AHCJ webcasts

Medicare: What would it take to add a dental benefit?

November 2016
AHCJ WebcastThis webcast featured Beth Truett, president and chief executive officer of Oral Health America, a national advocacy organization that is focused upon improving the oral health of older Americans. She talked about a growing push to add a dental benefit to Medicare and the findings of new research by her group on the oral health of multigenerational "grandfamilies."

Deadly Dentistry: How Safe is Your State?

February 2016
This webcast features the team responsible for the seven-part Deadly Dentistry series featured in The Dallas Morning News. Reporter Brooks Egerton talks about the deaths he investigated and the national pattern he described "in which state dental enforcers ignore many malpractice cases and leave the public in the dark.” Collaborator and data journalist Daniel Lathrop talks about state-by-state findings that were part of the series.

Looking ahead: A reporter's guide to Children's Dental Health Month

January 2015
In advance of Children’s Dental Health Month, experts discussed the latest research on oral health and how it may impact policy in the states. Shelly Gehshan, director of  children's dental policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts, provided perspective on oral health programs that are making a difference and the issues that may provide barriers to improving dental health. Stories included how a program in North Carolina has improved children’s oral health by utilizing doctors to help apply fluoride varnish. Gehshan also discussed the benefits of dental sealant programs and some of the barriers at the state level that prevent these programs from reaching more children.

Fluoridation and your community

October 2014
Community water fluoridation has been hailed as one of the public health triumphs of the 20th century. For more than 65 years, communities across the United States have been supplementing naturally occurring fluoride in water supplies to promote oral health. At what are considered optimum levels, numerous studies have shown fluoride reduces cavities. At the same time, critics continue to fight water fluoridation efforts, armed with papers they say highlight the dangers of fluoride.

With battles playing out in communities from Alabama to Oregon, what do reporters need to know about the science and pseudo-science behind water fluoridation? Our webcast features Shelly Gehshan, director of  children's dental policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Mary Otto, AHCJ's oral health core topic leader

Getting dental care to elders in nursing homes

May 2014
Studies show that seniors in nursing homes often go without dental care. The lack of care can take a devastating toll on health and quality of life and impacts seniors who have their natural teeth as well as those who don't.

Our panel of experts looked at the need for oral health services in nursing homes, some steps that are being taken to get this care to patients and shared stories and resources for reporters.

Will families buy kids’ dental benefits on new exchanges?

October 2013
States are tackling the challenges of offering dental benefits on their exchanges. What services are they offering? Are they affordable? Are families buying them and will they know how to use them? As for Medicaid expansions, how are qualifying kids who need coverage going to get it? Do states have strategies for guiding new families to care in places where there is a short supply of dentists?

Video & audio

Dentists unable to treat patients after Pennsylvania’s new COVID-19 mandate
Jillian Hartmann of Pittsburgh-based WPXI-TV reports on oral health impact of COVID-19 safety restrictions.

WalletHub Video Highlights 2020’s States with the Best & Worst Dental Health report card

The personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2020's States with the Best & Worst Dental Health

New ways teens are hiding vaping habits in plain sight

Stefania Okolie of Houston-based ABC 13 reports on how local teens are using devices that look like watches, flash drives and pen to disguise their vaping habits from adults

Pregnancy & Oral Health in the ACA Era: How Are Expectant Moms Faring?

More than half of pregnant women do not see a dentist during their pregnancies. They should: forgoing dental care can lead to painful infections and gum disease, which a growing body of research links to adverse birth outcomes. Good oral hygiene also reduces bacteria that, when passed from mother to infant after birth, can lead to early childhood caries. The ACA has improved health coverage for pregnant women broadly, but limitations in access and education continue to keep many women from receiving dental services.

This webinar explored ways to connect women to dental coverage and care during pregnancy, including the following:

  • The impact of the ACA on dental insurance options during pregnancy, such as coverage through Medicaid and the ACA’s marketplaces

  • Strategies to integrate dental screenings and referrals into prenatal care

  • Efforts to educate pregnant women about the importance of dental care and connect them to services

Bacteria that glide with the greatest of ease

More than half of pregnant women do not see a dentist during their pregnancies. They should: forgoing dental care can lead to painful infections and gum disease, which a growing body of research links to adverse birth outcomes. Good oral hygiene also reduces bacteria that, when passed from mother to infant after birth, can lead to early childhood caries. The ACA has improved health coverage for pregnant women broadly, but limitations in access and education continue to keep many women from receiving dental services. This webinar explored ways to connect women to dental coverage and care during pregnancy, including the following: The impact of the ACA on dental insurance options during pregnancy, such as coverage through Medicaid and the ACA’s marketplaces Strategies to integrate dental screenings and referrals into prenatal care Efforts to educate pregnant women about the importance of dental care and connect them to services

Video from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research offers a look at oral microbes.

