Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Morning Drill: May 15, 2012

Diaco Dental Chair

Good Tuesday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

Dental chairs developed for large patients

The dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio is using a new line of dental chairs for large patients who have difficulty fitting into conventional dental chairs.

The school has installed a special chair designed to tilt, raise, or lower dental patients weighing up to 1,000 pounds, according to a story in the San Antonio Express-News.

The chair, built by Diaco Dental, cost $30,000, compared to about $10,000 for a standard chair.

Brownback signs bill to help fill Kansas dentist shortage

Gov. Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill that's intended to help the state cope with a dentist shortage but critics say doesn't go far enough.

Brownback signed a law the expands the ability of dental hygienists to deal with tooth decay to help deal with the fact that 93 Kansas counties don't have enough dentists to serve their residents and 13 others don't even have a dentist.

The bill is a much scaled down approach compared to another proposal that would have created a midlevel provider called a registered dental therapist who could perform some of the duties now handled by dentists, including filling cavities and pulling teeth.

Other states have considered similar bills, but only Alaska and Minnesota have comparable laws.

But the Legislature coalesced around the bill supported by dental industry, which feared that the other proposal would put dental patients at risk by giving hygienists the ability to provide types of oral treatment best left to dentists.

Actor Michael Douglas Partners With Oral Cancer Foundation For Early Detection PSA Campaign

Two-time Oscar Winner and Cancer Survivor Encourages Regular Screenings as Counter to Rising Incidence Rates of Oral Cancer-

Actor and producer Michael Douglas has donated his time to help create a television public service announcement (PSA) on behalf of the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those affected by the disease. The PSA will support the Foundation's efforts to educate the public about the need for annual screenings to catch oral cancers in their early, most survivable stages. The public service announcement will begin airing in June, and will continue to air nationwide through summer and autumn.

Approximately 40,000 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2012. This includes those cancers that occur in the mouth itself, in the very back of the mouth known as the oropharynx, and on the exterior lip of the mouth. There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, and the other is through exposure to the HPV-16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same virus which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. While oral cancer has historically been linked to tobacco and alcohol use, this is not simply a smoker's disease any longer. New data shows that the fastest-growing segment of newly diagnosed cases is now young, non-smokers. Most startling, is the fact that while many other cancers have been in decline in recent years, the occurrence of oral / oropharyngeal cancers has increased each of the last six years, and peer reviewed published data shows that the numbers of HPV-related oral cancers will surpass cervical cancers in the near future.

Odd law blocks dental professionals from treating spouses

Dental professionals in Ontario, Canada, hope a review by the province's health minister and a recently tabled bill will correct a problem they call "ridiculous" and "offensive."

Based on current law, a dentist, dental hygienist, or other healthcare professional in Ontario who treats his or her spouse has committed sexual abuse and can be immediately barred from practicing for at least five years without the possibility of an appeal.

In April 2011 the province's health minister commissioned a report on the issue; that report is expected to be completed by June 1. And last month a member of the Ontario parliament introduced a bill focused on dentists that calls for the law to be changed so they can provide treatment to their spouses without fear of punishment.

Enjoy your morning!

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