DrBicuspid.com Hygiene Insider

Dear Hygiene Insider,

Few experience dentistry the way Conan Murat has. During the last nine years, he has lived and worked as a dental therapist in a remote area of Alaska located 400 miles northwest of Anchorage. Click here to read about his work, which was also described in a recent issue of Health Affairs.

In other news in the Hygiene Community, dentistry has been grappling with shortages of the antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline. Read about which drugs are now available and how the shortage has affected periodontology in particular.

And the importance of maintaining adequate safeguards for infection control was the topic at the ADA's annual meeting in New Orleans. Recent infection-control breaches have resulted in the deaths of some patients, and left others infected with hepatitis and HIV. Click here for more.

In a related story, Oklahoma health officials have confirmed that 100 patients of oral surgeon W. Scott Harrington, DMD, have now tested positive for hepatitis and HIV. Read about the ongoing infection scandal and the lawsuits filed by patients who were treated by Dr. Harrington.

Meanwhile, a Fort Smith, AR, orthodontist has agreed to stop offering prophylaxes to the general public after being summoned before the Arkansas State Board of Examiners. Click here to read why Ben Burris, DDS, MDS, thinks he should be allowed to provide prophies and why the dental board disagrees.

And the American Dental Hygienists' Association has declared its support for Oral Health America's recommended roles for dental hygienists and dental therapists in expanding U.S. oral healthcare. Read more about the issue here.

In a related story, a panel of academic experts has developed a set of evidence-based national standards for education programs that train midlevel providers, also known as dental therapists, in the U.S. Click here to read about the panel's recommendations.

And periodontal disease could be effectively treated by beckoning the right kind of immune system cells to the inflamed tissues, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read about the "homing beacon" immune cells that may be used to treat periodontal disease.

Finally, read about the rock star of dental hygiene, Esther Wilkins, RDH, DMD, a clinical professor emerita at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, who has a dental instrument named after her, the Wilkins/Tufts Explorer. Click here to read why hygienists queue up with their dental hygiene textbooks to get her autograph.

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