Former Hawaii dentist on trial in death of child
In a Nov. 20, 2018, report, KITV-Honolulu covered closing arguments in the trial of former Oahu dentist Lilly Geyer. The practitioner was charged with manslaughter after 3-year-old Finley Boyle fell into a coma while undergoing a dental procedure in 2013.

“It’s Hurting Us” Kentucky Dental Clinic Turning Away Dozens After Medicaid Cuts

Hawaii man seriously hurt after e-cig explodes in mouth

Added January 2018
Jobeth Devera reports for Honolulu-based Hawaii News Now on an e-cigarette explosions, including a December incident that severely injured a local man. See the story at Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL.

The state of the U.S. dental market - Outlook 2018

Added November 2017
A recorded webinar from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. This webinar, presented by Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., provided an annual update of the newest data on the dental care market. Looking forward, the webinar also highlighted key forces reshaping the dental care market in the coming years. There are also links to all publications referenced in the webinar.

Maple Family Dental Offers Free Clinic for Fargo’s Homeless Residents

Added October 2017
Multimedia journalist Danielle Church reports on a local dentist’s decision to bring free care to a Fargo, N.D., homeless shelter in a story for KVRR.

Jackson College Launches Dental Hygienist Program

Added September 2017
Aaron Dimick, a reporter for WLNS-Lansing, Mich., takes a look at a new program that aims to help meet oral health needs in the state.

Meet Naomi Petrie, Oregon’s First DHAT (Dental Health Aide Therapist)

Added August 2017
posted as part of a package offers a brief introduction to Petrie, who began working in Oregon in July as part of a state-approved pilot project that has enabled tribal health facilities serving  the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians and the Coquille Indian Tribe to hire dental therapists to help expand access to oral health care.

How to save a life: What happens when a child stops breathing?

Added July 2017
Dr. Karen Sibert shows correspondent Kate Snow just how quickly things can go wrong in an emergency situation, and what rescue techniques medical professionals can use to save a child's life.

Six years in, dental therapist experiment is working, experts say

Added July 2017
In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature authorized the licensing of mid-level dental care providers, known as dental therapists. The new career was supposed to expand access to dental care to more state residents, especially those with low incomes or who live in rural areas where dentists may be rare. Stephanie Dickrell of the St. Cloud Times gets an update on how the program is working.

3-Year-Old Stockton Girl Dies During Dental Procedure

Added June 2017
Sacramento-based Fox40 reports on the June 15 death of 3 year-old Daleyza Avila Hernandez. The child suffered a medical emergency while undergoing a dental procedure under anesthesia. Her death is being investigated.

The debate to legalize dental therapists

Added May 2017
A handful of states are considering legalizing dental therapists, who do not go through the same schooling as dentists, but are allowed to perform many of the same procedures. NBC News covers the issue.

When should I take my baby to the dentist?

Added April 2017
A short YouTube video produced by the American Dental Association that offers useful advice to new parents about preparing for a child’s first dental visit.

What have we learned about dental coverage on Healthcare.gov?

Added March 2017
In this February 2017 webinar, researchers from the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute are joined by other experts to discuss trends in dental coverage available through Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces. 

Tooth infection leads to young Sacramento father’s death

Added February 2017
Vadim Kondratyuk Anatoliyevich, 26, was a father of two little girls and a long-haul truck driver. He had a toothache when he left for a job, then visited a dentist in Oklahoma, who cleaned his infected tooth and prescribed him antibiotics, but that the infection got so much worse that the side of his face became swollen. The infection spread to his lungs and he died in a hospital in Utah.

Do bad teeth run in the family?

Added January 2017
Some people say bad teeth run in their family, but in this very short video from the American Dental Association, dentist Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty says that often, bad dental habits are the problems that are passed down.

San Jose adds fluoride to drinking water

The Santa Teresa Water Treatment Plant is adding two 6,000-gallon tanks to add fluoride for parts of San Jose's drinking water in California, on Dec. 5, 2016. The move comes several years after a push by dentists, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, who contend that fluoride can help reduce high rates of cavities, particularly in low-income children with limited access to dental care. In 2011, they persuaded directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the area’s wholesale water provider, to vote 7-0 for the $6.2 million project to retrofit the district’s three drinking-water treatment plants.

Dental Clinics Accused Of Using Tainted Water On Kids Are Big Recipients Of Medicaid Dollars

A network of children’s dental clinics accused of pushing unnecessary procedures on kids and using tainted water in dental procedures is also the recipient of millions of taxpayer dollars annually from the state’s insurance program for low-income patients, an investigation by CBS2’s David Goldstein has uncovered.

