Expanding Oral Healthcare for America’s Seniors: Exclusive Interview

Posted on September 29, 2016

By AEGIS Editorial Staff

(Newtown, PA) Every day, thousands of Americans wake up on their first day of retirement with no dental health benefits.The Santa Fe Group and its partners are seeking to change that, as Michael Alfano, DMD, PhD, president of the Santa Fe Group, explains in an exclusive interview with AEGIS Communications. 

Since Wednesday evening, The Santa Fe Group has been hosting a salon, Expanding Oral Healthcare for America’s Seniors, in Arlington, Virginia, for dental and other healthcare professionals to discuss geriatric oral healthcare. This meeting, which has been filled to capacity, has brought leaders together to develop a national campaign to improve the understanding on aging and oral health. The event concludes Friday.

In the interview, Dr. Alfano talks with AEGIS CEO Daniel Perkins about the state of geriatric oral healthcare in America and the salon. The video can be seen below.

"This is a very important topic, and we're happy to be working with The Santa Fe Group on this initiative," says Mr. Perkins. "We believe it is essential to forge partnerships with the medical and dental communities to help expand our understanding of geriatric oral healthcare in America."

Attendees are learning about the need for oral healthcare benefits for America’s seniors and identify ways to improve access to oral healthcare for senior patients, with and without comorbid chronic illnesses, across all income ranges. Lectures specifically include discussion about access to dental benefits for the poor, near-poor, and retired middle-income seniors who do not have reasonable options for dental coverage, and therefore do not have access to oral healthcare in the absence of a Medicare benefit.

Don't miss AEGIS' video featuring an exclusive interview with Dr. Alfano.


OSAP and ICD Sponsor Groundbreaking Educational Program in Vietnam

Posted on September 29, 2016

The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), a community of clinicians, educators, researchers and industry representatives who advocate for the safest dental visit and the International College of Dentists (ICD), the world’s oldest and largest honor society for dentists™, dedicated to the recognition of outstanding professional achievement and meritorious service and the continued progress of the profession of dentistry for the benefit of humankind, announced the completion of a highly successful comprehensive 2-day seminar on dental safety that was held September 6-7 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Theprogram was jointly sponsored by OSAP and the ICD and coincided with Dental Infection Control Awareness Month (September) and the Annual meeting of the South East Asia Association for Dental Education (SEAADE). Response to the program was overwhelming, with a delegation from Cambodia joining the many participants from Vietnam.

The first day of the program focused on infection control for dental practitioners, patient safety and quality measures, and antibiotic stewardship. Attendees received information on instrument processing, , and implementing, reinforcing, and ensuring compliance with infection control best practices.

The second day of the program was geared to educators and trainers and focused on managing infection control in the educational setting—developing policies and procedures, identifying resources and best practices, and training staff. Attendees learned about patient safety as an emerging discipline and trends in infectious diseases, as well as the equipment, processes, and design for optimum infection control across a variety of settings.

The key speaker for the program was Eve Cuny, MS, who is Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Associate Professor in the Department of Dental Practice at Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry. Ms. Cuny is a past chairperson for OSAP who has worked with government agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the world to educate dental practitioners about best practices in dental infection control.

Hu-Friedy supported this program through a generous educational grant, while the ICD Region 31 Viet Nam provided local arrangements, venue and promotion.

Dental Fillings Raise Levels of Mercury in the Body, UGA Study Says

Posted on September 29, 2016

Athens, Ga. — Dental surface restorations composed of dental amalgam, a mixture of mercury, silver, tin and other metals, significantly contribute to prolonged mercury levels in the body, according to new research from the University of Georgia's department of environmental health science in the College of Public Health.

This research, which analyzed data from nearly 15,000 individuals, is the first to demonstrate a relationship between dental fillings and mercury exposure in a nationally representative population. The results were published online last week and will be available in the print edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety in December.

"Tooth decay is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases," said Lei Yin, a scientist in the department of environmental health science and the study's lead author. "I think a majority of people have experienced dental fillings, but the kind of materials the dentist uses isn't something that's really discussed."

Mercury exposure from dental fillings is not a new concern, but previous studies were inconsistent and limited, according to Xiaozhong "John" Yu, assistant professor of environmental health science and co-author of the study.

"This study is trying to provide the most accurate levels of exposure, which will form the scientific basis to make future risk assessment," Yu said, adding that the study was the first to also control for age, education, ethnicity, race, gender, smoking and seafood consumption, which is a known contributor to mercury levels in the body.

The researchers further analyzed exposure by specific types of mercury and found a significant increase in methyl mercury, the most toxic form of mercury, related to dental fillings. Yu said this result suggests the human gut microbiota, a collection of microorganisms living in the intestines, may transform different types of mercury.

