Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Morning Drill: June 20, 2012

Workers lay the final touches and work to complete the landscape at the new Air Force Post Graduate Dental School and Clinic at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, May 3, 2012.  The building is a $38 million project that began in 2010 and has now opened its doors to start receiving patient. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Linda Frost)

New Air Force dental school to be dedicated

An army marches on its stomach, the saying goes. For that to happen, it needs good teeth.

The Air Force today will officially dedicate a new $38 million schoolhouse next to Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center to train military dentists in advanced specialties such as orthodontics, prosthodontics and oral surgery.

Those residents and fellows in turn will operate clinics there for active duty personnel, retirees and military families — offering dental procedures beyond the usual fillings and cleanings.

“We got plenty of patients,” said Col. Jay Taylor, commander of the 59th Dental Support Squadron, who oversees the school. “Our regular general dentists try to make sure folks are ready to deploy and do their job without any dental disease or defects. With the training programs, though, we open that up to all beneficiaries — retirees, wives, kids — because we are looking for a pool of patients to give our residents maximum benefit of training.”

The Air Force Postgraduate Dental School is part of the 59th Dental Group — the largest dental service in the military. The service treated more than 126,000 patients last year at clinics at local military bases and at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

The training and research programs moving into the new 55,600-square-foot facility have been in place for years, housed at nearby MacKown Dental Clinic, which opened in 1965 on the other side of Wilford Hall.

Hinckley dentists 'played system to cheat £46,000 from NHS'

Two dentists have gone on trial accused of cheating the NHS out of £46,000.

It is claimed Dr Werner Muller and Dr John Atkinson fraudulently billed the NHS for work they had carried out privately, at the Clarendon Road dental practice in Hinckley.

Muller (45), who is accused of duping the NHS out of £26,046, denies 20 charges of false accounting, relating to 140 fraudulent claims that work was done for the health service when it was done privately.

Atkinson (64) denies 17 similar counts, involving £20,269 and 91 fraudulent claims to the NHS, during 2006 and 2007.

Both also deny evasion of liability by deception and fraud, relating to their alleged manipulation of the computerised billing system.

Kevin Dent, prosecuting, told the jury at Leicester Crown Court: "They were having their cake and eating it at tax- payers' expense.

"Both defendants have made false claims to the NHS pretending to have carried out certain work on patients under the provisions of the NHS when it had been carried out privately.

"They were double claiming for the same dental work by doing private work and billing the NHS for it."

The prosecution alleges the defendants played the system to their own advantage for about a year-and-a-half after new NHS contracts for dentists were introduced in 2006.

Loss of two big grants leaves Keystone Dental seeking help

While laid off from his job at the Home Shopping Network distribution center in Piney Flats, 36-year-old Brian Toney was at the end of his unemployment benefits and without insurance when a broken and infected wisdom tooth that had been bothering him off and on for months caused his eye to swell shut.

He went to a local emergency room where a physician prescribed antibiotics and recommended an extraction. Without the extra $200 he expected the procedure to cost him, Toney applied for treatment at Keystone Dental Care, the city’s nonprofit dental clinic that last year logged more than 3,000 patient visits for people who, like him, were in pain and without dental coverage.

His infection put him at the top of the clinic’s waiting list of more than 1,000 other qualified applicants and his bad tooth was extracted soon after he completed his round of antibiotics. His income-based payment was $25, the same price he’s paid for subsequent visits for a cleaning, X-rays and the filling he received on Monday.

“When my eye swelled shut I knew I had to do something,” he said. “I came here because of the pain. They saved me and my wallet.”

Toney considers himself lucky to be a patient at Keystone. His brother is suffering through a similar problem and will continue to suffer because the clinic is not accepting new patients at this time.

Lisa Eggers, Keystone Dental Care’s executive director, said it may be some time before the clinic takes on any new patients. The loss of two major grants, $70,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission and $72,000 in Tennessee Safety Net funding, recently wiped away nearly half its $300,000 annual budget.

Dental Plaque Linked to Cancer Risk

Poor oral hygiene may be associated with increased risk of cancer and premature death, researchers found.

Among healthy adults in Sweden plaque build-up increased the relative risk of premature death 79% (OR 1.79 95% CI 1.01 to 3.19, P=0.048), Birgitta Söder, PhD, of the Karolinska Institutet in Huddinge, Sweden, and colleagues reported in BMJ Open.

The finding, the authors wrote, suggests that increased plaque and associated toxins and enzymes, may be released from the built-up biofilm and enter the bloodstream through the gingival crevice, thus increasing the risk of malignancies.

Enjoy your morning!

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