the country.

So far, the following street and area names have been offered up as alternatives: Floss Street (London), Drill Lane (Canterbury), Brace Avenue (Gwent), Mouth Lane (Wisbech), Canal Street (Leeds), Surgery Lane (Hartlepool), Wisdom Drive (Hertford), Tartar Road (London), Smiley Court (Northern Ireland), Bracebridge Street (Nuneaton), Scales (North West), Tongue (Scotland), Staines (Surrey), Toothill (Swindon) and Root (North West).

The foundation’s chief executive, Dr. Nigel Carter, said “It’s important for the image of dentistry that we can show the public a less serious side to our profession.”

The foundation hopes that dental professionals will scour their local maps and come up with other related names for streets and areas. All of the submissions will be uploaded to the National Smile Month website to encourage others and to showcase the submissions received.

Dentists and Assistants Get Set for a London Marathon

Come Sunday over 100 dentists will be taking to London streets on a mission. No, they will not be brandishing dental drills and dental picks. Nor will they be armed with dental cue cards about periodontal disease and gingivitis. Instead, they will be participating in a marathon—the 2011 Virgin London Marathon.

The dentists will serve as just a fraction of the nearly 50,000 people slated to run in the marathon. Of the dentists participating, 68 will be male and 43 are female and they have been training for this event for months. The marathon, which is expected to attract half a million spectators, will take place along the 26.2 mile route through London from Blackheath Park/Greenwich Common to the Mall.

The organizers of the marathon have revealed that the 111 dentists taking part in the marathon are not the only dental professionals—68 dental assistants will also be taking part in Sunday’s event, eight of whom are men and 27 of whom are women.

Are You Oral Cancer aware

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and the first step to preventing the cancer is knowing the symptoms so that you are able to detect it early.

Oral cancer is a particular risk for those in middle age, it is linked with heavy exposure to alcohol, sunlight and tobacco, according to health care professionals. For nonsmokers who are under the age of 50, the human papilloma virus (HPV) is becoming one of the strongest risk factors for Oral Cancer.

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Unspecified or sudden numbness in the oral or facial region.
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • A sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t heal within 14 days.
  • White or red patches or a mix of both on the gums, tongue, tonsils or lining of the mouth.
  • A lump or thickening on the lips, gums, or in the neck or mouth.
  • A hoarseness or change in voice.
  • Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth or lips.
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue or jaw.
  • Swelling of the jaw.
  • Persistent ear ache.
  • Loose teeth or dentures that no longer fit well.

Should you suspect that you any of these symptoms, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. A prompt trip to the dentist could make the difference between life and death.

India’s Low Cost Treatment Sees Dental Tourism Influx

With cases for dental treatments across the US and many European countries being near astronomical, dental tourism is on the rise and is cheaper alternative to having dental treatment done in one’s home country.

One of the countries attracting thousands of dental tourists each year is India. What is it that drives would-be dental patients abroad in order to get their teeth checked out? It’s numbers of course:

In the US, a patient would have to pay anywhere from $300 to $400 for a routine cavity filling. One could travel to Mumbai or Delhi and receive comparable treatment for just $20 to $40.

A root canal in the US could put potential patients in the red at a whopping $1,300, but in India, things are staggeringly cheaper at nearly $1,000 difference. Dentures are similarly priced as well. Costing only $300 in Mumbai or Delhi, they would cost about $1,000 in the US.

With only 50 percent of the American population in possession of dental insurance and the rest left to pay this outrageous price out of pocket, it is easy to understand why someone might schedule a root canal or dentures fitting along with their summer holiday!

Branches of Dentistry Explained

It can all be a bit confusing, when it’s time to head to the dentist and you’re met with a seemingly endless list of a variety of specialists and different divisions. Knowing which dentist type of dentists to go to for your particular needs and problems is beneficial as it can save you time and money, meaning you get treated more quickly without the hassle of bouncing around unnecessarily from specialist to specialist.

  1. Endodontists are experts in root canals and root canal therapy.
  2. Periodontists are the dentists you want to visit if you need treatment for diseases of the teeth and gums.
  3. Prosthodontists specialize in restoring natural teeth and replacing missing teeth with artificial teeth.
  4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons deal with the function and appearance of tissue in the mouth and face.
  5. Oral medicine and pathology is a specialist area focusing on mouth management and jaw diseases and disorders without surgery.
  6. Oral and maxillofacial radiologists are concerned with diagnostic imaging for the management of diseases of the head and neck.
  7. Dental public health is your one-stop shop for health promotions, education and group dental care programmes.
  8. Pediatric dentistry is the branch of dentistry specializing in treatment for infants and children.
  9. Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics are concerned with the guidance and correction of mature teeth and facial structures and any abnormalities that may occur.

Of course, your general dentists may refer you to one of the above specialist divisions, although, some of the branches of dentistry listed do not need referrals; you can simply arrange to be seen yourself.

Dentist Jockey Settles into Second

Known for his impeccable amateur performances and two winnings in horse racing in 2011, dental tycoon Sam Waley-Cohen says second place keeps him hungry.

At this month’s Grand National, Waley-Cohen failed to take home the top trophy, having to settle for a second place performance at Aintree, when he and his horse Oscar Time, finished just behind Ballabriggs.