Dental amalgam has been the go-to dental filling material for more than 150 years, because it's affordable and durable. However, about half of the compound contains mercury, a heavy metal known to be toxic at high levels, causing brain, heart, kidney, lung and immune system damage. New research suggests that methyl mercury may cause damage even at low levels.

"As toxicologists, we know that mercury is poison, but it all depends on the dose. So, if you have one dental filling, maybe it's OK. But if you have more than eight dental filings, the potential risk for adverse effect is higher," Yu said. People with numerous dental fillings who are also exposed to mercury from other sources, such as seafood or work environments, are most at risk.

The results show that individuals with more than eight fillings had about 150% more mercury in their blood than those with none. The average American has three dental fillings, while 25% of the population has 11 or more fillings.

According to its website, the US Food and Drug Administration considers dental amalgam fillings safe for adults, but says, "pregnant women and parents with children under six who are concerned about the absence of clinical data as to long-term health outcomes should talk to their dentist."

The study also looked at dental composite resins, a mercury-free alternative for dental fillings that can release small amounts of bisphenol A, or BPA, which may cause developmental or reproductive damage. The results found no association between dental fillings and urinary BPA, but further research is needed to understand BPA exposure from resin-based materials.

"It's important for doctors and patients to be informed in their selections," Yin said. "We now have an excellent starting point to evaluate the potential risk of dental material on human health."

Xiao Song from the department of epidemiology and biostatistics in the UGA College of Public Health, and Simon Lin from the University of Washington's Center for Pediatric Dentistry also contributed to the study.

Read the journal article online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651316303475.

Santa Fe Group Salon, Expanding Oral Healthcare for America’s Seniors, Convenes Tonight

Posted on September 28, 2016

By AEGIS Editorial Staff

(Newtown, PA) The Santa Fe Group Salon, Expanding Oral Healthcare for America’s Seniors, begins today at the Renaissance Arlington Capitol View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The meeting will open with a reception in the early evening of September 28 and conclude at midday on September 30, 2016. 

Distinguished colleagues from government, academe, public health, professional associations, corporate entities and advocacy groups will discuss the need, the rationale, the cost, and the benefits of expanded oral healthcare for seniors.

Participants will collaborate in developing action plans to shape policy, optimize benefits, foster health literacy and drive the changes necessary to achieve the important goal of expanded access to basic dental care. The list of speakers and moderators can be viewed here

Attendees will be using #TeethinMedicare for social media. Follow Compendium Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the meeting. 

Expanding Oral Healthcare for America’s Seniors

Posted on September 28, 2016

By AEGIS Editorial Staff

(Newtown, PA) The Santa Fe Group is hosting a salon, Expanding Oral Healthcare for America’s Seniors, for dental professionals to discuss geriatric oral healthcare on September 28-30, 2016 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View in Arlington, Virginia. This meeting will bring individuals and groups together to develop and implement a national campaign to improve oral health literacy around aging and oral health.

Recognizing that approximately 10,000 Americans retire each day and do not have dental benefits, attendees will learn about the need for oral healthcare benefits for America’s seniors and identify ways to improve access to oral healthcare for senior patients, with and without comorbid chronic illnesses, across all income ranges. Lectures will specifically include discussion about access to dental benefits for the poor, near poor, and retired middle-income seniors who do not have reasonable options for dental coverage, and therefore do not have access to oral healthcare in the absence of a Medicare benefit.

A white paper describing the problems, opportunities, and proposals for next steps was distributed exclusively to salon attendees ahead of the meeting and the full document will be distributed after the meeting. Using this resource, the hope is for attendees to build a consensus on appropriate benefits packages.

Attendees will also examine establishing dental benefits in Medicare by a combination of expanded Medicare benefits for dental care, improved private dental insurance approaches, and development of more efficient dental care delivery approaches. In addition, participants will collaborate with partners in grassroots organizations to mobilize American Seniors and develop the political will to make this change happen.

There will be an interprofessional mix of individuals, institutions, agencies, and organizations attending this meeting in an effort to educate legislators about the importance of oral health on total health and to encourage professionals across the entire dental industry and in all health professions to work together in this endeavor. Participants will also identify approaches to optimize cost savings and benefit/cost ratios to deliver and compensate for the inclusion of oral health services as a Medicare benefit.

The overarching goal of this salon is to show attendees how to improve oral health for America’s seniors in a capacity consistent with their professional roles in clinical care, education, policy, economics, industry, and legislation. The hope is to publish a summary of the salon outcomes in a national journal to spread the message about this population and its needs, and provide a plan to assist them.

For more information, visit www.cvent.com/events/september-2016-santa-fe-group-arlington-va/event-summary-295c81a85eea404cb7f990fb555dc0e8.aspx. 