Senior-focused dental clinic opens at senior center

In southern California, the Gary and Mary West Senior Center has opened a new senior-focused dental clinic at the center. The program is designed to serve low-income seniors living on less than $850 per month. In cases where the government-funded Denti-Cal program doesn’t cover the entire bill, the clinic’s seniors are charged on a sliding fee scale.

The Deadly Triangle: Dentists, Drugs and Dependence

This June 2016 report from NBC News highlights the link between prescriptions of opioids to treat dental pain amid a skyrocketing rate of opioid addiction. Kate Snow and Parminder Deo report that some dental schools are changing their training: "At the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, students are trained to give their surgical patients a detailed explanation of the best way to take and dispose of medication. They write two-week prescriptions for powerful opioids that are not refillable."

Hundreds line up for free dental clinic in North Carolina

This July 29, 2016, piece, from WTVD-Raleigh-Durham, N.C., is part of the wide coverage of a free dental clinic that was held by NC Missions of Mercy in the town of Fuquay-Varina. Reporter Gloria Rodriguez talks to volunteers and patients waiting in line. They discuss the unmet dental needs of adults in the state.

Allergic reaction ‘not likely’ in death of toddler after dental procedure

Daisy Lynn Torres suffered complications from anesthesia while undergoing a procedure at an Austin dental office in the spring of 2016, a medical examiner recently concluded.

The Texas State Board of Dental Examiners has opened an investigation into the death of the 14-month old girl.

Meanwhile, a forensic dental examiner who reviewed Daisy’s records at the request of the medical examiner’s office raised questions about whether the child even needed treatment in the first place.

Soda Tax Passes in Philadelphia

Forty times, city or state governments had proposed taxes on sugary soft drinks, failing each time. Then, in 2014, Berkeley, Calif., passed such a tax, but most people saw it as an aberration. Several measures, including one in New York, never won much support.

In June 2016, a measure to tax sweetened drinks passed in Philadelphia, one of the country’s largest cities — and also one of its poorest. Indeed, raising revenue was the winning argument in Philadelphia.

The advocates who have pushed for the policy say the victory is a sign of growing public acceptance of soft drink taxes and presages more such measures around the country. Though city officials didn’t talk much about the health consequences of soda, experts said that sugary drinks’ increasingly bad reputation made it an appropriate political target.

Vermont debating use of dental therapists

Stewart Ledbetter of WPTZ in Vermont reports on that state’s efforts to expand access to dental care by allowing dental therapists to practice under the supervision of a dentist. Dentists fear it could create a “two-tier” system in the state while others say the state already has a “two-tier” system: those that have access to dental care and those who do not.

Program integrates medical, dental care for the needy

A Colorado program brings free dental services to existing medical clinics serving low-income and needy populations. This piece from KUSA-Denver discusses the stresses that refugees face, cultural issues that may affect dental care and access to care.

"We're working with 16 different medical clinics around the state bringing hygienists into those clinics," Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation Executive Director Barbara Springer said. "This is really a groundbreaking project because it's not being done anywhere else."

Deadly dentistry

The Dallas Morning News' Brooks Egerton discusses "Deadly Dentistry," his report on the number of deaths that occur in dentists' chairs. A dental patient dies about every other day in America, according to a first-of-its-kind estimate by The Dallas Morning News. It is surely a rough calculation. It is based on data from one state, Texas. And we have no way to know, for example, whether patients here enter dental offices with more health risks than patients elsewhere, or if dentists here engage in riskier practices than others. Why estimate? Because many state governments, which are supposed to oversee dentists, have failed to keep meaningful statistics.

Hazardous waste violations at University of Missouri-Kansas City, EPA inspections show

KSHB-Kansas City, Mo., reports that EPA inspections of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Volker Campus and Dental School in Kansas City, Mo., revealed violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) related to the storage and handling of hazardous waste, according to a news release from the EPA.

Former major league player links chewing tobacco to cancer diagnosis

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling revealed that the type of cancer he was battling -- squamous cell carcinoma, a type of mouth cancer – and detailed the painful treatment and recovery process that caused him to lose 75 pounds. Telling his story for the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon, Schilling said he believes that a 30-year habit of chewing tobacco is what caused the cancer. Red Sox manager John Farrell noted how the use of smokeless tobacco is not prohibited on the big-league level, protected by the players' collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball.

E-cigarette use triples among middle, high school students in just one year

Mitch Zeller, director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s  Center for Tobacco Products, speaks about findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey. This is the first time since the survey started collecting data on e-cigarettes in 2011 that e-cigarette use has surpassed use of every other tobacco product overall, including conventional cigarettes. E-cigarettes were the most used tobacco product for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic other race while cigars were the most commonly used product among non-Hispanic blacks.

