Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Dental Download: June 27, 2014

This week, we discuss how dentists can improve their work efficiency, learn about deadly flesh-eating bacteria, and introduce a digital technology that’s expected to accelerate the prosthetic workflow. Flow along on twitter using the hashtag #FridayDentalDL

An average of two out of three dental professionals experience occupational pain, and as such, musculoskeletal disease forces early retirement for nearly one-third of dentists. Dental equipment can play a big role in work efficiency as can changing your work habits. Dentists can only improve their ergonomics when they improve their physical well-being.

In our bodies, multiple microorganisms called microbes thrive while living in harmony with other microbes. Some, however, are parasitic, which means they flourish and thrive at the expense of our health. Researchers may have found a way to target the pathogenic microbes, the ones harmful to us, through a technology known as STAMP. If STAMP proves to be successful, it could eliminate tooth decay, improving the oral health of millions.

In February, a Maine high school student got his wisdom teeth out, normally a routine dental procedure. Three days after his surgery, he had a lot of swelling and became extremely weak and dizzy. It was later reported that the student contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria disease that destroys the fascia – a layer of connective tissue underneath the skin. Although this type of disease is rare, make sure you communicate with your dentist if you experience unexpected side effects.

Digital technology is increasingly finding its way into everyday dental practice. Intra-oral scanners provide new treatment options for patients and are expected to accelerate the workflow. Little was known about the actual time required to make digital impression, until now. A new study found that the time required for digitalizing a dental implant fixture (like partial removable dentures) took significantly less time than making conventional impressions ­– around 12 minutes.

Mainstream science has now fully recognized the power behind coconut oil. Not only does it combat tooth decay and drastically improve overall mouth health, but also specifically crushes a yeast known as candida albicans that can lead to deadly infections.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Celebrate National Toothbrush Day With These Tooth Brushing Tips

Did you know that tooth decay is the most common childhood disease? Cavities are almost 100 percent preventable when children have access to prevention, education and treatment services, yet one-third of children ages 6 to 8 have untreated cavities in a permanent tooth.

National Toothbrush Day is June 26 and serves as a reminder of how important a little brush is to a person’s health.

Brushing your teeth twice daily is a necessity, not an option. If you brush the recommended amount – twice daily for at least two minutes per session – then you’ve spent a lot of quality time with your toothbrushes over the years. This small brush is a really important tool and there are ways to maintain it and create some good habits for oral health.

DentaQuest offers five important tips for using your toothbrush and maintaining good brushing habits:
1. If you were still wearing a heavy coat the last time you replaced your toothbrush, you’re definitely overdue for a new one. Toothbrushes need to be replaced when they get frayed and worn, which is typically every three months. Vigorous brushers will probably need to replace their toothbrush more frequently.

2. Select soft bristles over hard ones unless otherwise instructed by your dentist. Soft bristles are more pliable and can get between teeth easier. Hard bristles can make brushing painful and may also wear away gums and tooth enamel.

3. It may be tempting for teething tots, but don’t let young children chew on the toothbrush head. It drastically shortens the life of the bristles.

4. To maximize the effectiveness of brushing, pick up your toothbrush right after a meal. It helps remove the food debris that bacteria feed on. Use a small dot of fluoridated toothpaste and you’re giving your teeth a dose of fluoride right when they need it most.

5. Bedtime brushing equals better sleep. Repeating a relaxing bedtime routine (including brushing your teeth, of course) eventually gets your body programmed to start winding down for sleep.

Always rinse off your toothbrush after you've used it and let it dry before using it again.  And, don't share your toothbrush with others; you don't want to exchange mouth bacteria.

Remember, a regular check up with your dentist is as important as an annual physical. If you are afraid of the dentist and only make an appointment when you are in pain, think of this – regular preventive care is not painful and it will help prevent painful visits in the future. Good oral health is very important to your overall good health.

Monday, June 23, 2014

DentaQuest Receives Certification Status from National Committee for Quality Assurance

DentaQuest has received Certification status in Credentialing and Recredentialing by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to assessing and reporting on the quality of healthcare. This certification status is presented to health care organizations that meet NCQA’s standards in providing high-quality services to their members.

