Safety at the Dental Office Just Got a Lot More Complicated

Mad Cow Concerns over Root Canal Tools

Dentists in the UK and across the globe were shaken recently when Britain’s Minister of Health announced its official recommendation that root canal tools not be reused. The concern is vCJD – also known as “mad cow disease” – which is transmitted via prions in the brain. Though a case has never been documented, endodontic work could leave patients vulnerable to infection with the deadly disease. Contaminated tools can never be cleaned, as prions are resistant to heat and disinfectants. In response to the new recommendations, at least one dental supplier has significantly lowered the prices of its single-use endodontic tools.

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Dental Insurance and Obama Care: Who’s Right?

Dental Insurance and Obama CareThe National Journal is reporting that the National Association of Dental Plans is spending more than $1 million on a campaign to change a provision in the health care law that they feel will require some people to buy duplicate dental insurance coverage.

Let me repeat…The dental benefits trade organization is spending $1,000,0000 to hire a lobbying firm to convince the Obama administration to fix the provision by the end of 2011.

Is this a good thing? Click here for a 92-page white paper “Road Map” with Delta Dental as a co-sponsor.

The NADP is concerned that, starting in 2014, the almost 44 million people who receive pediatric dental coverage through small business employers will also have to buy coverage through the new health insurance exchanges. It is asking regulators to clarify that their existing coverage meets the law’s requirements.

“Truthfully, this is the No. 1 issue for our industry,” said NADP executive director Evelyn Ireland. “It is the most crucial thing for us to get done.”

NADP wants to ensure that people will be allowed to keep their existing dental insurance coverage under the new health care, a promise President Obama repeatedly made during the heath insurance reform debate.

For a multitude of reasons I have never been a big fan of Delta Dental. However, after reviewing the 92-page white paper I think there may be some merit to this $1,000,000 argument.

Before, I make up my mind, I would like some pro or con feedback from our readers.

Please post your comments below.

Dentists State Powerful Reasons for Supporting Fluoride in Water

Dentists State Powerful Reasons for Supporting Fluoride in WaterSome dentists think that the water fluoridation debate is a non-issue.

“With over 65 years of research and practical experience of this proven safe and effective public health measure, it amazes me that this is still an issue,” complained one dental professional.

In our most recent survey, 68% of dentists said that they support the fluoridation of public water supplies, while 32% said fluoridating our drinking water is unnecessary.

Here are some dentist comments from this survey…

Fluoride is beneficial —

“My parents grew up with good oral hygiene and habits, but without public fluoridated water. They both had numerous cavities restored while growing up. My brother and I are in our 40s and grew up with fluoridated water. Neither of us have had any caries! I’m a big proponent of properly fluoridated public water.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“It eliminated caries in American urban cities until “boutique bottled water” became fashionable.” (New York periodontist)

“I practice in the county where Muskegon was the control city when Grand Rapids started fluoridating their water in 1945. 80-90% of my patients had fluoridated water when their teeth were developing. With probably 99% accuracy I know whether they had city water (with fluoride) or well water (no fluoride). The difference in decay rate is substantial.” (Michigan dentist)

“I am a proponent of public water fluoridation for its known effects over the past 70 years. The shift to bottled water is diminishing that effect I believe so other modalities should be looked at such as adding it to salt as they do in Europe. Perhaps that would make McDonald’s fries a wee bit healthier!” (Pediatric dentist)

“How could one not support this? As a dental professional?” (Indiana dentist)

“It’s a no-brainer.” (Alabama dentist)

“The most cost effective means of caries prevention for all age groups.” (General dentist)

“If we have ever demonstrated that preventive measures can work, it was done with fluoride. Why do we need to prove this again and again and again???” (New York orthodontist)

Fluoride is bad science —

“This is based on old science and needs to be stopped. Infant warnings should be on water bills.” (Dental hygienist)

“Should not mass-medicate without the will of the masses! There are controversies that are appalling. The truth is in question about the benefits versus the risks. The opposition should be given an opportunity to present scientific data.” (Florida dentist)

“The ADA is out of touch. It is a Civil rights issue for black-American infants. The cost is too great to remove from their drinking water so they are in reality being forced-medication. Most of this expensive bio-hazard does not get on the teeth it is used to wash clothes water lawns. You can get fluoride in many products OTC that is sodium fl and not untested bio-hazard waste from fertilizer plants. The fertilizer plants should have to pay for the safety tests.” (General dentist)

“Dental decay is not caused by a lack of fluoride in our water supply.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

“High concentrations currently can have adverse affects on the systemic health of medically-compromised adults. Ingestion of H2o with fluoride is ONLY beneficial for children during adult tooth formation, but many children do not drink water consistently or may be risking fluorosis from fluoride intake from multiple sources, including water.” (Illinois dentist)

