Dental infection hospitalizations up 41%; senior citizens facing oral care crisis

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

A new study in the Journal of Endodontics reveals an alarming trend in the U.S.: Between 2000 and 2008, the number of hospitalizations attributed to periapical abscesses increased by a whopping 41%. In addition, hospitalization for these dental infections averaged nearly three days with a mean, inflation-adjusted hospital charge of $14,245 per visit.

Click here to read more about the study findings, including what the authors believe is driving this trend.

In other Restoratives Community news, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against a Tulsa, OK, oral surgeon accused of exposing thousands of patients to hepatitis and HIV because of contaminated equipment. Two of the doctor's dental assistants and three pharmaceutical suppliers also are named in the complaint. Read more.

Meanwhile, when dental care providers share their clinical experience via voluntary reporting of adverse drug and device events to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, this data can help uncover unsafe and failed products and protect patients, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Dental Association. The study authors urge dentists and hygienists to report adverse reactions in the oral cavity of their patients to improve the U.S. surveillance system.

Finally, there is a looming oral health crisis among senior citizens in the U.S., but the country's healthcare system is ill-prepared to deal with it, according to Michelle Noblet-Vacha, RDH, the executive director of Senior Mobile Dental. Her Colorado nonprofit offers a model that other states can replicate to help ensure that underpriviledged elderly get the dental care they need.

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