Dentists Say Electric Toothbrush No Better Than Manual Toothbrush

No Better Than Manual Toothbrush

Is the electric toothbrush all hype?

The NZ Herald surveyed a group of independent dentists and found that many dentists are uncomfortable with their profession’s relationship with some dental products and their marketing companies.

One product endorsement that seemed to bother the dentists the most is in the area of electronic toothbrushes.

According to the Herald, dentists were split 50-50 about whether an electric toothbrush gave a better clean. The dentists who support manual toothbrushes felt that brushing is about how well someone brushes — not the toothpaste or toothbrush used.

In other words, any type of toothbrush is only as good as the person who is using it.  Overall, many dentists felt there wasn’t a bigger advantage to using one type of toothbrush over another.

So why endorse the more expensive electric toothbrush?

Some dentists feel product endorsements arise from the close relationships between dental associations and dental product manufacturers.  In the Herald survey, several dentists broke ranks with the professional associations – one of which receives sponsorship from Oral-B – to speak out and say that the clean provided by an electric toothbrush is no better than a manual toothbrush.

Both the New Zealand Dental Association and the New Zealand Dental Therapists Association declined to comment on the survey.

What do you say?  What type of toothbrush do you advise your patients to use?

For more on this story read: Electric brush: tooth or fiction

Silver Amalgam Use Now the Focus of a United Nations Treaty

Silver Amalgam Use Now the Focus of a United Nations TreatyFoxNews.com is reporting that a United Nations global mercury treaty on mercury pollution may become reality and America’s dentists could be subjected to an international ban on filling cavities with “silver amalgam” containing mercury.

The next round of “mercury talks” is scheduled for Monday in Kenya and State Department officials reportedly said they hope to garner support for a legally-binding treaty to reduce worldwide mercury emissions.

Dr. David Simone, a dental surgeon from Northbrook, Ill., who attended the State Department meeting, told FoxNews.com that State Department officials reiterated that amalgam fillings will likely remain on the U.N.’s designated list of products to eventually be phased down with passage of the so-called global mercury treaty.

There is a controversial ongoing argument among dental health professionals about the possible health risks associated with mercury exposure from amalgam fillings, and competing sides disagree on whether the amount of mercury in fillings causes risks.

The ADA supports the position that dental amalgam is safe and posts the following statement on its website –

Dental amalgam is considered a safe, affordable and durable material that has been used to restore the teeth of more than 100 million Americans. It contains a mixture of metals such as silver, copper and tin, in addition to mercury, which binds these components into a hard, stable and safe substance. Dental amalgam has been studied and reviewed extensively, and has established a record of safety and effectiveness.

The FDI World Dental Federation and the World Health Organization concluded in a 1997 consensus statement: “No controlled studies have been published demonstrating systemic adverse effects from amalgam restorations.” Another conclusion of the report stated that, aside from rare instances of local side effects of allergic reactions, “the small amount of mercury released from amalgam restorations, especially during placement and removal, has not been shown to cause any … adverse health effects.”

In 1998 the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs published its first major review of the scientific literature on dental amalgam which concluded that “based on available scientific information, amalgam continues to be a safe and effective restorative material.” The Council’s report also stated, “There currently appears to be no justification for discontinuing the use of dental amalgam.”

In an article published in the February 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, researchers report finding “no significant association of Alzheimer’s Disease with the number, surface area or history of having dental amalgam restorations” and “no statistically significant differences in brain mercury levels between subjects with Alzheimer’s Disease and control subjects.”

A 2003 paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine states, “Patients who have questions about the potential relation between mercury and degenerative diseases can be assured that the available evidence shows no connection.” [Read more …]

Robert Ferguson, founder and president of the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI), told Foxnews.com that he sees the controversy surrounding dental amalgam as little more than the latest scare to drive more regulation.

What are your thoughts on the use of silver amalgam in dental treatments?

For more on this story see U.S. Weighs Support for U.N. Treaty That Could Force Dentists to Change Materials Used in Fillings.

Watch for more on this subject in the November issue of Academy of General Dentistry in a feature article by Eric K. Curtis, DDS, MA, MAGD titled, Black and White with Shades of Gray Ruminations on Amalgams in a World of Composites.

