Dear DrBicuspid Member,
If a patient asks you to extract a healthy tooth, would you oblige? Many do pull teeth at the request of patients, according to new survey results published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA). Our top story of the week explores more about the frequency and ethics of extracting healthy teeth.
Loss of sensation after root canal therapy
A 27-year-old woman lost sensation in her chin and lip following root canal treatment on her mandibular molar. The cause? Extrusion of the root canal sealer that spread into the region around the root and likely permanently damaged a nerve, according to a recent case report.
Periapical x-rays showed a radiopaque material at the roots of the treated tooth, and a cone-beam computed tomography scan confirmed widespread extrusion of the root canal sealer. The case underscores the diligence required when performing root canals, according to the authors of the report.
Did the pandemic increase oral cancer risk?
The COVID-19 pandemic unsettled life as we knew it, and we're just starting to catch glimpses of the long-term results. Could one of those consequences be a rise in oral cancer cases? It's very likely, according to a study published in JADA.
The authors analyzed lifestyle and behavioral changes during the pandemic that influence the likelihood of developing oral cancer. Recent increases in the use of tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and alcohol could lead to more oral cancer cases in the future, as could recent decreases in HPV vaccination rates and preventive health services.
Time to think about code changes
It's only April, but it's the perfect time to think about two big changes coming to Code on Nomenclature (CDT) codes, according to coding expert Estela Vargas, CRDH. In March, the ADA's Code Maintenance Committee approved updates to a code related to intraoral radiographs and full-mouth debridement.
Vargas summarizes what the updated codes will likely mean for practices. However, the ADA is not releasing the actual nomenclature and descriptor until the fall.
Happy dental hygienists week!
It's National Dental Hygienists Week, and what a great opportunity to celebrate hygienists, who are often the unsung heroes of the dental practice. Hygienists have had a turbulent past few years, with many leaving their places of employment and some still staying out of the workforce.
Like many health professionals, hygienists may also be struggling with burnout and feeling stagnant in their skills and their career. If that's the case for you, Lynn Atkinson, RDH, shared tips to help new and experienced hygienists reinvigorate their passion for the profession.
In her video interview, Atkinson emphasized the importance of finding a practice that supports your continued education and growth. She also shared a few things that dental offices can do to acknowledge and celebrate the unique skills and qualifications of their hygienists.