Regenerative dentistry could restore damaged teeth

Teeth develop through a complex process in which soft tissue, with connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels, are bonded with three different types of hard tissue into a functional body part. As an explanatory model for this process, scientists often use the mouse incisor, which grows continuously and is renewed throughout the animal’s life.

Using a single-cell RNA sequencing method and genetic tracing, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and Harvard University in the USA have now identified and characterized all cell populations in mouse teeth and in the young growing and adult human teeth.

“From stem cells to the completely differentiated adult cells we were able to decipher the differentiation pathways of odontoblasts, which give rise to dentine — the hard tissue closest to the pulp — and ameloblasts, which give rise to the enamel,” say the study’s last author Igor Adameyko.

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Some of the finds can also explain certain complicated aspects of the immune system in teeth, and others shed new light on the formation of tooth enamel, the hardest tissue in our bodies.

“We hope and believe that our work can form the basis of new approaches to tomorrow’s dentistry. Specifically, it can expedite the fast expanding field of regenerative dentistry, a biological therapy for replacing damaged or lost tissue.”

This content was originally published here.

Rand Paul Slams Dr. Fauci’s Public Health Recommendations: “He Tells You Noble Lies” | Dan Bongino

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying the famed TV scientist has framed himself as a “Greek philosopher” who has been forced to feed the public “noble lies.”

“But you have to remember that his lies are noble lies, Laura. He’s not telling you this because he’s a mean man,” Paul said when asked by Fox News Laura Ingraham why he is one of the few politicians willing to call out Fauci for lying. “He’s telling you this because he feels sorry for you because you don’t understand, and Americans aren’t smart enough to make informed decisions. So, he fashions himself some sort of Greek philosopher. He tells you these noble lies.”

Paul cited Fauci’s ever changing recommendations on masks over the last year as an example of his “noble lies.”

“So, at first, he told you that all the masks don’t work. But he told you that because he wanted to protect the N-95 masks, which actually in a health setting do work,” Paul said. “But then, later on, he said, all masks do work. But that’s also a lie also because, really only the N-95 masks work.”

“It’s a compilation of lies,” the Kentucky Republican continued. “But they’re all done to protect you because he doesn’t think you’re smart enough to make any of these decisions on your own.”

Paul also slammed President Biden’s latest COVID-19 speech, which featured Biden hinting that Americans might be able to hold gatherings on Independence Day.

“Well to show you so far out of touch President Biden is, he said he’s going to let us get together with two or three people from our family July 4th,” Paul said. “Has he not met anybody? Everybody is making their own decisions now. Where we are forced to comply with Dr. Fauci and his Faucisms, we do. But in private, most of us are doing what we want, when we want, and have been for a long, long time. We do try to take precautions.”

Paul also expressed doubt that lockdowns could be credited for stopping the spread of the virus.

“You can sequentially look at the date when each mandate was passed and when it got ratcheted up,” Paul said. “You can look at the incidence of the disease, and what you find is they were proportional, meaning the more mandates we got, the more disease we got.”

“The mandates did not cause the disease but there is no evidence the mandate slowed down the disease at all,” Paul continued.

Paul then turned his attention to former President Donald Trump, who he said deserves a lot of credit for the pace of the vaccine rollout.

“President Trump was criticized for a lot of things, but one thing he did do was shake things up in the bureaucracy. He didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer,” Paul said. “I think President Trump’s personality actually did force the issue on the vaccine and probably helped it to get done in record time.”

Paul’s dust ups with Fauci over the summer became the stuff of legend, with Paul constantly grilling the nation’s top infectious disease expert during Senate testimony.

“I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy, and as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all,” Paul said last May. “I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make the decision. We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other side saying there’s not going to be a surge and that we can safely open the economy and the facts will bear this out.”

Last June, Paul accused Dr. Fauci of politicizing the coronavirus pandemic.

“All of this body of evidence about schools around the world shows there’s no surge,” Paul slammed Fauci. “All of the evidence shows it’s rare. I mean, we’re so politicized this and made it politically correct.”

Fauci has remained in the public eye even as a new administration entered the White House, making multiple media appearances which he has used to warn that the pandemic is far from over and that Americans could have to continue wearing masks into 2022.

Don’t miss The Dan Bongino Show

This content was originally published here.

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign? A Simple Guide

Getting a gorgeous smile comes at a price, but that doesn’t mean you have to front the bill all on your own. That’s good news if you’re considering Invisalign treatment.

But before you go for your first consultation, there are some things you should understand about Invisalign insurance coverage.

Does insurance cover Invisalign? Keep reading the information below to find out.

Does Insurance Cover Invisalign?

The answer to this question is sort of tricky. For the most part, standard dental insurance policies cover routine cleanings and exams. They also cover oral procedures like extractions and root canals.

Invisalign is considered cosmetic dentistry, so it’s not always included in basic dental plans. However, many policies do offer assistance for orthodontic treatment.

Some insurance plans will take care of a percentage of the Invisalign cost. With that said, here are some important things to note:

  1. The Invisalign insurance might have an annual maximum of $1,000 to $1,500.
  2. For some policies, fixing crooked teeth is considered cosmetic. If the aligners are used for that, it may not be covered.
  3. Your Invisalign insurance coverage might only offer one service for orthodontic procedures. For instance, if you used the policy to pay for braces in the past, it may not cover Invisalign. 

Alternative Payment Options

If you don’t have Invisalign Insurance, don’t worry. There are several alternatives that you can use to help pay for your treatment, such as:

Payment Plans

Many orthodontic offices offer payment plans. You’ll generally have to apply through a credit lender that’s partnered with the office.

If you’re approved, the credit lender will give you the full amount or a portion of the Invisalign cost. You’ll be required to pay the amount back in installments.

FSA or HSA

If you have a flexible savings account or a health savings account provided by your employer, you can use it to cover your Invisalign treatment.

With an FSA, you can put a portion aside from each paycheck throughout the year for health expenses.

On the other hand, an HSA is used to help people that have high deductible medical insurance policies. It’s a savings account that’s used for health and dental costs with a limit of $3,400 for single persons and $6,750 for families.

Unfortunately, not all employers offer these plans to their employees.

Care Credit

CareCredit is a card that’s designed to help individuals pay off their out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses. Unlike traditional credit cards, it has special options for financing. However, Care Credit can only be used at certain locations that accept it.

Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted

Hopefully, this article answered your question of “Does insurance cover Invisalign?”

The basic answer to that question is often yes, but only if your policy covers it. On the bright side, it’s good to know there are payment options available if it doesn’t. 

If this content was helpful, take a look at more of our blog. We cover numerous topics to keep our readers intrigued and educated. Check us out!

The post Does Insurance Cover Invisalign? A Simple Guide appeared first on Mom Blog Society.

This content was originally published here.

Ancient History Of Dentistry

    AncientPages.com – If you think going to a dentist is an awful thing, be thankful you didn’t live thousands of years ago. Our ancestors understood the importance of healthy teeth, but the methods and instruments used in those days were far from pleasant.

    Historical evidence proves that dentistry started around the areas of China,
    Egypt, India, Etruscans of Central Italy, Assyrians, and Japan. While exploring and researching mummies, archaeologists have learned a mouthful of information on ancient dentistry.

    The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus Sheds Light on Ancient Egyptian Dentistry

    There is a lot of historical evidence revealing that ancient Egyptians practiced medicine thousands of years ago .

    The Edwin Smith Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian medical text, named after the dealer who bought it in 1862, and the oldest known surgical treatise on trauma. The papyrus was written sometime before 3000 B.C. and it gives instructions on how to heal and treat wounds in the mouth.

    Although there were detailed instructions about curing mouth problems, the evidence and writings within this time lead people to believe that the actual teeth were still considered untreatable. To begin with minor dental work was performed, but later as the knowledge increased doctors were able to carry out more advanced procedures.

    The ancients doctors were familiar with almost all modern dental diseases.

    The earliest signs of dental surgery were between 3000 and 2500 B.C. and usually involved drilling out cavities or pulling teeth. It might be hard to imagine having your teeth drilled into without the comfort of shots and happy gas, but Egyptians by 1550 B.C had prescriptions for dental pain and injuries. Interestingly, through all these years, there has never been any evidence in mummies or writings that mechanical or false teeth were ever used. This has been somewhat of a surprise to scientists as we would expect ancient Egyptians who were rather lavish to replace missing front teeth with artificial teeth.

    Nevertheless, ancient Egyptians have also been credited with the invention of toothpaste. The world’s oldest-known recipe for toothpaste comes from ancient Egypt in fact. When discovered, the Egyptian toothpaste formula formula from the 4th century AD caused a sensation among dentists who described it as an advanced recipe “ahead of its time”.

    Egyptians are believed to have started using a paste to clean their teeth around 5000BC, before toothbrushes were invented. Ancient Greeks and Romans are known to have used toothpastes, and people in China and India first used toothpaste around 500BC.

    Etruscan Civilization Experimented With Golden Teeth

    The Etruscans were a group of agricultural people who evolved into an urban population of craftsmen, traders, and navigators who lived in a network of cities and dominated the area of the Mediterranean around Italy in the 8th and 9th centuries BC. The origins of the Etruscans are lost in prehistory, but the main hypotheses are that they are indigenous, probably stemming from the Villanovan culture, or that they are the result of invasion from the north or the Near East.

    The Etruscan people were very intelligent and always strived to increase their knowledge in a number of areas, such as for example medicine and dentistry. The courage to travel across sea to trade with other civilizations is proof of their industrious and courageous personalities. Archaeological discoveries reveal that their image was important to them and they were the first people were to take basic work in the mouth to a more artistic level. Using the knowledge of dentistry they learned from travel, they began to experiment with filling gold teeth.

    In one preserved mouth, gold bands were wrapped around the teeth and cemented by soldering with heat. Human and animal teeth were used as artificial teeth and held in place by gold bands. Performed around 700 B.C this is the first time in history a form of prosthetics was ever used in the mouth, and would be the only use for many years.

    The Etruscan prostheses were remarkable because they used gold bands which were soldered into rings instead of the gold wires which are seen in other cultures (Egyptians, Phoenicians) of the same time.

    Ancient Greek Dentistry

    Some years ago, a mummy was found with many devastating dental problems. Around 2,100 years ago, at a time when Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of Greek kings, a young wealthy man from Thebes was nearing the end of his life. Rather than age, he may have died from a basic sinus infection caused from a life of painful cavities. The man, whose name is unknown, was in his 20s or early 30s. A modern-day dentist would have a hard time dealing with the young man’s severe condition and one can imagine that the ancient dentist must have felt overwhelmed.

    A 3D reconstruction of the 2,100-year-old mummy’s teeth. They were in horrible shape with “numerous” abscesses and cavities, problems that may have resulted in a sinus infection, possibly fatal.
    Credit: Image courtesy International Journal of Paleopathology.

    Greek dentists struggled to stop and cure his cavities. Linen soaked in medicine was packed in the holes in his teeth in an attempt to relieve the pain. Cloth in the tooth prevented food from entering and festering in the area. Greeks prided themselves in their strength and ability to handle pain. So, when cavities were found in the teeth, Greeks would often deal with the pain rather than have the tooth pulled. Losing a tooth would be a great loss and the pain was a small price to pay, but at the end the ancient dentists failed and the man died.

    When the unknown men died he was mummified, his brain and many of his organs taken out, resin put in and his body wrapped. Curiously, embalmers left his heart inside the body, a sign perhaps of his elite status.

    Dentistry In Ancient China

    The history of dentistry in China is closely aligned with the remarkable developments in Chinese medicine over at least six millennia.

    Rudimentary dental extractions were performed as early as 6000 BC, when the first signs of adornment with human teeth were described. Around 2700 BC ancient Chinese started using used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay. Doctors in ancient China treated toothaches with arsenic about A.D. 1000. They are also noted for their development of using silver amalgam for filling teeth. The Chinese were particularly advanced in their observation of the oral cavity.

    In an ancient work called the Canon of Medicine, dentistry is discussed.A section of this work is dedicated specifically to mastication and deglutition. The Chinese were also interested in systemic diseases and their connection to oralmanifestations. For example, they recognized that prior to the development of measles, white spots would appear in a person’s oral cavity.  Another significant area of study among Chinese surgeons in Chinese history of dentistry was oral surgery. Scientists have discovered many writings regarding the extraction of teeth and the instruments utilized to perform such tasks.

    The great Sung landscapist Li T’ang depicts a country doctor cauterizing a patient’s
    arm by burning it with the powdered leaves of an aromatic plant. The treatment is
    called Moxibustion , which is widely used along with acupuncture for treatment such as relieving toothache.

    In addition, information has been found in Chinese history of dentistry relating to the abscesses of teeth and other oral structures. The Chinese based many treatments for abscesses on scientific observation. Finally, the Chinese surgeons delved extensively into surgery techniques of the oral cavity..

    There were actually four distinct periods of medical development in China: the Mystical Period; the Golden Period; the Controversial Period; and the Transitional Period. The Golden Period was marked by the appearance of the first textbooks to describe preventive and restorative dental techniques, as well as the first colleges. Dentistry then moved through the dark times of the Controversial Period, when war mongering stymied progress. Lasting until 1800 AD, it came to an end with the domination of Western medicine and dentistry.

    In Mesopotamia Diseases Were Often Blamed On Pre-Existing Spirits And Gods

    Before the advent of the current medical establishment, many ancient cultures had believed that worms were the cause of various illnesses and diseases such as tooth decay known as cavities today.In fact, tooth worms have a long history, first appearing in a Sumerian text around 5,000 BC.

    References to tooth worms can be found in China, Egypt and India long before the belief finally takes root (pun intended) into Western Europe in the 8th century.

    For example, the Chinese believed there were worms in the teeth that caused tooth decay and pain. They had several remedies that they employed successfully to kill these worms.

    The ancient Babylonians had also believed that worms in the form of demons had caused diseases in people.

    In Mesopotamia diseases were blamed on pre-existing spirits and gods. Each spirit was held responsible for only one of what we would call a disease in any one part of the body. So usually “Hand of God X” of the stomach corresponds to what we call a disease of the stomach. A number of diseases simply were identified by names, “bennu” for example.
    Clay tablets contained more than 100,000 cuneiform scripts belonging to the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians who lived in Mesopotamia were collected. In 700 BC, Asurbanipal, the Assyrian king, collected these scripts in a library built in Ninova. Among these tablets there were some parts about toothache. The laws of King Hammurabi, which had been responsible for the lack of surgical development, brought social and legal responsibilities to doctors for the first time.

    In Mesopotamia gods and spirits were blamed for diseases.

    Among these rules that reached us today is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. If the person damaged the tooth of another person of the same social class, then his tooth should be removed. However, if he damaged the tooth of another person of lower social class, he was fined 166 gr of silver to be paid to the other person.

    By examining the surviving medical tablets it is clear that there were two distinct types of professional medical practitioners in ancient Mesopotamia who also treated toothaches.

    The first type of practitioner was the ashipu, in older accounts of Mesopotamian medicine often called a “sorcerer.” One of the most important roles of the ashipu was to diagnose the ailment. In the case of internal diseases, this most often meant that the ashipu determined which god or demon was causing the illness. The ashipu could also attempt to cure the patient by means of charms and spells that were designed to entice away or drive out the spirit causing the disease. The ashipu could also refer the patient to a different type of healer called an asu. He was a specialist in herbal remedies, and in older treatments of Mesopotamian medicine was frequently called “physician” because he dealt in what were often classifiable as empirical applications of medication.

    Dentistry has evolved over time from a rather barbaric practice to a technologically advanced industry. Preventative maintenance such as teeth cleanings help people avoid some of the serious problems that people of the past were faced with when it came to teeth.

    Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com

    Expand for references

    References:

    Ancient History Encyclopedia – Etruscan Civilization

    Loevy HT, Kowitz AA. – The dawn of dentistry: dentistry among the Etruscans

    Live Science – Mummy with Mouthful of Cavities Discovered

    Gentle Dental – Ancient Dentistry

    Xu Y1, MacEntee MI. – The roots of dentistry in ancient China

    Dr. Muna –  Chinese history of dentistry

    Smile The Dental Magazine – Dentistry in Ancient Civilizations

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      Senate confirms transgender Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary

      The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Dr. Rachel Levine as the nation’s assistant secretary of health, making the former Pennsylvania health secretary the first openly transgender official ever confirmed by the upper chamber.

      What are the details?

      Two Republicans, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) joined all Democrats in approving Levine’s confirmation, with a final vote tally of 52-48. She is expected to oversee Health and Human Services offices and programs across the U.S.

      LGBTQ advocates hailed the news, with Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, issuing a statement saying, “With the confirmation of Dr. Rachel Levine, we are one step closer to a government that mirrors the beautiful diversity of its people.”

      In a statement to The New York Times, Levine said after the vote:

      “As Vice President Harris has said, I recognize that I may be the first, but am heartened by the knowledge that I will not be the last. When I assume this position, I will stand on the shoulders of those who came before — people we know throughout history and those whose names we will never know because they were forced to live and work in the shadows.”

      Levine went on to address transgender youth in particular, writing:

      “I know that each and every day you confront many difficult challenges. Sadly, some of the challenges you face are from people who would seek to use your identity and circumstance as a weapon. It hurts. I know. I cannot promise you that these attacks will immediately cease, but I will do everything I can to support you and advocate for you.”

      Levine, 63, is a pediatrician who served in senior medical positions at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center before being appointed to serve as Pennsylvania’s physician general in 2015, The Washington Post reported. In 2017, Levine became the state’s health secretary.

      Levine’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in her most recent role fell under scrutiny from Republicans, most notably for Pennsylvania’s controversial policy of placing elderly COVID-19 patients into nursing homes in order to keep hospital beds free.

      Levine has defended that decision, along with her decision to move her own 95-year-old mother out of a personal care facility due to the pandemic, TheBlaze previously reported.

      How did one senator react?

      Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey explained his “no” vote on Levine’s confirmation to the Associated Press, saying, “In Pennsylvania, the pandemic struck seniors in nursing homes disproportionately hard compared to other states. This was due in part to poor decisions and oversight by Dr. Levine and the Wolf administration.”

      He added that an extended lockdown pushed by Levine “was excessive, arbitrary in nature, and has led to a slower recovery.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Michigan Gov. Whitmer threatened with subpoena over secret payout to health director

      Michigan Republican Sen. Jim Runestad, joined by daughter of nursing home victim Jamie Nicholson, discuss why the Democratic governor should be held accountable for her COVID-19 directive.

      Michigan Republicans threatened Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with a subpoena Tuesday amid news that Whitmer’s former health department director is set to receive a $155,506 payout after his unexplained resignation in January.

      News of the so-called golden parachute for former state health department Director Robert Gordon comes as state Republicans question the Whitmer administration’s numbers about coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

      “We want to know if what happened in New York, did that happen here? Can you show us that data? They refused to show us the data,” state Rep. Steve Johnson, chair of the Michigan House Oversight Committee, said at a press conference on Tuesday. “Now, last night we find out that our governor has bought the silence of former Director Gordon with $150,000 of taxpayer money.”

      Gordon signed a confidentiality agreement and is set to receive nine months’ worth of salary after his sudden resignation in late January, The Detroit News first reported.

      Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears a mask with the word “vote” displayed on the front during a roundtable discussion on healthcare, Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020, in Kalamazoo, Mich. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News via AP)/

      “What I want to know is, what are they hiding?” Johnson said. “We are going to begin an investigation. … It came to light that it’s not just Director Gordon but his aide as well has one of these agreements. Our office has issued a request for a copy of each agreement.”

      “The Oversight Committee will be doing hearings on this matter. We are reaching out to the department, asking them to come forward testify on this matter,” Johnson said. “If we have to do a subpoena, we will.”

      Whitmer previously dodged a question about whether she was behind Gordon’s departure, which was so abrupt it came just eight hours after he had issued an order allowing indoor dining to resume.

      “To lead this department in unimaginable circumstances, it has been grueling,” Whitmer said at a Jan. 25 press conference according to The Detroit News. “On behalf of all of the people of Michigan, I want to thank him for his service to our state. He worked hard to protect our public health.”

      Fox News’ Houston Keene contributed to this report.

      This content was originally published here.

      Introducing LightForce Orthodontics and Its Customized 3D Printed Bracket System

      The LightForce Orthodontics team. L-R: Kelsey Peterson-Fafara, Dr. Alfred Griffin, Craig Sidorchuk, and Dr. Lou Shuman.

      A dental resident walked into a bar full of Harvard graduate students. No, it’s not the beginning of a bad joke, but actually the genesis of venture-backed startup LightForce Orthodontics, which officially launched at this year’s American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Annual Session. The team is making what it calls the world’s first customized 3D printed bracket system for the digital orthodontics field.

      The startup’s founder and CEO, Dr. Alfred Griffin, comes from a long line of dentists, and had just completed a combined dental and PhD program at the Medical University of South Carolina before moving to Boston in 2015 to attend the Harvard School of Dental Medicine for his residency. He wasn’t used to the whiteout conditions of a hard New England winter, and spent a lot of time holed up in his apartment, dreaming up the innovative bracket system.

      Dr. Larry Andrews and A-Company first introduced fully programmed brackets in 1970, and not a lot has changed since then.

      “Standard orthodontic prescriptions are essentially a compromise from the outset,” explained Dr. Griffin in the special edition AAO issue of this year’s Orthodontic Practice US. “They are an “all patients equal” proposition. But no two patients have exactly the same tooth morphology or exactly the same bite. So why would we think they should all have the same ‘ideal’ finish?

      “The concessions with pre-programmed brackets have been imposed by several constraining factors. Two of the primary constraints are inflexible bracket manufacturing technologies and the imprecision of analog treatment planning.”

      It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and takes anywhere from six to twelve months, using injection molding, to create molds for one standard prescription, which is about 20 brackets of different programming and shapes – not a realistic environment for patient-specific customization. So Dr. Griffin turned to 3D printing, which already has many applications in the dental and orthodontics fields, such as creating aligners, molds, implants, dentures, and even braces.

      Most braces are “off the rack,” and even though skilled orthodontists can make this work, Dr. Griffin knew that 3D printing, which is a good fit for custom applications, could be used to make patient-specific braces. So he created a patented system for 3D printed orthodontic treatment brackets, using material nearly identical to injection modeled ceramic brackets but that’s been formulated specifically for 3D printing.

      “Delivering a patient-specific prescription for each case, the LightForce system is unlike anything you’ve ever used,” claims the website. “Each bracket is custom created and 3D-printed, bringing a new level of flexibility and clinical possibilities. This enhances treatment efficiency and minimizes time-consuming adjustments in all phases of treatment.”

      That same snowy winter, Dr. Griffin attended a local happy hour with Harvard graduate students, and after buying a few rounds, explained his idea to the group. Engineer Kelsey Peterson-Fafara immediately recognized the potential, and would soon be employee #1. Not long after LightForce, originally titled Signature Orthodontics, was accepted into the Harvard Innovation Lab accelerator, Dr. Griffin met orthodontist Dr. Lou Shuman, who had been an important member of the executive team for another dental company using 3D printing: Invisalign. He soon asked Dr. Shuman to be the company’s co-founder, and help reach out to the venture capital community.

      LightForce Orthodontics was one of 128 applicants chosen to join the MassChallenge Accelerator program in 2016, and became entrepreneurs-in-residence at the MassChallenge facility, later receiving $50,000 in equity-free financing as one of the 15 winners. The next step was locking down venture capital, but Dr. Griffin didn’t want to work with just anyone – he was looking to change how orthodontics works at a fundamental level, not just for a cash grab. The company’s first major funding came from AM Ventures (AMV), which is dedicated to investing in 3D printing.

      “We wanted a strategic investor — not just someone with money,” Dr. Shuman said. “We wanted expertise in our fundamental technology. AMV was an ideal partner for LightForce.”

      Speaking of expertise, AMV introduced Dr. Griffin and Dr. Shuman to EOS founder and industry pioneer Hans Langer, who believes that LightForce has achieved the two most important components in the future of 3D printing: creating high value customization, and having a market that’s large enough to support it.

