Your Tongue Piercing Could Kill You, Cautions IDA

Tongue and Lip Jewelry Provides Avenue for Potentially Deadly Infections

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) warns that lip and tongue piercings can lead to serious health problems, potentially even death. With no regulations governing body piercings, young people getting pierced run the risk of contracting hepatitis or other blood-borne diseases from Lip Piercing unhygienic piercing needles. The risk is especially high for people with heart murmurs, as the piercing provides an avenue for bacteria to enter the bloodstream , which could possibly lead to infective endocarditis, a potentially fatal heart condition.

Additionally, oral piercings can lead to dental problems. Though a pierced tongue or a lip piercing may appeal to a young person, they should realize the risks: infections can occur, gums can recede, and the metal jewelry can abrade the tooth enamel, even chipping or cracking the tooth. “If you get an oral piercing, you must accept that you will damage your oral health, and, in many cases, what damage you do will be irreversible,” cautions Dr. Kevin O’Boyle of the IDA. (That’s the Irish Dental Association, not the dental marketing company Internet Dental Alliance.)

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High-Tech Dental Robot Encourages Better Dentistry

Meet the Dental Patient of the Future

Simroid, Simulated Dental Patient

Having a hard time finding volunteers who’ll let you practice brand-new dental techniques on them? What you need is a robotic dental patient! The 2007 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo saw the introduction of Simroid, a humanlike robot that reacts to dental pain in a humanlike manner.

There’s impressive technology behind Simroid. She can follow instructions, sense tooth pain, gag and say, “That hurts!” The goal of this high-tech robot is not just to improve dentists’ technical skills, but also their chairside manner.

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Dental Nightmare: Children Strapped Down, Given Unnecessary Root Canals

Investigation Reveals Disturbing Trends at Pediatric Dental Practice

(Rochester, New York) In December, Channel 13 News aired an undercover investigation of a local pediatric dentistry office. Video showed children at Irondequoit Small Smiles strapped in restraints, separated from their parents, and forced to undergo multiple root canals.

Now former clinic director Dr. David Gardner (sent to prison for larceny) is speaking out for the first time, publicly acknowledging that much of this dental work was unnecessary. Pressured by the parent company to make at least a million dollars a year, Gardner resorted to Medicaid fraud. “The biggest thing you can do is those baby root canals and crowns because it’s $220 that Medicaid does not question,” said Gardner.

Since the report aired, Small Smiles has changed its policies, now allowing parents to accompany their children during procedures. Small Smiles cooperated with authorities, repaid close to half a million dollars, and disputes many of Gardner’s allegations.

Gardner, meanwhile, has finished his time in prison, given up his dental license, moved out of state, and is now selling RVs.

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NHS Dentist Shortage: No End in Sight

British Couple Wants to Set Up Private Clinics

UK entrepreneurs Fergus and Judith Wilson have a plan that will bring private dental care to many UK residents. With a severe shortage of NHS dentists, the couple proposes bringing in foreign dentists (likely from eastern Europe). Their goal is to set up seven clinics with emergency facilities, and they expect to charge less for dental care than other private practitioners.

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Dentist Fights for Patient Privacy Rights

Hands Off My Patient Files!

A Canadian dentist has decided it’s time to take a stand to protect his patients — from the dental board!

As part of its regular dental practice inspections, the Quebec Order of Dentists sometimes takes original patient files, keeping them for as long as four months before returning them to the dental office. (That’s if they’re returned on time, of course.)

Dr. Christopher Herten-Graven has refused to turn over patient files, arguing that doing so could violate his patients’ privacy. Moreover, the doctor asks, what if a file is gone but the patient needs treatment? His lawyer acknowledges that dentists are required to provide access to charts and files, books and registers, but adds, “There’s nothing in the professional code that says he or she has to surrender original documents.”

It’s a balancing act between regulating medical professionals and respecting the privacy of patient records. “The right to regulate the profession overrides the patients’ right to privacy in the same way that the police, if they get a search warrant, overrule privacy rights,” said David Fraser, a Toronto lawyer who focuses on privacy concerns. “But the organization should not be demanding documents just for the sake of demanding documents.”

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