Denture Cream Dangers: The Controversy over Zinc

Zinc in Super PoliGrip denture creamZinc will be removed from PoliGrip denture cream, announced manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline.

Hundreds of denture patient lawsuits are being consolidated in federal court. The manufacturers of zinc-based denture creams are accused of failing to warn consumers about the health risks of long-term zinc exposure.

Glaxo maintains that its products are safe when used as directed. However, when dentures don’t fit well, patients may compensate by using extra cream. After years, this can lead to neurological problems

Zinc was approved by the FDA 15 years ago for use in denture cream. Prior to 2008, manufacturers did not disclose the zinc content of their products.

Read more about denture care: Glaxo to remove zinc from denture cream

What’s The Average Value of a Dentures Patient?

Average value of a dentures patientAs aging Baby Boomers lose more teeth, offering in-house dentures can be a good way to bring in new patients.

The Wealthy Dentist decided to find out how many dentists are taking advantage of this trend — and how much revenue a new dentures patient can add to a practice’s bottom line.

We conducted a survey asking dentists about offering dentures in-house,  and average fees in their local market.

Of course,  not all dentists enjoy working with dentures patients. On the downside, the work often involves multiple extractions, and dentures can be difficult to fit properly.

Patients who struggle with adjusting to the realities of living with false teeth can be more demanding and take more time to treat.

Despite these potential negatives, only 9% of the dentists who responded to our survey said they refer dentures patients out to a prosthodontist.

More than 90% of the dentists who participated in our survey offer in-house denture services.

“I thoroughly enjoy it,” commented an Illinois dentist.

“It’s a good service,” added a Virginia dentist. “A lot of patients think they are over priced but actually they are under priced.”

And speaking of prices…from a dental management viewpoint, we also wanted to know the average value of a dentures case.

We asked about the average fee for a full set of upper and lower dentures in the dentists’ local markets. Most fees were between $1,500 and $3,000.

However, as we expected, fees varied depending on local geographical market. They ranged from a low of $1,000 in Florida to a high of $5,000 in New York.

A Texas dentist told us, “I am competing with a local denture center that has much lower fees. It has reduced my full price denture business.”

This illustrates an important point. Small dental practices need to be familiar with and responsive to their local markets.

Knowing the local market value of various dental services can help you plan which types of treatments to offer.

It can also help you plan your dental marketing budget for that type of new patient.

Are in-house dentures profitable in your dental market?

Denturists’ Dentures Not Always Trusted by Dentists

Denturists making denturesDenturists make dentures, but they’re not licensed dentists. This leaves dentists wary of denturists.

In this survey. only 10% of dentists said that denturists increase denture patients’ access to care. The remaining 90% feel patients should only get dentures from a dentist or prosthodontist.

In the US, only a handful of states permit denturists to practice independently; in some other states, a denturist can work under the supervision of a dentist.

Here are some comments from dentists about denturism and dentures:

  • “The public at large would be jeopardized if denturists were allowed to give direct patient care.” (Wyoming orthodontist)
  • “Is it any different than a lay person fitting a patient for any kind of prosthetic?” (Florida dentist)
  • “Providing professional dental care is more than just the physical making of a prosthesis.” (General dentist)
  • “Complete dentures are declining in number anyway. It is a rarer procedure now than when I started practice 30 years ago.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “Dentures are much more difficult to do correctly than a lab technician realizes.” (General dentist)
  • “I am very frustrated with the continued fragmentation of dentistry as a profession. Teeth whitening at the mall, nail salon, and the photography studio. Dental injections at medi-spas for Botox and Juvaderm treatments. Then we have to contend with the reduction of payments for the services that we still do. That is, until they decide that dental hygienists can also do fillings in their own private practices.” (General dentist)
  • “There is more to treating these patients than meets the eye! Such as oral pathology, reading the radiographs, making proper impressions, occlusion etc. We do have to think, what is best for the patient?!” (Virginia dental implant dentist)

Read more – Denturist Dentures: Dentists Wary of Denturism

Dentist Referrals: Dental Implants, Cosmetic Dentistry & Braces

Dentist Referrals: Dental Implants, Cosmetic Dentistry & BracesDentists tend to restore dental implants but refer out dental implant surgery, this survey found.

The average dentist often refers out braces, sedation dentistry, and root canals, while keeping cosmetic dentistry, and denture patients.

Related Story: Dentists: What procedures do you refer out?

When it comes to pediatric dentistry and gum disease, dentists refer some patients out and treat others in house.

Related Story: How Dentists Refer Wisdom Teeth Cases to Oral Surgeons

Overall, the average dentist refers out less than 20% of patients.

Related Story: Root Canal Referrals: Dentists vs. Endodontists

Here are some dentist comments on referring patients:

Read more:

Dentures: Do They Ever Fit Right?

dentures do they ever fitYou never know what kind of a reaction you could get when you upset a woman — especially one who is 85 years-old, unhappy with her dentures and sitting in your dentist chair.

According to The Smoking Gun, dental patient Virginia Graham became upset when her dentist, Dr. Hammonds, tried to adjust her poor-fitting lower partial dentures.

The adjustment hurt enough for Graham to scream in pain and, remove the partials from her mouth and throw them at Dr. Hammonds.

She demanded a $900 refund, to which her dentist flatly refused, so she felt is (it) necessary to try and grab the dentures from the his hand. A “brief tug-of-war” ensued until, “Graham allegedly bent down and bit Hammonds hand forcing him to let go of the partial.”

Graham then attempted to leave the dental office, but Dr. Hammonds “got in her face and began screaming at her, causing her to fear that he would potentially cause her harm,” as reported by Sheriffs investigators. Deputies report that Graham stated that the dentist physically kept her from leaving his dental office.

Investigators documented “multiple bruising” on Graham’s upper arms and forearms, and her “left upper arm was bleeding due to her skin tearing when Hammonds grabbed her arm.”

Dr. Hammonds was booked into the Volusia County jail on charges of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and a variety of felony charges. He is out on $4,000 bail.

When I first starting working in dental consulting, over 25 years ago, there was a story about a dentist who tried to repossess an unpaid denture. The doctor tackled a female dental patient on the front lawn of the practice. The dentures popped out and he grabbed them in the grass.

The net of this incident was a lawsuit and, if I remember correctly, a $19,000 settlement against the doctor. This case has a lot more drama and it will be interesting to see how it settles out.

How would you have handled this situation?

To see more on this story go to: Denture Battle Leaves Dentist In Braces.

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