      LightForce continued to grow, staying on as Alumni in Residence at MassChallenge through 2017, hiring expert dental software developers, finalizing the bracket design, and receiving FDA clearance for the system. The startup closed its Series A funding round last summer, enjoyed a successful debut at the 2019 AAO Annual Session, and has multiple patients in treatment who wanted to be the first to sport customized, 3D printed braces.

      The brackets can be perfectly contoured to any tooth morphology. The initial system was made to compete with metal brackets, and LightForce is now working on higher-aesthetic options and looking at different materials, as well as perfecting its service and supply chain logistics. It’s a simple three-step digital workflow: scan, create the 3D model, and print. The online interface is intuitive, with cloud-based treatment planning software that allows users to make adjustments directly on the model, before the custom 3D printed appliance is shipped in just 7-10 business days after approval.

      In order to keep up with a changing industry, LightForce’s treatment planning system will keep evolving as necessary. Aligners are becoming more capable, but many orthodontists still use braces for their patients, which is why LightForce is looking at the larger marketplace.

      Dr. Griffin explained, “We don’t want to bring the idea to market and say `here’s how to use it.` We want to bring this to the orthodontist and ask them, ‘What can you do with it?’”

      As direct-to-consumer companies gain popularity, Dr. Griffin wants the startup to acknowledge the expertise of the orthodontic community, and help the field, not just take it over.

      Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

      The post Introducing LightForce Orthodontics and Its Customized 3D Printed Bracket System appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.

      This content was originally published here.

      Dentistry: Root canal work not so bad after all — ScienceDaily

      Dr Tallan Chew, postgraduate student, Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide co-authored the study.

      “Information about 1096 randomly selected Australian people aged 30-61 was collected through questionnaires, dental records and treatment receipts in 2009. Their self-rated dental health score was checked when they had their dental work and two years later,” she says.

      “Patients who had root canal work reported similar oral health-related quality of life as people who had other types of dental work.

      “The effect of root canal work on patients’ oral health-related quality of life was compared to other kinds of dental work such as tooth extraction, restoration of teeth, repairs to the teeth or gum treatment, preventative treatment and cleaning.”

      Every year millions of root canal treatments are performed globally (more than 22 million in the USA alone), which may have a profound positive effect on the quality of life of patients. A root canal treatment repairs and saves a tooth that is badly decayed or is infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Most people associate having root canal work with a lot of pain and discomfort.

      “There is growing interest in the dental profession to better understand the effect and impact oral diseases and their associated treatment, such as root canal work, have on patients’ quality of life,” says Professor Giampiero Rossi-Fedele, Head of Endodontics at Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide who co-authored the study.

      “A biopsychosocial view of health is increasingly replacing a purely biomedical model.

      “Treatment outcomes need to be re-examined from a patient-based perspective using self-reported measures as this more accurately reflects the patients’ perception of treatment outcomes and the effect it has on their overall well-being.

      “Patient-reported treatment outcomes are now the principle driving force behind treatment needs, as opposed to clinician-based treatment outcomes.

      “With this change in emphasis, the perspectives of patients and their relatives are important factors in identifying need for treatment, treatment planning, and determining outcomes from any health care intervention as part of shared decision making,” says Professor Rossi-Fedele.

      This content was originally published here.

      Stanford Doctor Calls Lockdowns the ‘Biggest Public Health Mistake We’ve Ever Made’

      Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, recently said that COVID-19 lockdowns are the “biggest public health mistake we’ve ever made…The harm to people is catastrophic.”

      Several U.S. states have started to ease their COVID-19 restrictions over the past few weeks.

      Bhattacharya, who made the comments during an interview with the Daily Clout, co-authored the Great Barrington Declaration, a petition that calls for the end of COVID-19 lockdowns, claiming that they are “producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”

      As of Monday, the Great Barrington Declaration has received signatures from over 13,000 medical and public health scientists, more than 41,000 medical practitioners and at least 754,399 “concerned citizens.”

      During the interview last month, Bhattacharya said that the declaration comes from “two basic facts.”

      “One is that people who are older have a much higher risk from dying from COVID than people who are younger…and that’s a really important fact because we know who his most vulnerable, it’s people that are older. So the first plank of the Great Barrington Declaration: let’s protect the vulnerable,” Bhattacharya said. “The other idea is that the lockdowns themselves impose great harm on people. Lockdowns are not a natural normal way to live.”

      Coronavirus in U.S.

      He continued, “it’s also not very equal. People who are poor face much more hardship from the lockdowns than people who are rich.”

      In an email sent to Newsweek, Bhattacharya wrote:

      I stand behind my comment that the lockdowns are the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years. We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation.

      At the same time, they have not served to control the epidemic in the places where they have been most vigorously imposed. In the US, they have – at best – protected the “non-essential” class from COVID, while exposing the essential working class to the disease. The lockdowns are trickle down epidemiology.

      Last week, Republican Governors in Texas and Mississippi announced the end to their statewide mask mandates, as well as allowing a majority of businesses to reopen.

      “Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves tweeted last week.

      Similarly, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said during a press conference that “It is now time to open Texas 100 percent.”

      This content was originally published here.

      South Lincoln Family Dentistry Focuses on Overall Health, Education, Comfort • Strictly Business Magazine | Lincoln

      South Lincoln Family Dentistry Focuses on Overall Health, Education, Comfort

      If you’ve ever had a bad experience at a dental appointment or just have general fear or anxiety about dental procedures, South Lincoln Family Dentistry (southlincolnfamilydentistry.com)—located at 2121 S 70th St.—can help. Dr. Christine Bergman takes the time to make every patient feel comfortable by fully explaining every procedure carefully, answering their questions, and listening to their fears. She helps them to make treatment decisions based on that information, and does so using the gentlest of dental technologies and procedures to help manage their anxiety and improve not just their dental health but their overall health. South Lincoln Family Dentistry is one of six local members of Nebraska Family Dentistry, which was founded by Drs. Brad and Kathryn Alderman, who believe in treating the whole person.

      “Overall, Nebraska Family Dentistry and all of the member companies operate by linking oral health to overall health,” Dr. Christine explained. “Patients will hear our doctors not only talk about ways to improve the health of our mouths but also how some dental problems are linked to inflammation, heart disease, and other health risks. We look at the patient as a whole person and not just a tooth.”

      What’s more, Dr. Christine’s niche is to calm fears of patients who might have had a negative experience in the past and developed anxiety or fear about seeing a dentist regularly as a result. It’s a fear that she dealt with as a child, and ever since she started in the industry, she has focused on getting those fearful people into the office and giving them a good experience to make them comfortable coming back. With modern technologies in the dental industry, she said there is absolutely no reason that going to the dentist should be a negative experience for anyone. Besides that and her warm heart and gentle touch, Dr. Christine often uses essential oils in the office, offers blankets to create a relaxing environment, and provides headphones/TV for patients to help eliminate distracting sounds. Whatever it takes to make a patient of any age truly comfortable, she’ll make it happen.

      South Lincoln Family Dentistry, which opened in June 2020, is a proud member of Nebraska Family Dentistry, which includes Cottington Dental, where Dr. Christine began her career as a hygienist for five years before returning to school to become a dentist. Other members include NorthStar Dental, SouthPointe Family Dental, Lincoln Family Dentistry, and Preserve Family Dentistry. Drs. Brad and Kathryn Alderman work alongside their partners at each location and make themselves available for all member dentists to talk over cases and provide guidance. For more information about South Lincoln Family Dentistry, visit , where you can fill out new-patient documents and schedule an appointment online. For additional questions or information, call (402) 413-7700 or email .

      This content was originally published here.

      Keep wearing your mask, health officials say after Gov. Greg Abbott lifts mask mandate

      Austin residents take photos on Congress Avenue bridge in Austin on May 13, 2020.

      Austin residents take photos on Congress Avenue bridge in Austin on May 13, 2020.

      Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

      Need to stay updated on coronavirus news in Texas? Our evening roundup will help you stay on top of the day’s latest updates. Sign up here.

      Keep wearing your mask and taking COVID-19 safety precautions, local health experts said Tuesday, after Gov. Greg Abbott announced he was lifting the statewide mask mandate and restrictions on businesses.

      “Despite the impending removal of the state mask mandate, we must continue our vigilance with masking, distancing, and hand washing,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Travis County Interim Health Authority. “These remain critical in our ongoing fight against COVID-19.”

      Expressing concerns about highly contagious variants of the virus and the need for local health officials to maintain some authority over their local situations — which vary widely from county to county — doctors and health officials cautioned that Texans should not take Abbott’s announcement as a signal to relax the behavior that has lead to a recent decrease in coronavirus case rates and hospitalizations.

      That means continuing to stay home when possible, avoid large gatherings, stay separate from vulnerable family members, wash hands frequently, and wear masks in public or around others who don’t live in the same household.

      Their advice mirrors that of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which still recommends that people wear masks, even as more people get vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has also recently said that double-masking makes sense in light of highly contagious variants.

      In a jubilant press conference, Abbott said the mask mandate and any business restrictions that limited customers would sunset next Wednesday. He added that people should still take the same precautions they have been taking for the past year.

      “Removing state mandates does not end personal responsibility, or the importance of caring for your family members and caring for your friends and caring for others in your community,” he said. “Personal vigilance to follow the same standards is still needed to contain COVID. It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed to stay safe.”

      Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County Health Authority, said it’s premature to abandon safety precautions and hopes Texans can stay patient even in the absence of statewide rules.

      “I think that people have a lot more common sense than we give them credit for, but … it’s very hard for human beings not to start socializing and to stop wearing masks,” he said.”I understand they are looking for any sign they can go back to the old ways, but I would just remind them that we’re in the bottom of the ninth, two runs out, and we’re almost there. This isn’t the time to put the bench in. This is the time to continue with the A-Team. Very soon, we’ll be there.”

      Dr. John Carlo, CEO of Prism Health North Texas and a member of the state medical association’s COVID-19 task force, agreed it was too soon for Texans to relax their safety practices, adding he is especially concerned about the increasing spread of the U.K. variant of COVID-19, which is thought to be more contagious and perhaps more deadly.

      Researchers also say it’s possible that people who already got COVID-19 could be reinfected, and that while the vaccines appear to be effective enough against the variants, new ones that show up as the pandemic stretches on could be more resistant.

      Carlo said allowing the variants to spread could undo all the progress that has been made by Texans’ careful behavior in recent months.

      A recent study showed that all the variants that have been identified have been recorded in , the first city in the nation where that has happened.

      Although the effects of the vaccination effort on COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations vary in different regions of the state and in different populations, only about 6% of Texans have been fully vaccinated against the disease. Experts have said that between 70% and 90% of the community should be vaccinated before the state achieves herd immunity.

      Health experts say that continued caution is vital, particularly at a critical time when Texas is still vaccinating its most vulnerable residents first.

      “Whatever the governor has recommended, it should not change what people do in terms of wearing masks or not,” Carlo said. “It’s very clear that we need to continue to wear masks in public places, period. Regardless of whether there’s an order from the governor or not. The bottom line is the individual decision making that has to take place that ultimately makes the outcomes.”

      This content was originally published here.

      How to Choose the Best Orthodontist for Kids | Making Lemonade

      Tips for finding an orthodontist that exceeds expectations, and our son’s experience getting early intervention orthodontic treatment and braces for the first time. If you are looking for an orthodontist for braces or Invisalign in the Cary, Apex or Morrisville, North Carolina area this will be especially helpful!

      For more real life parenting solutions, check out how to set up the ideal home learning space and how to organize school papers for grades k-12.

      This is a different type of post today, but let’s file it under ‘maintaining mental health and sanity’ both as a parent and a kiddo, as well as helpful life tips when you have a preteen or teen. If you have kids, you’ll want to keep reading for tips to help them adjust to new situations when it comes to orthodontic treatments!

      We always knew my son would need braces, so we weren’t surprised during an annual visit to the dentist when they referred him for orthodontic treatment. What DID surprise me was that he had to get an evaluation at an early age… 8 years old! Turns out it’s smart to get a screening around 7 years old because with certain issues early intervention would make things easier down the road.

      This was the case with my son, so it was time to get started.

      Considering that a huge percentage of the population has a fear of dental work and we’ve had negative experiences in the past, I knew we had to find an orthodontist that was patient centered. Also, since orthodontic visits are frequent during the treatment period I was nervous about the daunting task of convincing an 8 year old to go to his appointments without an argument.

      Plus… getting braces isn’t known for being super fun because the whole point of appliances is to move teeth around which takes some finesse. And by ‘finesse’, I mean it can be a little uncomfortable after adjustments and such. Which is… not ideal for an 8-year-old.

      Let’s just say I was not looking forward to this. At all. But after our first visit I was so impressed with the experience that I’m now partnering with Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics to share our journey in this post!

      Our Orthodontic Experience

      (Important note: the following experience and photos happened prior to the pandemic, so some of these details may have changed– but the warmth and vibe of the office remains the same.)

      We learned of a local Cary orthodontic practice (Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics) through glowing-ly positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and booked a screening appointment. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the happy vibe. Weird, because we’re in an orthodontic office, and that’s not how I remembered the experience when I was a teen!

      When I booked the appointment over the phone I noticed the staff was incredibly welcoming and warm, and this continued when we arrived and checked into the waiting room. There were fresh cookies, a beverage machine and Starbucks for parents. Movies were playing to provide entertainment, and all the kids waiting seemed… super chill and not at all nervous. In fact, they were smiling while coming out of the treatment area. I wasn’t expecting that!

      They gave us a tour of the office which included a toothbrushing station with environmentally friendly disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash.

      We went back for the consult, and they took photos of my son’s teeth, mouth and face. Everything was top of the line and included advanced technology which made the process fast and comfortable. After meeting Dr. Bo and Dr. Baker and going through what the process would entail, we were given a welcome kit that included a way to earn points toward prizes, a view of the prize wall, and a packet of Dippin’ Dots (usually those are for cooling the mouth after procedures, so fun!)

      My son’s eyes bugged out of his head when he saw the treat wall that patients get to enjoy after they have their braces off. It’s filled with all the goodies you typically have to avoid while wearing appliances, so it’s a powerful motivator.

      Needless to say, we left that appointment beyond impressed. Ben was smiling and chowing down on Dippin’ Dots and looking forward to his next appointment. That’s a huge WIN in my book!

      I was so impressed I even posted about it on Instagram, because I’m a huge advocate for local businesses… especially ones that go above and beyond.

      Over the next few months, he had a spacer placed and then braces. It was incredible how fast they worked to expand his palate, shift his teeth, and create room for new teeth to grow and prevent impacted teeth. He went from start to finish in about 6 months, finishing just before the pandemic hit.

      The difference is wild. In deference to his privacy, I won’t share the mouth photos but needless to say the Before and Afters show a much wider arch and all his teeth in their proper place without crowding. It’s pretty cool to see! This photo was taken after his braces were off, the entire process happened during his 4th grade year:

      The follow-up appointments were different because the pandemic was in full-swing and they took major precautions (which is the only way I was going to send my son, considering the fact the other three members of our family are high-risk.) I felt extremely safe with all the systems they put into place to keep their patients safe and healthy, which is BEYOND appreciated in this environment.

      Now, Ben will have a few check-in appointments moving forward until he’s ready for full braces in a few years. There is no doubt where we will go for that process!

      If you have kids who may need orthodontic work, it’s important to find a practice that combines top-notch skill with a comforting, welcoming environment– especially at such a young age.

      For locals in the Apex/ Cary/ Morrisville area, you can call Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics for a screening appointment and they’ll be honest with their diagnosis. I’ve already had friends set up screening appointments and discover their kids won’t need braces until later, so I know they’re not a practice that will recommend treatment if it’s not needed. I trust them completely.

      What to look for in an orthodontic practice

      After going through this experience and talking with other parents, here’s a few tips for what to look for when searching for a great orthodontist:

      What age do you recommend starting orthodontic treatment?

      The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends age 7 for an initial consultation, but most kids don’t get braces until age 12 or 13. It’s good to get checked at age 7 to ensure there are no impacted teeth or other issues that need to be addressed with Phase 1 or early intervention, as some interventions need to happen during a specific growth phase.

      Why We Chose Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics

      They checked every single box in the ‘what to look for in an orthodontic practice’ list above. Plus they have a huge presence in terms of giving back to the community (such as their Chance to Smile program, which gives free orthodontic treatment to foster children in our area!)

      When I asked my son to summarize his experience, he said

      “they made it fun to get braces and I looked forward to going. I mean, I didn’t think that getting braces could be FUN but it really was!”

      Even if you’re not in the Apex or Cary area, I highly recommend checking out the Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics website so you can see their office in action! It will help you measure your local orthodontic practices against their standards so you can find the perfect fit for your family.

      I had many questions as a parent before going through the process so I hope you found these tips for choosing an orthodontist helpful!

      This content was originally published here.

      Inside the Struggle in the World of Dentistry During COVID-19

      From Cavities to Stress-Grinding, the Pandemic Has Been Hell on Our Teeth

      Offices closed down. Massive PPE shortages. Dentists have been up against a lot during this past year. So are you ready to get back in the chair?

      Dentistry during COVID-19 has been a challenge for patients and practitioners alike. Illustration by Wren McDonald

      On March 26th, at the start of the first pandemic shutdown, Montgomery County resident Cathy Belfield was working from home while her two kids played in the driveway, rolling around on skateboards.

      While skateboarding isn’t a typical activity for her son, who is “extremely cautious,” it was a nice day outside, and without anywhere to go, he “needed some kind of outlet,” Belfield explains.

      Then the screaming started.

      Belfield’s son, Andrew, who was 11 at the time, had face-planted in the driveway, breaking off one permanent front tooth and shoving the other up into his gums. His nerves were exposed, and it was clear he needed emergency attention.

      One problem: Belfield’s usual dentist wasn’t open. On March 22nd, Governor Tom Wolf had enacted new COVID restrictions that barred dentists from providing emergency care outside of negative-pressure rooms and without N-95 masks. According to the president of the Pennsylvania Dental Association, no dental facility possessed a negative-pressure space in which to operate. Patients had nowhere to go but the emergency room — which, due to coronavirus, they were being told to avoid at all costs.

      “We were in complete panic,” says Belfield. “We thought maybe he would just completely lose his two front teeth.”

      Poor Andrew is just one example of the many ways a hellish year was hell on our teeth. Dentists have seen broken braces, gaping cavities, and teeth knocked clean out of heads. Not to mention the whole domino trail of issues that stem from a lack of access to regular care and maintenance on a community-wide level — an issue that’s compounded for those without insurance. The list goes on and on.

      A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called 2020 a “perfect storm” in oral health. Even in normal times, dentistry has long had a problem with patients who struggle to consistently access care. “There has always been a storm challenging our oral health,” says Rittenhouse dentist Joseph Roberts. “COVID just turned it up to a Category 5.”

      While most dental offices are back in business (albeit seeing fewer patients due to limited capacity and never-ending rounds of sanitizing), 2020 was an uphill battle for practices and patients alike. So how bad was the past year on our teeth, and how do we bite back?

      For Regina Thomas-Salley, it started in November with a toothache. Thomas-Salley, a resident of Lincoln University in Chester County, contacted her dentist, who was quickly able to discern that a root canal she’d had done some 20 years ago, right out of college, needed repairing. Simple enough. But then searing pain started on the opposite side of her mouth. It was so bad she could barely lift her head from the pillow in the morning — so wrenching that if she tapped her jaw on the right side of her face, pain radiated through her inner ear.

      She thought she had an ear infection. But her dentist told her the raging pain had nothing to do with the root canal or an infection of any kind. The culprit? Teeth-grinding. The anxiety of months spent working her high-stress banking job from home alongside her husband and three homebound college-student children — not to mention the whole living-through-a-global-health-crisis thing — was manifesting through the gnashing of her teeth.

      Stress has been one of the hallmarks of the pandemic. “People dissipate stress in different ways. Some people get GI ulcers. Some people get migraines. Other people grind and clench their teeth,” says orthodontist Kellyn Hodges.

      The negative side effects of grinding through tension are many; for Thomas-Salley, it led to temporomandibular joint (or TMJ) disorder, which can cause intense pain and sometimes lead to a locked jaw. And because the myofascial muscles are some of the strongest muscles in the body, Hodges explains, “This grinding habit can literally fracture teeth — it can fracture cusps off, and it can send a fracture line straight down the middle of teeth.”

      Thomas-Salley is far from the only one of us who’s been working out her stress on her teeth. A Manhattan prosthodontist shared with the that she was seeing more cracked teeth in her practice than ever before — at least once a day since she returned to the office in June. Dentists say the trend holds true in the Philly region as well. Hanh Bui Keating, a periodontist in Bryn Mawr, has seen at least a 50 percent uptick in patients coming in with cracked teeth. “Some days, cracked teeth is all I do,” she says.

      Bala Cynwyd endodontist Eric Hodges, Kellyn Hodges’s husband, says the rise in cracked teeth has thrown off his schedule. One day in November, he had six back-to-back root canals in his appointment book, four of which had to be canceled once he realized those patients had fractured teeth that couldn’t be salvaged. And it’s not just teeth that are cracking: Kellyn Hodges says all the teeth-grinding is leading to more broken braces, appliances and wires as well.

      “This is an unprecedented amount of breakage,” she explains. “In the past, on a normal day, we might have had a rate of 30 percent of people coming in with breakage. We are now at a rate of 60 to 70 percent of patients who walk through the door with some kind of breakage.”

      While no one wants broken teeth, other issues can stem from these rifts, even when they’re minuscule. Tiny cracks — Bui Keating likens them to the hairline fractures you sometimes see on eggs at the grocery store — may not seem significant at first, but they can allow bacteria into a tooth, leading to infections.

      “Most of the time, there’s no pain, believe it or not,” notes Bui Keating. She recommends seeing a specialist if patients notice bleeding, pus, a bad taste, or small pimples on the gums, which can be signs of a deeper infection. “Sometimes it can be an overreaction, but we’d rather find the problems earlier than not.” While these symptoms may come and go, a bad infection can erode the jawbone if left untreated. That requires extensive (and expensive) restructuring.

      For those who have found themselves grinding their way through the pandemic, it’s not too late to prevent further harm. Dentists recommend investing in a night guard — a fitted retainer-like appliance made of thick plastic that can take a lot of wear and tear. Kellyn Hodges makes her mother a new one every year, as she tends to grind straight through them (better the plastic than her molars). While you can find generic mouth guards online, Bui Keating strongly recommends that patients get something custom-made by their dentist: “When it’s not fitted right, it can cause more stress in your jaw. When we fit it, we make sure it distributes the force evenly. That’s how it’s protecting your teeth.”

      Night guards can also reduce the strain on the jaw for those suffering from TMJ disorder. Thomas-Salley says her dentist gave her a bite plate — an acrylic appliance that fits over the teeth — to sleep in; she can detect a difference in the pain after nights when she wears it vs. those when she forgets. She’ll pop it in as well when things get tense during the day: “At stressful times, I find myself biting down hard and grinding on my teeth. When I find that happening, I go and put the bite plate on.”

      Grinding is a slow and steady way to destroy teeth, but dentists have also seen increases in much more instantaneous, brutal methods. It turns out being bored at home can be a recipe for a lot of dangerous high jinks. “I’m on staff at Abington Hospital, and we saw a lot of trauma over the summer, both adult and pediatric,” says Angela Stout, a pediatric dentist in Erdenheim. With no school — and with sports practices and extracurriculars canceled — kids had less structured time and more pent-up energy to get out. That meant a lot of knocked-out teeth.

      It was Stout who answered the call — or, rather, the text — when Andrew Belfield smashed his teeth while skateboarding. As Cathy Belfield was trying to find a dentist in New Jersey who would see her son, her brother texted Stout, his family dentist.

      Luckily, while Stout was on the phone with Belfield, she got word that the state was lifting the restrictions on emergency procedures following pushback from dentists, which meant she’d be able to see Andrew the next day. And because she prompted Belfield to hunt down the tooth fragments by flashlight on the driveway and put them in water to keep them moist, Stout was able to reconstruct Andrew’s shattered tooth after performing root canals on both front teeth.

