Week in Review: What to expect in the next 6 months | Beards, tattoos seen as less professional | Gold wires to perfect a 17th century smile

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Looking ahead at the next six months, dentists expect staffing to be one of their top challenges followed by inflation, expenses, and insurance issues. Our top story of the week covered these and other findings from a new ADA Health Policy Institute report.

How to tell patients dental care is a need

Dental practices aren't the only ones struggling with inflation and expenses -- patients are too -- and hard financial times may make patients think twice about getting dental care. Dr. James V. Anderson shared tips on how to communicate to patients the importance of timely dental care treatment, especially restorative care and periodontal therapy.

Who is perceived as a professional?

Whether we like it or not, dental professionals are judged on their appearance, and a new study found that patients perceive orthodontists with tattoos, piercings, loose hair, and beards as less professional. However, not all age groups were equally critical in their judgments. Patients between the ages of 18 and 30 were more receptive to nontraditional appearance choices than those between the ages of 51 and 70.

Effect of marijuana on oral surgery

As additional states legalize cannabis, dental professionals are seeing more patients who have used marijuana in their chairs. One big open question, though, is how cannabis use may affect anesthesia and sedation. A new small study provided some answers, showing that patients who tested positive for cannabis' psychoactive element in their systems, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), had vital signs and anesthetic requirements comparable to patients who tested negative for THC.

Perfecting a 17th century smile

New imaging released this week shows how a 17th century aristocratic woman used gold wires to stabilize teeth loosened due to periodontal disease. The heiress wrapped the loose teeth with the wires, which had to be occasionally tightened and may have worsened her condition.

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