Investigators expose hundreds of ‘hidden' discipline files for Arizona dentists

KNVX-Phoenix reports that the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners has taken action against hundreds of dentists but the vast majority of board actions are classified as “non-discipline” and are essentially hidden from the public. The investigation uncovered dentists practicing in Arizona who have lost their licenses in other states, criminal backgrounds, drug offenses and sex crime arrests.

'Give Kids A Smile' gives kids free dental care

KMSP-Minneapolis/St. Paul reported on the "Give Kids A Smile" program that provides many kids from struggling families with free dental care at the University of Minnesota.

Cleaning, fillings, and other basic services are offered at no cost thanks to a collaboration between the Minnesota Dental Foundation, volunteer dentists, and donations.

According to the report, "Last year, 170 kids received more than $144,000 worth of dental care as part of 'Give Kids A Smile' at the University of Minnesota alone, and organizers expect those numbers to be matched this year."

Dental vacations growing in popularity

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Thousands attend 'Mission of Mercy' free dental clinic 

On Sept. 19 and 20, thousands of people flocked to Mission of Mercy, a free dental clinic in College Park, Md. On the clinic's first day, volunteer providers treated over 1,000 patients who could not afford traditional dental care or hadn't had dental care in years. Mission of Mercy is a partnership between Catholic Charities and the University of Maryland. It was inspired by 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, who died after suffering an untreated tooth infection.

Dr. Celeste Ziara on "Good Morning Delmarva"

As part of a series on the importance of oral health for children broadcast during National Children's Dental Health Month, Dr..Celeste Ziara, dental director at Three Lower Counties Community Health Centers spoke about proper brushing on WMDT-TV  in Salisbury MD.  The clip is from the show “Good Morning Delmarva,” that serves the eastern peninsula of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. 

Informative video on sealants from the ADA

This consumer-oriented video from the American Dental Association discusses the use of sealants  to prevent cavities. It explains what sealants are, why and when they typically are applied and where they are applied.


Complaints piling up against dentist

Complaints are piling up against a Hilo, Hawaii, dentist a month after a young mother went into a coma under his care, KITV reporter Lara Yamada reported on April 17. The state is now investigating a dozen complaints about the dentist. Yamada reports that he got his Hawaii medical license in 2001 and as a dentist in 2005. At the time, only a regional exam – not a national test – was required. The Hawaii Dental Association says, “Over our objections, the legislature created a loophole in 2005 that allowed several dentists to come to Hawaii and set up a practice, without going through a rigorous exam."

Healthy habits videos

These videos feature state governors and Sesame Street characters Rosita and Abby Cadabby. The messages were filmed at the National Governors Association (NGA) 2014 Winter Meeting in February as part of a collaboration between the NGA and Sesame Workshop.

Bethesda offers free dental care to those in need

Kristen King of KLTV reports on patients and dentists preparing for an upcoming Mission of Mercy free dental clinic coming to Tyler, Texas.

Give Kids a Smile Offers Kids Free Dental Care

Stephen Grimsby of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry appeared on KSTP to share more information about Give Kids a Smile, a statewide charitable program that provides free dental care to children under 18-years-old.

School of Dentistry faculty and students volunteer their time to offer exams, cleanings, composite fillings, and other services free of charge.

Dentist hits the road to treat elderly

Gregory Folse

Gregory Folse, D.D.S., who participated in an AHCJ webcast about getting oral health care to the elderly, was named Dentist of the Year by 232-HELP, a social service information and referral service.

He travels to nursing homes to provide care,  leaving behind dental chairs and other pieces of major equipment behind. Folse carries portable versions of some of the tools of the trade with him.

3-year-old dies one month after dentist visit

Finley BoyleNana Ohkawa of KITV-Honolulu reports on Finley Boyle, a 3-year-old girl who died after being sedated in a dentist's office. Boyle lapsed into a coma and her family's attorney said she was in a persistant vegetative state.

Also according to the attorney: "Finley was getting 10 different procedures, four which were a type of root canal. And says she was given five drugs in very excessive doses, and adding to the problem, she wasn't monitored throughout the procedure."

Dental labs unchecked

WSYX- Columbus, Ohio, raises questions about the lack of standards for dental labs in the state. Tom Sussi looks into a cluttered, yet legal basement lab uncovered as the result of a police investigation, then visits a larger and more modern lab and asks a state lawmaker why Ohio doesn’t do more to regulate dental labs and the people who work in the industry?


Tyler dentist buying back Halloween candy

Dr. Culberson Boren wants your children's Halloween candy. "A lot of people are trying to get guns off the street," he says. "We're trying to get candy off the street." It wouldn't be Halloween without lots of candy. But, dentists and orthodontists say those sweets can cause serious problems for your children's teeth. Boren gives kids $1 for every pound of candy they bring in after Halloween.