At more than 100,000 offices and clinics across America, dentists stay busy placing and removing amalgam fillings as they care for their patients.
Dental amalgam – a mixture of metals such as silver, tin, copper and zinc bound together by mercury – is valued by clinicians for its workability, low cost and strength. Regulated as a medical device, dental amalgam is considered safe for most patients over the age of 6. Continue reading
Reporter Tonya Alanez covers the crime beat for the Sun Sentinel, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Just the same, there are times when her beat leads her to health care stories. Last month, she filed a story (site registration required) that offered a troubling look at dentistry in South Florida. She reported on a state investigation into two dentists suspected of fraudulently billing Medicaid for dentures and extractions that frail and elderly patients may not have needed – or even received.
It wasn’t her first assignment at the intersection of dentistry and crime. A couple of summers ago, she took a look at the problem of unlicensed dentists and their unlucky victims.
In a new Q&A, Alanez tells us more about her work reporting on crime and health care. She also shares a little wisdom for health care reporters who may want to do more writing with an eye toward crime.
Dental care and medical care have long been provided separately in America. New research and evolving models of care are challenging that traditional gap.
Chronic diseases are responsible for billions of dollars in health care costs and millions of deaths each year. Dental office screenings for diabetes, as well as other common conditions such as high cholesterol and hypertension could save the nation’s health care system as much as $102.6 million annually, researchers from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Resources Center concluded in a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
In this new tip sheet, Mary Otto explains some of the screenings and interventions that may be coming to a dentist’s chair near you, as well as some of the question around providing such care.
How transparent is your state dental board when it comes to helping patients find out more about their dentists?
In Arizona, the state board of dental examiners has taken actions against hundreds of dentists in recent years. But it can be difficult for a patient in the state to find out if his or her dentist has been in trouble.
Linda Holt started worrying about the quality of her dental care after suffering complications from an implant procedure, Phoenix-based ABC-15 television explained in one part of a recent investigative series.
But if she had checked the profile of her dentist, Glenn Featherman, on the Arizona Board of Dental Examiner’s website she would not have been able to tell that he had recently been cited by the board for problems that arose with an implant procedure he performed on another patient. Continue reading
“The decision to remove wisdom teeth often seems like a routine part of young adulthood. But more people are starting to ask whether it’s always necessary,” Elise Oberliesen told readers of the Los Angeles Times in a recent story.
“Those who oppose automatically taking out those four teeth say “watchful waiting” is a better path because the teeth and surrounding gum tissue might remain normal, making costly surgery unnecessary,” she wrote. Continue reading