Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Dental Download: April 11, 2014

This week, we hear from DentaQuest’s CEO about the need for adult dental plans on the exchanges, learn about a new teledentistry program and find out why mouthwash may be detrimental to your oral health.Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

Fay Donohue, CEO and president of DentaQuest, spoke with Inside Health Policy about the need for adult dental plans on health exchanges. Here’s an excerpt:

“Fay Donohue, president and CEO of DentaQuest, which is offering dental plans in Florida, Virginia, Texas and Maryland, was also happy to see so many adults buying family and individual coverage. "There has been a lot of focus on pediatrics, which is great, but the SADPs are able to offer adult coverage through exchanges as well and we're seeing a lot of interest in those products. DentaQuest would love it if adults who already have a medical plan could go to the federal or state-based exchange and purchase a dental plan," Donohue says. "We hope to see it happen sooner rather than later," she adds.

To learn more about dental plans on the marketplaces, visit

A new “teledentistry” program in California allows low-income patients to be treated by hygienists and dental assistants in classrooms, nursing homes and other community centers to perform basic preventive procedures on patients.If necessary, the patient is then referred to a dental office for further care. The program, called the “Virtual Dental Home Demonstration Project,” has launched in 50 locations throughout the state and is currently funded by grants and non-profits, but a bill pending before the state Legislature would expand the program statewide and require Medi-Cal to pay for procedures. This aligns with DentaQuest Foundation’s Oral Health 2020 initiative to eradicate dental disease in children by incorporating oral health into the primary education system by the year 2020. Learn more about how DentaQuest Foundation is working to achieve its goal here.

A recent study found that poor dental hygiene and excessive use of mouthwash containing alcohol could increase the risk of oral cancer. The article reports that 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, which resulted in 7,890 deaths last year alone. To learn more about how to recognize symptoms of oral cancer, check out our Oral Health Library.

A new charting system for dentists called the “Ideal Charting for General Dentists” (ICGD) system has been launched to minimize confusion in diagnoses and processes, as well as diminish malpractice in the industry. According to the article, the new system will update charts and progress notes without any additional effort on the dental practitioner’s part.

Dr. Michael Zuk, a Canadian dentist who bought one of John’s teeth at an auction for over $30,000 in 2011, recently stated on the British television show “Dead Famous DNA” that he’d like to use the DNA in Lennon’s tooth to clone the late musician and raise him as his own son. Whether this is actually a possibility remains to be seen, but Dr. Zuk seems pretty adamant about it, stating that he’d try cloning Lennon multiple times if necessary.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Talking to Your Dentist About Risk

By Dr. Brian Nový, DDS, FADI
We talk a lot about what you can do to reduce your risk for dental disease, like brushing and flossing, eating sugar-free candy, and scheduling regular dental check-ups. Now we thought we’d tell you what your dentist will do to identify your potential risk for dental disease. At DentaQuest, we support a specific risk assessment model called Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA). The idea behind this assessment model is to treat each patient with the type ofcare that is best for that patient as opposed to a one-size-fits-all preventive plan.  Each patient is unique. The risk assessment allows your dentist (and the whole oral health team) to customize your “at home” self-care to your individual needs. For example, your dentist will determine if your oral health (or oral disease) is attributed to your saliva, certain bacteria, your diet, your tooth brushing technique, or any of the other factors that play a role in your specific health and/or disease. 
As part of this, your dentist should be asking you about how you take care of your mouth.  Be prepared to discuss the specific type of products you use at home, and don’t be afraid to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss to an appointment - your dentist can help you determine if these are appropriate products for you.  If you seem to repeatedly get cavities, you probably need a more customized plan and possibly different products. Sometimes it may mean you can simplify what you are doing at home.
A question that every dentist should be asking is, “What is your beverage of choice?”  Your dentist can tell a lot about the physiology of your mouth based on what you like to drink.  Patients who drink water usually are at lower risk of dental disease, while patients who drink coffee with cream and sugar all day are at an increased risk.  Patients who drink energy drinks or soda throughout the day are at an increased risk too. 
[Dr Nový is the Director of Practice Improvement at DentaQuest Institute, and an international thought leader in the science of dental caries management and evidence-based dentistry.]

