Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Morning Drill: October 26, 2011

A collection of dentistry and health related links/comments for your day.

UCF tweaks dental school plan, but will it be enough?
A month after a state committee sharply criticized the University of Central Florida's plan to open a dental school in 2014, the college has fine-tuned its proposal and asked for another review.

It's hoping a new partnership with University of Florida's top-ranking dental school will help it earn approval next month.

UCF plans to hire UF as a consultant to help develop curriculum and clinical programs for UCF's 394-student College of Dental Medicine, which would be built in Lake Nona's emerging Medical City.

But it's unclear if that change will be enough to win over the Florida Board of Governors. A committee of the board, which oversees public universities, remains highly skeptical of any plans for dental schools in Florida — a state that's strapped for money and, according to some studies, doesn't need more dentists.

Last month, the committee rejected plans by UCF and Florida A&M University to open dental schools and a plan by UF to expand its program. The group directed the universities to collaborate and bring back proposals for meeting a pressing need with little or no additional state funding.

Those plans will be reviewed next month.

"The Board of Governors is extremely fearful — extremely fearful — of approving any project that, in the long run, could come back and affect us financially because we just don't have the money," said Mori Hosseini, a board member from Daytona Beach.

The details of how UCF and UF would work together still need to be worked out. But UCF's revised plan, as with the previous one, would not require state funding. It would operate on student tuition and fees, private donations, research grants and money collected from patients of a student-run clinic.
Dental nurse killed husband in a row over watching football on TV
A DENTAL nurse who stabbed her husband to death in a row about him watching ­football on TV was yesterday convicted of manslaughter.

Leonora Sinclair, 50, plunged a kitchen knife in Lloyd Sinclair’s thigh then delayed calling 999.

The church driver, 73, died in hospital hours after the attack on January 15.

Sinclair denied murder and at first claimed her husband of 10 months fell on a broken wine glass, then that he had stabbed himself at home in Enfield, North London.

She said: “I put Harry Hill on TV and he went berserk.”

An Old Bailey jury cleared her of murder but found her guilty of manslaughter after a two-and-a-half-week trial.

The court heard Mrs Sinclair had previously been seen to hit and humiliate Lloyd.

“He was just a quiet man,” said his brother Clinton.

Judge Stephen Kramer QC ordered psychiatric reports before she is sentenced on December 6.
WHO Calls for 'Phase Down' of Dental Amalgam
A World Health Organization (WHO) committee this month called for a worldwide reduction in the use of dental amalgam to cut the flow of mercury into the natural environment.

"In an environmental perspective, it is desirable that the use of dental amalgam is reduced," Poul Erik Petersen, DDS, DrOdontSci, responsible officer of the Global Oral Health Programme, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr. Petersen chaired a 2-day conference on amalgam as part of a United Nations effort to organize a worldwide treaty on mercury. The WHO released a report of the proceedings on October 11.

At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from November 16 to 17, 2009, 29 experts from 15 countries concluded that the use of dental amalgam results in 180 to 240 metric tons of mercury being discharged into the atmosphere, soil, and water every year. In contrast, 80 to 100 metric tons are recycled, sequestered, or disposed of securely, the report said. However, the report concludes, amalgam should not be banned outright because alternative filling materials are more expensive and not as reliable.

The report calls for research to improve filling materials and said the use of all dental filling materials should be reduced through measures that prevent caries.

The report drew praise from an antimercury activist group, World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry, which released a statement calling the report a "road map for the end of amalgam."

However, a spokesman for the American Dental Association said it is not necessary to reduce the use of dental amalgam at all. "There is no reason per se to phase down amalgam," Rodway Mackert, DMD, PhD, a professor of dentistry at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, told Medscape Medical News. "The effect of doing that on the amount of mercury going into the environment is negligible."

Dental caries are becoming an increasing problem in middle- and low-income countries as they adopt Western lifestyles, including high consumption of sugars, but have not yet begun widespread preventive programs, such as fluoridation, the report says. As a result, the need for filling materials is expected to grow in these countries.

Already, dental amalgam is releasing "a significant amount" of mercury into the environment, the report found. This pollution results from amalgam made for dental use but diverted to other purposes, from poor disposal practices, and from cremation, the report said.

It laid out "best management practices," including bulk mercury collection, chair-side traps, amalgam separators, vacuum collection, recycling, and commercial waste disposal to prevent mercury from being released into the environment. It cited a US Environmental Protection Agency estimate that 3.7 tons of mercury are discharged into the environment from US dental practices each year.

Dr. Mackert said this is trivial compared with the 1500 tons generated by mining and other industrial uses in the United States, and he cited an US Environmental Protection Agency report saying that human activity only accounts for a third of the total mercury released into the environment. "Most of the mercury in tuna and things like that comes from natural sources like undersea volcanic vents," he said. "Reducing man-generated mercury is so much silliness."

He said the American Dental Association supports best management practices because if mercury gets into sewage sludge, then waste management companies cannot sell the sludge. However, amalgam has clear advantages over other restorative materials, so it should remain available to US dentists, Dr. Mackert said.
Enjoy your morning!

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