Is partial caries removal OK after all? And, the EHR countdown continues

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

The debate over partial versus complete removal of tooth decay prior to a restoration is far from over.

Those who favor partial removal techniques such as atraumatic restorative treatment argue that these methods avoid exposing the pulp, preserve the vitality of the tooth, and thus remove the risk of extraction. Meanwhile, many in the dental community continue to support G.V. Black's recommendations that all caries should be removed regardless of the risk to the pulp.

Now a critical appraisal of the literature published this month in the Journal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry concludes that the best way to treat carious lesions extending into dentin is to ensure a good seal, and that as long as the pulp is protected, total removal of the decay is not necessary. Click here to read how the authors came to these conclusions.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Dental Society Foundation has opened a free clinic in Wheaton, IL, where volunteer dentists and hygienists can provide free basic dental care to uninsured patients who have lost dental insurance or can't afford the dental care they need. The region has been hard hit in recent years by rising poverty levels and the closure of a number of public health clinics.

Finally, after spending three days at the Chicago Midwinter Meeting last month discussing the future of electronic health records (EHRs) with dentists, office managers, and vendors, healthcare IT expert Mike Uretz is convinced that lessons he learned over the past decade working with medical EHRs can translate directly to dentistry -- and make the transition to digital records much easier in the process. Read more in his latest EHR Countdown column.

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