      “We saw a lot of trauma over the summer, both adult and pediatric,” says Angela Stout, a pediatric dentist in Erdenheim. Illustration by Wren McDonald

      Young Andrew’s case was an extreme one, but it serves as a gruesome reminder that dentistry is essential — and not just in emergencies. When dentists are inspecting your teeth, they’re not only checking that you brush — they’re screening for diseases and oral cancers. “Gum disease is known to be linked to diabetes and heart disease, and certain types of gum inflammation and types of smells are indicative of diabetes,” explains Kellyn Hodges. “We’re often the first professional to inquire about diabetes and send patients back to their generalists. A lot of people really don’t connect those dots, but they’re connected. There are a lot of major diseases that are detected by things in the mouth.”

      Dentistry works best when patients have consistent access to care, which is another reason the past year has been so bad for our teeth. In this industry, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. Regular cleanings give dentists opportunities to find small issues before they become big ones. But when the pandemic closed down dentist offices along with everything else, all care — except serious emergencies — came to a screeching halt. That meant new problems weren’t caught, and already-established treatment plans were on pause for months. Even after most dental offices reopened, patients continued to postpone care. reported in the fall that 15 to 20 percent of regular dental patients said they wouldn’t reinstate their appointments until there was a vaccine or proven COVID-19 treatment.

      According to Stout, this slowdown in care has led to more and worse cavities. Patients who had treatment plans for tooth decay and gum disease all the way back in January weren’t able to see her until her office reopened in June. As a result, “A lot of the decay or cavities that we were seeing that may only have required a simple filling ended up being a root canal and crown,” she says.

      The pandemic shutdown also disrupted our set schedules, which contributed to more problems. The dental decay Stout saw in her pediatric patients birthed a new name: “COVID teeth.” “Kids are out of school; they had no routine,” she says. “They were staying up late, eating all night, not brushing. Decay that was starting actually escalated much more quickly because of lack of typical home-care routines.”

      We all know, intellectually, that we should be taking better care of our teeth. In a 2017 survey, 85 percent of Americans said oral health is “very or extremely important to their overall health.” And yet in that same survey, only 58 percent of respondents said they visit the dentist at least once a year. And that was before the pandemic! In June, the ADA projected dental spending would drop by as much as 38 percent in 2020. The group predicts that it will improve in 2021 but won’t return to pre-pandemic levels.

      That decreased spending represents not just a lack of current dental care but also a risk for the future. Along with cost, people forgo dental care because of time and distance to travel to a dentist. Dental offices are primarily small businesses, and the declines in revenue — not to mention the cost of adding medical-grade air purifiers to offices to make them COVID-safe — is putting some practices out of business and pushing older dentists to retire early, according to Stout. That, in turn, “makes it harder for patients to find a dental home.”

      Lack of access to dental care is worse for low-income populations and the uninsured, and it disproportionately affects Black, Hispanic and indigenous communities — which, as we know, also bore the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. While much of the discussion about school closures this year focused on the need for laptops and access to school lunches for low-income students, dental-care programs were also disrupted. Tiffany Foy, a dental hygienist who worked with a nonprofit in Oregon that provided care to students without regard to income or insurance, she worries about what the cutoff of this pipeline could mean for pediatric patients: “They could have a mouthful of cavities and the parents aren’t even aware.”

      Then there’s the question of whether patients feel safe going to the dentist amid a pandemic. It doesn’t help that dental workers — particularly hygienists — have, of all professions, the highest risk of contracting coronavirus, even more than nurses, paramedics, flight attendants and surgeons. (The least at risk? Loggers. Store that factoid away for the next pandemic.)

      But what patients might not realize is that unlike, say, loggers, dentists have significantly more experience working safely in an epidemic. The rise of HIV/AIDS, spread via a blood-borne pathogen, changed dentistry forever, creating new universal precautions that are still in place. “We are working very close — six inches to a foot — and we’re working with blood and saliva,” says Bui Keating. “Even as dental students, we don’t come near someone unless we have a shield, mask and gown.”

      Unfortunately, face shields, masks and gowns haven’t been easy to come by due to the nationwide personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage. Last spring, non-medical workers collected and donated their PPE to hospitals and frontline workers, and dental offices were among those that turned over their gear. When small dental practices were preparing to reopen a couple of months later, restocking scarce and suddenly exorbitantly expensive PPE became yet another hurdle.

      “One of the biggest early challenges was sourcing, finding, and being able to trust our PPE,” says Rittenhouse’s Joseph Roberts. “My staff was petrified of being exposed.” Eric Hodges says that overhead at his practice has skyrocketed, in part due to PPE costs. The masks he once purchased for 85 cents apiece now run him $5. Some dentists have added PPE fees to help cover these new costs, though Hodges says he isn’t ready to pass them on to patients.

      PPE isn’t dentistry’s only line of defense against the virus. Dental offices have invested in HEPA air filters with air ionization technology, along with UV lights to disinfect the air and surfaces, in an attempt to reduce the risk of COVID particles hanging around — though the efficacy of these measures is still unclear. And some have pivoted to tele-dentistry, triaging more patients over the phone and putting new policies in place to keep the number of people in their offices to a minimum. “We spent multiple days over weeks reviewing the data, our protocols, and our strategies to first keep the virus out of the office and then to effectively limit or eliminate the risk of transmission inside our four walls,” Roberts says.

      Montgomeryville resident Steven Hill, whose two children are patients at Kellyn Hodges’s orthodontics practice, describes himself as “on the more cautious side” when it comes to the pandemic. But when he showed up wearing rubber gloves and a face mask for his kids’ first appointments after dental offices reopened in early May, he was surprised at how seamless every step of the process was and how safe he felt. He stayed in his car until the office called him up. The door was opened for him so he wouldn’t have to touch the handle, temperatures were taken, and he was handed a brand-new pen, which he kept, to fill out paperwork.

      “I was really concerned about going, and I could really let that caution down because it was all taken care of for me,” says Hill. “It was just really well-thought-out.”

      While the precautions have shifted over time as we’ve learned more about the virus and how it spreads, the safety measures appear to be working. The ADA released a survey of more than 2,000 dentists showing that fewer than one percent had contracted coronavirus as of June, demonstrating that dentist offices could operate safely throughout a pandemic. And thanks to a new resolution adopted by the American Dental Association’s house of delegates in October — which recognized all preventative oral care as “essential” going ­forward — it’s less likely that dentistry will see a widespread shutdown if and when such a situation recurs.

      “This resolution helps to ensure that patients have access to a full range of dental care whenever they need it in the current pandemic or other future crises,” said ADA president Daniel J. Klemmedson.

      There’s been a lot of talk this year about how experiencing a global pandemic is ramping up our be-ready-for-anything instincts. We’ve spent an entire year stocking up on canned goods and toilet paper and learning to bake bread. But it’s clear by now that those survival instincts should also include staying up on teeth-cleanings and cavity-fillings — just in case.

      Published as “The Dentist Will See You Now” in the March 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

      This content was originally published here.

      Biden to direct $2.5 billion in funds to address mental health and addiction crisis

      President Biden is directing $2.5 billion in funding to address the nation’s worsening mental illness and addiction crisis, an official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells Axios.

      Why it matters: Confronting the mounting mental health and substance abuse crisis will be an imperative for the Biden administration, even as its primary focus is on combating the broader COVID-19 pandemic.


      • The funding announced today is designed to increase access to services for individual Americans.
      • His pick to lead HHS, Xavier Becerra, is expected to be confirmed by a close vote.

      Between the lines: The funds will be broken down into two components by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

      • $1.65 billion will go toward the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which gives the receiving states and territories money to improve already-existing treatment infrastructure and create or better prevention and treatment programs.
      • $825 million will be allocated through a Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program, which will be used by the states to deal specifically with mental health treatment services.

      By the numbers: A survey conducted last year published in August 2020 by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 41% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse related to the pandemic or its solutions, like social distancing.

      • Before the pandemic, over 118,000 people died by suicide and overdose in 2019. An HHS official says the administration is expecting that number to increase because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Preliminary data out of the CDC indicates that the number of drug overdoses through July 2020 increased by 24% from the year prior.

      Flashback: On the campaign trail, then-candidate Biden often spoke about the need to address the mounting mental health and substance abuse crisis in America, an issue that hits close to home. His son, Hunter, has openly discussed his own struggles with addiction.

      This content was originally published here.

      Magic City Dentistry owner Dr. G. Robin Pruitt, Jr. puts FUN in your dental visit

      Sponsored

      Dr. Robin Pruitt. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

      Earlier this year, after realizing that the dental needs of patients were not being met in downtown Birmingham, Dr. Robin Pruitt finding this unacceptable, decided to open up a second office, Magic City Dentistry, on 1st Avenue North between 20th and 21st Street next to the Atomic Lounge. And, this is anything but your typical dentist office!

      Nearly 25 years of experience

      A dentist, doctor, and surgeon, Dr. Pruitt has been practicing dentistry for nearly 25 years at his practice, Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics.

      “I went to undergraduate and dental school at UAB. Immediately after I graduated, I purchased an existing practice from Dr. Joe Schilleci. He was going to stay with me for 7 months, but he stayed a little bit longer, about 19 years,” said Dr. Pruitt with a chuckle.

      UAB School of Dentistry Interim Dean, Dr. Michelle Robinson and Dr. Robin Pruitt

      As owner of Magic City Dentistry, Dr. Pruitt wanted to establish a new dental office downtown that was anything but ordinary. He wanted patients to begin to actually like going to the dentist. He wanted his patients to “EXPERIENCE SOMETHING DIFFERENT”

      “Your average dental office does what I call your basic “bread and butter” dentistry – your fillings, crowns and cleanings,” stated Pruitt. “When it comes to having teeth surgically removed, sedating patients, root canals, implants surgically placed, gum work and major cosmetic dentistry, most dentists refer that out. Most doctors haven’t received the advanced training in dental school needed to proficiently perform these complex procedures.

      What I realized a long time ago is that if you are good at what you do and your patients like you, then they want to stay with you. They don’t want to bounce around and be sent to multiple different doctors. I also learned that in general, no one likes going to the dentist. It’s not a massage day. It’s not a mani-pedi. It’s not a day at the hair salon. So understanding this principle and making the visit to the dentist as enjoyable as possible is what my offices strive for each day as our number one priority.”

      A Broad Practice

      Over the years, Dr. Pruitt broadened his practice learning, training and techniques especially with all of the things they didn’t teach in dental school like taking wisdom teeth out, learning how to sedate patients, training to become an expert in implantology (implant placement), and with cosmetic dentistry and facial aesthetics such as Botox and dermal fillers.

      “We have patients everyday of the week, male and female, who are in for their regular cleanings and then they stay for a few extra minutes to do Botox,” added Pruitt. “We do a little bit more than just regular dentistry in both my offices. Downtown at Magic City Dentistry and in Vestavia Hills, we do cosmetic dentistry, implant placement, sedation, Zoom whitening, veneers and all types of oral surgery including wisdom teeth. Patients are constantly asking us to change their smile with cosmetic dentistry and Dr. Sollenberger and I do a beautiful job at that”

      Passing down love of dentistry to his children

      What makes Magic City Dentistry and Dr. Pruitt’s practice in Vestavia special is his love of dentistry. His own personal example has led two of his three sons to choose dentistry for their career.

      “I have three sons, 19, 21 and 23 years old. All my sons know, I love what I do career-wise, and never have I said you have got to do this as your profession. But my oldest son Carson is in his 2nd year of dental school. My middle son Chance who is a senior at Auburn, is in the process of interviewing at different dental schools, and hopefully he will be starting dental school in the Fall. My youngest son Cam, who is 19, is starting off as a sophomore at Auburn in business and engineering, but who knows if he’ll end up in dentistry. As my wife says, they all act just like you Robin! I’m not sure if she means that as a compliment. Ha Ha!”

      Dr. Pruitt’s practice in Vestavia Hills is located in The C.A.P. Stone Building on Columbiana Road. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

      “They see their dad loves to do what he does. I don’t come home and complain about my work. I enjoy seeing the patients, I enjoy making a difference in another individuals life, I enjoy my interactions with people everyday and I love wearing a lot of hats everyday.”

      Carson, Kelly, Chance & Cam Pruitt

      Along with his two dental offices, Dr. Pruitt provides consulting to multiple different Dental offices across the state and owns a dental assistant school that trains about 100 dental assistants a year.

      He is a big supporter of the UAB School of Dentistry. He lectures as a volunteer during the school year, and annually hosts along with his wife Kelly, a reception for the school’s Dean, faculty and students at his home. He also regularly travels to Guatemala, to perform much needed dental work and provides oral surgery advanced training to Guatemalan dentists in that country’s impoverished communities.

      Dr. Pruitt and his middle son, Chance last year in Guatemala
      Dr. Pruitt also makes the occasional “house call” when a patient is physically unable to leave their home, to help them out when they are in pain.

      Magic City Dentistry, a Special Vibe

      Dr. Pruitt is especially proud of his Magic City Dentistry office. Built to fit the vibe and feel of the downtown Birmingham scene. The place, with its urbane design, loft appearance and exposed brick walls, looks more like an art gallery than a dental office. In fact, two open house-like events have already been held since July exhibiting the works of local artists John Lytle Wilson and Paul Cordes Wilm.

      Dr. Pruitt, Kelly and Kevin Casey at MCD’s second Art Exhibit last month.
      EXPERIENCE SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!

      Most importantly, Magic City Dentistry offers much needed affordable dental services, in the downtown area.

      Pruitt summed the new office up best, “We Made it FUN!”

      That seems to be the secret of Dr. Pruitt’s success. Having fun, loving what you do and making a difference in other people’s lives.

      Sponsored by:

      The post Magic City Dentistry owner Dr. G. Robin Pruitt, Jr. puts FUN in your dental visit appeared first on Bham Now.

      This content was originally published here.

      Aung San Suu Kyi in good health under house arrest, says NLD, as teachers join civil disobedience – CNA

      YANGON: Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health under house arrest after being detained in Monday’s military coup, her National League for Democracy (NLD) press officer said on Friday (Feb 5). 

      “We have learnt that State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health (in Naypyidaw),” press officer Kyi Toe said on his official Facebook page.

      “As far as I know, she’s under house arrest,” he told AFP.

      Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen in public since Monday. Police have filed charges against her for illegally importing and using six walkie-talkie radios found at her home.

      The NLD on Friday also threw its support behind a civil disobedience campaign and said it would help people who are arrested or sacked for opposing this week’s coup.

      In a statement on an official NLD Facebook page, the party denounced the coup and Aung San Suu Kyi’s detention as “unacceptable” and said it had a duty to provide help to those penalised for opposing the military takeover.

      TEACHERS JOIN PROTEST

      Teachers on Friday became the latest group to join a civil disobedience campaign, with some lecturers refusing to work or cooperate with authorities in protest against the military’s seizure of power.

      The civil disobedience campaign started among medical workers soon after Monday’s coup but has since spread to include students, youth groups and some workers in both the state and private sectors.

      Wearing red ribbons and holding up protest signs, scores of lecturers and teachers gathered in front of campus buildings at the Yangon University of Education.

      Teachers from Yangon University of Education take part in demonstration against the military coup i

      Teachers from Yangon University of Education react with a three-finger salute while holding signs as they take part in demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 5, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

      “We don’t want this military coup which unlawfully seized power from our elected government,” said lecturer Nwe Thazin Hlaing.

      “We are no longer going to work with them. We want the military coup to fail,” she added, surrounded by other staff who held up held up three-finger salutes, now used by many protesters in Myanmar.

      The salute – three fingers pointing up with palm away from the body – stems from the Hunger Games movies, but in recent years, it has been adopted by anti-government protesters in Asia.

      One member of staff estimated that 200 of the 246 staff at the university joined the protest.

      “We aim to halt the administration system. We are now holding a peaceful strike,” said another lecturer, Honey Lwin.

      Teachers from Yangon University of Education take part in a demonstration against the military coup

      A teacher from Yangon University of Education participating in a demonstration against the military coup looks at red ribbons in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 5, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

      There were also reports of a similar protest at Dagon University in Yangon.

      “As a citizen, I cannot accept this military coup at all,” lecturer Win Win Maw told AFP. “We have to resist this dictatorship.”

      Marching around the university’s compound, students chanted “Long live Mother Suu” and carried red flags, the colour of the NLD.

      “We will not let our generation suffer under this kind of military dictatorship,” said Min Sithu, a student.

      Dozens of employees from several government ministries in Naypyidaw also posed for group photographs wearing red ribbons and flashing the democracy symbol.

      Hours before Friday’s university protest, Win Htein, a key aide to Aung Sang Suu Kyi, was arrested at his daughter’s house, said Kyi Toe, the NLD press officer.

      Win Htein

      Win Htein, one of the leaders of National League for Democracy party, arrives at the opening ceremony of the 21st Century Panglong conference in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on May 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)

      The 79-year-old NLD stalwart, considered Suu Kyi’s right-hand man, has spent long stretches in detention for campaigning against military rule.

      Ahead of his arrest, Win Htein told local media the military putsch was “not wise”, and called on people in the country to “oppose as much as they can”.

      According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a Yangon-based group that monitors political arrests in Myanmar, more than 130 officials and lawmakers have been detained in relation to the coup.

      Telecom providers in the country have been ordered to cut access to Facebook, the main means of communication and accessing the Internet for millions of people in Myanmar.

      “HOPE BROKEN”

      With Facebook stifled, more Myanmar people have moved to Twitter in recent days or started using VPN services to bypass the blockade.

      A so-called Civil Disobedience Movement has gathered steam online, calling on the public to voice opposition every night by banging pots and clanging cymbals to show their anger.

      People hit pots during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon

      People hit pots during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 4, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

      “I feel our hope is broken by the military after they seized power,” said food vendor Thazin Oo, whose mobile phone case has a photo of Suu Kyi.

      So far, at least 14 activists and prominent pro-democracy figures have been arrested, according to AAPP.

      The nephew of filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi – who has previously been jailed for criticising the military – confirmed on Friday his outspoken uncle had been picked up on the morning of the coup.

      “I think they arrested all dissidents who could share the right information to the public,” said Kaung Satt Naing.

      People make noise during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon

      People make noise during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb 4, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

      Police in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, detained more than 20 people for banging pots and pans. They were sentenced on Friday to seven days in prison for violating a public disorder law.

      Another four university students from Mandalay, arrested at a small rally were charged on Friday for protesting without permission and breaking coronavirus rules.

      As they were escorted out of court in chains, they flashed a defiant three-finger salute to the waiting media.

      This content was originally published here.

      Orthodontist Kept Children In Braces Longer Than Necessary, Massachusetts AG Alleges In Lawsuit – CBS Sacramento

      BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office filed a lawsuit against an orthodontist who is accused of using “young patients as pawns to steal millions of dollars” by keeping children in braces for longer than medically necessary.

      According to Healey, Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah fraudulently submitted millions of dollars in false claims to MassHealth. In addition to keeping children in braces for too long, Rizkallah is also accused of deceptively billing for mouthguards.

      Rizkallah owns and operates six orthodontist practices in Massachusetts that do businesses as “The Braces Place.” There are locations in Somerville, Boston, Lawrence, Lowell Framingham and Lynn.

      The investigation began with a patient complaint. Healey’s office alleges that Rizkallah, through two companies, instituted illegal policies and practices since November 2013.

      For his MassHealth patients, who were mostly children, Rizkallah allegedly would often put braces only on their top teeth, even when there was no reason not to also put braces on the bottom teeth. Healey said this “significantly extended” treatment time and increased the amount of money collected from MassHealth.

      Rizkallah is also accused of billing MassHealth for custom-fitted mouth guards even when the patient didn’t request, need, or receive them. Mouth guards that were given to patients often were from retail stores with a value of $9.99.

      Staff members were ordered to cut the price off packaging before patients received the mouth guards, Healey alleges. Rizkallah would bill MassHealth $85-$95 for each mouth guard. In total, Rizkallah’s practices billed MassHealth more than $1 million for the mouth guards.

      “For years, this orthodontist used his young patients as pawns to steal millions of dollars from the state,” Healey said. “This illegal behavior harmed families from low-income communities and communities of color who rely on MassHealth for health care coverage. We are suing to hold Dr. Rizkallah accountable for these exploitative practices that victimized vulnerable residents in Massachusetts.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Tooth Decay or Cavity? Study Finds No Drill Dentistry Works | Healthy Home

      Tooth Decay or Cavity? Study Finds No Drill Dentistry Works


      Turns out that the research of Dr. Weston A. Price DDS from early in the last century wasn’t so far fetched after all.

      No Drill Approach to Tooth Decay

      Many holistic dentists already employ a no-drill approach to a lot of the tooth decay that presents in their offices.

      However, most conventional dentists have been slow to get on board.

      Now, with this new study, perhaps more will stop poo-pooing consumers who wish to be more conservative in the treatment of dental decay issues.

      Wendell Evans, the lead author of the study published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, had this to say about the findings:

      It’s unnecessary for patients to have fillings because they’re not required in many cases of dental decay. This research signals the need for a major shift in the way tooth decay is managed by dentists… Our study shows that a preventative approach has major benefits compared to current practice. (1, 2)

      The bottom line is that dental decay is not a rapidly progressing disease that most believe it to be.

      Dental Decay vs Cavity

      As it turns out, there is a big difference between simple tooth decay and a full-blown cavity.

      Most importantly, Dr. Evans and his team found that dental decay does not always progress.

      …  it takes an average of four to eight years for decay to progress from the tooth’s outer layer (enamel) to the inner layer (dentine). That is plenty of time for the decay to be detected and treated before it becomes a cavity and requires a filling. (3)

      Evans suggests that developing a set of protocols called the Caries Management System (CMS) can prevent, stop and even reverse (YES REVERSE) tooth decay long before a drill is necessary. 30-50% of patients respond well to this approach.

      [The CMS] showed that early decay could be stopped and reversed and that the need for drilling and filling was reduced dramatically. A tooth should be only be drilled and filled where an actual hole-in-the-tooth (cavity) is already evident. (4)

      These pictures of reversed tooth decay serve as an easy example of what can be done at home with dietary intervention alone. For even more visuals, check out these photos of another patient who resolved issues with dental decay.


      Does your dentist insist on drilling early decay right away without even attempting to reverse it first?

      If so, your dentist might not be up on the current research which suggests an important difference between tooth decay and a cavity that truly requires a drill.

      Perhaps it’s time to get a second opinion from a holistic natural dentist!

      The picture above is the sign outside the office of my dentist Dr. Carlo Litano of Natural-Smiles.com – (727) 300-0044.

      Call around in your community and see if they offer similar services for young children as well as adults.

      If you live in the Central Florida area and decide to see Dr. Litano, be sure to tell him that you are a Healthy Home Economist reader and get 10% off your first visit!

      (1) Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology (Volume 47, Issue 2)

      Since 2002, Sarah has been a Health and Nutrition Educator dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household.

      Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.

      Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.

      Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, her work has been covered by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.

      Posted under: Oral Health

      This content was originally published here.

      Michigan Gov. Whitmer paid top health official massive sum in secret deal after his abrupt resignation: report

      Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has found herself in hot water after her administration agreed to pay former state Health Department Director Robert Gordon more than $150,000 in taxpayer money after he abruptly resigned his position in January.

      The deal, which was first reported by the Detroit News, was made with the requirement that it remain confidential.

      What are the details?

      According to the Detroit News, Gordon was paid $155,506, a total of nine months salary and health benefits, in agreement for releasing the state “from any potential legal claims.”

      “The agreement is the clearest evidence yet that the split between Gordon … and Whitmer was not amicable, and it shows the Democratic administration used taxpayer funds to ease his departure,” the Detroit News reported.

      The deal was inked on Feb. 22, one month after Gordon, who helped coordinate Michigan’s COVID-19 pandemic response, abruptly left his job.

      The separation agreement stipulates that, out of the interest of confidentiality, the state would tell Gordon’s future employers that he voluntarily resigned.

      Why did Gordon resign?

