As 2013 draws to a close, DrBicuspid.com takes a look back at the year in our two-part year in review of the top 10 stories. From teeth whitening to midlevel providers to new products to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there was no shortage of big stories in dentistry during the year. These are the stories that mattered most to you in 2013, as measured by page views.
Yesterday, we ran part 1 with stories six through 10. Today, we present the top five stories of 2013.
14 NC dentists, dental board sue DentalWorks by Donna Domino
March 11, 2013 -- The North Carolina dental board and a group of dentists have filed lawsuits against DentalWorks, alleging that the dental chain pressured dentists and dental workers to give patients expensive, unnecessary treatments.
The North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners' lawsuit also claims DentalWorks is illegally practicing dentistry because only dentists licensed in North Carolina can own dental practices in the state. The partnerships are "legal shells" to give the appearance that they are lawfully complying with the state's Dental Practice Act, the plaintiffs claim. The management agreements allow DentalWorks to charge the dentists for two monthly fees of up to $130,000, plus overhead fees of up to 10% of the practices' revenues, they added.
Nasal spray anesthetic: The end of the needle? By Rob Goszkowski
June 25, 2013 -- Patient fear of the needle is a regular obstacle for dental professionals. Now St. Renatus, a Colorado start-up, is navigating the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process to bring an anesthetic in the form of a nasal mist to the market.
The nasal spray, called Kovacaine Mist, is designed to anesthetize the maxillary arch. While the absence of a needle is an important aspect of the technology, it could provide other advantages to a dental practice as well, according to the company.
Senate report wants dental chains booted from Medicaid by Donna Domino
July 24, 2013 -- The Small Smiles dental chain should be excluded from the Medicaid program for encouraging dentists to perform unnecessary treatments to boost profits, according to a comprehensive report compiled by a U.S. Senate committee.
The 1,500-page report also recommends that corporate-owned chains that use similar deceptive business models should be ousted from the federal program as well.
Study: Bleaching changes teeth at molecular level by Rob Goszkowski
January 9, 2013 -- There has been a steady proliferation of whitening products for dentists and consumers, with some in-office products containing high concentrations (35%) of hydrogen peroxide.
In a recent study, Brazilian researchers set out to bolster the lack of published data regarding how bleaching can impact the mechanical properties of dental tissues (Journal of Dental Research, December 14, 2012). They took a molecular-level approach and found that high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can have a dramatic impact on dental hard and soft pulp tissue.
Report, lawsuit question U.S. teeth-whitening regulations by Donna Domino and Kathy Kincade
April 30, 2013 -- A growing number of state laws are giving dentists a monopoly on providing teeth-whitening services in the U.S., according to a report released Tuesday by the Institute for Justice (IJ) and a related lawsuit filed by two nondentists who were prohibited from offering these services in Alabama.
As the teeth-whitening industry has expanded, so has the push for laws and regulations that control who can and can't offer teeth-whitening services, according to the IJ, a U.S. civil liberties law firm founded in 1991. The IJ's report claims this expansion of dental licensing is a form of "economic protectionism."