“We are proud to announce this prestigious certification and to be recognized as a high-quality dental insurer by NCQA,” said Fay Donohue, President and Chief Executive Officer at DentaQuest. “DentaQuest is committed to providing our members with the most cost-effective and comprehensive plans. Our mission is and has always been to improve the oral health of all and, with this certification, we can continue to guarantee our members that they are receiving the best possible coverage.”

NCQA‘s certification review process includes on- and off-site evaluations conducted by a team of clinical and managed care experts. The findings are then reviewed and analyzed by an oversight committee of clinicians that assigns a certification status based on the organization’s performance. DentaQuest’s assigned status is effective through 2016.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Dental Download: June 20, 2014

This week, we announce DentaQuest’s new Certification status, learn about how some types of coffee might be helping your teeth, and discuss how some dentists are promoting oral health in rural communities. Follow along on twitter using the hashtag #FridayDentalDL.

         We’re pleased to announce that DentaQuest received Certification status in Credentialing            and Recredentialing by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an                        independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to assessing and reporting on the quality of healthcare.

Proposed nationwide regulations for dental laboratories are in the works because only four states in the U.S. currently require either certification or continuing education for dental technicians and laboratories. In a 2009 American Dental Association (ADA) member survey, 65 percent of dentists responded that they believed dental technicians and laboratories are licensed in their state, while this is not the case. As a result, poorly executed dental procedures can lead to health consequences for patients and legal consequences for dentists.

3.       This new technology may put an end to drilling at the dentist’s office
Researchers at King’s College London are developing a procedure that uses low frequency electrical currents to help teeth “self-heal” early-state cavities and moderate tooth decay without drilling. This could mean pain-free, effective solutions that don’t discourage people from returning to the dentist due to a fear of needles and drills.

4.       Better communication is key to overall oral health
 University of Florida researchers discovered that difficulty understanding and using health information, or poor health literacy, is one of the key reasons people avoid the dentist. This contributes to poor oral health in rural, low-income and vulnerable U.S. populations. To improve communication, the researchers suggest that dentists should avoid using technical language, and oral health education materials should be rewritten to reflect a sixth-grade reading level. Test your Oral Health IQ with our online quiz here.

New research from a team at the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro found that drinking black coffee, without sugar and in moderation, may actually stop tooth decay. The scientists found that coffee canephora, a certain type of coffee bean, has an anti-bacterial property that might help keep teeth healthy by breaking down bacterial biofilms which cause plaque.. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DentaQuest Brings Oral Health Perspective to AHIP Institute 2014

Last week, DentaQuest presented at the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute 2014 conference in Seattle. AHIP Institute is the largest gathering of health plans and related services. Mike Enright, National Director for Commercial Sales at DentaQuest; Steve Pollock, Chief Operating Officer at DentaQuest; and Dr. Rob Compton, Executive Director of the DentaQuest Institute, made the case that ancillary products like dental and vision are  highly desired by consumers and important to health plan growth.
Consider that 20% of purchasers on the federal health insurance marketplace in this first year bought a dental plan in addition to a medical plan. For many this is the first time they have ever had dental benefits. Standalone plans on exchanges are filling a need for consumers who did not have access to dental benefits previously. Health plans that partner with dental plans to offer comprehensive, reliable and cost effective benefits are well positioned to provide consumers with a high value product.
DentaQuest surveyed health plans both this year and last year for their thoughts on including a dental benefit in their offerings. In 2013, 83 percent responded that they planned to add a dental benefit. This year, 100 percent confirmed a desire to add dental. We heard this theme repeated in multiple presentations at this conference—having ancillary products – especially dental and vision – in a health plan’s product mix is a differentiator. Beyond that, these benefits open opportunities to better manage overall health and wellness.
Over 3,000 people attended the conference, which this year focused on engaging the consumer in their healthcare choices. To honor that theme, the opening session featured leaders from three consumer focused companies – REI, Trader Joe’s and Nordstrom, Inc. DentaQuest was the only dental benefit company participating; we are honored to have had the opportunity to present at such a distinguished conference. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Dental Download: June 13, 2014

This week, we tour the DentaQuest Institute’s Oral Health Center, learn about potentially groundbreaking research into the bacteria in our mouths, and call on Congress to continue working to improve access to oral health for all. Follow along on twitter using the hashtag #FridayDentalDL.

