Week in Review: Dentist accused of breaking teeth | Practice ownership continues to fade | Anticaries dental coating

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

A Wisconsin dentist was convicted last week on multiple counts of fraud and making false statements in a scheme worth more than $4 million. The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Wisconsin claimed the dentist used his drill to damage patients' teeth so he could bill insurance for crowns instead of fillings. Read more details in this week's top story.

If legal cases interest you, you don't want to miss new details in the ongoing saga of an unvaccinated oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Rhode Island who was ordered to stop treating patients. That dentist, who filed a complaint against state officials, has now returned to practice after the state lifted its COVID-19 vaccine compliance order.

Practice ownership continues to fade

It's now been two years since dental practices closed their doors to elective care at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we're just starting to fully realize the long-lasting effects of the pandemic on dentistry and the dental workforce.

In an ADA Health Policy Institute webinar last week, researchers explained that the pandemic has hastened the shift in dental practice models, stating that the trends are not reversible. In 2021, 73% of dentists owned practices, down from 85% in 2005. At the same time, the percentage of dental school seniors entering private practice who plan to join a dental service organization more than doubled between 2015 and 2020.

Hinman continues good conference vibes

The Hinman Dental Society meeting is taking place in Atlanta this week, and I'm hearing it has continued the crowded, electric feeling we felt at the Chicago Dental Society meeting and ADA SmileCon. You can see the exhibit hall on DrBicuspid's Instagram page.

One notable virtual session addressed the potential legal ramifications of not screening patients for sleep-disordered breathing. In 2017, the ADA released a policy statement encouraging dentists to screen patients for sleep-disturbed breathing. This statement could be interpreted as the standard of care in court, according to presenter, dentist and healthcare attorney Dr. Ken Berley.

Researchers create anticaries dental coating

Last but not least, researchers have created a targeted, antibiotic, regenerative dental coating that hampers bacteria that causes caries. The material could pave the way for a new method to prevent tooth decay. The material's potential includes being used one day as filling material applied directly to dental pulp to form a dentinal ridge.

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