Waley-Cohen made news around the world with his flawless victories earlier in the year at the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where he, at 29, was the first amateur jockey to win the title. In January, Waley-Cohen, owner and overseer of his dental enterprise, Portman Healthcare, took the title at the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

Although his first place streak has been notched, Waley-Cohen says he’s not completely beaten. “It keeps you hungry coming second. It’s been a wonderful season but, once you get bitten by the winning bug, it’s no fun coming second. It’s such a fantastic feeling but coming second is never where you want to be. It’s a terrible thing but it’s an amazing day and I had a fantastic run,” he said.

For the time being, Waley-Cohen’s trading in his jodhpurs for a tuxedo and sprucing up to attend the Royal Wedding later in the month.

Illinois Safety Net Dental Clinic Funding Secured

A $400,000 grant has been approved to open a safety net dental clinic to serve low-income children in Illinois, United States in the summer of 2012.

Anita Andress, the health department’s administrator, said that the opening of the clinic will meet a pressing need in Pike County, where more than 2,000 children up to the age of 21 have a medical card but no access to dental care.

“We know our children and their family members are driving hours for dental care, but most are going without care,” Andress said. “Now our children are going to have a place to go. They won’t sit in the classroom with a toothache or not be able to eat lunch because a tooth is aching.”

Ongoing costs for the clinic will be covered through billings and the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation and start up costs have been awarded in the form of a $100,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

The safety net clinic will be located in a new health care complex that is currently being built. Patricia McIntosh, director of the Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County, said that it made sense to locate the new dental clinic in said health complex.

“It is our expectation that their new facility will make it possible for the organization to work more efficiently and effectively, to take on new health initiatives as they present themselves and, most importantly, to focus on providing Pike County residents with the highest level of public health care possible,” McIntosh said.

Technology Slashes Amount of Time Spent at the Dentist

Technological advances have done it again—they have improved our lives, and a number of tech-savvy dentists in Canada are enjoying the benefits.

“It’s a significant time saver for people,” Dr. Deryl Dangstorp said, of the new computer he invested in that allows him to design his own crowns on the computer and then build them in dental clinics instead of sending them to a lab. Thanks to this machine, a dental crown may be fitted in one visit instead of the multiple visits that were customary of this type of procedure.

Although the number of dentists turning to this type of technology is increasing, it hasn’t become the norm yet and that may be due to the newness of the technology. “It’s not a new idea,” Dangstorp said.

“The first idea was thought of in the late ’80s. The problem was the idea was ahead of the technology. The computers weren’t as fast. Scanning wasn’t as accurate. The software wasn’t as advanced as it is now.

“Today’s improved scanning accuracy, camera accuracy, improved processing speed on the computer, are all now pulling this idea forward,” he said.

Plus, with regular software updates, it is easy to keep up-to-date with the technology. In addition to the speed of crown fittings, Dangstorp says that this method is a more tolerable option for patients and it allows dentists to control the entire process from tooth preparation to fitting and cementing of the crown in place.

Although the technology has greatly improved patient experience, Dangstorp says there are a few limitations. At present, the machine is unable to make metal crowns, so Danstorp still uses the dental labs for that.

“It’s a process that’s getting better as time goes on,” he said of the new technology. “It’s a little faster, a little more accurate, a little easier.”

How Often Should You Visit The Dentist?

According to new data released by the government, a number of NHS dentists have been calling healthy patients back to their practice for check-ups too frequently. In fact, many dentists are seeing the same patients twice as often as they should, scheduling follow-up appointments within six months when the patient shouldn’t be seen for two years.

Figures from the Department of Health show that 71 percent of patients are called back to their dentist within nine months of a visit and of those, 13 percent return within three months. The report released  accompanying the figures says, “In some instances, there is good evidence that some patients are being recalled more frequently than necessary.”

Dr. Barry Crockcroft, England’s chief dental officer, wrote to letters to NHS dentists reminding them of NICE recommendations. “Ensuring patients are given an appropriate recall interval is a professional and ethical requirement and helps patients to maintain good oral health,” he wrote.

According to NICE recommendations, adults with low dental risk should be seen every two years, those who have risk factors based on alcohol, tobacco and poor diets should be every three months. NICE recommends that children should visit the dentist between three months and a year.

New Zealand Dental Regulations Still in Negotiation

The fact is, most over-the-counter oral hygiene products contain some form of hydrogen peroxide and labeling each product with a warning that they are not to be used for more than 14 consecutive days without seeking the approval of a dentist is “absurd,” says Katherine Rich, New Zealand’s Food and Grocery Council chief executive.

The suggesting came from the Environmental Risk Management Authority following discussions held between them and the New Zealand Dental Council and Health Ministry to assess the need for regulations on teeth whitening products that contain in excess of 3.6 percent hydrogen peroxide, or bleach.

According to the Dental Council and the Health Ministry, these changes are needed to protect consumers from risks associated with using products that contain hydrogen peroxide, especially since, at present, the use of hydrogen peroxide is completely unregulated.

The lack of regulations means anyone, from members of the general public to professionals in realms other than dentistry, is able to perform teeth whitening procedures using the products. According to the Dental Council’s chairman, Doctor Robert Love, the use of whitening gels and products that contain in excess of 3.6 percent bleach garners an increased risk of adverse effects including gum bleaching and chemical burns.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority’s suggestion was to label whitening gels, mouthwashes and toothpastes with the 14-day warning, however, Rich protested that the labels would “confuse” consumers, especially since most people buy mouthwash to use on a daily basis.

Although Dr. Love said that mouthwashes hadn’t necessarily been considered when drafting the proposal, they might not fit the criteria of teeth-bleaching agents, although no definitive answer was given. The committee is not set to issue its final approach to the impending regulations until next month.

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