Dental Care: Are Mid-Level Practitioners a Threat to Dentists?

Dental Care: Are Mid-Level Practitioners a Threat to Dentists?Can mid-level dentist practitioners give the same quality of dental care as a dentist?

This question is being raised in the Northwest where a Washington state dental practitioner bill passed through the Senate Health Committee.  The Senate version of this legislation moves out of committee and can potentially be considered by the full Senate.

If this bill passes in the Senate, Washington will be the next U.S. state to adopt a mid-level dental provider model to create both dental hygiene practitioners and dental practitioners, who will be supervised (offsite) by a dentist.

These practitioners will be allowed to provide various levels of dental care “pursuant to a written practice plan with a dentist.”

Dental hygiene practitioners would expand the scope of practice of the state’s hygienists, who can now place fillings after a dentist has done the prep work. They would receive specialized training to do extractions, handle medical emergencies, and administer some drugs.

Dental practitioners would be permitted to do everything that hygienists can do except scaling and cleanings. They could also do restorations, administer anesthesia, and extract primary teeth as well as loose permanent teeth (+3 to +4 mobility).

Both types of practitioners could work with offsite supervision if approved by their supervising dentist, but neither could do dental crowns, bridges, or complicated procedures. (Dr Bicuspid)

The Washington Academy of General Dentistry and the Washington State Dental Association oppose this bill siting, “insufficient training for diagnosis and a lack of direct supervision.”

What are your thoughts on mid-level dentist practitioners? Are they bad for dentistry?

For more: Washington Lawmakers Mull Dental Therapist Bills

Dental Device May Fight Obesity

Overweight? Maybe Flexible, Removable Jaw Wiring Will Help

Given that one-third of American adults are obese, and another third are overweight, it’s no wonder that weight-loss treatments are big business. One company is addressing the market with a dental device that uses rubber bands to restrict opening of the jaw. (It’s rather like getting your jaw wired shut, but easily reversible.)

The concept started in Europe. An overweight Dutch man was unwilling to get his jaw wired shut since he’s a singer in a band. He worked with an orthodontist to develop the original prototype. Initial tests in Europe have been promising, and the company (Small Bite Inc.) hopes to begin US trials soon.

Continue to full story

Survey: What Questions Do Patients Ask About Dental Implants?

top 5 questions patients ask about implantsWe conducted a survey that asked dentists what questions dental patients ask when considering getting implants. It turns out that there’s a real difference between the questions dental implant patients do ask — and which questions they should be asking.

Dentists responded with the following . . .

The top 5 questions dental patients ask –

  1. How much do dental implants cost?
  2. How long do dental implants last?
  3. Are implants painful?
  4. How long will it take to get my new teeth?
  5. Does dental insurance cover implant surgery?

Versus . . .

The top 5 questions dentists want patients to ask –

  1. Am I a good candidate for implants?
  2. What are the potential complications of dental implant therapy?
  3. How much implant experience does the doctor have?
  4. What is the healing time for my implants?
  5. Can implants improve my appearance?

Many dental implant patients seem to have the same questions about dental implant therapy. Unfortunately, these questions aren’t necessarily the ones dentists think they should be asking.

The 2 main questions patients ask are –

  1. How much do dental implants cost?
  2. Will dental implant surgery be painful?

When dentists feel their very first question should be –

  1. Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

There is really a disconnect between the doctor and patient. This is no surprise, since patients are thinking about how they are going to pay for the implants, and whether the procedure will be painful.

But doctors can’t afford not to address the primary concerns of the patient first: cost and pain.

One dentist wrote, “Long term, when the conditions are favorable, proper bone density, height and width, proper biomechanical considerations, proper occlusal load. A dental implant is more cost effective over a 3 unit bridge. However, when the above conditions are not meet — the 3 unit bridge (with sufficient ferule, impressions taken with custom made tray and properly impressioned, properly articulated, preprosthetic endodontic treatment performed by an endodontist, core-restoration — not in composite) will be more cost effective (for the patient).”

Read more: Dental Implant Questions for the Dentist

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