      The actual reason remains unknown.

      Interestingly, Gordon resigned just hours after signing a pandemic-related order allowing restaurants to begin offering indoor dining at reduced capacity. Gordon was not present at the press conference that announced the resumption of indoor dining.

      Whitmer’s administration had been using Gordon to issue its pandemic-related emergency orders because the Michigan Supreme Court ruled last October that Whitmer had violated the Michigan state constitution by continuing to issue highly restrictive COVID orders without approval from state lawmakers.

      What was the reaction to the deal?

      Republicans are using news of the secret deal to draw more attention to Whitmer’s handling of the pandemic.

      Rep. Steve Johnson (R), chairman of the Michigan House Oversight Committee, told Fox News:

      We’re still investigating the things the Whitmer Administration has done during COVID in plain sight, when we find out about a secret payoff behind closed doors. While it doesn’t surprise me, the deception is shocking and shows how badly this Administration needs oversight so they can be held to account.

      Meanwhile, the Michigan Republican Party wants to know what Whitmer is trying to hide by keeping the deal secret.

      “Mr. Robert Gordon was the state’s health director and played an instrumental role in the state’s COVID-19 response. Michigan taxpayers deserve to know the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Mr. Gordon in the middle of a public health crisis,” Ted Goodman, spokesman for the Michigan GOP, said.

      “Why is Gov. Whitmer refusing to explain this secret deal?” Goodman added.

      “What is @GovWhitmer trying to hide?” the Michigan GOP tweeted.

      Anything else?

      News of the deal comes as Republicans demand an investigation into Whitmer’s pandemic response, particularly as it relates to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

      This content was originally published here.

      The NFL Honored Health Care Workers by Throwing a Superspreader Super Bowl

      If you took a look at the pictures coming out of the Super Bowl last night, you’d never know that the U.S. was in the middle of a global pandemic. 

      After nearly a year of public health experts stressing the need for social distancing, the National Football League held an in-person Super Bowl game for around 22,000 people, and the host city was poppin’.   

      Fans pass by a protest against Covid-19 vaccine outside the Raymond James Stadium ahead of the Super Bowl LV game between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Florida, United States on February 07, 2021.

      Fans pass by a protest against Covid-19 vaccine outside the Raymond James Stadium ahead of the Super Bowl LV game between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa, Florida, United States on February 07, 2021. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

      Outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, thousands more swarmed the streets to cheer on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, often standing shoulder to shoulder without masks, in videos posted on social media. 

      Fans packed the stadium to watch the Bucs and the Chiefs fight it out in Super Bowl LV, in a state that’s continuously been in the news for opposing coronavirus restrictions.

      The NFL gave special tribute to health care workers during the game by, among other things, naming one as an honorary captain. The league gave free tickets to about 7,500 Florida health care workers to attend. Another 14,500 sometimes-maskless fans were also in the stadium.

      In an attempt to create social distancing within the venue, officials placed cardboard cutouts of celebrities and common folk in between seats, including the rapper YG, the iconic Bernie Sanders mittens photo, and Guy Fieri. Still, about one-third of the stadium was occupied by living, breathing humans—some of whom took to the streets before and after the big game to celebrate. 

      Fans sit among cardboard cutouts before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.

      Fans sit among cardboard cutouts before the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

      Videos shared on social media captured thousands of football fans parading around the streets of Tampa, cheering on their teams. 

      Hours after the game on Sunday, the #SuperSpreaderBowl hashtag started trending on Twitter, with many slamming Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been exceptionally heedless of COVID restrictions throughout the pandemic.  

      The big game took place only days after experts warned that more contagious variants of COVID-19 have been detected and were spreading in the U.S. A strain that medical officials say originated in the U.K. was found just last week in Kansas, which sent a team, and lots of fans, to the Super Bowl in Tampa, the AP reported. 

      Health officials are also worried about at-home Super Bowl parties, saying they very well may contribute to a country-wide spike of COVID-19 as well. 

      “If you have 10 or 20 people you are meeting with, there is a very good likelihood that one or two of those people will have COVID-19,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, director of infection control for the University of Kansas Health System, told the AP. “If you are in a small enclosed space, then three or four of those people will get it.”

      Health officials are also worried about at-home Super Bowl parties, saying they very well may contribute to a country-wide spike of COVID-19 as well. 

      “If you have 10 or 20 people you are meeting with, there is a very good likelihood that one or two of those people will have COVID-19,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, director of infection control for the University of Kansas Health System, told the AP. “If you are in a small enclosed space, then three or four of those people will get it.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Expert Series: How Invisalign® is Empowering ChangeMakers | 4-H

      National 4‑H Council and Invisalign have launched a partnership to empower and recognize young people who are creating change in their communities through acts of kindness and service—big and small. Because everyone—especially our youth—should be seen and celebrated for the good they are doing in the world.

      I caught up with Kamal Bhandal, VP of Global Brand and Consumer Marketing for Align Technology, to talk more about the Invisalign@ ChangeMakers Initiative and how the mother of two is inspiring her children to be a positive influence in their community.

      What is a ‘ChangeMaker’?

      Kamal Bhandal (KB): Simply put, a ‘ChangeMaker’ is someone who springs into action to solve a problem for the greater good of a community.

      In what ways do you think the Invisalign® ChangeMakers Initiative will inspire young people to become change agents in their community?

      KB: Everywhere you look, young people are actively driving change within their communities. In some instances, it may be a young person who leads a local blanket drive to donate to the local shelter, or it may be the young leader who activates their local school district to provide school lunches for families during the pandemic. There are many more examples all around the country, and often these are local stories that aren’t widely known, but provide tremendous impact in the community.

      Align Technology’s Invisalign brand, in partnership with National 4‑H Council, has launched the Invisalign® ChangeMakers initiative to shine a light on these stories and elevate the young people who are driving change within their communities and bringing smiles. In doing so, we hope that more young people can see how teens just like them and feel connected to a larger youth community. Our collective goal with this partnership is to spotlight those inspiring stories so that every young person can see themselves as someone who can drive positive change within their communities.

      Can you share some of the work Align Technology leads to inspire change in communities and how today’s youth can help support those efforts?

      KB: Align is committed to improving the lives of our employees, customers, patients, stakeholders, and the communities in which we live and work. Our philanthropic philosophy is to support organizations whose visions tie closely to our own – improving smiles, empowering our customers through partnerships with learning institutions and foundations, and supporting and educating teens.

      We are committed to developing youth leaders around the world. Here in the US, we’re actively partnering with leading organizations—like 4‑H—who are also committed to shaping and developing youth. Other partners include Junior Achievement including their S.H.E. Leads program, Boys & Girls Clubs of America,  and Cristo Rey San Jose High School.  Our partnerships with these organizations include mentoring, program support, as well as workshops that cultivate critical business and STEM skills, corporate work-study programs, and internships. Today’s youth can support these efforts by getting involved with the local chapters of any one of these programs.

      As a mom of school-aged children, how are you inspiring them to be ChangeMakers? Why are those teachings so important?

      KB: As a mom of a teen and a tween, I try to focus on a few things: (1) exposing the kids to a range of perspectives; (2) fostering empathy for others; and (3) supporting areas of individual interest. The teen years are a critical time in brain development as teenagers have an increased capacity to appreciate various perspectives. By learning about different communities and various ways to solve problems, it not only helps increase awareness of the variety of challenges that exist within communities, but it also stimulates more creative thinking on how problems can be solved. When it comes to having empathy for others, we try to create learning experiences that foster a sense of empathy—such as through volunteering or random acts of kindness—and provide support for a specific area of interest that is important for each of them. However small or large the individual interest area may be, we try to support and encourage the kids to drive change that will create positive impact, and also experience how that feels.

      How do we continue to give young people a platform to share their ideas, experiences and innovation, and how will those ideas impact the future?

      KB: Organizations like 4‑H that celebrate and support youth in cultivating their ideas are critical. Today’s youth are full of ideas and creative solutions that can help drive positive changes that will enhance the lives of others who are a part of their community – large or small. To give young people a platform to share their ideas, it’s critical that we:

      This content was originally published here.

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      Learn about ADA CERP recognition, look up CERP recognized CE providers and find CE courses.

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      This content was originally published here.

      Bubba Watson opens up about mental health struggles

      “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr Seuss Bubba Watson stood on the first tee at Torrey Pines last month doing socially distant interviews about Linksoul, the lifestyle clothing brand. He had just become a major investor, and now he shuffled back and forth and spoke quickly, and with limited eye contact. Then his energy lifted to almost comic proportions, words spilling from his mouth with fervor as – even if only briefly – he looked you in the eye with vitality. To the casual observer, the shifting, twitchy Watson could have come off as dismissive or even arrogant. His excitement could have been just PR spin. Both assumptions would have been wrong. Being misunderstood has plagued Watson his entire life, and this scene provided clues as to why. His exhibited behavior was not new for the three-time Genesis Invitational winner – in fact it was textbook for someone with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or anxiety issues. Watson has both. To try to understand Watson is to try to understand both conditions. “In the past there were times I’ve slipped up and people have blasted me… people have made fun of me,” says Watson, who will play in a threesome with Dustin Johnson and defending champion Adam Scott at Riviera Country Club on Thursday and Friday. “And it definitely is hurtful. The big thing for me now is I’m accepting it more. One of the many problems was I held things in for so long that it hurt me. It hurt when people would write things about me without knowing me. “Now I’m at a point where I can say let’s just talk about it,” he continues. “I don’t need to hide that I’m a man who sometimes cries. I’m a man with issues just like everybody else. There’s ups and downs to life, no matter if you’re a TOUR golfer or a person that nobody ever sees. “It’s OK to not be OK sometimes.” Mental health has often taken a back seat in life, but those who suffer from anxiety disorders can tell you it’s always front-of-mind. Watson suffers from social and generalized anxiety – he has trouble in large crowds and feels self-conscious and judged in social settings. The condition has proven especially challenging for an elite athlete who performs in front of the world. Remember when Watson won the 2012 Masters by hooking a wedge shot out of the trees at the 10th hole? As he ventured outside the gallery ropes his main stressor was not how he would win the playoff but his close proximity to the patrons. The shot – which seemingly hooked at a right angle to the green, setting up his eventual victory – didn’t bother him. Self-taught, highly visual, and unusually adept at working the ball both ways, Watson was used to making such magic. Anxiety has been a part of his life for some time, but roughly two years ago it started getting worse. He couldn’t sleep, lost weight and even feared for his life. Sometimes he thought of his former Green Beret father, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder before dying of cancer in 2010. A few times Watson thought he was having a heart attack and was hospitalized. All along he was also letting the negative opinions of others seep into his soul, and his game suffered. Although he won three times in 2018, it is perhaps no surprise that he hasn’t won since. “I thought I was going to die, and my mental issues had a good hold on me for a while,” Watson says. “I went down to 162 pounds” – he is 6 feet, 3 inches tall – “and then I quit checking my weight because it was also stressing me out. But I fought out of it and came back from it.” These days Watson says he is also more accepting of the good he’s done in his life. He knows he’s trying to be a good father and husband and is keenly focused on charitable undertakings. His deal with Linksoul is as much to do with continued growth as a person as it is with his bottom line. Watson expects to personally evolve from it in ways he might not even be able to predict. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Unknown. Thousands of critics, be they viewers, keyboard warriors (this correspondent included) or even his peers, have fallen into the trap of passing judgement on Watson without the full story. We’ve judged the 12-time PGA TOUR winner not just on his ability to curve the ball in all manner of self-taught and head scratching ways (genius), but also by some isolated behaviors. “Absolutely he’s misunderstood as any person that’s on TV for brief moments can be,” says his caddie Ted Scott. “Sometimes the world demands perfection and that’s not something that exists. I don’t want to tell somebody what they should or should not think about Bubba Watson. “But I’d suggest,” he continues, “trying to get to know him. Look at his character off the course before making snap judgements. With minimal digging you’ll see that he’s a man of faith. He’s adopted two kids. He’s happily married. He’s very involved in charity. The man has a massive heart.” Fellow Scottsdale resident Aaron Baddeley insists Watson is one of the TOUR’s nice guys. “At the 2011 Presidents Cup I hit a bad tee shot that caused us to lose the last hole to halve our match,” Baddeley says. “I was pretty gutted. The first guy who came up to me with kind words was Bubba from the opposite team. Not many people would do that. Sometimes people don’t see his true self or just don’t want to see it. For whatever reason they’ve made their mind up ahead of time. But I know he’s someone I can always trust because his heart is always in the right place.” Despite the lavish praise from friends, Watson is the first to admit he hasn’t always exhibited his best self in public. He doesn’t look to offer up excuses, but the fact is he has some. While some would claim ADHD isn’t a real medical condition and those who have it are just lazy attention seekers who need to try harder, in reality ADHD can manifest differently in individuals. Firstly, it’s not about a want for attention at all. It is a disorder that brings heightened levels of hyperactive or impulsive behaviors and makes focus on single tasks difficult. Yet it is important to note that ADHD does not mean an inability to focus completely. Quite the opposite, those with the condition often exhibit hyper focus in areas where their passions lie. Swimmer Michael Phelps and musician Adam Levine are part of the hyper-focused ADHD crew. It has been said that golf – in which players can intermittently let their attention wander and then laser in on a shot when necessary – is in fact the perfect ADHD sport. This would explain why Watson is great at his sport, and also why his list of investments, plus his varied off-course endeavors, read very different to many TOUR pros. Watson has put his money behind a candy shop, a car dealership, a driving range, a minor league baseball team and now Linksoul – all places where he finds joy. He knows that if he invests outside his passions, even if they may be prudent investments, he won’t make the connections that help him grow. Linksoul brands itself as a lifestyle rather than an apparel company, and while its roots are in golf it doesn’t follow the traditional golf-attire rout. Instead, it embraces itself as a philosophy. Co-founded by John Ashworth, the company has distanced itself from corporate rigidity and operates under the assumption that if one enjoys their life, they’ll in turn enjoy their work. “I just love what their spirit is and what they’re trying to create,” Watson says of the partnership. “I feel what their energy is, and the fact it is a mesh between the business world and the play world speaks to me and the phase of life I’m moving into now. “I want to continue to learn about business,” he adds, “and people will see that I’m actually intelligent and understand business and how things work and how things can go forward.” “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison. Watson doesn’t mention intelligence by accident. He knows there are people who think he lacks it, and he admits he may have deliberately, and unwittingly at times, fueled those misperceptions. It was the easier role to play. Even his infamous Golf Boys character fit that bill. “I portrayed a story for a while,” he says. “When I first came out on TOUR, I was hard-headed and it takes me a while to learn things, to see things in certain ways, to act in certain ways. I wasn’t prepared for it. Intelligent might not be the right word, but I hope people see that I’m actually smarter than I portray sometimes. I want the world to see that I actually am smart, and the things I try to do have thought behind them and are about connecting with my passions. “I try to do things in a way I find fun and engaging – it might be different to what people see as normal but I’m finding out it speaks to others who might sit outside the traditional golf bubble.” It certainly does. Watson has always used social media, and these days TikTok is falling in love with his antics. At the Waste Management Phoenix Open two weeks ago, during a practice round, Watson hit a bunker shot at the famed 16th hole before being joined by influencers Joey Reed and Tosha to do their viral dance to the song “Wrap Me In Plastic.” Traditional golf fans weren’t all that impressed, but the video has over 1.5 million views and is crossing over well beyond “the traditional golf bubble.” “To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting,” – E.E. Cummings Watson is putting his new personal growth to the test by trying to ignore the haters and take the road Cummings described. He is buoyed by the progress of society, which increasingly doesn’t see “different” as such a bad word. He says he’s up for the fight on the course, too, as he looks to make the TOUR Championship for the first time since 2018. He sits 76th in the FedExCup heading to Los Angeles’ storied Riviera Country Club, one of his happy places after winning there in 2012, 2014 and 2018. With two Masters titles among his 12 TOUR wins, he has given some thought to the World Golf Hall of Fame. He needn’t worry – he is almost certainly heading for St. Augustine at some point. Watson also hopes his evolution as a person can also help him open the door to another goal. “I’d really like to be considered as a Presidents Cup and or Ryder Cup captain and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to be in that space,” he says. He certainly knows the terrain, having played on two winning Presidents Cup teams (2011, 2015). On the four occasions he played in the Ryder Cup (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018) the U.S. was defeated by Europe. In 2016, he acted as an assistant to captain Davis Love III as the U.S. won at Hazeltine. Watson calls it “the most fun and the most thrilling moment” he’s had in golf. Steve Stricker will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team later this year at Whistling Straits, with Love III recently announced as the 2022 Presidents Cup captain. Watson sent a congratulatory text that also included a reminder of his skills as an assistant should he not make the team. Golfer, candy man, car salesman, captain, voluntary assistant captain, Linksoul ambassador. Why fit in when you were born to stand out? Why, indeed.

      This content was originally published here.

      SMART DENTISTRY – Oral Health Group

      SILVER MODIFIED ATRAUMATIC RESTORATIVE TECHNIQUE CO-CURE METHOD

      Minimally invasive dentistry has been recognized as a valuable strategy to manage dental caries for nearly two decades. 1 With the continual development and introduction of new materials and technologies, it is both practical and reasonable to be less intrusive and to be able to preserve more tooth structure at the same time as definitively treating carious lesions. In recent years there has been an overwhelming influx and development of bioactive and biomimetic materials.

      This has allowed for restoration in a way that will have a biologic effect and one which mimics biochemical processes of the dentition. The added benefit of minimally invasive dentistry and bioactive biomimetic materials is that they allow for faster and less invasive procedures. Although these techniques and materials have been available for some time, they have not been used to their full potential. The time to do so is now.

      Caries arresting treatments, such as Riva Star (SDI) are powerful tools in our efforts to practice minimally invasive dentistry. Riva Star (SDI) is a two step treatment that consists of application of a silver diamine fluoride (SDF), followed by potassium iodide. This is available in capsule forms or bottles. The silver ion in the SDF, acts as an antimicrobial which denatures proteins and breaks down cell walls, inhibiting DNA replication and as a coagulant which occludes dentinal tubules. The fluoride ion in the SDF, promotes mineralization, creates fluorohydroxyapatite, inhibits demineralization and inhibits bacteria. From all available evidence, there is no doubt that SDF is effective.

      3 4 5 6 7 However, the hallmark of SDF is that it leaves the arrested lesion with a black stain or scar. This is unsightly and in many instances the aesthetics are unacceptable to the patient. The application of potassium iodide, the second step of Riva Star (SDI) acts to minimize the black staining. By applying the potassium iodide solution over the SDF, a silver iodine precipitate is formed which minimizes the staining in comparison to using other SDF treatments alone.

      Treatment with Riva Star (SDI) alone will arrest caries, but will not restore the cavitation. In order to restore the tooth back to form and function, an ideal technique is the Silver Modified Atraumatic Technique, given the acronym SMart.

      The SMart method marries Riva Star (SDI) with glass ionomer cement, the restorative material of choice in this technique.

      A glass ionomer cement is a dental restorative material which is based upon the reaction of silicate glass powder (fluoro-alumina-silicate glass) and polyalkenoic acid, an ionomer. Riva Self Cure (SDI) is a high quality glass ionomer cement restorative material available in different viscosities and set times. Use of Riva Star (SDI) prior to restoration will the enhance the bond of the restoration to dentin. Another added benefit of conditioning with 38% SDF is to increase resistance of both glass ionomer cement and composite resin restorations to secondary caries. To further enhance the strength of the restoration it is desirable to “sandwich” the glass ionomer cement with a resin modified glass ionomer cement or bonding agent, such as Riva Bond LC (SDI) and then a strong overlay of composite resin. The strength is further improved by curing all layers simultaneously in a co-cure technique. All layers are shown in diagram 1, which depicts a cross sections of a restoration in this SMart co-cure method. The advantages of the co-cure technique are the elimination of several placement steps and the resultant significantly stronger chemical bond between glass ionomer cement and composite resin than other techniques. The entire SMart co-cure method is depicted clinically in figures 1 – 7.

      Our paradigm for managing carious lesions must change. The techniques and materials are well established. It is time for us to step out of our comfort zone of traditional dentistry for the benefit of our patients and our profession and make a change for the better with minimally invasive dentistry, the use of caries arresting agents and bioactive restorative materials.

      Dr. Cohn is a general dentist, devoted solely to the practice of dentistry for children. She maintains a private practice at Kids Dental in Winnipeg, Canada. She is proud to be a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Speakers Bureau, Catapult Education Speakers Bureau, Pierre Fauchard Academy, and a cofounder of Women’s Dental Network. Dr. Cohn has been named as Dentistry Today’s Leader in Continuing Education multiple years in a row. She has published several articles, and webinars and enjoys lecturing on all aspects of children’s dentistry for the general practitioner both nationally and internationally.

      This content was originally published here.

      A GOP Senator Just Compared Trans Health Care to ‘Genital Mutilation’

      She’s set to be the highest-profile trans government official in U.S. history. So Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul used the Senate confirmation hearing for Dr. Rachel Levine to falsely compare gender-affirming health care to genital mutilation.

      “Most genital mutilation is not typically performed by force but, as WHO notes, that by social convention, social norm, the social pressure to conform, to do what others do and have been doing as well as the need to be accepted socially and the fear of being rejected by the community,”  Paul told Levine, a Pennsylvania pediatrician and health official who has been nominated to become President Joe Biden’s assistant health secretary. 

      “American culture is now normalizing the idea that minors could be given hormones to prevent their biological development of their secondary sexual characteristics,” he said. “Dr. Levine, do you believe that minors are capable of making such a life-changing decision as changing one’s sex?”

      He didn’t ask a single question about the pandemic that’s claimed more than 500,000 Americans’ lives. Instead, he mischaracterized how gender-affirming care works and downplayed the discrimination facing trans and nonbinary people in favor of amplifying an effort, currently popular among state-level conservatives, that would deprive trans kids of health care.

      Levine didn’t react to the provocation. If confirmed, she would be the first openly trans person to be confirmed by the Senate. 

      “Transgender medicine is a very complex and nuanced field with robust research and standards of care that have been developed,” she told the Republican senator. She said that she’d be happy to work with Rand and discuss the issue. 

      Rand accused her of evading the question. He later thundered, “We should be outraged that someone’s talking to a three-year-old about changing their sex.”

      Beyond his apparent assumption that the words “sex” and “gender” are synonymous—they are not—Rand’s suggestion that Americans are now “normalizing” gender-affirming care ignored the reality that trans and nonbinary children face high levels of discrimination. About 78 percent of trans students report being discriminated against at school, according to a 2017 survey of more than 23,000 students by GLSEN; about 70 percent of gender-queer and non-binary students said the same. In that same survey, almost half of all trans kids said that they’d missed or changed schools because of fears for their safety.

      This demographic also faces devastatingly high rates of suicide attempts. More than half of trans male and 30 percent of trans female teenagers said that they’d tried to end their lives, according to a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018. More than 40 percent of nonbinary teens also said they’d attempted suicide.

      Puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormone therapy may be able to save these kids’ lives: Research indicates that they improve trans and nonbinary kids’ mental health. The average risk of suicide for trans children fell by about 75 percent after spending a year on gender-affirming hormone therapy, according to a Trevor Project research brief.

      Medical professionals are, for the record, not performing surgery or giving hormones to three-year-olds. But major medical organizations do support trans kids’ rights to gender-affirming, inclusive health care and have done so for years. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that trans and gender-diverse kids have “access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space.” 

      Rand’s focus on trans children’s bodies echoed an ongoing, nationwide conservative attempt to restrict trans’ kids lives by blocking them from gender-affirming care and participating in sports that match their gender identity. So far this year, legislators in 16 states have introduced 19 bills that would block trans kids from receiving gender-affirming care, according to a tally by the ACLU.

      Biden has promised to make his cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history, but many of his nominees—and particularly the women of color—are now facing pushback in the Senate. 

      Rep. Deb Haaland, a Democrat from New Mexico who would be the first Native American to lead the Department of the Interior, has been attacked for being too “radical.” Neera Tanden would be the first Indian American to head the Office of Management and Budget, but she’s run into trouble due to her history of attacking prominent officials on Twitter.

