DrBicuspid.com Hygiene Insider

Dear Hygiene Insider,

How would you feel if an insurance company told you that, based on clinical studies, it was instituting risk-based preventive dental care? That day is here. Read how insurance companies are changing reimbursement patterns following a new study in the Journal of Dental Research that followed thousands of patients and stratified for genetic risk, smoking, and diabetes.

In other news in the Hygiene Community, early childhood caries is a growing epidemic that could actually worsen under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Read about who is most likely to have caries; the disease's immediate and long-term health, social, and economic effects; and what's behind the epidemic.

Meanwhile, few studies focus on the oral healthcare needs of terminally ill patients. Are these patients receiving the care they need? What should be the focus of treatment in terms of pain management and quality of life? Click here to read about a recent study in the Journal of the American Dental Association that looked at what treatments were being provided to long-term care residents during the last year of their lives.

And the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued comments endorsing proposed accreditation standards for dental therapists by the Commission on Dental Accreditation for dental therapists, saying the midlevel providers could improve access to dental care. Click here to read the agency's recommendations.

In other news, dental hygienists can play a critical role in improving access to high-quality services, especially for underserved populations and children, according to a new report by the National Governors Association. Read about the roadblocks that limit their ability to provide a range of services.

In a related story, some 840 independent dental hygienists practice independently in Canada, where many are authorized to perform a wide range of treatments. Click here to read about two hygienists who decided to hang out their own shingle after working for dentists for many years.

Meanwhile, 100 patients have now tested positive for HIV and hepatitis following lapses in infection control by an Oklahoma oral surgeon. Now, the case has spurred the Journal of the American Dental Association to publish an overview of the hepatitis C virus. Read about the epidemiology of the virus and new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Finally, the oral-systemic link has become increasingly important as researchers have connected periodontal disease with several diseases. Now, a new study in Head & Face Medicine has found a possible link between periodontal disease and a cancer that has seen alarming growth, especially among young people. Read more here.

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