Week in Review: Tooth loss and mortality risk | New dental assistant laws | The latest from SmileCon

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Oral health is tied to everything from Alzheimer's disease to arthritis, and new research is showing that the mouth is also linked to mortality. Our top story of the week covered what you need to know about a new study of nearly 5,000 older adults.

In the study, mortality rates were significantly higher for edentulous people as opposed to those with teeth. However, wearing dentures cut the risk of death, suggesting the importance of restoring patients' functional dentition.

New dental assistant laws

In 2021 and 2022, several states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia enacted legislative and regulatory changes affecting dental assistants. The Dental Assisting National Board's "State of the States" report covered the important details.

Many of the changes involve the types of functions that dental assistants can provide, such as applying silver diamine fluoride in Wyoming, or not provide, like tooth bleaching services in New York. Other changes involve vaccination requirements, out-of-state teledentistry patients, and the types of professionals who are qualified to supervise dental assistants, including dental hygienists and dental therapists.

Highlights from SmileCon 2022

Many DrBicuspid.com regular contributors made their way to the Lone Star State to attend -- and present at -- the ADA's 2022 SmileCon meeting. Below are a few of the highlights from the show:

You can find more news and updates from the SmileCon meeting on DrBicuspid's Instagram and Facebook pages.

Oral surgeon opioid-prescribing habits

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons decreased overall opioid prescribing by 20% between 2016 and 2019, according to a brief communication in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry. But they also wrote more prescriptions for codeine and tramadol.

The authors cautioned that codeine is not indicated for children, and tramadol is not effective for acute dental pain. The research was funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Mark your calendars: Another webinar

Last but not least, I wanted to make sure you know about our latest sponsored webinar, which is about scanning complex restorations. Next Tuesday, October 18, at 7 p.m. ET, Dandy will share tips on how you can feel comfortable with intraoral scanning and the best practices for scanning complex restorations. Register today for this free webinar.

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