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Dental Download: April 4, 2014

This week, we learn the secrets to creating a successful safety net dental program, discuss DentaQuest Foundation’s recently-launched initiative and find out what sport causes the most dental-related injuries.Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

DentaQuest Institute’s Dr. Mark Doherty was featured in DentistryIQ this week discussing key factors in the success of a safety net dental program. The DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions program works with safety net dental programs to provide high-quality dental care. Dr. Doherty’s article highlights the importance of monitoring performance by collecting data on a variety of factors, such as no-show rate, number of visits and percentage of completed treatments. For more information on DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions program, visit

DentaQuest Foundation launched its Oral Health 2020 initiative last month, and DrBicuspid caught up with Dr. Mike Monopoli and Brian Souza to learn more about the program. The goal of Oral Health 2020 is to ultimately eradicate dental disease in children and improve oral health across the life span. DentaQuest Foundation is creating a national network of grantees, partnersand oral health advocates who are making strides in improving the oral health in their communities.

Did you know that April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month? Oral cancer 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. Use of tobacco is the most common cause of oral cancer, and according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 43,250 people in the US will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to get screened this month.

      With March Madness on everyone’s minds this week, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs as oral health advocates if we didn’t warn of the dangers of playing basketball without a mouthguard. Although stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Stephen Curry use them, most college players go without. A 2007 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that men’s basketball had the highest rate of dental injury (nearly 11 injuries per 100 athletes) among all sports, yet the NCAA still has not mandated the use of mouthguards.
According to a new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association, emergency department (ED) visits for dental-related problems cost nearly $3 billion between 2008 and 2010. The report also states that the majority of those seeking dental care from EDs were lower-income patients without insurance. 57% of these visits were related to dental caries, which are almost completely preventable with preventive care. To learn more about how to avoid dental caries, visit our Oral Health Library.

According to the Washington Post, molars taken from skeletons unearthed by work on a new London railway line are revealing secrets of the medieval Black Death, and of its victims. Scientists tested molars from the twelve skeletons and found the presence of the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, in several of the teeth. They think the individuals had been exposed tothe Black Death, which is thought to have killed at least 75 million people. You sure can learn a lot from a tooth!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Florida Mission of Mercy a Huge Success

By Dr. Douglas Manning, Regional Executive Director, DentaQuest Florida

Eight members of the DentaQuest Florida team volunteered along with many other dental providers and non-dental volunteers from around the state and country to support the Florida Dental Association’s Mission of Mercy (MOM) clinic in Tampa over the weekend. Over 1,600 children and adults received dental cleanings, extractions, fillings and root canals.  The event provided over $1 million of free care.

Struggles with access to affordable oral health care are a documented challenge in Florida, and events like this Mission of Mercy are one of the few options for those unable to access care. A recent study found that more than 139,000 Floridians were treated in 2012 in hospital emergency departments for oral health problems that could have been treated in a dental office or clinic, or avoided altogether with preventive oral health care.

DentaQuest would like to thank the Florida Dental Association and its Foundation for all their hard work in organizing the event.  The DentaQuest team was honored to be a part of an event that provided much needed care to so many. While we acknowledge that these Missions of Mercy free care clinics are a poor substitute for regular, ongoing oral health care, our team is ready, willing and able to participate in future events like this.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Dental Download: March 28, 2014

This week, we learn how to get dental coverage under the ACA, discuss new findings on the number of adults with cavities, find out why getting your gum disease treated can reduce your overall medical bills and watch a creative way to pull a loose tooth in Ireland. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

Tequila Terry, DentaQuest regional vice president of client services, explains how to get dental coverage in Maryland under the ACA in this helpful Q&A. Dental insurance policies vary in each state and are confusing to many, causing some children to remain without dental care even though it is classified under the ACA as an essential health benefit for children. To see how dental is covered in your state, visit

Members of the DentaQuest team are volunteering their time and services to provide free dental care to an estimated 2,000 people at today’s Mission of Mercy event in Tampa, Florida. The event, sponsored by the Florida Dental Association, will take place today and tomorrow at the Florida State Fairgrounds and will provide attendees with cleanings fillings and extractions free of charge.

A study by the World Dental Federation found that oral cancer is among the ten most common cancers in the world. Nearly 100% of adults have dental caries and oral health and overall health are closely linked. The report also states that the majority of oral diseases are related to socio-economic factors, which is one of the reasons behind programs like DentaQuest Institute’s Safety Net Solutions initiative, which works with safety net dental programs to provide high-quality clinical care to underserved populations to close the care gap.

According to the Florida Dental Association, there is a “mal-distribution” of dentists in the state, with many dental processionals wanting to work in privileged areas. To address this issue, the Larkin Community Hospital residency program was created, which will place dental students in one of four community health centers for their residency, to better help meet the needs of the underserved.

Losing a tooth has never been so exciting- a father in Ireland helped his eight-year-old son pull a loose tooth by tying it to a remote-control helicopter. Check out the video here.