“The systemic ingestion of fluoride has shown no significant decrease in decay, but has been shown to damage the body including the skeletal system, the pineal and thyroid glands and the brain causing lowered IQ’s in children. There is also no way to control the dosage of this medication. There are plenty of products containing fluoride that can be used topically, the most effective application, for those who want to use it and it doesn’t need to be in the public water supply.” (Texas dentist)

“No dose control and too many systemic effects, with too many of the general population at risk.” (Texas hygienist)

“Scientific evidence shows NO beneficial effect on teeth when ingesting in water. Too many systemic problems with accumulation, however, so need to stop fluoridating our drinking water.” (General dentist)

A political issue —

“Fluoridation is the worst “public health” fiasco ever foisted upon an unsuspecting populace.” (Arkansas dentist)

“The major problem here is that city water jurisdictions pay for fluoridation and state/federal welfare pays for dental treatment. If either paid for both, fluoridation would be everywhere.” (Oregon dentist)

It is BAD public policy to medicate via the public water supply.” (Dental implantologist)

“If any city wants to op out (of fluoridation) then fine. Just don’t use tax money to fix your children’s teeth!” (California dentist)

“It’s a form of govt mind control! (tongue firmly planted in cheek).” (Oral surgeon)

“Sad state of affairs here in Florida when science takes a back seat to politics-again. It shows the decline of thinking so pervasive in America.” (Florida dentist)

What are your thoughts on fluoride in drinking water?

Dental Safety: BPA Exposure and Dental Sealants (video)

Dental Safety: BPA Exposure and Dental Sealants (video)This week Campbell’s Soup Company announced that they are phasing out bisphenol A (BPA) in their canned food linings.

BPA is a chemical that can imitate human estrogen and is thought by some health care providers to be harmful to health.  BPA is commonly used additive in food packaging and dental sealants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also reported that they will make a decision by March 30th on whether to the ban the use of bisphenol A in food and beverage packaging.

Dental composites have revolutionized dentistry, especially cosmetic dentistry. But composite resins and dental sealants also contain BPA.

Warned one dentist, “It’s a dangerous chemical that we are placing in a sensitive area, free to leech out 24 hours a day.”

Another dentist said, “The cumulative release of BPA from composites appears to be minimal from the available research.”

Recently there’s been a lot of negative publicity about bisphenol A being linked to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. In light of these recent reports, The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have dental safety concerns over dental composites.

Click on Play to hear how the dentists responded to the survey —

What are your thoughts on the use of BPA in cosmetic dentistry?

The Nightmare Patient and Other Bad Customers

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

I was sitting with six people outside of a recent dental event. There were some high-powered consultants in the small group, and we were talking about dental management issues. A colleague’s Blackberry beeped with an email was from one of his recent client doctors. More than just an ordinary complaint, the email sounded like the tantrum of a two year old. I had a moment of deja vu as he read it aloud; I was instantly reminded of a similar experience I had a few years earlier.

As it turns out, I correctly guessed the author of the email: the same doctor I had dealt with. Another person in the group had a similar experience with the person as well. So, out of seven of us, three had negative experiencse with the same client doctor. What are the odds? It should come to no surprise that this individual was given a complete refund and told he would never get service again.

So what happened? How did this client get so bad? In my experience with him, he countered back to me “The client is always right!!” I disagreed. “The right client is always right. The wrong client is always wrong. You are the wrong client.”

I recall a story told years ago of a customer who complained about everything to Southwest airlines. After every flight, she would fire off another letter about all the things that she felt were wrong. Due to all the previous letters, they bumped her latest one to the CEO, Herb Kelleher. After reading her letter, he responded with the following:

Dear Ms. __________,

We will miss you.

Love,
Herb

That’s it. Mr. Kelleher understood that by backing down to this unruly and unpleasant passenger, he would not be standing up for and supporting his employees. That is a valuable lesson. My staff will tell you that I have fired clients and refused the business of people who were rude to them.

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store, in London in 1909. It is typically used by businesses to:

 

  • Convince customers that they will get good service, and
  • Convince employees to give customers good service.

 

 

Fortunately, more and more businesses and dental practices are abandoning this maxim. Why? Ironically, it leads to bad customer service. The main issue with it is it means that abusive people (like the person I mentioned initially) get better treatment than nice people. That’s just wrong. It makes much more sense to be nice to the nice patients to keep them coming back and fire the bad patients.

Put team members first and they will be happy at work. Teams who are happy at work give better patient service because:

 

  • They care more about other people, including patients.
  • They have more energy.
  • They are happy, meaning they are more fun to talk to and interact with.
  • They are more motivated.

 

 

On the other hand, when the practice and doctor consistently side with patients instead of with team members, it sends a clear message that:

 

  • Team members are not valued.
  • Treating employees fairly is not important.
  • Your team members have no right to expect respect from patients.
  • Team members have to put up with everything from patients.

 

 

When this attitude prevails, dental teams stop caring about service. So put your people first, and watch them put the patients first.

Remember, happy team members always produce more and offer better patient service.

Jim Du Molin

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