Week in Review: Medicare dental benefits | Changes to TMD treatment | Stuck vampire teeth

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

The addition of dental benefits to the Medicare program is a "when," not an "if," according to Dr. Marc Cooper. In the top story of the week, Cooper spelled out why he believes the addition of oral healthcare to Medicare is inevitable -- and why dentistry is not prepared for the monumental change.

If Democrats have their way, the addition of dental benefits to Medicare could happen sooner rather than later. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate narrowly passed a $3.5 trillion budget plan that includes adding dental coverage to Medicare. Now the resolution goes to the House of Representatives, where Democrats have the majority.

Changes to TMD treatment

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) have recommended overhauling treatment of temporomandibular disorder (TMD). A new article in Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology highlighted the NASEM recommendations and what steps the dental industry has taken to address them.

The report cited creating a coordinated registry network and implementing TMD information into the 2022 dental school curriculum as some of the actions taken to improve TMD diagnosis and treatment. NASEM also called for the development of centers of excellence for TMD and orofacial pain treatment.

Shocking trauma-related transformation

Oral surgeons in California successfully treated a woman who had severe facial skeletal deformities that stemmed from childhood trauma. Through multiple procedures, the team treated the condylar resorption of her temporomandibular joint without any significant complications or having to replace the joint. This is a case, though, where the before and after pictures really tell the story.

Stuck vampire teeth

Last but not least, Halloween season is quickly approaching, and with it comes a number of unusual clinical presentations. We profiled one frightening case of a 55-year-old man who was unable to remove his boil-and-bite vampire teeth.

The experience landed the man in the emergency room, where a maxillofacial team successfully removed the vampire teeth. The man experienced superficial gingival lacerations but was able to make a complete recovery.

What are some of the bizarre clinical cases you've seen in your practice? Let me know the Halloween-related mishaps you've encountered, and if I get enough responses, I'll compile your stories into an article for others to read.

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