Week in Review: COVID-19 and tooth loss | Advice from hygienists | Thankful for you

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

COVID-19 severity may be associated with the presence of alveolar bone loss and tooth loss, the sequela of periodontitis. Our top story of the week covered the details of the new study in Advances in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The odds of dying or being admitted to an intensive care unit were much higher in patients with alveolar bone loss, the researchers found. The chances of developing more severe COVID-19 also increased dramatically with tooth loss.

Dental x-rays for migrant children

Should dental x-rays be used to estimate the age of unaccompanied children who arrive at the U.S. southwestern border seeking asylum? Absolutely not, wrote Dr. Nadia Laniado in a recent journal commentary summarizing the practice.

Laniado's commentary highlighted legal and ethical concerns about using dental x-rays to estimate age, including the concern that dental age is not a reliable indicator of chronological age. It is also unclear where the x-rays are taken, who conducts age assessments, and whether examiners are trained, she wrote.

Overdose deaths hit record high

For the first time, the U.S. reported more than 100,000 overdose deaths in 2021. Many were due to opioids, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths were reported during the 12-month period ending April 2021, which is an increase of 28.5% from the same period in 2020. Overdose deaths from opioids increased from 56,064 in 2020 to 75,673 in the period ending in April 2021, according to the provisional CDC data.

Hygienists offer thanks and tips

Two hygienists wrote into the website this week with praise for hygienists and tips for providing the highest-quality care.

In the first piece, Lynn Atkinson, RDH, shared three peer-to-peer education resources, including the DrBicuspid.com Hygiene Community and our daily newsletters. She also highlighted three technologies she uses in her own practice.

In the second piece, Connie Kugel, RDH, detailed her journey from hygiene student to dental practice, education, marketing, and research. She also shared why solution-oriented patient care has been the throughline of her career.

Thankful for you!

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to say thank you for subscribing to DrBicuspid.com and reading this newsletter each week. Your views, comments, and notes help to directly inform the coverage on the website. I am so grateful to be part of an industry that cares so much about its community, colleagues, and patients.

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