Members DentaQuest team  traveled to Chicago where they built new bikes for children at the local YMCA and put together 250 dental kits to educate the kids about the importance of good oral health habits. Below, some of the DentaQuest leadership team smiles with the new bike for the YMCA.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Dental Download: March 21, 2014

This week, we learn about World Oral Health Day, discuss why you may be getting tested for diabetes in your dentist’s office and find out which celebrity practiced good oral health. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

1.    President of Chattanooga Area Dental Society Urges Local Support of World Oral Health Day
Yesterday was World Oral Health Day, and dental professionals worldwide used the day as an opportunity to remind people to make good oral health habits a part of their daily routine. According to the World Dental Federation, 90 percent of people worldwide will suffer from dental disease, which is almost completely preventable, in their lifetime. Check your dental disease risk with our easy-to-use tool, and get tips from our dental experts on how to prevent future oral health problems here.

2.    What’s the Deal With Oil Pulling?
Oil pulling, the act of swishing oil in the mouth, was the most buzzed-about dental topic this week. The practice comes from an ancient Indian text, Aruyveda, and claims to have many health benefits, including improving oral health and preventing dental diseases such as gingivitis and dental caries. Sesame, sunflower or coconut oil is typically used for oil pulling, but most dentists agree that not enough research has been conducted to prove or disprove these benefits.

3.    Making diabetes screening more available at the dentist’s office
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.8 million people have diabetes. Of these, 7 million have undiagnosed disease, which is why health care providers are working to make diabetes testing available in a variety of health care settings, including dental offices. Many people are unaware that that teeth and gums can show key warning signs of the disease. Talk to your dentist to find out what might be putting you at risk and go to for more information.

4.    Chew on This: 8 Foods for Healthy Teeth
This slideshow offers ideas on what foods are beneficial to your oral health. For example, foods containing calcium, such as cheese and almonds, and foods high in phosphorous, such as meat, eggs and fish, can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. If you must snack on sweets, check out these tips on the best and worst candy for your teeth.

5.    Rihanna’s Trip To The Dentist Is A Reminder that Good  Oral Heal this Important for Celebrities, Too posted a photo this week of pop-star Rihanna leaving her dentist’s office, reminding us that even celebrities should practice good oral health habits.  The article also states that “9 out of 10 dentists agree that brushing while listening to Rih makes you cavity-free,” and we agree, as long as that song is two minutes long “2min2x”!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Window Closing to Sign-up for Insurance through Marketplaces

The deadline to sign up for insurance through the online marketplaces, created by the Affordable Care Act, is only a few weeks away. People who have not yet purchased an insurance plan have until March 31 to do so.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 4 million people had signed up for a plan through the federal and state-based marketplaces at the end of February, and the number of uninsured individuals continues to fall.
After March 31, each individual who does not have health insurance will have to pay a penalty of $95, or 1 percent of their yearly household income (if that is higher). The amount of the fine will increase each year. Bear in mind that for families, each uninsured person will be assessed the penalty. So for a family of three – two parents and one adult child living at home, the amount can add up. More on that here: []
As you may remember, the ACA included pediatric dental care as one the 10 essential health benefits so all children under the age of 19 will have access to dental insurance. Although pediatric dental is not a requirement for those shopping through the insurance Marketplaces, many Marketplaces have made dental plans that cover children and adults available for purchase. It’s important to take the extra step to purchase a dental plan so that you and your family are covered. Dental disease is the single most common chronic childhood illness in the US, yet it is almost 100 percent preventable with regular dental care.
It is equally as important that adults are getting the proper oral care as well, since oral health is directly linked to your overall health. The Surgeon General’s report on oral health in America reminds us that oral health means more than sound teeth; oral health is integral to overall health. In fact, employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year due to dental disease or dental visits.
Some state insurance Marketplaces have acknowledged the importance of dental coverage by making dental plans available to anyone, not just those shopping for medical coverage. Unfortunately, the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) has not taken this important step. If you live in a state using the FFM, you must first purchase a medical plan before being allowed to shop for a dental plan. This unnecessary barrier to dental coverage can and should be removed so that all Americans can access critical oral health benefits.
Prevention is key when it comes to oral health. Visiting your dentist every year is one of the most important factors in maintaining good oral health. Without dental insurance, however, preventive checkups can be costly and those without dental coverage are 2.5 times less likely to visit a dentist than those who are covered.
Take charge of your health this month and make sure you sign up for coverage – medical and dental – before March 31.