Elderly patients bring benefits; CBCT beats radiography

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

It's no secret that the aging baby boomer generation represents one of the largest patient populations ever. But as dentists begin seeing more of their patients go gray, they need to be aware of the special requirements involved in working with the elderly -- especially in nursing homes.

Many nursing home patients can't afford the dental care they need, and few states reimburse dentists adequately. But one dentist argues that helping these patients provides more than ample rewards. Dr. Gregory Folse of Lafayette, LA, offers practical advice for working with the elderly -- and working around the bureaucracy -- here.

Many dentists would say that nothing is certain except death, taxes, and the need to get a clear view of impacted or diseased teeth before removal or surgery. When it comes to looking below the gum line and deep into the mandibular canal, anything that gives you a better view is essential. Two new studies indicate that cone-beam CT is superior to conventional periapical x-rays for two types of preoperative visualization. Find out which procedures, and why, here.

Competition is heating up in early caries detection as well. Back in the days before high-tech sensing and monitoring devices, miners used canaries as early warning systems to detect potentially deadly gas leaks in mines. Now a Canadian company has developed a photothermal imaging system -- the Canary -- to serve as an early warning system for dental decay. But can it outshine its competitors? Read more.

More from IADR

In our ongoing coverage from the International Association for Dental Research meeting earlier this month, we offer two studies that could affect your decision-making process prior to surgery. A meta-analysis by researchers from the University of Iowa found that articaine is superior to lidocaine as a general anesthetic, and a randomized study from the University of Geneva demonstrated that, contrary to general practice, antibiotics administered immediately after periodontal surgery can reduce and even eliminate the need for follow-up surgery.

And congratulations again to our 10,000th member: Dr. Dee Nishimine, a periodontist with offices in Fresno and Saratoga, CA. His XM satellite radio is in the mail!

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