LED Medical Diagnostics Announces Launch of RAYSCAN Alpha Plus Imaging System from RAY Company

Posted on September 28, 2016

LED Medical Diagnostics Inc., through its wholly-owned US and Canadian operating subsidiaries, LED Dental Inc./LED Dental Ltd. ("LED Dental") is pleased to announce the launch of the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus, a next-generation extraoral imaging system that is the latest innovation from former Samsung Electronics subsidiary RAY Company (“RAY”).

Building upon the award-winning RAYSCAN Alpha platform, the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus continues RAY Company’s dedication to delivering high-quality imaging technologies combined with innovative features that break new ground in the industry.

Clinicians can utilize the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus to capture high-resolution panoramic, cephalometric and cone beam computed tomography images. The panoramic modality allows for a variety of 2D panoramic examinations, including standard pano and segmented pano acquisitions, in addition to an extraoral bitewing feature.

The CBCT modality of the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus boasts several exclusive features that allow practitioners to truly customize examinations to their patients unlike ever before. First, the Alpha Plus utilizes an innovative light-guided field-of-view that simplifies patient positioning to reduce errors and retakes. The desired field-of-view is super-imposed on the patient’s face, allowing dental professionals to see the exact area being scanned in relation to the patient’s actual anatomy, ensuring accurate image acquisition.

Furthermore, the system adds to the innovative light-guided positioning feature by utilizing Free FOV technology, which makes the field-of-view completely customizable from 4x3 cm to 16x10 cm. While many systems on the market force the clinician to choose one of several pre-set field-of-view options, the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus allows practitioners to collimate the field-of-view to any size, truly limiting radiation exposure to the smallest area possible to still acquire the needed anatomy.

While The RAYSCAN Alpha Plus continues to push new boundaries in terms of dose reduction, image quality and clarity remain the system’s top priority. The CBCT modality delivers voxel resolutions as small as 70 μm, making 3D images from the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus among the highest resolution in the industry. And, new proprietary algorithms allow for images to be reconstructed in as little as 4.9 seconds. 

Finally, the optional cephalometric module is available in either scanning or one-shot options, with the one-shot module acquiring images in less than one second to further reduce image distortion and lessen radiation dose. 

“We could not be more excited to launch the RAYSCAN Alpha Plus in conjunction with our partners at RAY Company,” stated Dr. David Gane, CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics. “Over the last few years, RAY Company has illustrated a commitment to developing technologies that not only deliver exceptional image quality, but also integrate innovative features that make acquiring images more intuitive, delivering an improved user experience while reducing patient dose.” 

Kevin Cho, President of RAY America concluded, “The RAYSCAN Alpha Plus is the culmination of years of development and optimization, relying on clinical feedback to build a system that not only produces outstanding images but utilizes next-generation technologies to make oral healthcare a simpler, more patient-friendly process.” 

The RAYSCAN Alpha Plus is available now through LED Dental. For more information, please call 844.952.7327 or visit www.leddental.com

UK Professor Unveils First Data on New Dental Fillings That Will Repair Tooth Decay

Posted on September 27, 2016

The first data on dental fillings that can actively repair tooth decay are presented by Professor Robert Hill. Professor Hill is Chair of Physical Sciences at the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary University of London and co-founder and director of research at BioMin Technologies.

Over 80% of the population in the UK has at least one filling, with seven being the average while 8 million cavities are filled with amalgam each year.

These data, indicating smart repair of tooth decay, prolonging the life of composite fillings, and reducing the need for mercury-based amalgams, indicate a significant step forward in tooth-restorative materials.

Hill outlines how new bioactive glass composites are unique in their ability to release fluoride as well as the significant quantities of calcium and phosphate that are needed to form tooth mineral.

Hill explains that while current dental fillings include inert materials, the data on the new bioactive glass composite shows that it interacts positively with the body providing minerals that replace those lost to tooth decay.

“Our scientists and dentists at Queen Mary University of London replaced the inert tooth filling materials with our new bioactive glass, explained Hill. “Not only did this bioactive glass composite remineralize the partially decayed teeth, but it also creates an alkaline environment that discourages the bacteria that caused the initial decay.

“The new bioactive glass also fills in the gaps with tooth mineral thus preventing the oral bacteria which cause tooth decay from establishing themselves. Research in the United States suggests this will potentially prolong the life of fillings and slow secondary tooth decay because the depth of bacterial penetration with bioactive glass fillings was significantly smaller than for inert fillings.”

Richard Whatley, the CEO of BioMin Technologies who has recently licensed the technology from Queen Mary Innovations, adds, “We plan to translate the remineralizing technology developed with the BioMinF® toothpaste into restorative dental products. This is a really exciting development which is attracting interest from a number of commercial companies.” 

