Week in Review: Cache of hidden teeth | Pandemic recovery | Bupivacaine facts

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

The top story of the week is about a cache of donated baby teeth hidden away in an old ammunition bunker at a university. The teeth were originally donated to evaluate the effects of radiation, and researchers will now use them to study how early exposure to heavy metals may be linked to cognitive decline in old age.

Practices starting to recover from pandemic

Dentistry is continuing to bounce back after practices shut down last year when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. New data from the ADA Health Policy Institute showed that patient volume has reached 86% of pre-COVID-19 levels, the highest it has been since dental practices were closed for all nonemergency procedures in March 2020.

The news is even better for cosmetic dentists who may be seeing an increase in patients thanks to videoconferencing platforms such as Zoom. In a so-called "Zoom boom," more patients are requesting smile makeover services. The trend stems from patients seeing themselves in video calls, noted one cosmetic dentist.

COVID-19 and oral hygiene

Speaking of the pandemic, dental plaque and gum inflammation may accelerate the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a new study in the Journal of Oral Medicine and Dental Research. Researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 may pass into the body through an oral-vascular-pulmonary track rather than an upper airway path -- and poor oral hygiene could speed this journey.

Bupivacaine facts

Is it time for a refresher on bupivacaine? Tom Viola, RPh, breaks down three key facts in the latest episode of Dental Dose. One that surprised me is that this analgesic could be a good choice for people with red hair, who may be more resistant to the effects of injections to relieve pain.

Finally, don't miss your chance to take our survey. The deadline to submit your feedback is this upcoming Friday. Your responses will have a direct impact on the news you read here every week.

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