      This content was originally published here.

      AG Healey sues orthodontist for keeping kids in braces longer than needed | Boston.com

      A Massachusetts orthodontist kept kids in braces longer than necessary and submitted millions of dollars in false claims to MassHealth, according to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Maura Healey Monday.

      The defendant, Dr. Mouhab Rizkallah, runs six practices under the name “The Braces Place,” which has locations in Boston, Somerville, Lawrence, Lowell, Framingham, and Lynn. The attorney general’s complaint alleges that Rizkallah has intended to defraud the state’s Medicaid program since November 2013.

      “For years, this orthodontist used his young patients as pawns to steal millions of dollars from the state,” Healey said in a statement. “This illegal behavior harmed families from low-income communities and communities of color who rely on MassHealth for health care coverage. We are suing to hold Dr. Rizkallah accountable for these exploitative practices that victimized vulnerable residents in Massachusetts.”

      The headline example in Dr. Rizkallah’s alleged fraudulent activity involved arbitrarily delaying putting braces on children’s bottom teeth to increase their treatment time — and, by proxy, money from MassHealth. The investigation began after a patient complaint.

      The suit also states that the doctor billed MassHealth for custom sports mouth guards that did not exist. The complaint says that he told his staff to cut the $9.99 price tag off of prefabricated retail mouth guards, gave them to patients, and billed MassHealth up to $95 for each one. The AG’s office says that MassHealth paid Dr. Rizkallah over $1 million for the mouth guards.

      The office alleges that the conduct violates the state False Claims Act and the state Medicaid False Claims act, constitutes a breach of contract by Dr. Rizkallah’s companies, and resulted in the unjust enrichment of the doctor. The suit seeks treble damages and civil penalties.

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      This content was originally published here.

      How These Two Childhood Friends Created a Multi-Million Dollar Dentistry Business


      7 min read
      Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

      Emmet Scott and dentist Chad Evans believe if you want to be successful, you have to experience your business through your customer’s vantage point. They created Community Dental Partners and Smile Magic Dentistry and Braces to revolutionize the patient experience within healthcare.

      Through Community Dental Partners, they help dentists who previously only had two options: grind it out day after day and hold on until it’s time to retire or partner with corporate dental and run the risk of losing individuality and freedom. By combining Scott’s business acumen with Dr. Evans’ clinical background, the childhood friends revolved their business model around the idea that dentists have two minds. The first mind is the clinical mind and it concerns all the activities dentists have learned in school. The second mindset deals with the business mind, which focuses on everything from staff management to an exit strategy.

      In addition to partnering with dentists and dental practices in underserved areas, Scott hosts a podcast called DSO Secrets, and the two run www.MySmileMagic.com, which they call “a Chuck-E.-Cheese-like dental practice for kids.” The two sat down with Jessica Abo to share how they have created their business and how you can better serve your customers.

      Let’s start by going back to the beginning. How do you know each other, and what made you want to go into business together?

      Dr. Chad Evans: This is one of those stories where we actually grew up together. At two years old, our parents moved next door to each other. My dad and his mom knew each other from high school. Starting at two years old, we became best friends.

      Emmet Scott: At nine years old, I moved away, and I said, “Don’t worry, buddy. Someday I’ll come back.” And of course, then life went on. 10 years ago or so we crossed paths again. Dr. Evans reached out and said, ‘I’m going to open my first dental practice, and I’d really love some help.’ At the time, I was hosting a radio show and doing some consulting around scaling businesses and looked at the opportunity and his vision. 

      Dr. Evans: My dad was actually a lab technician, which means he makes crowns and bridges. At 11 years old, I went to work with him. He ignored all the child labor laws, and I went to work at that and became a pretty good lab technician. Eventually I went to dental school, but that experience and the time that I spent in the dental space gave me a lot of exposure and experience within the industry. I saw just so many different opportunities, so many different areas where I felt like the industry and the way dental offices are traditionally designed and the way they traditionally operate just wasn’t quite meeting the patient’s needs.

      Scott: What made Dr. Evans unique is he wanted to serve patients a lot of clinicians and a lot of doctors don’t want to serve. He served a two-year mission in Chile. He was fluent in Spanish. He has seven kids. He said, “Hey, I want to help in the pediatric market underserved. I don’t care if it’s Medicaid, whatever.” And then we all looked at each other. I have five kids, and we said, “Well, what do kids really like?” It’s not the dentist in case you were wondering.

      We said, “They like Disneyland. They liked Chuck E. Cheese. They like those types of experiences. What if you brought that into dentistry? What would that look like?”

      Dr. Evans: Traditionally, moms are dragging crying children into the dental office, and I wanted the opposite. I wanted moms to have to drag their crying children out of the dental office because they didn’t want to leave.

      Scott: We’ve designed the whole practice as if you were going through a story around Charlie the Chipmunk. We actually made the kids part of the experience. We call them back as prince or princess. We gave them gold coins along the way. As they finished their X-ray, they got a gold coin. As they finished their exam, they got a gold coin. And then at the end, they sat on a little throne and for their bravery in dentistry, we crown them as King or Queen of Smile Magic. They got a balloon, they got a sticker. Mom gets a sticker, because she’s always a little freaking out. And then we ask them if they have any money, they have their gold coins, they spend their gold coins. They of course get an electric toothbrush of some kind, right? And they’re going, “Mom, when do I get to come back?”

      You’ve been at this for more than a decade. Can you walk me through the growth you have seen over the years?

      Scott: We started supporting this dental practice, Smile Magic, that we created. Then along came a group of practices that needed support in underserved, rural towns. We set up Community Dental Partners as a dental support organization that would support any dental practice in underserved areas.

      Dr. Evans: As we started having success and word was getting out, we had dentists approaching us that said, “I want to offer that kind of experience to my patient. I want to be able to do that. What do I have to do? Can you support us so that I can do that now?”

      Scott: We went from one practice to supporting 60 practices, and I think we’ll have 250,000 or more patient visits this year in Texas.

      Dr. Evans, what advice do you have for someone who is trying to put their patient or customer first? And they aren’t sure if they are doing a great job at doing that?

      Dr. Evans: One of the things I always do myself, I put myself in their shoes and I ask myself if I were the patient, how would I want to be treated? What hours would I want to have availability? What days would I want to be able to come in? All those things that you would naturally ask yourself if you were in the other position. If you can answer honestly that you are providing care and service in a way that you would enjoy as the customer, then I think you’re probably doing it right.

      What do you want to say to the entrepreneurs out there who have a product or are offering a service that might not be that sexy? You’re disrupting the dental industry, and most of the time when people are thinking about going to the dentist, they’re not running to the dentist by any means, let alone having children running to the dentist.

      Scott: Our field is the one that has idioms, like, “Oh man, it’s like getting a root canal” or “it’s like pulling teeth.” If you’re feeling concerned about your industry, I understand. What I would say is focus on the customer. What are they most interested in? What’s the benefit? All of us can understand that oral health care is critical, that having bacteria in your mouth that transfers to somebody else is not something we want happening. If you can create parallel experiences that the customer really loves, then you can bring them your product and the benefits of your product.

      Where do you hope to go from here?

      Scott: We’ve launched National Dental Partners. And now we’re reaching out to more dentists who are looking for this level of support. We know that there are entrepreneur clinicians who say, “We can do this better”, and maybe they don’t want Charlie the Chipmunk in their office. They’re serving different patient avatars, and they need a support team to do that.

      This content was originally published here.

      This new study shows listening to heavy metal is good for your health

      heavy metal health study-min

      It’s no secret most of us often turn to music to relieve stress, reduce anxiety and escape life’s demands. For all of you metalheads out there, that means rocking out to bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath and Pantera.

      However, a new study has reportedly found that blasting heavy metal music may be better for your health than you realize. According to a study conducted by the Vera Clinic, listening to heavy metal music can reportedly lower blood pressure and heart rate and reduce anxiety.

      Read more: You can spend the night in the ‘Silence Of The Lambs’ house—here’s how

      For the study, Vera Clinic, a Turkish hair transplant and rhinoplasty practice, had 1,540 volunteers between the ages of 18-65 take part in non-verbal reasoning tests designed to produce lower stress levels. Participants listened to a specific soundtrack that was made up of various Spotify playlists. Then, they were fitted with heart rate and blood pressure monitors and recorded their health stats throughout the study.

      Researchers found that heavy metal was the second most effective genre at reducing anxiety. In fact, 89 percent of participants reported a decrease in their blood pressure levels. As well, their heart rates dropped by an average of 18 percent.

      It turns out, the ’80s pop music playlisthad the greatest impact on participants. According to the study, participants saw a 36 percent decrease in heart rate. Meanwhile, 96 percent of individuals reported a drop in blood pressure while listening to this playlist.

      Read more: This MGK and YUNGBLUD collab gets 11 pop-punk renditions in new cover

      For Doctor Avlanmış, who led the study, they noted a key observation about heavy metal music.

      “In terms of heavy metal, I’d observe that angry music can help listeners process their feelings. And as a result lead to greater well-being.”

      All of the findings from the recent heavy metal study can be viewed via MetalSucks here.

      Over the years, various music studies have been conducted. As it turns out, researchers have found out just how much heavy metal music can impact listeners. Back in 2015, one study suggested that metal music can actually make people calmer. Meanwhile, in 2018, another study reportedly found that metal music can be good for listeners’ brains.

      Read more: grandson gives “Dirty” a vibrant new spin in this live performance—watch

      More recently, a 2019 study found that listening to heavy metal music while in the car can apparently make you a bad driver. As well, another 2019 study concluded that listening to heavy metal music doesn’t really cause violent behavior or lack of empathy.

      What are your reactions to the study’s findings of heavy metal music’s impact on health? Let us know in the comments below.

      The post This new study shows listening to heavy metal is good for your health appeared first on Alternative Press.

      This content was originally published here.

      New Report From Rep. Katie Porter Reveals How Big Pharma Pursues ‘Killer Profits’ at the Expense of Americans’ Health

      Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact “comprehensive, urgent reform” of an integral part of a broken healthcare system. 

      “In 2018, the year that Donald Trump’s tax giveaway to the wealthy went into effect, 12 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies spent more money on stock buybacks than on research and development.”
      —Report

      The report, entitled Killer Profits: How Big Pharma Takeovers Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients, begins by noting that “in just 10 years, the number of large, international pharmaceutical companies decreased six-fold, from 60 to only 10.”

      While pharmaceutical executives often attempt to portray such consolidation as a means to increase operational efficiency, the report states that “digging a level deeper ‘exposes a troubling industry-wide trend of billions of dollars of corporate resources going toward acquiring other pharmaceutical corporations with patent-protected blockbuster drugs instead of putting those resources toward’ discovery of new drugs.”

      Merger and acquisition (M&A) deals are often executed to “boost stock prices,” to “stop competitors,” and to “acquire an innovative blockbuster drug with an enormous prospective revenue stream.” 

      “Instead of spending on innovation, Big Pharma is hoarding its money for salaries and dividends,” the report says, “all while swallowing smaller companies, thus making the marketplace far less competitive.” 

      Today, our office released a bombshell report exposing the devastating effects of Big Pharma’s mergers and acquisitions. Featuring exclusive interviews with former Immunex, and later Amgen employees, our report shows how consolidation curbs innovation at the expense of patients.

      — Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) January 29, 2021

      Our report is clear: Consolidation destroys scientific cultures that once celebrated creativity and transforms them into places that cater to the whims of shortsighted shareholders.

      But our investigation also shows how we can chart a new path forward https://t.co/1jxtK9J6rh

      — Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) January 29, 2021

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      The report calls M&As “just the tip of the iceberg of pharmaceutical companies’ anti-competitive, profit-driven behaviors”:

      Pharmaceutical companies often claim that lowering the prices of prescription drugs in the United States would devastate innovation. Yet, as prices have skyrocketed over the last few decades, these same companies’ investment in research and development have failed to match this same pace. Instead, they’ve dedicated more and more of their funds to enrich shareholders or to purchase other companies to eliminate competition.

      “In 2018, the year that [former President] Donald Trump’s tax giveaway to the wealthy went into effect, 12 of the biggest pharmaceutical companies spent more money on stock buybacks than on research and development,” the report notes.

      Some key findings from the report:

      “Competition is central to capitalism,” Porter said in a press release introducing the report. “As our report shows, Big Pharma has little incentive to invest in new, critically needed drugs. Instead, pharmaceutical giants are free to devote their resources to acquiring smaller companies that might otherwise force them to compete.”

      “Lives are on the line; it’s clear the federal government needs to reform how it evaluates healthcare mergers and patent abuses,” Porter added. 

      To that end, Porter’s report recommends the following actions:

      “It’s time we reevaluate the standards for approving these mergers,” the report concludes. “It’s time we pass legislation to lower drug prices. And it’s time we rethink the structure of leadership at big pharmaceutical companies. Together, these strategies can help us bring more innovative, and critically needed, cures and treatments to market.”

      This content was originally published here.

      How Young Can Kids Get Braces? An Orthodontist Weighs In

      Youve adored your childs goofy grin since forever. Then, those beautiful little baby teeth fall out and in come the permanent ones. If your kids teeth begin to grow in crooked or flaring, you might find yourself thinking about correcting that dental dilemma. So how young can your child get braces if it turns out they might need it not only for a straight smile, but also help the way they might eat and speak.

      “The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic consultation at the age of seven, Dr. Erika Faust, an orthodontist at Elite Orthodontics in New York City, tells Romper. By this age, your childs first adult molars have appeared and her permanent bite has been established. So, if there is any deviation from a normal bite we can take steps to correct it early. Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as correcting a thumb-sucking habit or for a patient who might need to learn proper tongue placement while swallowing, reported the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO).

      During an initial visit, there are some things that orthodontists look for to see if getting braces at an early age might be necessary. At the first consultation, we determine if there are any severe bite or alignment issues that need to be immediately addressed, and if so, we begin treatment, says Dr. Faust. In many cases, more moderate orthodontic treatment is recommended and the patient can wait until most baby teeth have come out. That said, an early intervention procedure might be performed prior to getting braces, such as removing a baby tooth, so that a permanent tooth can take its place. Orthodontists also evaluate for proper tooth development and eruption to make sure that all of the permanent teeth are coming in properly. Thats why taking your child to the orthodontist for an initial appointment sooner rather than later can help determine if early intervention methods might be necessary.

      In most cases, braces go on around ages 11-13. At this point, pretty much all of your childs baby teeth will have fallen out and hell have his permanent ones. And thats when you might start seeing superficial issues, like crowding or crooked teeth. But theres a small window when orthodontics will work, and thats mostly due to your child’s age and attitude. Starting treatment later than ages 11-13 risks poorer patient cooperation and the likelihood that treatment wont be finished before important life events like senior pictures, prom, and graduation, explains Dr. Faust. That’s why it’s best for your child to brace himself (ha) and get braces before becoming a full-blown teenager.

      But having straight teeth isnt the only end goal of electing to get braces. Proper orthodontic treatment can allow your child to chew and eat correctly as well as speak more clearly. Jaw discrepancies are corrected much easier and faster in growing children than in adults, says Dr. Faust. Neglecting these issues can result in the need for a much longer time in braces in adolescence, extraction of permanent teeth, and in severe cases, jaw surgery later in life.

      Getting braces is almost a rite of passage in the tween years. While most children should be assessed during their elementary school years, middle school is often when many kids begin orthodontic treatment. And before you know it, your child’s smile will be picture-perfect once again.

      This content was originally published here.

      Interest in vampires boosts the fang trade – Dentistry for the undead

      VAMPIRES HAVE been a boon for Maven Lore’s bottom line. Once a graphic designer by trade, Mr Lore now makes fangs full-time in New Orleans. He attributes an increase in demand for his prosthetic vampire teeth to a growing interest in the undead. The popularity of vampire-themed films, novels and television programmes has helped create a customer base with a growing taste for fangs.

      Halloween is now a billion-dollar industry in America. The National Retail Federation expected consumers to spend $8.8bn this year. Yet unlike candy corn or spider-web decorations, fangs have become a year-round phenomenon. Most of Mr Lore’s clients wear their fangs—which can cost as much as $1,200—regularly. Ninety percent of his customers are women between the ages of 20 and 40. They tend to be active in the vampire subculture of people who identify as or at least behave like vampires. Other customers want pointier teeth or simply think fangs will help them express their personalities better—“like jewellery”, Mr Lore says.

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      A “fangsmith” in industry parlance, Mr Lore begins making vampire teeth by examining a client’s face and smile. He then tries to match the shade of the client’s human teeth to one of six acrylic tones. Next, he rolls two small balls of putty between his fingers and places each shaped fang on the tooth it is meant to cover—either the canine or the incisor, depending on the style. Finally, Mr Lore asks clients to hold their lips up for about five minutes as the acrylic sets.

      Ninety percent of the time the fit is so precise that the fangs—which are otherwise removable—remain in place without glue. Unless, that is, they are being fitted on dentures, in which case they require a bit of adhesive.

      Among Mr Lore’s most popular fangs are his Classic Canines, which look friendly, as fangs go. The Daywalkers are a double set covering the canine and the lateral incisor teeth that mimic fangs appearing in films such as “Underworld” and “The Vampire Diaries”.

      Teresia Lischewski (pictured) bought a pair of Mr Lore’s fangs last Halloween and wears them “as often as humanly possible”. She says she gets regular use out of her fangs by attending vampire balls, comic-book conventions and events in the world of cosplay, in which humans dress up as characters from cartoons or video games. Ms Lischewski’s vampire teeth have been so well received that her human husband is even saving up for a pair of his own.

      This content was originally published here.

      Legislator who questioned Black hygiene to lead health panel

      COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee.

      “Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?”

      The comments resulted in calls from Democrats and the ACLU of Ohio for him to resign from the GOP-controlled Senate.

      Huffman, of Tipp City, was appointed last week by Senate President Matt Huffman, his cousin, to chair the committee even after he was fired from his job as a Dayton-area emergency room physician for his comments.

      In a letter Wednesday, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus demanded a health committee leader who understands and can respond to the inequities of healthcare in Ohio “without political influence.”

      “If the Senate leadership will not replace Sen. Huffman as Chair, then we will expect Sen. Huffman to use his position to improve the health of Ohio’s African-American population by working with OLBC to pass legislation that effectively addresses health disparities in the state of Ohio,” director Tony Bishop said in a news release.

      Huffman remains a licensed medical doctor in Ohio.

      “Senator Huffman is a medical doctor and highly qualified to chair the Health Committee,” spokesperson John Fortney said Friday in a written statement. “He has a long record of providing healthcare to minority neighborhoods and has joined multiple mission trips at his own expense to treat those from disadvantaged countries.

      Fortney added that Huffman apologized at the time “for asking a clumsy and awkwardly worded question.”

      “Sincere apologies deserve sincere forgiveness, and not the perpetual politically weaponized judgement of the cancel culture,” he said.”

      Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

      This content was originally published here.

      Health care worker taken to ER just a few hours after getting second COVID-19 vaccine shot. Four days later he was dead.

      An X-ray technologist from Orange, California, fell ill and was taken to an emergency room just a few hours after receiving his second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month — and four days later he was dead, the Orange County Register reported.

      What are the details?

      Tim Zook, 60, seemed quite hopeful in a Jan. 5 Facebook post, the Register said.

      “Never been so excited to get a shot before,” Zook wrote above a photo of a Band-Aid on his arm and his COVID-19 vaccination card, the paper reported. “I am now fully vaccinated after receiving my 2nd Pfizer dose.”

      It would turn out to be his final Facebook post.

      Just a few hours later, Zook — an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana — had an upset stomach and trouble breathing, the Register said. By 3:30 p.m. his condition worsened so much that his co-workers walked him to the emergency room, the paper added.

      “Should I be worried?” his wife, Rochelle, texted him when after receiving the news, the Register said.

      “No, absolutely not,” Zook texted back, the paper noted.

      “Do you think this is a direct result of the vaccine?” she texted, the Register noted.

      “No, no,” he replied, according to the paper. “I’m not sure what. But don’t worry.”

      The Register said Zook “passionately urged folks to embrace COVID precautions such as masking up and staying home as ICUs were inundated in December.”

      Rapid decline

      But Zook’s condition quickly worsened.

      There were suspicions of COVID and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Zook was put on oxygen, then — just four hours later — a BiPAP machine to help push air into the lungs. Multiple tests came back negative for COVID.

      Shortly after midnight on Jan. 7, the hospital called. Zook was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator to help him breathe. But his blood pressure soon dropped and he was transferred to UC Irvine Medical Center. “On Friday I get a call, ‘His kidneys are failing. He needs to be on dialysis. If not, he could die — but there’s also a chance he might have a heart attack or stroke on dialysis because his blood pressure is so low,’ ” Rochelle Zook said.

      By 4 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, Zook had gone “code blue” twice and was snatched back from the brink of death. There was a third code blue in the afternoon. “They said if he went code blue a fourth time, he’d have brain damage and be a vegetable if he survives,” Rochelle Zook said.

      Zook died later that day, the paper said.

      ‘We are not blaming any pharmaceutical company’

      “We are not blaming any pharmaceutical company,” Rochelle Zook told the Register. “My husband loved what he did. He worked in hospitals for 36 1/2 years. He believed in vaccines. I’m sure he would take that vaccine again, and he’d want the public to take it. But when someone gets symptoms 2 1/2 hours after a vaccine, that’s a reaction. What else could have happened? We would like the public to know what happened to Tim, so he didn’t die in vain. Severe reactions are rare. In reality, COVID is a much more deadly force than reactions from the potential vaccine itself. The message is, be safe, take the vaccine — but the officials need to do more research. We need to know the cause. The vaccines need to be as safe as possible. Every life matters.”

      Zook’s widow also told the paper he had high blood pressure, but that for years it had been controlled with medication. Zook was slightly overweight but healthy, the Register added.

      “He had never been hospitalized,” Rochelle Zook told the paper. “He’d get a cold and be over it two days later. The flu, and be over it three days later.”

      His death has been reported to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, run by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. The Orange County coroner has said the cause of death is inconclusive for now, and further toxicology testing will take months.

      “The family just wants closure,” said Zook’s cousin, Ken Polanco of Los Angeles. ” ‘Inconclusive’ is not closure. The family wants the pharmaceutical companies to do more research — if there’s some sort of DNA that doesn’t work with this vaccine, if episodes like this can be prevented, they need to do what they can to pin that down.” […]

      The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — which officials caution is a “passive surveillance system” and represents unverified reports of health events that occur after vaccination — has gathered more than 130 reports of death after vaccine administration thus far in 2021. A total of 1,330 adverse reactions have been reported, while more than 23.5 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered.

      Experts caution that drawing a causal line between vaccination and death is often very difficult to do. When millions of people are being vaccinated — more than 13 million have gotten the Pfizer vaccine as of Jan. 26, and more than 10.5 million have received the Moderna vaccine — some would die for any number of unrelated reasons, as a matter of pure statistics.

      What did Pfizer have to say?

      A Pfizer-BioNTech spokesman told the paper that pharmaceutical company is aware of Zook’s death and is thoroughly reviewing the matter.

      “Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family,” the company said in an emailed statement, the Register reported. “We closely monitor all such events and collect relevant information to share with global regulatory authorities. Based on ongoing safety reviews performed by Pfizer, BioNTech and health authorities, [the vaccine] retains a positive benefit-risk profile for the prevention of COVID-19 infections. Serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.”

      The Orange County coroner said it has an open death investigation for Zook and will be conducting more tests as part of its autopsy protocol, spokeswoman Carrie Braun told the paper, adding that the coroner’s office will use its findings to issue a final determination concerning the cause and manner of death.

      “If it’s determined there may be a correlation to the vaccine, we will immediately notify the OC Health Care Agency,” Braun added to the Register.

      This content was originally published here.

      Candid adds connected device to remote orthodontics – MedCity News

      The ScanBox connected device helps to monitor patients who are using aligners virtually.

