Dentists sue insurers under RICO Act

Evoking a set of laws originally adopted to fight organized crime, the ADA May 19 filed a class-action federal suit, alleging that some of the nation’s largest insurers have conspired to “deny, reduce and delay” payments to dentists under contract to the plans. This latest civil complaint, filed in South Florida’s U.S. District Court, Miami Division, is the third ADA lawsuit aimed at defending the dentist-patient relationship and halting what the Association sees as unlawful insurance industry practices.

Dentists are equal partners in war on terrorism: Surgeon General

U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., sees dentists as equal partners in war on terrorism, he told dental leaders March 27 at a conference on “Dentistry’s Role in Responding to Bioterrorism and Other Catastrophic Events.” The conference was co-sponsored by the American Dental Association and the U.S. Public Health Service. Dr. Carmona, a high school dropout and Army enlistee who later retrieved his education, is the 17th Surgeon General of the USPHS, sworn into office last Aug. 5. He opened the two-day conference with an overview of current threat that invited dentist participation in war on terror.

Scientists pinpoint gene responsible for tooth root formation in mammals

Investigators from the State University of New York at Buffalo have isolated the gene responsible for initiating normal tooth root formation in mammals and determined that tooth crown and root growth appear to be governed by separate genetic processes. Scientists from the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences tracked the development of a laboratory animal missing the gene responsible for encoding a protein in the nuclear factor I family.

Study links alcohol abuse with higher incidence of oral health maladies

Patients with alcohol abuse problems also show a higher incidence of periodontal disease, tooth decay and potentially precancerous oral lesions, according to recent study results from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Dental Medicinee. As part of the study, 24 male and 10 female patients at a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse in Buffalo provided information on their dental hygiene habits and lifestyle behaviors and received a dental exam. Oral health was assessed based on the presence of plaque, periodontal inflammation, DMF index, number of teeth showing enamel loss and an examination of the tongue, cheeks and palate for oral lesions.

Study identifies 'good' and 'bad' breath bacteria

While past research has connected oral malodor to the proliferation of certain bacteria on the tongue, recent research from the Forsyth Institute and the University of Michigan School of Dentistry indicates another group of bacteria is associated with fresh-smelling breath. Investigators used gene sequencing to compare bacteria found on the tongues of individuals with halitosis and those with fresh breath. While not all samples taken from halitosis sufferers had the same bacterial makeup, three particular strains — Streptococcus salivarius, Rothia mucilaginosa and a previously uncharacterized strain of Eubacterium — were the most prevalent species on the tongues of subjects with fresh breath.

Recent products awarded ADA Seal of Acceptance

Just in time for the holidays, the American Dental Association — arbiter of quality in all things related to tooth care — has issued its latest list of ADA-approved goodies. Among the highlights: Saliva Substitute from Roxane Laboratories; Pharmacia Corp.’ s Gelfoam Dental Sponge; Shaw’s Hi-Tech Waxed Floss; lots and lots of powder-free latex gloves; and something called a Basic Continental Doctors Unit, from the considerate folks at A-dec, Inc.