Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Morning Drill: July 25, 2012

Good Wednesday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

'The View' revises apology to dental hygienists

ABC's "The View" has issued a clarification of its July 16 apology to dental hygienists for a segment on the show that misportrayed the education requirements and salary of hygienists.

On July 16, "The View" issued a statement that read, in part:

    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.

Many in the dental hygienist community were underwhelmed by the show's response and again took to the ADHA Facebook page and the show's message boards.

Now "The View" has issued a clarification of its original response that many hygienists still find lacking:

    Since this report aired, we have received complaints from some dental hygienists and have been in a continuing dialogue with the American Dental Hygienists' Association. We are now told that of the 334 entry-level dental hygiene programs in the United States, 290 of them award their graduates an associate's degree, 53 award their graduates a baccalaureate degree, and some offer both degrees. Also, there are twenty programs that offer a master's degree in dental hygiene or related health sciences. In addition, the salary we gave was the average starting salary. In 2010, the median salary for a dental hygienist was $68,250 annually. We regret any confusion.

EU Commission study opens the way to phasing mercury out of dentistry and button cell batteries

The European Environmental Bureau and the Mercury Policy Project welcomed a new European Commission study, which recommends phasing out dental amalgam use in the next five years, while improving enforcement of existing EU waste legislation[1].  Likewise, the study also recommended phasing out mercury use in button cell batteries within the two years after legislation is adopted.

"Once again a report has conclusively shown that mercury use must be phased out," said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Project Coordinator of EEB's Zero Mercury Campaign.  "The European Institutions and EU Member States need to therefore take action against mercury use as the report recommends. Effective and affordable alternatives to mercury use in dentistry are available. It is high time that mercury becomes the exception rather than the rule.'

Amalgam's negative environmental effects are known in the EU, US and globally, and ultimately, society pays for the uncontrolled release of dental mercury through additional pollution control costs and the health effects associated with mercury pollution.

Sweden has already phased out dental mercury, while Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Italy have all significantly reduced amalgam use[2].  Others, including Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria, either have restrictions or guidance on amalgam in place.

Many EU and US dentists are already using alternatives to dental mercury like composite and glass ionomer.  As the report explains, "Unlike dental amalgam, mercury-free materials have been the subject of continuous technical improvements in the past years and this trend is expected to continue."

The BIOS report noted that mercury-free fillings appear more expensive than amalgam because the negative external costs associated with management of amalgam waste and effluents are not factored into the market price.

Charleston County Coroner identifies local dentist in Stono River drowning

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified a man who drowned in the Stono River as local dentist David Stone, 47, of Charleston.

Stone was in practice with his wife Denise Stone at Stone Family Dentistry, 1051 Gardner Road.

Authorities recovered Stone’s body from the Stono River Sunday morning.

Stone was reported missing to Charleston police Thursday, sheriff’s office Maj. Jim Brady said.

A boater discovered Stone’s body between the Stono Bridge and the Limehouse Boat Landing near Johns Island and contacted Charleston County dispatchers about 8:15 a.m. Sunday, Brady said.

Officials from several agencies pulled the body from the water about 10 a.m.

No foul play is suspected in Stone’s disappearance, Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said. The cause of the drowning is still under investigation.

Deputies: Seminole dentist used employee insurance to purchase prescription drugs for clinic

A local dentist was arrested Tuesday after an investigation revealed that she used her employees' dental insurance plans to purchase prescription drugs, deputies said.

Dr. Nadia O'Neal, owner of the Nu Smile Dental clinic at 13611 Park Blvd. in Seminole, told her staff on three separate occasions in 2011 to call in prescriptions for Triazolam, a prescription medication used to sedate anxious dental patients, officials said. Pinellas County sheriff's detectives began an investigation following an anonymous complaint that O'Neal was using her employees' insurance to purchase the drugs.

O'Neal used employee names to purchase 0.25 mg of the Triazolam in July, August and September last year, deputies said.

The employees never received the medication, which was purchased at a reduced cost and later administered to the clinic's patients, deputies said. Patients were made to pay for the drug after it was administered.

O'Neal, of Indian Shores, faces three counts each of insurance fraud and obtaining a controlled substance by fraud along with a charge of knowingly employing a person to perform duties outside the scope. She was booked in the Pinellas County Jail and held on $35,000 bail.

Enjoy your morning!

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