      The device looks like a virtual-reality headset. But instead of covering people’s eyes, it peers into their mouths.

      A teledentistry startup — Candid — hopes the device can give it an edge in the crowded field of straightening people’s teeth.

      The company is one of several offering clear teeth aligners and treatment plans to match. This year the company has been field-testing a technology called Dental Monitoring that involves handing patients a connected device, called a ScanBox. The device connects to a patient’s smartphone, captures images and sends them to a remote orthodontist. The uploaded images also are scanned using an AI algorithm that can track a patient’s progress, assess their oral hygiene and detect any potential health issues, such as visible cavities or gingival recession.

      Patients are asked to send images every seven to 10 days, more often than they would go for checkups at a traditional orthodontist, said Dr. Lynn Hurst, chief dental officer for Candid, in a phone interview.

      Hurst, who is based in Austin, Texas, had been using an earlier version of the technology in his own practice since 2016. The introduction of the ScanBox has made it easier to use, he said.

      “It’s extremely robust,” Hurst said.

      Based in New York City, Candid was founded in 2017 and features a network of several dozen orthodontists. Some patients may be assessed in one of Candid’s retail studios in major cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego and Seattle. Others come through online channels.

      An orthodontist reviews each patient’s case, determines whether they are eligible for treatment and, if so, comes up with a treatment plan. The aligners are then mailed to patients, who generally must be at least 16 years old and have mild to moderate alignment issues. Orthodontists monitor their treatment.

      Altogether, the program costs about one-third as much as traditional teeth straightening, said Nick Greenfield, Candid’s president and CEO.

      Dental Monitoring will add a couple hundred dollars to the price. But patients using the ScanBox have been more likely to stick to their treatment plans and complete their plans more quickly, Greenfield said in a phone interview. Compliance typically is around 80% range. Patients on Dental Monitoring were 95% compliant, he said. And their treatment time was 27% shorter on average.

      The company evaluated other devices but its orthodontists liked the Dental Monitoring program best. The ScanBox and the program are the products of a company itself called Dental Monitoring.

      “For us it was a really exciting opportunity,” Greenfield said, adding that Candid’s goal is to make care safe, accessible and affordable.

      The global market for clear aligners is valued at roughly $2.2 billion but is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2026, according to a report by Fortune Business Insights. Candid has plenty of company in the market. There are Invisalign clear aligners made by Align Technology Inc. and mail-order provider SmileDirectClub Inc. SmileDirectClub went public this year but has faced criticism, as has remote orthodontics in general. The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert on direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies.

      However, Candid executives defended their approach saying that it exceeds the standard of care offered in bricks-and-mortar offices.

      “Not only am I doing what they’re doing in their practices, I’m actually going beyond that,” said Hurst, a co-founder of Candid. He sees patients through the Candid platform and noted that it is designed and implemented by orthodontists themselves.

      “I think that’s extremely critical,” Hurst said. “We’re the experts in that space.”

      Hurst was one of five orthodontists in the Candid network who field-tested the Dental Monitoring program. It was offered first to patients who came in through Candid’s studios, where aides could train patients in using the ScanBox. In early 2020 it will be available to patients online.

      The program also could allow Candid to expand into moderate and moderate-to-severe cases of misaligned teeth, a condition known as malocclusion, Hurst said.

      For now, he said, “We’re just choosing to stay in the shallow end of the pool.”

      Hurst said his practice also has been testing remote services for patients under 16, though it means ensuring parents are on board as well.

      So far Hurst has tested starting treatment of children with in-person consults at a Candid studio and with remote consults via audio-video conference. Those have gone well, he said. The next step is to start treatment entirely online, where a patient uploads information and waits for the orthodontist’s response and treatment plan.

      “Ultimately our patients will tell us, and our parents will tell us, does that make them comfortable,” Hurst said.

      Photo: Candid

      CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story wrongly identified the chief dental officer of Candid. His name is Lynn Hurst and not Nick Hurst. The company is based in New York, not Austin.

      This content was originally published here.

      7 summertime dental tips from Vestavia Family Dentistry and Facial Aesthetics

      Sponsored

      Vestavia Family Dentistry
      The staff at Vestavia Family and Facial Aesthetics Dentistry staff

      What is it about summer and forgetting to take care of our teeth?

      Is it the oppressive heat in Birmingham, Alabama or just having more time on our hands? We all seem to lapse into some bad habits concerning our dental care. Think about it – Summer is the only time we all try “Pop Rocks and Cokes”… Right?

      Let’s get the summer started off right in 2019. Dr. G. Robin Pruitt, Jr. and the staff at Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics gave Bham Now some useful tips to pass along to our readers for the summer. Check them out.

      Front entrance of Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics

      Tip #1 – Drink the right beverage

      It is hot out there. Birmingham has already experienced record high temperatures reaching in the mid 90s in May. This summer, stay hydrated and healthy. But think carefully when you choose your beverage – some drinks can increase your risk of tooth decay.

      For example – When you are hot, you sweat. Don’t reach for a sports drink to rehydrate. Many sports drinks contain sugar as their top ingredient and can be as bad for your teeth as drinking soda. If you are going to have a sports drink, look for one that is low in sugar to prevent damage to your teeth.

      The best alternative? Water. Keep your mouth moist by drinking water throughout the day. This helps wash away plaque-causing bacteria and can even improve your breath. Also, save some money by choosing tap – fluoridated tap water which strengthens your enamel, making your teeth more resistant to decay.

      Tip #2 – Avoid bubbles, try tea

      Photo from Milos Tea Facebook page

      Simply put, drinks with bubbles – the carbonated drinks which may contain acid – can wear down your enamel. If you must drink the carbonated drinks use a straw. This reduces contact with your teeth. Finish the drink quickly, instead of sipping over a long period of time. Same concept. Less contact, less damage to your teeth.

      An alternative to the bubbles. Along with water, try tea. Tea contains compounds that suppress bacteria, slowing down tooth decay and gum disease. Just remember: Don’t add sugar!

      Tip #3 – Don’t chew ice

      Chewing ice may cool you off on a hot summer day, but it is not good for your teeth. Use ice as something to cool your drink and not as a food. Chewing ice can leave your teeth weak and vulnerable to breaking and can cause damage to your enamel.

      Tip #4 – Teeth Healthy Snacks

      Whether it is packing snacks for summer day camps or on vacation. Choose teeth-healthy snacks. Fresh foods are full of vitamins and dairy products such as cheese & yogurts are full of calcium. Make sure to pack a healthy snack for days on the go!

      Tip #5 – Play Sports – Protect your teeth

      . Photo via Children’s of Alabama’s Instagram

      Stay safe during summer activities – Wear a mouthguard during summer sports. Even though summer sports may not be high contact, your teeth can still be at risk if you take a fall. Also, don’t run at the pool – wouldn’t want to slip and fall! Be safe and protect your teeth.

      Tip #6 – Pack a dental “kit” for those vacations

      Don’t you hate checking into a hotel or beginning that camping trip on that summer vacation and you notice your remembered the shampoo and soap, but forgot the toothbrush, floss and mouthwash. Hop on over to the local drugstore and fully stock your travel bag with all these dental necessities for the whole family.

      Tip #7 Make your summer appointment now

      Stay on routine and go ahead and schedule your end-of-summer appointment – it’s a good idea to make your child’s back-to-school appointment early in the summer to avoid the August rush and help ensure you get the appointment time that works best for you.

      If you have any questions about any of these tips, Dr. Pruitt and the staff at Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics welcome your questions and will try to provide you answers.

      Also, feel free to re-visit their New Year’s resolution list of tips story – Vestavia Family Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics recommends 5 dental resolutions for 2019.

      Who says you can’t make mid-year summer dental resolutions too!

      Reach them at 205-823-3223 or visit their website at:

      http://www.vestaviafamilydentistry.com

      Sponsored by:

      The post 7 summertime dental tips from Vestavia Family Dentistry and Facial Aesthetics appeared first on Bham Now.

      This content was originally published here.

      Lawyer for ‘QAnon shaman’ claims client’s health deteriorating in jail without organic food – POLITICO

      Last week, Chansley filed a request for organic food, which he said is all he has eaten for the past eight years, according to court documents. He said the last time he ate was the morning of Jan. 25 and asked for some canned vegetables, canned wild-caught tuna or organic canned soup.

      “I will continue to pray thru the pain and do my best not to complain,” Chansley wrote in the request. “I have strayed from my spiritual diet only a few times over the last 8 years with detrimental physical effects. As a spiritual man I am willing to suffer for my beliefs, hold to my convictions, and the weight of their consequences.”

      Eric Glover, general counsel for Washington, D.C.,’s Department of Corrections, disputed that Chansley hasn’t eaten in a Tuesday email to Watkins filed in court documents.

      At a hearing Friday, a judge urged Chansley’s lawyer to try to work out the issues related to his diet with Glover. Chansley’s request for organic food was denied on Monday, according to the documents, which said his claims had no “religious merit.”

      In the filing Wednesday, Watkins called for Chansley to be released before his trial, saying he doesn’t have a criminal history, wasn’t “part of a grand scheme to … overthrow the Government” and that it would remove any issues with Chansley’s “worsening health situation.” Watkins wrote Wednesday that Chansley has also been compliant with the FBI. The judge in the case has said he’d be open to considering bail for him in early March.

      The Phoenix man was among the first people indicted by federal prosecutors in wake of the Capitol insurrection that left five people dead. Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, was charged with violating the Federal Anti-Riot Act and obstructing Congress, among other charges. Former President Donald Trump was subsequently impeached for inciting an insurrection. Chansley would also be willing to testify at Trump’s Senate trial next week, Watkins has previously said.

      Prosecutors have argued Chansley was “an active participant in” the “violent insurrection,” suggesting charges of sedition or insurrection could be in the works for people involved.

      The horns and fur Chansley wore Jan. 6 that made him one of the most recognizable faces of the riots were all part of his “Shaman beliefs,” Watkins wrote in the filing Wednesday.

      Watkins also argued in his Wednesday filing that Trump incited the riot by saying “‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” at a rally before the riot. In an interview on CNN in wake of the riots, Watkins said Chansley “felt like he was answering” Trump’s call and called on Trump to give him a pardon.

      “He felt like his voice was, for the first time, being heard,” Watkins said of Chansley. “And what ended up happening, over the course of the lead-up to the election, over the course of the period from the election to Jan. 6 — it was a driving force by a man he hung his hat on, he hitched his wagon to. He loved Trump. Every word, he listens to him.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Canadian Man Accused Of Unauthorized Horse Dentistry: ‘A Display of Lawless Bravado’

      A Canadian man is facing a lifetime ban on practicing veterinary medicine after accusations he’s been performing unauthorized horse dentistry.

      The Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) is seeking a permanent injunction against Kelvin Brent Asham, accused of treating horses—including giving one horse a sedative—without veterinary certification.

      An investigator described Asham’s actions as “a display of lawless bravado,” according to court documents.

      The MVMA says it’s been trying to stop Asham for the past three years: It first became aware of his activities in 2015, when a complaint was filed about a 16-year-old gelding he had treated. Asham sedated the horse, filed down its teeth—a process known as “floating”—pulled one tooth and tried to extract another.

      horse teeth dentist
      The sharp edges of horses’ teeth occasionally needs to be filed down to save the horse from pain when eating or holding a bit in its mouth. The term “floating” comes from the file used in the process, known as a “float.”
      Anna Elizabeth/Getty

      Leon Flannigan, an animal protection officer in Manitoba, investigated the claims and determined the horse had suffered “irreparable damage.” In an affidavit, Flannigan said he’d met with Asham in 2016 at a Tim Horton’s donut shop in Selkirk. Asham allegedly told Flannigan he’d been floating horse teeth since 1996 and had performed the procedure on four other horses owned by the same person as the gelding.

      Asham also told Flannigan that most vets float teeth improperly, and that he had different tools than vets use. “Off the record, I do thousands of horses,” Asham allegedly told Flannigan. “I do a good job. I am willing to fight this in court.”

      This incident caused the MVMA to send Asham a cease-and-desist letter in 2017, as he is not a licensed veterinarian.

      But last year, the MVMA found out that Asham was still working as a equine dentist and was recommended on Facebook. The MVMA hired private investigator Russ Waugh to go undercover and try to hire Asham.

      According to Waugh’s affidavit, Asham told him the horse Waugh brought in could be treated for $200 CAD (about $150), the average price for floating teeth. After the investigation, the MVMA filed suit against Asham, asking a judge to ban Asham from acting as a vet.

      “By engaging in the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine, the respondent effectively declares himself to be outside the law,” writes Robert Dawson, an attorney for the association.

      This isn’t Asham’s first run-in with the law: In December 2001, the then-37-year-old was arrested after admitting to carrying 10 one-kilogram bricks of cocaine in his truck. Asham and Barry Vaughan Hancock, who was also in the truck when it was pulled over, were each charged with possession of cocaine for the purposes of trafficking.

      At the time, Hancock was an equine dentist.

      This content was originally published here.

      The year global health went local

      We are writing this letter after a year unlike any other in our lifetimes.

      Two decades ago, we created a foundation focused on global health because we wanted to use the returns from Microsoft to improve as many lives as possible. Health is the bedrock of any thriving society. If your health is compromised—or if you’re worried about catching a deadly disease—it’s hard to concentrate on anything else. Staying alive and well becomes your priority to the necessary detriment of everything else.

      Over the last year, many of us have experienced that reality ourselves for the first time. Almost every decision now comes with a new calculus: How do you minimize your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19? There are probably some epidemiologists reading this letter, but for most people, we’re guessing that the past year has forced you to reorient your lives around an entirely new vocabulary—one that includes terms like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” and the “R0” of a virus. (And for the epidemiologists reading this, we bet no one is more surprised than you that we now live in a world where your colleague Anthony Fauci has graced the cover of InStyle magazine.)

      Bill:
      Fans of the movie Contagion might have already known this.

      When we wrote our last Annual Letter, the world was just starting to understand how serious a novel coronavirus pandemic could get. Even though our foundation had been concerned about a pandemic scenario for a long time—especially after the Ebola epidemic in West Africa—we were shocked by how drastically COVID-19 has disrupted economies, jobs, education, and well-being around the world.

      Only a few weeks after we first heard the word “COVID-19,” we were closing our foundation’s offices and joining billions of people worldwide in adjusting to radically different ways of living. For us, the days became a blur of video meetings, troubling news alerts, and microwaved meals.

      Melinda:
      Neither of us are decent cooks.
      I miss him every day.

      But the adjustments the two of us have made are nothing compared to the impact the pandemic has had on others. COVID-19 has cost lives, sickened millions, and thrust the global economy into a devastating recession. One and a half billion children lost time in the classroom, and some may never return. Essential workers are doing impossible jobs at tremendous risk to themselves and their families. Stress and isolation have triggered far-reaching impacts on mental health. And families in every country have had to miss out on so many of life’s most important moments—graduations, weddings, even funerals. (When Bill Sr. died last September, it was made even more painful by the fact we couldn’t all come together to mourn.)

      History will probably remember these last couple of months as the most painful point of the entire pandemic. But hope is on the horizon. Although we have a long recovery in front of us, the world has achieved some significant victories against the virus in the form of new tests, treatments, and vaccines. We believe these new tools will soon begin bending the curve in a big way.

      The moment we now find ourselves in calls to mind a quote from Winston Churchill. In the fall of 1942, he gave a famous speech marking a military victory that he believed would be a turning point in the war against Nazi Germany. “This is not the end,” he warned. “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

      When it comes to COVID-19, we are optimistic that the end of the beginning is near. We are also realistic about what it’s taken to get here: the largest public health effort in the history of the world—one involving policymakers, researchers, healthcare workers, business leaders, grassroots organizers, religious communities, and so many others working together in new ways.

      Melinda:
      Many of the parents who took on added caregiving responsibilities when schools closed last March.

      That kind of shared effort is important, because in a global crisis like this one, you don’t want companies making decisions driven by a profit motive or governments acting with the narrow goal of protecting only their own citizens. You need a lot of different people and interests coming together in goodwill to benefit all of humanity.

      Philanthropy can help facilitate that cooperation. Because our foundation has been working on infectious diseases for decades, we have strong, long-standing relationships with the World Health Organization, experts, governments, and the private sector. And because our foundation is specifically focused on the challenges facing the world’s poorest people, we also understand the importance of ensuring that the world is considering the unique needs of low-income countries, too.

      To date, our foundation has invested $1.75 billion in the fight against COVID-19. Most of that funding has gone toward producing and procuring crucial medical supplies. For example, we backed researchers developing new COVID-19 treatments including monoclonal antibodies, and we worked with partners to ensure that these drugs are formulated in a way that’s easy to transport and use in the poorest parts of the world so they benefit people everywhere.

      Bill:
      These are manufactured antibodies that grab onto a virus and disable it, just as the naturally occurring antibodies in your immune system do.

      We’ve also supported efforts to find and distribute safe and effective vaccines against the virus. Over the last two decades, our resources backed the development of 11 vaccines that have been certified as safe and effective, and our partners have been applying the lessons we learned along the way to the development of vaccines against COVID-19.

      Melinda:
      These include vaccines for pneumonia, cholera, meningitis, rotavirus, typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis—which together have saved millions of lives.

      It’s possible that by the time you read this, you or someone you know may have already received a COVID-19 vaccine. The fact that these vaccines are already becoming available is, we think, pretty remarkable—especially considering that COVID-19 was a virtually unknown pathogen at the beginning of 2020 and how rigorous the process is for proving a vaccine’s safety and efficacy. (It’s important that people understand that even though these vaccines were developed on an expedited timeline, they still had to meet strict guidelines before being approved.)

      No one country or company could have achieved this alone. Funders around the world pooled resources, competitors shared research findings, and everyone involved had a head start thanks to many years of global investment in technologies that have helped unlock a new era in vaccine development. If the novel coronavirus had emerged in 2009 instead of 2019, the road to a vaccine would have been much longer.

      Of course, creating safe and effective vaccines in a laboratory is only the beginning of the story. Because the world needs billions of doses in order to protect everyone threatened by this disease, we helped partners figure out how to manufacture vaccines at the same time as they were being developed (a process that usually happens sequentially).

      Bill:
      This is why some people were able to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it received FDA approval.

      Now, the world has to get those doses out to everyone who needs them—starting with frontline health workers and other high-risk groups. Our foundation has worked with manufacturers and partners to deliver other vaccines cheaply and on a very large scale in the past (including to 822 million kids in low-income countries through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance), and we’re doing the same with COVID-19.

      Melinda:
      And that women who don’t want to get pregnant continue to have access to contraceptives.

      Our foundation and its partners have pivoted to meet the challenges of COVID-19 in other ways as well. When our friend Warren Buffett donated the bulk of his fortune to double our foundation’s resources in 2006, he urged us to stay focused on the issues that have always been central to our mission. Tackling COVID-19 was an essential part of any global health work in 2020, but it hasn’t been our sole focus over the last year. Our colleagues continue to make progress across all of our program areas.

      The malaria team has had to rethink how to distribute bed nets in a time when it’s no longer safe to hold an event to give them to a lot of people at once. We’re helping partners understand COVID-19’s impact on pregnant women and babies and making sure that they continue to receive essential health services. Our education partners are helping teachers adjust to a world where their laptop is their classroom. In other words, we remain trained on the same goal we’ve had since our foundation opened its doors: making sure every single person on the planet has the chance to live a healthy and productive life.

      A high school teacher in Seoul, Korea, works with her students remotely. (Chung Sung-Jung/Getty Images)
      Health workers deliver mosquito nets in Benin. (Yanick Folly/Getty Images)
      A high school teacher in Seoul, Korea, works with her students remotely. (Chung Sung-Jung/Getty Images)
      Health workers deliver mosquito nets in Benin. (Yanick Folly/Getty Images)
      A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment helps a pregnant woman in labor in Ankara, Turkey. (Ozge Elif Kizil/Getty Images)
      A young woman talks about contraception at a community center in Nairobi, Kenya. (Alissa Everett/Getty Images)
      A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment helps a pregnant woman in labor in Ankara, Turkey. (Ozge Elif Kizil/Getty Images)
      A young woman talks about contraception at a community center in Nairobi, Kenya. (Alissa Everett/Getty Images)

      If there’s a reason we’re optimistic about life on the other side of the pandemic, it’s this: While the pandemic has forced many people to learn a new vocabulary, it’s also brought new meaning to old terms like “global health.”

      In the past, “global health” was rarely used to mean the health of everyone, everywhere. In practice, people in rich countries used this term to refer to the health of people in non-rich countries. A more accurate term probably would have been “developing country health.”

      This past year, though, that changed. In 2020, global health went local. The artificial distinctions between rich countries and poor countries collapsed in the face of a virus that had no regard for borders or geography.

      We all saw firsthand how quickly a disease you’ve never heard of in a place you may have never been can become a public health emergency right in your own backyard. Viruses like COVID-19 remind us that, for all our differences, everyone in this world is connected biologically by a microscopic network of germs and particles—and that, like it or not, we’re all in this together.

      Melinda:
      Growing up, I heard a lot about how WWII had changed my family’s life—especially my maternal grandmother’s. She’s one of the many women who entered the workforce to fill roles left open by men fighting overseas.

      We hope the experience we’ve all lived through over the last year will lead to a long-term change in the way people think about global health—and help people in rich countries see that investments in global health benefit not only low-income countries but everyone. We were thrilled to see the United States include $4 billion for Gavi in its latest COVID-19 relief package. Investments like these will put all of us in a better position to defeat the next set of global challenges.

      Just as World War II was the defining event for our parents’ generation, the coronavirus pandemic we are living through right now will define ours. And just as World War II led to greater cooperation between countries to protect the peace and prioritize the common good, we think that the world has an important opportunity to turn the hard-won lessons of this pandemic into a healthier, more equal future for all.

      In the rest of this letter, we write about two areas we see as essential to building that better future: prioritizing equity and getting ready for the next pandemic.

      This content was originally published here.

      Important Studies on Opioid Prescribing: Implications for Dentistry – TeethRemoval.com

      Recently on this site several articles have appeared discussing opioid prescribing after wisdom teeth removal see for example the posts Do Oral Surgeons Give Too Many Opioids for Wisdom Teeth Removal? and Opioid Prescriptions From Dental Clinicians for Young Adults and Subsequent Opioid Use and Abuse. Very recently several interesting studies regarding opioid prescribing have published.

      The first study is titled “Trends in Opioid Prescribing for Adolescents and Young Adults in Ambulatory Care Settings” written by Hudgins et al. appearing in Pediatrics in June 2019 (vol.143, no. 6, e20181578). The article explored opioid prescribing for adolescents (ages 13 to 17) and young adults (ages 18 to 22) receiving care in emergency departments and outpatient clinics. Data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) over the time period from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2015 was used. It was found the most common conditions associated with opioid prescribing among adolescents visiting emergency departments was dental disorders (59.7%), clavicle fractures (47%) and ankle fractures (38.1%) and among young adults visiting emergency departments was dental disorders (57.9%), low back pain (38%), and neck sprain (34.8%). Thus in both cases when someone ages 13 to 22 goes to an emergency department because of a dental disorder they are nearly 60% likely to leave with an opioid prescription. Studies suggest that adolescents and young adults are the most likely to misuse and abuse opioid medications. Thus the authors imply it is possible that many of these opioids being prescribed for dental disorders are being used for non medical use.

      An accompanying commentatory of the article by Hudgins also provides additional insights into the article titled “Opioids and the Urgent Need to Focus on the Health Care of Young Adults” written by Callahan also appearing in Pediatrics in June 2019 (vol. 143, no. 6, e20190835). Callahan says that research looking at young adults is often not available as they often get grouped into adolescents in studies. Callahan states:

      “Efforts to improve research and health care for young adults are further hindered by (1) the lack of a consensus definition of young adulthood, (2) the false perception that young adults are healthy, (3) fragmented health insurance coverage during young adulthood, and (4) little organized advocacy on behalf of young adults.”

      Callahan thus calls for more research tailored to young adults. Young adults are of course a target demographic for wisdom teeth surgery.

