Top 10 DrBicuspid stories for 2019

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com assistant editor

December 30, 2019 -- Breaking news and legal actions dominated the headlines in 2019. The year's last few months, specifically, served up some of the hottest stories involving everything from direct-to-consumer orthodontics to clinicians behaving badly, according to the articles most read by DrBicuspid.com members.

This year has not been kind to Delta Dental. The leading dental care insurer in the U.S. found itself a major spoke in the news cycle from mistakenly paying for dental crowns to a possible personal and medical data breach to class-action lawsuits, which accuse the company of anticompetitive conduct that divides the U.S. market and reduces reimbursement rates to dentists. The dental community has been following the ADA and individuals' suits against the company closely, as well as the expected fallout of the litigation.

The ADA also thrusted itself deep into the controversy over direct-to-consumer orthodontics. In October, the ADA and SmileDirectClub added gasoline to the fire by issuing competing statements regarding government enforcement of this type of orthodontics. The ADA and state dental boards have charged that SmileDirectClub should be regulated under state practice-of-dentistry rules. The California dental board upped the ante by becoming the first state in the U.S. to pass a teledentistry law requiring x-rays and other steps be taken before patients can undergo treatment from providers, such as SmileDirectClub.

On that same front, medical device company Align Technology was forced to shutter its Invisalign stores after an arbitrator ruled that it violated its noncompete agreement with SmileDirectClub.

Then, there was the criminal case against Benjamin Burris, DDS. In August, the well-known orthodontist in Arkansas was accused of paying bribes to and performing free dental work for former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson in exchange for legislation that benefited his dental clinics. Burris has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is expected to start in early 2020.

The medical malpractice case against New Jersey periodontist Frank Ricker, DMD, also was one of the most popular stories of the year. Ricker was ordered to pay approximately $1.3 million to a patient who was left with bone and nerve damage following a procedure to extract a molar in preparation for an implant.

Another must-read article of 2019 was about a study that showed the link between mouth ulcers and a number of thought-to-be unrelated physical and psychological conditions. Researchers found about 100 shared genetic variants, some of which are linked to inflammatory diseases, neuroticism, and depressive symptoms.

As we await the next big news to happen in 2020, we give you the complete list of the top 10 stories of 2019 on DrBicuspid.com, measured by member traffic. We hope you enjoy looking back and reading them, as much as we liked bringing the news to you.

Top 10 stories for 2019

  1. ADA files class-action lawsuit against Delta Dental, November 27, 2019
  2. Arbitration decision forces Invisalign stores to close, March 5, 2019
  3. Periodontist must pay $1.3M in malpractice case, October 22, 2019
  4. Orthodontist indicted on fraud, bribery charges, August 20, 2019
  5. Mouth ulcers linked to inflammatory diseases, depression, March 26, 2019
  6. NJ man awarded $2M for jaw tumor undetected by dentist, November 5, 2019
  7. ADA duel with SmileDirectClub heats up, October 9, 2019
  8. Podcast: Breaking down the antitrust lawsuits against Delta Dental, November 21, 2019
  9. Oral surgeon must pay $520K for risky dental practices, December 3, 2019
  10. Dental assistant sues for burns, pregnancy loss from autoclave blowup, November 11, 2019


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