For the first time in two years, COVID-19 has pretty much taken a backseat to other important issues affecting dentistry. Antibiotics, case reports, life-altering mistakes, and more dominated DrBicuspid.com's top 10 most popular stories of 2022, which are based on member views.
The top story of the year was about the family of a 4-year-old who was left brain-dead following treatment for decayed teeth. A Texas jury awarded the family $95 million on behalf of the child who is conscious but can no longer see, speak, walk, or eat on her own.
Other popular stories focused on how dentistry is changing in terms of demographics and practice models, as well as how dentists remain on a quest to hire dental hygienists and assistants.
Without any further delay, here are the top 10 stories of 2022:
- Texas dentist ordered to pay $95M for toddler left brain-dead following dental procedure
A jury in Texas awarded $95.5 million to the family of a 4-year-old girl who was left with irreversible brain damage following a 2016 dental visit. The award was given after jurors found Dr. Bethaniel Jefferson, who had her licensed revoked in 2016, negligent in her treatment of the toddler. The child's family accused Jefferson, of Diamond Dental in Houston, of improperly restraining and sedating the girl during treatment for tooth decay. The girl suffered drug-induced seizures and oxygen deprivation.
- Dental Dose: The new AHA infective endocarditis guidelines
Pharmacologist Tom Viola, RPh, discussed changes the American Heart Association (AHA) made to its guidance regarding the use of antibiotic agents to help prevent infective endocarditis following dental procedures. The AHA raised some red flags about the use of clindamycin and more.
- Do patients with prosthetics need antibiotic prophylaxis?
A study in JAMA Network Open revealed that dental professionals may want to reconsider antibiotic prophylaxis in patients with prosthetic joints undergoing invasive dental procedures. Despite the urging of orthopedic surgeons to provide these patients with pretreatment antibiotics, no significant relationship has been found between invasive dental procedures and subsequent joint infections.
- Top 10 DSOs: The largest companies keep growing
Of the 10 largest dental service organizations (DSOs) in the U.S., Heartland Dental continues to hold first place. Several other DSOs continue to grow. TAG - The Aspen Group, Aspen Dental Management's parent company, grew by about 200 practices over the last year, and MB2Dental, which made DrBicuspid.com's top 10 list for the first time in 2021, added 100 practices.
- Antibiotic guidelines continue to shift at dental practices
New guidelines on antibiotic use for tooth pain and intraoral swelling, which were released by the ADA in 2019, have shifted awareness about the use of antibiotics in dentistry, according to a session at the Illinois Department of Public Health's 2022 Illinois Summit on Antimicrobial Stewardship. The guidance dispelled several myths, including one that antibiotics must be started as soon as a patient presents with tooth pain or that antibiotics are necessary to prevent an infection from worsening.
- Hygienist, assistant shortage may be on verge of crisis
Dentistry is facing a harrowing workforce shortage that began before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may get worse before it gets better, according to data from the ADA's Health Policy Institute (HPI). During any month, 4 out of 10 dental practices are hiring dental hygienists and assistants. Within the next five years, about 34% of dental assistants and about 31% of dental hygienists indicated they expected to retire.
- Practice ownership fades as the face of dentistry changes
The U.S. dental workforce is changing and with it, the practice paradigm. As dentistry grows younger and more diverse -- with more women and people of color practicing -- fewer clinicians will own practices, according to data from the ADA's HPI. Changing demographics and the COVID-19 pandemic have hastened the shift in dental practice models. Solo practices will likely wane as dentists continue to flock to DSOs.
- Blindness case prompts call to delay oral surgery after COVID-19
A man went blind after a tooth extraction, leading authors of this case report to call for delaying minor dental surgeries for patients with diabetes who have recently recovered from COVID-19. The patient had diabetes and lost sight in one eye after a tooth extraction led to the development of cavernous sinus thrombosis. Based on the man's case, the authors called for at least an eight-week delay in performing minor oral surgeries, including tooth extractions, after a person recovers from COVID-19.
- Is it time to change antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines?
A group of dentists and physicians called for the ADA and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to reevaluate the use of antibiotic prophylaxis for patients with prosthetic joints in a commentary published in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The authors called on the ADA and AAOS to convene a committee, review the data, and develop agreed-upon guidelines in response to a study that showed no significant relationship between invasive dental procedures and subsequent joint infections.
- Women develops air in skull after debridement procedure
A 62-year-old woman developed a life-threatening presence of air within her skull when a dental clinic used an air-polishing device to perform submucosal debridement to treat her peri-implantitis. In this case report, the authors revealed that the patient complained of extreme discomfort in her face and head two seconds after the device was turned on. Computed tomography scans revealed air in the woman's intracranial space, a phenomenon referred to as pneumocephalus.