      The second study is titled “Comparison of Opioid Prescribing by Dentists in the United States and England” written by Suda et al. appearing in JAMA Network Open in 2019 (vol. 2, no. 5,e194303). The article explored opioid prescribing differences by dentists in the United States of America and England. The authors looked at data from IQVIA LRx in the U.S. and the NHS Digital Prescription Cost Analysis in England. The authors found in 2016 dentists prescribed more than 11,440,198 opioid prescriptions in the U.S. and 28,082 opioid prescriptions in England. Dental prescriptions for opioids were 37 times greater in the US than in England. In the U.S. various opioids were prescribed including hydrocodone-based opioids (62.3% of time), codeine (23.2% of the time), oxycodone (9.1% of the time), and tramadol (4.8% of the time) whereas in England only the codeine derivative dihydrocodeine was prescribed. The authors state:

      “The significantly higher opioid prescribing occurs despite similar patterns of receiving dental care by children and adults, no difference in oral health quality indicators, including untreated dental caries and edentulousness, and no evidence of significant differences in patterns of dental disease or treatment between the 2 countries.”

      The authors in the article by Suda point out that the patients included in the study from England were limited to receiving medications from the U.K.’s National Health Service. However they feel that their study shows that U.S. dentists prescribe too many opioids and this practice is contributing to the opioid epidemic in the U.S.

      In both studies above it seems that the authors feel that patients in the U.S. are receiving too many opioids for dental related issues and that other medications that can provide pain relief should be given. When opioids are given they should be prescribed in the shortest duration necessary to deal with the expected amount of pain the patient is dealing with. However, a limitation of both studies is the authors were unable to assess the appropriateness of the opioid prescriptions given.

      This content was originally published here.

      Health care worker dies after second dose of COVID vaccine, investigations underway

      Tim Zook’s last post on Facebook brimmed with optimism. “Never been so excited to get a shot before,” he wrote on Jan. 5, above a photo of the Band-Aid on his arm and his COVID-19 vaccination card. “I am now fully vaccinated after receiving my 2nd Pfizer dose.”

      Zook, 60, was an X-ray technologist at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana. A couple of hours later, he had an upset stomach and trouble breathing. By 3:30 p.m. it was so bad his colleagues at work walked him to the emergency room. “Should I be worried?” his wife, Rochelle, texted when she got the news. “No, absolutely not,” he texted back. “Do you think this is a direct result of the vaccine?” she typed. “No, no,” he said. “I’m not sure what. But don’t worry.”

      There were suspicions of COVID and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure. Zook was put on oxygen, then — just four hours later — a BiPAP machine to help push air into the lungs. Multiple tests came back negative for COVID.

      Tim Zook’s last Facebook post.

      Shortly after midnight on Jan. 7, the hospital called. Zook was in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator to help him breathe. But his blood pressure soon dropped and he was transferred to UC Irvine. “On Friday I get a call, ‘His kidneys are failing. He needs to be on dialysis. If not, he could die — but there’s also a chance he might have a heart attack or stroke on dialysis because his blood pressure is so low,’ ” Rochelle Zook said.

      By 4 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, Zook had gone “code blue” twice and was snatched back from the brink of death. There was a third code blue in the afternoon. “They said if he went code blue a fourth time, he’d have brain damage and be a vegetable if he survives,” Rochelle Zook said.

      Later that day, Tim Zook died.

      Reaction? But no blame

      “We are not blaming any pharmaceutical company,” said Rochelle Zook, a resident of Orange. “My husband loved what he did. He worked in hospitals for 36 1/2 years. He believed in vaccines. I’m sure he would take that vaccine again, and he’d want the public to take it.

      “But when someone gets symptoms 2 1/2 hours after a vaccine, that’s a reaction. What else could have happened? We would like the public to know what happened to Tim, so he didn’t die in vain. Severe reactions are rare. In reality, COVID is a much more deadly force than reactions from the potential vaccine itself.

      “The message is, be safe, take the vaccine — but the officials need to do more research. We need to know the cause. The vaccines need to be as safe as possible. Every life matters.”

      Zook had high blood pressure, but that had been controlled with medication for years, she said. He was slightly overweight, but quite healthy. “He had never been hospitalized. He’d get a cold and be over it two days later. The flu, and be over it three days later,” she said.

      His death has been reported to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, run by the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control. The Orange County coroner has labeled the cause of death “inconclusive” for now, and further toxicology testing will take months.

      “The family just wants closure,” said Zook’s cousin, Ken Polanco of Los Angeles. ” ‘Inconclusive’ is not closure. The family wants the pharmaceutical companies to do more research — if there’s some sort of DNA that doesn’t work with this vaccine, if episodes like this can be prevented, they need to do what they can to pin that down.”

      Other deaths post-vaccine

      Zook’s death comes on the heels of a Florida doctor who died on Jan. 3, weeks after getting his first Pfizer shot. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist in Miami Beach, suffered idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a rare immune disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally. His death is under investigation.

      In California, Placer County officials said a man died shortly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 21. They did not identify the vaccine or the person, but said he had tested positive for COVID in late December and that the vaccine was not given by the Placer County Public Health Department. Facebook posts say the man was a 56-year-old aide in a senior living facility. That death is under investigation as well.

      Tim Zook had to work with COVID patients, and posted this selfie in full gear, urging people to be safe.

      The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System — which officials caution is a “passive surveillance system” and represents unverified reports of health events that occur after vaccination — has gathered more than 130 reports of death after vaccine administration thus far in 2021. A total of 1,330 adverse reactions have been reported, while more than 23.5 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered.

      Experts caution that drawing a causal line between vaccination and death is often very difficult to do. When millions of people are being vaccinated — more than 13 million have gotten the Pfizer vaccine as of Jan. 26, and more than 10.5 million have received the Moderna vaccine — some would die for any number of unrelated reasons, as a matter of pure statistics.

      Every year in the United States, more than 2.8 million people die. That averages out to more than 7,800 deaths per day, according to CDC data.

      “No prescription drug or biological product, such as a vaccine, is completely free from side effects. Vaccines protect many people from dangerous illnesses, but vaccines, like drugs, can cause side effects, a small percentage of which may be serious,” says the Department of Health and Human Services in its primer on the VAERS data. “About 85-90% of vaccine adverse event reports concern relatively minor events, such as fevers or redness and swelling at the injection site. The remaining reports (less than 15%) describe serious events, such as hospitalizations, life-threatening illnesses, or deaths. The reports of serious events are of greatest concern and receive the most careful scrutiny by VAERS staff.

      “It is important to note that for any reported event, no cause and effect relationship has been established. The event may have been related to an underlying disease or condition, to medications being taken concurrently, or may have occurred by chance.”

      Pfizer-BioNTech probe

      A spokesman for Pfizer-BioNTech said the company is aware of Zook’s death and is thoroughly reviewing the matter.

      “Our immediate thoughts are with the bereaved family,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We closely monitor all such events and collect relevant information to share with global regulatory authorities. Based on ongoing safety reviews performed by Pfizer, BioNTech and health authorities, (the vaccine) retains a positive benefit-risk profile for the prevention of COVID-19 infections. Serious adverse events, including deaths that are unrelated to the vaccine, are unfortunately likely to occur at a similar rate as they would in the general population.”

      The Orange County Coroner has an open death investigation into Zook’s death and will be conducting additional tests within its autopsy protocol, spokeswoman Carrie Braun said. It will use those findings, along with autopsy findings, to make a final determination into the cause and manner of death. “If it’s determined there may be a correlation to the vaccine, we will immediately notify the OC Health Care Agency,” she said.

      The FDA said it takes all reports of adverse events related to vaccines seriously, and, along with CDC, “is actively engaged in safety surveillance” of the COVID-19 vaccines that are being administered under emergency use authorizations.

      “Any reports of death following the administration of vaccines are promptly and rigorously investigated jointly by FDA and CDC,” it said in an emailed statement. “Such an investigation includes working with health care providers to obtain medical histories and clinical follow-up information.”

      Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services in California, said the state is looking into these incidents as well. He sends condolences to those who’ve lost loved ones, but stands by the scientific conclusion that the vaccines are safe.

      “The details are complex and worthy of further investigation, and that’s what we’re doing now,” Ghaly said on Monday, Jan. 25, on the heels of the Placer death. “Overwhelmingly, though, we’ve seen so many individuals successfully, and without any significant reactions, receive both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.”

      Results of the state’s probes will be shared publicly, Ghaly said, along with “lessons learned.” That’s key to continuing the development of confidence in the vaccines “and getting us on the other side of this pandemic,” he said.

      This photo of Rochelle and Tim Zook was Zook’s Facebook profile picture.

      Caring, generous man

      Zook was a man who passionately urged folks to embrace COVID precautions such as masking up and staying home as ICUs were inundated in December. He loved food, posting photos of home-grown zucchinis, thick steaks, sumptuous Sunday breakfasts, wine tasting in Sonoma.

      He shared memes urging calm on Election Day, quoting Lincoln saying “We are not enemies, but friends,” and was moved to share the speech President John F. Kennedy never got to deliver: “Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

      Zook was a caring, generous man with deep love for his family, an always-open door and a gift for making others feel comfortable and welcome, friends and family say. Sympathies for his passing have poured in.

      “Our deepest condolences are with Tim Zook’s family and loved ones,” said Matt Whaley, CEO of South Coast Global Medical Center, by email. “Tim was a part of our family, too, and we are all grieving his loss.”

      Zook and his wife have three grown sons — Aaron, 30, Jared, 26, and Kyle, 24. Zook took a day off work on Monday, Jan. 4 — his last healthy day — to spend with Kyle, who’s fascinated by trains. They went train-spotting.

      “They had the most beautiful day together,” Rochelle Zook said.

      This content was originally published here.

      Breakthrough for tomorrow’s dentistry speeds tooth sensitivity treatments

      teeth toy
      Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

      New knowledge on the cellular makeup and growth of teeth can expedite developments in the treatment of tooth sensitivity and regenerative dentistry—a biological therapy for damaged teeth. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, is published in Nature Communications.

      Teeth develop through a complex process in which soft tissue, including connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels, is bonded with three types of hard tissue into a functional body part. As an explanatory model for this process, scientists often use the mouse incisor, which grows continuously and is renewed throughout the animal’s life.

      Despite the fact that the mouse incisor has often been studied in a developmental context, many fundamental questions about the tooth cells, stem cells and their differentiation and cellular dynamics remain to be answered.

      Using a single-cell RNA sequencing method and genetic tracing, researchers at Karolinska Institutet, the Medical University of Vienna in Austria and Harvard University in the U.S. have now identified and characterized all cell populations in mouse teeth and in the young growing and adult human teeth.

      “From stem cells to the completely differentiated adult cells, we were able to decipher the differentiation pathways of odontoblasts, which give rise to dentine—the hard tissue closest to the pulp—and ameloblasts, which give rise to the enamel,” say the study’s last author Igor Adameyko at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, and co-author Kaj Fried at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. “We also discovered new cell types and cell layers in teeth that can have a part to play in tooth sensitivity.”

      Some of the finds can also explain certain complicated aspects of the immune system in teeth, and others shed new light on the formation of tooth enamel, the hardest tissue in our bodies.

      “We hope and believe that our work can form the basis of new approaches to tomorrow’s dentistry. Specifically, it can expedite the fast expanding field of regenerative dentistry, a biological therapy for replacing damaged or lost tissue.”

      The results have been made publicly accessible in the form of searchable interactive user-friendly atlases of mouse and human teeth. The researchers believe that they should prove a useful resource not only for dental biologists but also for researchers interested in development and regenerative biology in general.

      More information:
      Jan Krivanek et al. Dental cell type atlas reveals stem and differentiated cell types in mouse and human teeth, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18512-7

      Journal information:



      Journal information:



      Citation:
      Breakthrough for tomorrow’s dentistry speeds tooth sensitivity treatments (2020, September 23)
      retrieved 23 September 2020
      from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-breakthrough-tomorrow-dentistry-tooth-sensitivity.html
      This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
      part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

      This content was originally published here.

      Concerns grow that the loss of sports is taking a toll on young athletes’ mental health – Portland Press Herald

      Portland High senior Danny Tocci is a co-captain on the Deering/Portland ice hockey team, which is unable to gather in-person because Cumberland County has been designated as “yellow.” “I do definitely worry about some of my teammates’ mental health because (playing sports) is all we’ve known,” he says. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

      Portland High School senior Danny Tocci considers himself a “glass half full person.” So he sees the benefits of virtual meetings with his Portland/Deering ice hockey teammates and coaches as he hopes for some form of a season this winter.

      HOW TO GET HELP

      If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, call the Maine Crisis Line 24 hours a day at 1-888-568-1112. For more information about mental health services in Maine, visit the website for the state’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

      But Tocci said it is getting tougher and tougher to maintain a healthy outlook as the coronavirus pandemic grinds on and he and his teammates are not allowed to gather for any type of in-person athletic activities because they are in one of Maine’s four “yellow” counties.

      “It’s saddening in a way and I do definitely worry about some of my teammates’ mental health because (playing sports) is all we’ve known,” said Tocci, a co-captain. “It means so much. It’s a way to release energy, see people and converse. It’s just having something to belong to and a place where you feel comfortable and you can go there and express yourself.”

      With high school teams in yellow counties unable to meet for practices or even socially distanced workouts after school, educators and medical professionals are sounding the alarm that, in the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the mental well-being of student-athletes is increasingly at risk.

      “I think for a good percentage of the kids, yes, it is affecting their mental health,” said John Ryan, the certified athletic trainer at South Portland High and president of the Maine Athletic Trainers’ Association. “And for me, it’s not so much being able to play games, it’s being able to get together with their buddies and do something. … For a lot of these kids, being involved in athletics is a driving force for them to go to school. So now you’ve taken that away and they’re sitting at home thinking, ‘Why bother to go to school?’”

      On Dec. 18 Cumberland County became the fourth county to be designated yellow in the Maine Department of Education’s color-coded health advisory for schools. Cumberland, along with Androscoggin, Oxford and York counties, will remain yellow at least until Jan. 29, the DOE announced on Friday. And when a county is deemed “yellow” for academic purposes, it means a full-stop “red” for athletics, according to pandemic guidelines set by the Maine Principals’ Association and key state health and education agencies. More than one-third of the state’s high schools – including 17 of the 20 largest schools – are located in those four counties.

      Across the state, people like Ryan and Greely Athletic Director David Shapiro have raised concerns. They point to data collected in Wisconsin, Maine and across the country that show high school athletes have become more depressed and anxious, particularly when they are unable to participate in sports. The research also indicates a significant increase in thoughts of self-harm or suicide and an overall decline in quality of life measures.

      “I think it’s my job that people have studies of that nature in their hands whenever they make a decision,” Shapiro said. “I’m trying to send it to whomever I can, the Department of Health and Human Services, the governor’s office, Dr. (Nirav) Shah (at the Maine CDC) to make sure information about the mental health of kids is in the forefront.

      “I’m deeply concerned about the lasting effects of their current inactivity,” Shapiro added. “We know in a good year, a regular year, there are significant health benefits of just being active. Now you figure all the other stressors that our kids have right now are further compounded by not being able to be active.”

      Dean Plante, the athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Old Orchard Beach High, says “athletics should not be shut down” at schools in counties designated as yellow by the state. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

      Shapiro and Ryan are not suggesting that schools ignore the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths and return to a pre-pandemic approach. What they and many others want is for the 51 high school programs affected by yellow status to at least be allowed to have small groups gather for simple and physically distanced conditioning.

      “Those schools that are yellow and in-person should be able to do skills and drills in my opinion; athletics should not be shut down,” said Dean Plante, the athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Old Orchard Beach, where students are attending in-person learning four days a week. “Yellow should not be red in that instance. It makes no sense. It’s contradictory to what we’re doing during the school day.”

      In-person physical education classes are being held during the school day. Meanwhile, club and youth sports teams in yellow counties have been given the go-ahead to practice and play games. And even though daily case counts have steadily increased across the state, more than 90 schools in green counties began interscholastic competitions on Jan. 11.

      So while athletes at Mt. Ararat in Topsham, in Sagadahoc County are able to run, shoot, skate, ski and ride the bus to away games, just across the Androscoggin River in Cumberland County, coaches and players on Brunswick High’s teams are only able to connect via virtual conferences.

      “We’re worried all the time about kids being on screens too much and now we’re pushing them there,” said Sam Farrell, the girls’ basketball coach at Brunswick. Farrell contends the pandemic’s effects are discouraging participation. “I’ve seen it with my own program. We have 18 signed up and last year we had 29.”

      DATA SHOW RISE IN ANXIETY, DEPRESSION

      Since the onset of the pandemic, mental health professionals have warned about the dangers of isolation and loneliness in the general population. As Maine’s daily case rate of COVID-19 started to spike in November, crisis and wellness call centers experienced an increase in service requests.

      For many high school athletes, much of their self-worth is tied to their association with sports, said Rob Smith, a clinical sports psychologist in Waltham, Massachusetts.

      “It’s an identity. That’s what’s on the line for kids and why it’s so stressful, is that (being an athlete) is how they define themselves,” Smith said, noting that “if you think about what the pandemic has done, it’s created this giant series of losses.”

      Isolation and time away from friends and sports were key contributing factors to the Dec. 4 suicide death of Brunswick High sophomore Spencer Smith, 16, his family said.

      “The worst thing for kids is to be sitting in their room ruminating about what they lost,” said Dan Gould, the director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University.

      High school athletes reported increased feelings of depression and anxiety as early as May, when spring sports were shut down across the country. In a solicited survey of over 3,200 Wisconsin high school athletes, conducted by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, researchers found 62 percent of both females and males reported mild or moderate/severe depression symptoms.

      In previous studies of Wisconsin high school athletes, 35 percent of females and only 21 percent of males reported any depression symptoms. The increase in the moderate/severe category was more than three times greater for girls and more than four times greater for boys.

      The survey was then expanded to high school athletes across the country, drawing over 13,000 responses, including 102 from Maine (62 girls, 40 boys). While 102 represents a far smaller sample size, the Maine students reported greater levels of depression, including moderate to severe depression, than their peers in Wisconsin. In a separate measure for anxiety, 50 percent of the female respondents from Maine reported moderate to severe anxiety, compared to 43.7 percent in the overall national survey.

      “The research is very consistent with what is being seen across the country,” said Ryan, the athletic trainer at South Portland High. “The problem is getting state policy leaders to fully understand that decisions they are making are adversely affecting the kids.”

      The researchers repeated the survey in September to compare Wisconsin students playing a fall sport to those who had their fall sport canceled because of the pandemic.

      “We found they were twice as likely to be mildly or moderately depressed if they were not playing their fall sport,” said Tim McGuine, a co-author of the original study.

      VIRTUAL MEETINGS ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PRACTICES

      Virtual team meetings serve one primary purpose, said Eric Curtis, the athletic director at Bonny Eagle High in Standish.

      “What I’m trying to get across to my coaches is, honestly, just to make connections with the kids and keep their spirits up,” Curtis said.

      Rachel Wall, a senior co-captain of the Freeport High girls’ basketball team, said she and her teammates are working hard to make sure they maintain a positive connection. Freeport girls’ basketball coach Seth Farrington asked Wall and her fellow captains Hannah Groves and Mason Baker-Schlendering to become active leaders in the virtual team meetings. Each captain has a cohort of teammates whom they direct in daily individual workouts.

      Rachel Wall, one of the captains of the Freeport High girls’ basketball team, says she and her teammates are working hard to make sure they maintain a positive connection while they are unable to practice. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

      “With my group I’ve been trying to make sure they stay active and doing their workouts,” Wall said. “If we do get to have a season and can practice again, it’s super important that we can just start right back. And, I’m also trying to encourage them because just being a student now is really hard.

      “We are separated so much of the time. You want them to stay connected and encourage them throughout the week so they don’t feel alone. And a lot do feel that way right now,” Wall added.

      Kennebunk girls’ basketball coach Rob Sullivan said virtual meetings shouldn’t be considered a substitute for practices. Rather, they can be effective for team bonding. He tries to meet with his team three or four times a week for 30- to 45-minute sessions broken into several segments. There is some coaching and drill demonstration but there are also trivia contests or word games to lighten the mood.

      Like many other coaches, Sullivan wonders why, when it comes to high school sports, “yellow means red.” He’s not advocating a full start-up of cross-town games. Rather, Sullivan says there is great value with relatively little risk for teams in yellow counties to get in the gym.

      “I can put 10, 12 kids in a gym with six hoops and they can stay pretty far apart,” Sullivan said. “Part of me would like to do that but there’s another part that would like to wait longer knowing that, when we do start (practicing), we’ll be able to finish a season.”

      Others are more adamant that practices need to be allowed – and soon. Plante says he’s already sensed waning interest in virtual meetings, particularly among students drawn to a sport primarily for its social engagement.

      “You always have those fringe kids that (play sports) to be part of something and that’s the beauty of education-based sports. It gives kids that sense of belonging,” Plante said. “Now, those on-the-cusp kids are looking around, and if they have the opportunity to bag groceries and make $12 an hour or stare at me on the computer, it’s a tough sell for a lot of kids. And a lot of families.”

      “I’m hoping there’s some movement on the yellow designation,” said Farrington, the Freeport girls’ basketball coach. “The only thing it affects is co-curricular” activities because almost all schools are already operating in a hybrid model.

      “If our county goes yellow, we should be yellow in sports. Not red. Yellow. Which means we socially distance, wear a mask,” Farrington said. “And I’m not worried about games. I just want to be in the gym, practicing with those kids that wear Freeport jerseys. I think they need each other, they need the coaches. And the coaches need them, too.”

      “There’s some things that don’t make sense to us,” Shapiro said. “We can have in-person learning and we’re an education-based activity, why can’t we extend that learning to the gym, or the rink? For that matter, why can’t we do alpine skiing? Or be in a pool, where chlorine kills (the virus)?

      “Everything still centers on their mental health and the long-term effects that this may have and we know the antidote: let them play. At the very least practice.”

      For that to happen, the Maine Principals’ Association’s guidance, developed in conjunction with officials across the state, would need to be modified. Executive Director Mike Burnham said he has shared a presentation made by McGuine about the Wisconsin research to some of the key agencies in the state.

      “All the state agencies are meeting (this) week to talk about winter sports and what’s transpiring now,” Burnham said.

      Until changes are made, though, online practice workouts and attempts at team bonding through virtual meetings are likely to continue.

      “As for our team, a lot of girls are trying to make the most of the situation we can,” said Freeport’s Wall.

      Meanwhile, COVID-19 case numbers remain high in Maine. With the winter high school sports schedule slated to end in late February, time is running out for some teams to have a meaningful season.

      “I try to keep positive,” said Tocci, the hockey player at Portland High, “but some kids in our grade, some of the basketball players especially, are saying, ‘We’re never going to get out of it. We’re never going to have a season.’ I try to tell them to stay positive, but there’s no real evidence that everything is going to get better.”

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      This content was originally published here.

      ClearCorrect vs Invisalign: Benefits, Before and After, Safety, and Cost

      Contents

      If you’ve been thinking of getting your teeth straightened, you probably know how difficult it is to find a treatment option that’s tailor-made to your unique goals. Traditional braces have been proven effective, but there’s a host of downsides, too — they’re bulky, uncomfortable, and not the most attractive option.

      Enter invisible braces. Chances are you’ve already heard about Invisalign, but there’s another company that’s out to revolutionize the way we smile. ClearCorrect invisible braces are a new kind of orthodontic treatment that promises straight teeth with the least amount of fuss.

      Bonus points: these industry-disrupting braces are made in the United States by a socially conscious company that uses recycled and eco-friendly packaging. These details, coupled with the fact that they’re more affordable than the competition, make ClearCorrect a popular choice among millennials.

      What is ClearCorrect?

      ClearCorrect aligners are a unique alternative to traditional metal braces. The primary benefit is that they’re totally invisible — in theory, they’ll give you a straight smile without anyone even noticing. They’re also removable, which means you can take them out before eating or during special occasions.