          The DentaQuest Institute’s Dr. Rob Compton walks us through the Oral Center in                             Westborough, Massachusetts and tells us about the Institute’s innovative programs that               promote prevention of dental disease, such as the ECC Collaborative.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have received a grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research of the National Institute of Health to study the oral microbiome and periodontitis in postmenopausal women. Researchers believe the study is on the cutting edge of science as it could clarify gaps in knowledge about the bacteria in our mouths.

3.       Commission recommends extending CHIP funding
      The Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Payment Access Commission (MACPAC) has recommended that the U.S. Congress should extend CHIP funding for a transition period of two additional years, according to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), reports DrBicuspid. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the 12.7 million children expected to be enrolled in 2015 would be at risk of losing their CHIP coverage in 2016 if funding is not continued. 

4.       ADA reports to Congress on improving access to care
The American Dental Association (ADA) has released its inaugural “Action for Dental Health: Report to Congress,” which recognizes the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Action for Dental Health (ADH) movement and the grassroots efforts taking place across the country to eliminate barriers to dental health. The DentaQuest Foundation is an avid supporter of creating networks across the country to improve access to oral health benefits so we applaud the ADAs work in this regard.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DentaQuest to Present at AHIP Institute

DentaQuest will host a session at the America’s Health Insurance Plans Institute 2014 (AHIP) in Seattle this Wednesday, June 12, about the benefits of medical-dental collaboration. The presentation, “Ancillary Products as Levers for State and Regional Health Plan Growth,” will feature Mike Enright, National Director for Commercial Sales at DentaQuest; Steve Pollock, Chief Operating Officer at DentaQuest; and Dr. Rob Compton, Executive Director of the DentaQuest Institute, who will discuss how health plans can protect and expand their market share by including dental in their offerings.

In its first open enrollment period, the federal health insurance exchange enrolled more than eight million Americans, 15% of whom purchased a dental plan in addition to a medical plan. Ancillary benefit companies are meeting consumer interest in dental, vision and other coverage areas not traditionally offered by health plans. Today, ancillary benefits - dental in particular - are becoming a required component of comprehensive health coverage for many reasons, including a growing consumer understanding that good oral health is imperative for good overall health. For example, adults with periodontal disease have an increased risk of developing the specific health risks identified in the chart below providing further incentive for both consumers and providers to ensure that people are paying attention to their oral health.

The connection between oral and overall health - and consumer appetite for dental benefits in this first year of public insurance exchanges - reveals an opportunity for health insurance organizations to offer increased value to their members. This presentation will provide insight into what health insurance providers need to know to leverage dental benefits for growth.

Join us on June 12 at 2:30PM in Room 615 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, and follow @DentaQuest on Twitter as we tweet about the conference using the hashtag #AHIPInstitute. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Dental Download: June 6, 2014

This week, we check out smartphone apps that can improve your oral health knowledge, learn about the ADA’s new guide to soft-tissue oral diseases, and talk about why you might receive an oral examination from your medical doctor. Join the conversation on Twitter using #FridayDentalDL.

Want to learn more about dental anatomy, such as veneers or crowns? There’s an app for that! DrBicuspid created a list of useful smartphone apps for dentists and dental students, one of which lets users perform dental procedures on virtual patients. There are also dental apps for kids, like the 2Min2X Toothsavers app which teaches children proper oral health techniques by practicing on animated characters.

Scleroderma, a chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases according to the Scleroderma Foundation, often causes patients to  have shrunken mouths that do not open wide enough to brush and floss, making it difficult for dentists and dental professionals to provide care. A new study found that 28% of dental professionals reported that they did not feel qualified to treat patients with scleroderma, and the study’s author, Dr. David Leader, DMD, MPH, of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, suggests that dentists should take the time to learn the basics of treating these patients.

The American Dental Association published a new guide on identifying, diagnosing, and treating soft-tissue oral disease. The 247-page book includes details on screenings, differential diagnosis, descriptions of more than 40 types of soft tissue lesions, as well as more than 60 diagnostic practice exercises. To check your risk for oral diseases, take our Oral Health Quiz.

It’s no secret that oral health affects overall health, but did you now that physicians are being trained to conduct oral examinations to help identify oral health problems that could potentially lead to great health issues? The Massachusetts Dental Society is training pediatricians through its “Connect the Dots” program to examine the mouth and encourage parents to bring their children to see a dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth or by age one. It’s so important to remember that oral health directly affects overall health, so we applaud programs like this.