Monday, October 31, 2011

The Morning Drill: October 31, 2011

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

FTC mulls NC dental board teeth-whitening appeal
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is considering the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners' appeal of a July ruling that the board's efforts to block nondentists from providing teeth-whitening services constitute an illegal anticompetitive conspiracy.

The dental board's actions violated the law, according to a decision issued July 14 by Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell, who concluded it was "unreasonable restraint of trade and an unfair method of competition."

Chappell determined that "dentist members of the dental board had a common scheme or design, and hence an agreement, to exclude nondentists from the market for teeth-whitening services and to deter potential providers of teeth-whitening services from entering the market," the FTC said.

The board filed an appeal of that decision on August 25 that, among other things, claimed that Chappell "engaged in a cherry-picking exercise to consider only evidence of potential economic harm caused by exclusionary conduct" and "did not consider the context in which such conduct occurred, i.e., as an enforcement mechanism by a state agency charged by statute with regulating the practice of dentistry in North Carolina."

On October 28, during the appeal hearing, three FTC commissioners heard testimony from both sides.

"There were some good questions," Noel Allen, attorney for the dental board, told "But my every instinct is that this is a foregone conclusion because the heart of the matter is about state action and public protection, and they indicated early on that those are not considerations. They made up their minds a long time ago."
Boy's death at dentist ruled accidental; no charges filed
The death of 5-year-old Dylan “Dilli Man” Shane Stewart after being sedated for dental work in 2010 has been ruled accidental by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.

Dylan died in April 2010 after going into cardiac arrest shortly after being sedated during an appointment with longtime Gainesville-area pediatric dentist Dr. Ronnie Grundset.

In a final report on the death that was made public Friday, Detective Sheryl Strickland wrote: “It was determined that the death of Dylan Stewart was accidental. … The State Attorney’s Office has determined that criminal charges will not be pursued in this case.”
Chicago dentist says Iowa murder suspect seduced, drugged him in extortion plot
Chicago oral surgeon Joseph A. LaSpisa says he hasn't spoken to Tracey Richter in a decade. During those years, he's tried to get past an evening in a dentist's chair that he says mixed seduction, laughing gas and forged documents to create an extortion plot for which he still feels angry and stupid.

His history with Richter is in some ways more bizarre than the stories emerging from testimony at her trial on charges that she shot and killed a 20-year-old neighbor, which resumes Monday in a courtroom in Fort Dodge.

LaSpisa spoke recently with detectives investigating the 2001 death of Dustin Wehde, but a week into the trial, his name hasn't yet come up. Neither has the long and nasty civil lawsuit in which Richter accused LaSpisa of sexual assault and he accused her of extortion. It's possible jurors will never hear the story and details of the four-year legal feud that followed, which LaSpisa said embarrassed him and set back his career.

He's now watching the murder trial with interest, thinking about what sentence Richter might face should she be found guilty. Iowa doesn't have the death penalty, but LaSpisa said an execution "wouldn't bother me one bit."

"She set me up from day one," LaSpisa, 53, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Maybe I was just an easy target, I don't know. A dumb target."

Richter is charged with first-degree murder in Wehde's death, a slaying she insists was an act of self-defense during a home invasion but one that prosecutors describe as a convoluted plot to frame her ex-husband. Authorities argue she forced Wehde to write a diary claiming her ex-husband hired him to kill her. They argue Richter then shot the 20-year-old Wehde to keep him quiet.

Scott Bandstra, who is defending Richter on the murder charge, noted LaSpisa has been sanctioned by state regulators for misconduct and "there was a settlement" in the civil lawsuit. He declined further comment.
Dentists collecting extra Halloween candy for troops
Two local dentists have decided to keep kids a bit healthier and make things a little sweeter for U.S. troops this Halloween season.

The dental office of Michael Z. Hopkins has teamed up with Operation Gratitude to exchange excess candy from trick-or-treaters for toys, cool orange-and-black toothbrushes and coupons from participating sponsors in the area. There will also be a drawing to win a Sonicare toothbrush.

The candy will be collected at 1706 S. Elena Ave., Suite B, in Redondo Beach from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Tuesday and continuing the same hours through Thursday. The loot will be shipped to troops overseas.

For more information, call 310-378-9241.

At Torrance Dental Arts, Dr. Steve Sutherland will collect unwanted candy at the third annual Halloween Candy Buy Back, designed to promote healthy living for local children. Children will be given prizes that include electric glowing toothbrushes for every pound of candy they turn in.

The candy will be shipped to the troops as a gift of appreciation.

The unopened candy will be collected from

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at 23326 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 190, Torrance. Call 310-378-8209 for more information.
Enjoy your morning and Happy Halloween!

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