      Like most clear aligners, ClearCorrect braces provide gradual adjustments to the teeth. Your orthodontist will first take photos and x-rays of your smile and then submit your prescription to ClearCorrect. Next, the company will create a set of custom aligners just for you. Occasionally, your orthodontist will request new sets that change along with your teeth.

      Most people are required to wear their clear braces for up to 22 hours a day until an orthodontist deems the treatment plan complete. Treatment time varies from person to person, but most people see full results within one to two years.

      Orthodontists recommend this treatment for both adults and teenagers to correct crowded teeth, spacing, underbites, overbites and crookedness.

      Does ClearCorrect work?

      ClearCorrect has been proven effective in a wide range of orthodontic studies.

      One study showed that it was a valuable tool in correcting anterior crossbite, a condition where the top teeth rest behind the bottom teeth when the mouth is closed. Another showed that it was a great option for treating the correction of crowding, an issue that makes it hard to floss between teeth and compromises a perfectly straight smile.

      Not only that, but ClearCorrect can be used in instances where traditional orthodontics failed. For example, some orthodontists use ClearCorrect as a solution to issues caused by traditional orthodontic bonding. In other words, clear braces are as good as — and in some cases even better — than traditional methods that are commonly used to straighten teeth. There’s even evidence to suggest that they’re just as effective at treating severe crowding as standard methods.

      What’s better, ClearCorrect or Invisalign?

      ClearCorrect and Invisalign are often compared, primarily because they both provide clear, custom-fit aligners that are more appealing to those who don’t want to fuss with traditional braces.

      Both are excellent options with successful track records for mild to extreme cases of various dental issues. In either case you will be required to wear your custom-fit aligners for the majority of the day, except when you’re eating, drinking, flossing or brushing your teeth.

      Still, there are some differences. The most significant reason why many orthodontists and patients are beginning to favor ClearCorrect over Invisalign is the cost: since ClearCorrect only charges the dentist a third or less of the cost of Invisalign, many dentists feel that it’s a more profitable option.

      What’s more, many people report that ClearCorrect aligners are more comfortable than Invisalign. This is because ClearCorrect fabricates several trays at a time to ensure that they fit perfectly. Some patients also prefer ClearCorrect because their aligners are made in America.

      >>To learn more frequently asked questions about Invisalign, check out our article on how Invisalign works

      Does ClearCorrect hurt?

      Doctors often recommend the use of ClearCorrect and other invisible braces as a more effective treatment option for patients who have “appliance-phobia.” This means that people who have fears associated with fixed appliances on the teeth (i.e. traditional braces) tend to do better with removable aligners that aren’t permanent.

      Metal braces can be uncomfortable and even painful, which is why many people are hesitant to go the traditional route. On the other hand, ClearCorrect is virtually pain-free. A multi-stage polishing process ensures that no sharp or rough edges are found on the aligners, making ClearCorrect a relatively comfortable experience, even when worn for long periods of time. And while most patients do experience some mild discomfort in the first couple of days of wearing ClearCorrect aligners, this typically fades away relatively quickly.

      When you’re wearing ClearCorrect aligners that are properly fitted to your teeth and gums (achieved through a 3D model that perfectly matches your teeth), you shouldn’t feel a thing. With that said, some patients do complain of sore gums. You should see your orthodontist if this persists for more than two days — he or she will be able to tell if your aligners are not the ideal size and shape for your mouth.

      Are ClearCorrect aligners safe?

      Most people aren’t too keen on the idea of having a foreign object inside their mouth for most of the day. That’s totally understandable.

      The good news is that ClearCorrect aligners are designed to be safe for long-term use. They contain no BPA or phthalates, and have been approved for use by the FDA. Because of this, ClearCorrect is generally considered safe for use by pregnant or nursing patients. Nevertheless, you should speak with your primary care physician and orthodontist if you become pregnant while using ClearCorrect.

      How much does ClearCorrect cost?

      As mentioned above, the cost of ClearCorrect makes it one of the most desirable orthodontic treatment options on the market for those who dream of straight teeth.

      ClearCorrect treatment costs less than Invisalign and other clear aligner treatments because the company itself charges ClearCorrect providers significantly less.

      There are several different treatment plans which differ in terms of cost. Your customized treatment will help you determine the right option for your budget and dental needs. The company offers Flex (limited) and Unlimited pricing options. Those who require the full treatment option can expect to pay anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000 for the best results. The Flex option is a good choice for those who don’t have severe crowding or crookedness, and costs between $2,500 and $3,500 total.

      Will my insurance cover it?

      Another great thing about ClearCorrect is that many dental insurance companies cover the procedure right alongside traditional braces and other orthodontic treatments.

      Make sure to check with your insurance provide to see whether or not this type of treatment — which typically falls under the category of clear aligners — is covered. Those who do qualify for some relief under insurance may be able to save up to $3,000 on ClearCorrect braces.

      Is ClearCorrect better than traditional braces?

      As modern dentistry advances, it’s becoming more and more apparent that clear braces have the capacity to do all of the same things that metal braces can and more. In fact, one of the biggest myths associated with clear braces is that they move teeth more slowly than their metal counterparts. This just isn’t true. A good straightening treatment will work as quickly (or as slowly, depending on your perspective) whether the aligners are made of metal, ceramic or plastic.

      Metal braces aren’t the most economical option — a full treatment rings up for as much as $6,000 — but they are almost always at least partially covered by insurance. However, metal braces are by and large considered the most durable solution out there.

      The fact that metal braces last longer than other types makes them appealing for people who have to wear braces for long periods of time. Make sure to talk to your orthodontist or ClearCorrect provider about all of your different treatment options before committing to one.

      This content was originally published here.

      Updated Sedation Guidelines in Dentistry for Children – TeethRemoval.com

      Recently new guidelines have been issued regarding the use of sedation for dental procedures performed on children. In the past on this site some scrutiny has been placed on sedation provided to children during dental procedures because of many deaths that have occurred, see for example What to Ask the Dentist Before Children Have Sedation and Pediatric Dental Death in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada Spurs Comments on Dental Anesthesia. In the June 2019 edition (vol. 143, no. 6) of Pediatrics in an article titled Guidelines for Monitoring and Management of Pediatric Patients Before, During, and After Sedation for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures written by Coté and Wilson updated guidelines for the use of sedation in dentistry is provided. These guidelines were updated for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the first time in three years. These recommendations apply to all of those whom are providing deep sedation or general anesthesia in an office environment to children even if the state board does not mandate such a recommendation.

      What has changed in these recommendations has been intensely contested when it comes to giving sedation to those undergoing wisdom teeth removal. The guidelines in the 2019 edition of Pediatrics call for two trained personnel to be present when deep sedation or general anesthesia is given to a child at a dental facility. The previous guidelines called for one trained person to be present when deep sedation or general anesthesia is given to a child at a dental facility. Specifically the June 2019 guidelines state:

      “During deep sedation and/or general anesthesia of a pediatric patient in a dental facility, there must be at least 2 individuals present with the patient throughout the procedure. These 2 individuals must have appropriate training and up-to-date certification in patient rescue… including drug administration and PALS [ pediatric advanced life support] or Advanced Pediatric Life Support (APLS). One of these 2 must be an independent observer who is independent of performing or assisting with the dental procedure. This individual’s sole responsibility is to administer drugs and constantly observe the patient’s vital signs, depth of sedation, airway patency, and adequacy of ventilation.”

      The guidelines call that the independent observer must one of: a certified registered nurse anesthetist, a physician anesthesiologist, an oral surgeon, or a dentist anesthesiologist. The independent observer must be trained in PALS or APLS and capable of managing any airway, ventilatory, or cardiovascular emergency resulting from deep sedation or general anesthesia given to the child. The person performing the dental procedure must be trained in PALS or APLS and be able to provide assistance to the independent observer if a child experiences any adverse events while sedated.

      It is reported that the guidelines developed rely mostly on medical data because data for sedation in dental offices is not as readily available. Steps are being taken to incorporate more data regarding dental sedation into new guidelines. The reason for the updated guidelines is to increase safety for children having dental procedures in dental offices.

      It is not clear how the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons may react to these June 2019 guidelines. They have long argued that their care model of having an oral and maxillofacial surgeon administer the sedation and perform the dental surgery is safe and cost effective (as seen in a recent May 2019 tweet below). Even so other physician organizations in the past have questioned their care model and it has long been suggested on this site that it may be safer to have oral surgery performed at a hospital if you are receiving sedation or anesthesia, see for example Anesthesia in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Office.

      Oral and maxillofacial surgery anesthesia teams have the extensive training and experience needed to assist patients with pain and anxiety during procedures. https://t.co/sN9C5LCVHo #oralsurgery #myoms pic.twitter.com/fDhR3Jiz2d

      — AAOMS (@aaoms)

      Additional Source:

      This content was originally published here.

      With COVID-19 at record levels, reopening schools is unwise, say health experts | The Star

      Epidemiologists are warning that reopening elementary schools on Monday as planned, at a time when COVID-19 transmissions are at record-high levels in Ontario, would be unwise.

      “One of the real challenges that this virus presents is that you have transmission that can occur before people are symptomatic, and the additional challenge is that many kids show very few symptoms if any,” said epidemiologist Amy Greer, a Canada research chair in population disease modelling at the University of Guelph.

      In a long Twitter thread posted on Sunday, she characterized the decision to let children back into school as “reckless and dangerous.”

      Education Minister Stephen Lecce reassured parents on the weekend that elementary school classrooms will reopen on Jan. 11 and high school students will return to classrooms Jan. 25, two days after the current provincial lockdown is scheduled to end.

      In the face of soaring COVID-19 cases, Quebec is considering keeping schools closed for at least another week. Schools in the U.K. are closed until Jan.18, and possibly longer in areas hardest hit by the pandemic.

      It made sense to let students back into classrooms in September when community transmission rates were low, said Greer. But with the positivity rate approaching 10 per cent, the number of daily cases in Toronto often approaching 1,000 and Ontario surpassing 3,000 new cases a day, the level of community transmission is so high it will mean more children infected with the virus showing up for class and infecting their classmates, who will bring the virus home to their families.

      Screening tools don’t work on children who are asymptomatic, Greer pointed out. If they don’t have a fever; if they’re not coughing or sneezing or fatigued, checklists and thermometers won’t catch the illness and won’t prevent infected students from taking a seat beside a classmate.

      If other measures are in place to prevent transmission, the impact of the asymptomatic cases can be attenuated — for example if classes are smaller and children are seated far apart, if ventilation has been optimized — students without symptoms are less likely to pass along the virus. But Greer said classrooms have not been sufficiently modified to prevent that kind of transmission.

      “I feel frustrated that we don’t appear to have a plan for how we’re going to compensate to keep schools open in the context of high community transmission,” said Greer, in an interview with the Star.

      Dr. Andrew Morris, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the medical director of the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program, said the role schools play in transmission of COVID-19 remains unclear — although they are a contributing factor.

      He said the COVID-19 numbers are so bad now it’s hard to imagine keeping anything open beyond what is absolutely essential.

      “I think that opening schools up now as we have an up going trajectory and when we really have a fair amount of uncertainty about the role of schools in transmission, is not wise,” Morris said.

      Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, has said in the past that schools are critically important and provide an important conduit for social services and even food, through school nutrition programs, for children who need support.

      She echoed those concerns at the first COVID-19 update from city hall on Monday, adding on Tuesday that the subject is under active consideration and discussion.

      “What we are trying to do is balance control of COVID-19 along with ensuring that we’re meeting the health needs of children and their families, and we know that there is a specific benefit, a clear benefit to having children attend school in person … but it is a very delicate balancing act, and one that may seem like a relatively straightforward decision, but actually has much more complexity underneath it,” she told CBC’s “Metro Morning.”

      The decision to open or close schools is a provincial one. Students are currently receiving virtual instruction.

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      The Ministry of Education did not respond to questions from the Star in time for this story’s deadline.

      Lecce told parents in a letter sent out over the weekend that “schools are not a source of rising community transmission.”

      Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF

      Do you think it’s too soon to send kids back to school in Ontario?

      Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be registered Torstar account holder. If you do not yet have a Torstar account, you can create one now (it is free)

      Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

      This content was originally published here.

      Fauci assures World Health Org. Biden regime is committed to funding abortions

      Big Tech is censoring us. Subscribe to our email list and bookmark LifeSiteNews.com to continue getting our news.  Subscribe now.

      WASHINGTON, D.C., January 21, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – In comments made to the World Health Organization (WHO) today, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced the Biden regime’s commitment to the promotion of abortion, as well as a new relationship between the United States and the WHO.

      Fauci has been named as Chief Medical Adviser to Joe Biden, who was sworn in as president yesterday, and became Biden’s de facto spokesman to the WHO at the 148th session of the Executive Board of the organization which is currently taking place. Fauci is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who became famous for his constant media appearances during the coronavirus outbreak.

      He made clear that the Biden regime would be very closely aligned with the WHO, noting that Biden had already “signed letters retracting the previous Administration’s announcement to withdraw from the organization.”

      “I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci declared.

      Under Biden’s authority, the U.S will be “fully engaged in advancing global health,” he added, and would “work constructively with partners to strengthen and importantly reform the WHO.”

      However, the newly appointed Chief Medical Adviser also highlighted Biden’s commitment to the promotion of “sexual and reproductive health,” and “reproductive rights,” both of which are common euphemisms for abortion and contraception.

      “And it will be our policy to support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in the United States, as well as globally. To that end, President Biden will be revoking the Mexico City Policy in the coming days, as part of his broader commitment to protect women’s health and advance gender equality at home and around the world.”

      The Mexico City Policy prohibits federal funding of abortion abroad. Under former President Donald Trump, it was expanded into a policy called Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.

      Biden is very public about his claims of being Catholic, even attending Mass shortly before his inauguration, yet has been very open about his strong support for abortion as well as LGBT ideology. He has called abortion an “essential health service” and wishes to enshrine abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy into federal law.

      Pope Francis extended his congratulations to Biden yesterday, yet did not call mention the issue of abortion in his message.

      In the flurry of executive orders which Biden signed by yesterday evening, he gave permission for gender-confused soldiers to serve openly in the military.

      Aside from committing the U.S. to assist the WHO in funding, and promoting abortion, Fauci repeatedly mentioned the close relationship which would exist between the two going forward. He thanked the WHO for its “role in leading the global public health response to this pandemic,” and assured the organization that that U.S. “intends to fulfill its financial obligations.”

      Trump had defunded the WHO for its botching of the coronavirus response and its close ties to Communist China.

      In a “directive” to be signed by Biden today, Fauci related that the U.S. would “join COVAX and support the ACT-Accelerator to advance multilateral efforts for COVID-19 vaccine, therapeutic, and diagnostic distribution, equitable access, and research and development.”

      “We will commit to building global health security capacity, expanding pandemic preparedness, and supporting efforts to strengthen health systems around the world and to advance the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added, referring to the U.N.’s 2030 pro-abortion goals.

      Despite advocating for a renewed focus on promoting abortion and contraception, Fauci closed his speech by claiming that the U.S. would work to “improve the health and wellbeing of all people throughout the world.”

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      Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry Uses New Technology to Improve Safety, Comfort – WhatcomTalk

      In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses across the country have had to make changes to stay in operation. Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry has implemented new technology to not only better protect their patients from transmission of COVID-19, but to change kids’ experience at the dentist altogether. 

      The laser also operates at such a high temperature that it kills all bacteria and viruses with which it comes into contact—great news for reducing the spread of coronavirus from the aerosolization of particles in saliva. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

      “We were closed down for two and a half months,” says Dr. Sawyer Negro, pediatric dentist and owner of Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry, referring to the initial coronavirus lockdown in March and April. “It really gave us a good time to pivot and accelerate where I wanted my practice to go, so that I could be delivering the most compassionate care to all of my families and kids.”

      Part of Dr. Sawyer’s business pivot was to implement use of the Solea dental laser. It’s the first dental laser to be cleared by the FDA as safe and effective for both hard and soft tissues, meaning the hard enamel that covers teeth as well as the surrounding gums. Because of the type of energy the laser uses and the tiny wavelength at which it operates, the Solea allows Dr. Sawyer and his team at Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry to offer patients a safer and more comfortable dental experience. 

      Dr. Sawyer most frequently uses the laser for filling cavities and frenectomies, a procedure in which he operates on infants with a constriction in their tongue or lip that is inhibiting them from successfully breastfeeding. With the Solea laser, he is able perform the frenectomies knowing that infants will feel less post-operative discomfort. The way the laser energy penetrates into the tissue provides natural analgesia, causing the area to be numb for about four to six hours.

      Dr. Sawyer Negro is the pediatric dentist and owner of Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry, which serves families throughout Whatcom County. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

      “Often these little one-month-olds come out of the procedure smiling,” Dr. Sawyer says. “It’s one of my favorite parts of my practice.”

      The natural numbing is true for most cases where Dr. Sawyer uses the Solea laser, which also helps him be more efficient in seeing his patients. Instead of having to give kids a shot of local anesthetic, wait until it takes effect, and then come back to administer a procedure—which takes more time and often ends up requiring more than one visit to the dentist—Dr. Sawyer can fill a cavity or do another simple procedure during a routine teeth-cleaning appointment.

      The efficient and relatively pain-free nature of the Solea laser was a big motivator for its implementation. 

      Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry is open to the public for all its regular services. They have implemented many new protocols to keep their patients safe and healthy, including having patients wait in their car before their appointment rather than the waiting room. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

      “I always try to view my patients as my own kids and how I would like to treat them,” says Dr. Sawyer. “If I don’t have to give my daughter the scariest part of the dental visit, of course I’m going to go for that option.”

      If he’s able to take away the connotation that going to the dentist is scary or every time you go to the dentist you have to get a shot, that will be a success for Dr. Sawyer.

      “I’m really trying to reshape the dental experience, so that these kids can grow up to be young adults with healthy smiles and low dental fear anxiety, so they don’t have to dread it,” he says. “There are so many adults who avoid going to the dentist and then end up with larger cavities that get out of control.”

      The Solea laser also allows Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry to lower the chance of coronavirus transmission within their office. The laser greatly reduces the aerosolization of particles from the mouth that could spread around the clinic, because it operates with about 75 percent less air pressure than a conventional hand drill. 

      The laser also kills any viruses or bacteria with which it comes into contact. The Solea uses thermal energy at a temperature that far exceeds the temperature required to kill viruses and bacteria. So if a patient were carrying the virus in their saliva, any saliva that gets pushed out of their mouth wouldn’t still carry the virus.

      Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry has started using a new technology for some of its procedures. The Solea dental laser is the first laser to be FDA approved for all tissues and allows Dr. Sawyer to see his patients more efficiently, better protect them from the spread of COVID-19 and is less painful and scary for kids. Photo courtesy: Bellingham Pediatric Dentistry

      Dental lasers have existed within the industry for several decades, but this laser is the first FDA-certified laser for all tissues. By targeting collagen and hydroxyapatite—the main component of enamel—the Solea laser helps decrease potential bleeding after a surgery and provides the natural numbing.

      While it doesn’t mean he will never have to use a conventional drill or a numbing shot again, Dr. Sawyer is proud to be the first dentist in Whatcom County to be using a Solea laser.

      “Just having this option [so] I can do work without having to get the kids numb is, I think, revolutionary,” he says. “The technology is great, but it’s really about their experience, and making sure they have a good experience to carry with them through the rest of their lives.”

      This content was originally published here.

      Unarmed Black Pastor Having Mental Health Episode Is Killed By ‘Aggressive’ Texas Police Officer After Family Called for Wellness Check

      A wellness check for Patrick Warren Sr., a Black pastor, turned fatal Sunday, Jan. 10, when an officer in Killeen, Texas, shot Warren after his family had called 911 to request assistance from a mental health professional. The family was concerned that 52-year-old Warren, who lives with mental health issues, was having an episode, according to civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing the family.

      “They noticed their loved one deteriorating, undergoing some sort of psychosis it appeared,” Merritt said in an exclusive interview with ABC25. “They spoke with medical professionals. They wanted to get him some help.”

      According to Merritt, the family was told a mental health deputy was not available so the police department dispatched an officer who has been identified as Reynaldo Contreras instead.

      Merritt said the family described Contreras as “an aggressive officer who’s speaking in an abrasive tone who clearly had an attitude.” Merritt also said Contreras slammed the door on the way out of the family’s home before killing Warren, which is corroborated by video footage from the family’s ring camera.

      The video footage shows Warren, who also was a veteran, coming out of the door with his hands up. Then his behavior seems to become increasingly more erratic. At that point Warren goes offscreen and the family can be seen in distress asking Warren to sit down and begging the officer not to shoot. However, a taser can be heard being deployed off-camera followed by three shots. “No, no I told you don’t use a gun,” a family member screams over and over on the video.

      “When Patrick’s family protested, ‘Don’t shoot,’ an officer fired his first shot into Patrick and redirected his weapon toward Patrick’s wife, Barbara, telling her to get back from Patrick. The officer again trains his weapon on Patrick’s body and continues to fire his weapon, killing him,” a press release from Merritt’s firm states.

      Warren was taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center where he later died. Merritt said the family is calling for “the immediate firing and arrest of the officer.” Warren’s son, Patrick Warren Jr., said Warren was “tragically killed by Killeen Police … in front of his family in a nonviolent encounter.”

      Warren Jr. created a GoFundMe campaign to assist with funeral expenses. On it, he noted his father was the “sole provider” for their family and had lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic. He added his father’s life insurance policy had expired three months prior and that the family would be grateful for any contribution. The campaign had raised over $34,000 at time of publication.

      Warren Jr. also created an Instagram account, Justice For Patrick Warren. It had over 3,000 followers at time of publication.

      Patrick Warren,sr Husband Father and Pastor Was shot and killed by local police in his front yard he was unarmed #BLM #BlackTwitter pic.twitter.com/HhOjzOXuNV

      — Ananda Robinson (@AnandaRobinson3)

      The Killeen Police Department released a statement that said Contreras was dispatched “in reference to a psychiatric call” and when he arrived “he encountered an emotionally distressed man.” They added Contreras initially used his taser but it didn’t work so he “then discharged his duty weapon during the encounter, striking the subject.”

      Dr. Jeremy Berry, professor of Counseling and Psychology and a mental health crisis advocate, said there was a way to deescalate the situation without killing Warren.

      “I’ve been on calls that looked exactly like that, hundreds of them, and I know that there’s a way that that plays out better. I know there is. I’ve seen it. I’ve been involved in it,” Berry told ABC25. “There are other methods to address that situation that might not require someone to lose their life.”

      Activist Shaun King, who said he has gotten involved with helping the Warren family, shared video footage of the encounter on Instagram. He described Warren as “a pastor … beloved father” and “cherished husband.”

      On Twitter, Merritt said Warren Sr. was “killed in his front lawn during a wellness check. Shot 3 times in his chest for being ill.” He also listed eight other Black men who were killed by police for similar reasons.

      Everyone must say #PatrickWarrensr’s name. He was killed in his front lawn during a wellness check. Shot 3 times in his chest for being ill. Just like #DariusTarver#StephenTaylor #DamianDaniels🇺🇸 #EverettPalmerJr🇺🇸#BrandonRoberts #DewayneBowman#AdrianRoberts🇺🇸#toomany pic.twitter.com/Z2pAautKWS

      — S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw)

      Many on social media said Warren’s death was another painful reminder that Black and white Americans face two justice systems.

      “Wow all that restraint the police had with thousands of aggressors in my city but this officer couldn’t handle one man coming towards him,” Instagram user @mealnin_monroe wrote.

      “We saw last week it’s possible for police to not kill aggressive people. Even actually attacking people. But a family calls for HELP for a mental episode and this unarmed man is shot in the chest and dies. Like…..I OBVIOUSLY get it, but I don’t f—ing get it,” user @Nikkilooovesit wrote on Twitter.

      The Killeen Police Department said there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by their Criminal Investigation Division and the Texas Rangers.

      For Merritt, the evidence is clear. “A mental health call should not be a death sentence,” he said.

      This content was originally published here.

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      This content was originally published here.