He added, “There is also huge pressure to eliminate mercury based amalgam fillings by 2020, which is outlined in a host of international agreements. Using this type of bioactive glass composite to fill cavities eliminates the need to use mercury-based amalgam by offering esthetic white fillings, which help heal the tooth.”

Sagemax Announces Contest Winners

Posted on September 26, 2016

Sagemax Bioceramics, Inc., announced the winners of the 2016 NexxZr Plus Competition as chosen by users on Dental Lab Network.

Ryan Gottlieb of Gottlieb Dental Lab in the US took first place, winning $10,000. Britta Anderson (Dentallabor Zahntick, Germany) took the $5,000 second-place prize, and Massimo Fabbro (Oral Tecnica, Italy) came in third and won $2,000.

Sagemax also is giving a $1,000 credit toward future purchases to each of the other top-10 finishers, and all of the top 10 were invited to visit the company's headquarters and manufacturing facility in Seattle, Washington. Sagemax will host a banquet honoring them at the Fairmont Olympic hotel in Seattle, and airfare and room accommodations will be provided.

"Each of the talented technicians who participated brought a unique perspective and esthetic to this competition," Sagemax Chief Operating Officer Katie J. Kosty says in the official announcement of the winners. "In the future, we will add categories to recognize the technicians who created restorations with beautiful contour, natural esthetics, high translucency, and possibly more. As the competition grows each year, we may even host competitions in various regions to accommodate more laboratories who want to participate. 

"This has been a fun event to be a part of and we appreciate everyone involved for their time and effort. We look forward to continuing to grow this competition in the future and seeing what other amazing things technicians around the world are doing with NexxZr zirconia."

Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages to Reduce Dental Cavities and Treatment Costs?

Posted on September 26, 2016

Alexandria, Va. – The International and American Associations for Dental Research (IADR/AADR) have published a Discovery! manuscript titled "Effects of Taxing Sugar-sweetened Beverages on Caries and Treatment Costs" by lead author Falk Schwendicke, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. This manuscript, published today in the OnlineFirst portion of the IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR), provides the first economic evaluation of the effect of taxation on caries experience and treatment costs. Accompanying this article is an editorial titled "Taxes on SSBs: A Strategy to Reduce Epidemics of Dental Caries?", written by JDR Editor-in-Chief William Giannobile, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA; and JDR Associate Editor Jessica Lee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, diet is the leading cause of health loss. The dietary impact of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), in addition to tobacco, alcohol and salt, serves as a major contributor to death. SSBs have demonstrated putative effects on diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancer types. Furthermore, the increasing rise in dental caries experience due to SSBs has become a global public health problem that has attracted the attention of clinicians, scientists and policymakers.

In this study, Schwendicke and colleagues modeled the implementation of a 20% of SSBs' sales tax in a German population and concluded that taxation reduced caries increment and treatment costs especially in younger individuals and those with low income. If such a tax rate of 20% was implemented, this could help alleviate the rates in obesity, dental caries increments and perhaps other comorbidities, such as diabetes. There have been successes in the implementation of SSB taxes in an effort to reduce dietary intake of added sugars to combat obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Obesity, like dental caries is broadly perceived as a preventable condition that can be managed through behavioral changes, in most cases.

As far as recent triumphs in affecting change, Mexico and the UK have successfully passed legislation on SSBs using prototypes of taxation adapted from alcohol and tobacco. Taxing SSBs can be an important tool in the prevention of dental and metabolic diseases to promote oral and systemic well-being.

"This landmark contribution provides convincing evidence that changes in tax policy can result in improved oral health, at both the individual and population levels, and also yield significant financial benefits to governments," said oral health policy expert and AADR President-elect Raul Garcia. "These findings have immediate implications for formulation of health policy at the national level in all countries."

Please visit http://jdr.sagepub.com/content/early/recent to read the Discovery! manuscript titled "Effects of Taxing Sugar-sweetened Beverages on Caries and Treatment Costs" and the companion editorial.


Doceram, 3M Agree on Licensing

Posted on September 26, 2016

Doceram Medical Ceramics GmbH, headquarted in Dortmund, Germany, and 3M, headquarted in St. Paul, Minnesota, announced they have signed a licensing agreement for Doceram to use 3M’s patented techology that enables the coloring of unshaded ceramics by color-matching dental restorations to the natural color of patients’ teeth.

Doceram Medical will expand the Nacera® brand as a complete system solution for dental laboratories and dental technicians, leveraging 3M’s patented technology for staining zirconia with a new product marketed as Nacera® Classic Liquids.

3M has licensed its patented technology to several other partners in the dental industry and remains open to licensing this technology to other interested parties.

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