Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Afternoon Drill: July 17, 2012

Good afternoon!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

ABC's 'The View' apologizes for hygienist comments

The ABC television show "The View" has issued an apology of sorts over comments made last week on its show about the educational requirements and annual salary of dental hygienists.

On July 16, "The View" issued the following statement in response to the outcry:

    On July 6, 2012, during a segment called "Who's Hiring Now," our expert reported that dental hygienists do not need a college degree and that the average salary is $45,000 annually.

    We have since heard from the American Dental Hygienists' Association and several dental hygienists. We are told that dental hygienists, to obtain state licensure, generally go through a rigorous college-level certification program, and that in the process many obtain at least an associate's degree and some go on to a bachelor's or even a master's degree. Also, the salary we gave was the average starting salary. In fact, the median salary for a dental hygienist in 2010 was $68,250 annually. We regret any confusion.

LECOM opens new dental school in Lakewood Ranch

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine welcomed its inaugural class of 100 students on Monday, ushering in the first group to use the school's new $52 million building.

The school becomes just the third dental college in Florida, joining Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Forty-eight percent of the inaugural class is from Florida and the majority of the class, 57 percent, is female. Sarasota native Stephanie Cole earned her undergraduate degree at Florida Gulf Coast University and during an internship, was able to help provide dental care in an unprivileged community.

"I've wanted to be a dentist for a long time, since my mom gave me a Play-Doh set," Cole said. "It's a dream come true."

In their fourth year in school, the students will work in community-based primary care clinics in Florida and in Erie, Pa.

Dental Resins Linked to Mental Dysfunctions

Children with restorations made with bisphenol A-glycidyl methacrylate (bisGMA)-based composite resins may have more emotional and social problems than children with other types of restorations, according to results of a new study published online July 16 and in the August issue of Pediatrics.

Nancy N. Maserejian, ScD, an epidemiologist from the New England Research Institutes in Watertown, Massachusetts, and colleagues theorize bisphenol A (BPA) may leach from restorations and affect children's mental health.

Many commercial products contain this compound, and previous research has implicated it in neurological damage, particularly in children.

However, this retrospective analysis of a landmark trial does not definitively prove that children's health is affected by BPA from restorations, Dr. Maserejian told Medscape Medical News.

"The main message here is that we need more research," she said.

For now, her advice for dental professionals is simple: "Just keep doing what they have been doing."

The researchers are now undertaking a new study to find out whether children with bisGMA-based composite restorations in their mouths have elevated levels of BPA elsewhere in their bodies. Other studies have found such correlations.

That information is missing from the data Dr. Maserejian and colleagues used in their study, however. The researchers who collected the data were focused on potential risk from mercury in amalgam restorations, and as a consequence, they tested the children for exposure to mercury, but not to BPA.

FDA: BPA no longer allowed in baby bottles

The federal government announced Tuesday that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA.

The U.S. chemical industry's chief association, the American Chemistry Council, had asked the Food and Drug Administration to phase out rules allowing BPA in those products in October, after determining that all manufacturers of bottles and sippy cups had already abandoned the chemical due to safety concerns.

It is illegal for companies to use substances not covered by FDA rules.

"Consumers can be confident that these products do not contain BPA," FDA spokesman Allen Curtis said in a statement, adding that the agency's action was based on the bottle industry's phase out of the chemical. "The agency continues to support the safety of BPA for use in products that hold food."

The chemical industry's request may help curb years of negative publicity from consumer groups and head off tougher laws that would ban BPA from other types of packaging because of health worries.

Legislation introduced by some members of Congress would ban BPA nationwide in all canned food, water bottles and food containers. Chemical makers maintain that the plastic-hardening chemical is safe for all food and drink uses.

BPA is found in hundreds of plastic items from water bottles to CDs to dental sealants. Some researchers say ingesting the chemical can interfere with development of the reproductive and nervous systems in babies and young children. They point to dozens of studies showing such an effect from BPA in rodents and other animals.

Enjoy your afternoon!

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