Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Healthy Smile May Promote a Healthy Heart

Research continues to suggest the importance of periodontal health as related to cardiovascular health

CHICAGO—January 08, 2008—Each year, cardiovascular disease kills more Americans than cancer. And while most people are aware that lifestyle choices such as eating right, getting enough exercise and quitting smoking can help prevent cardiovascular disease, they may not know that by just brushing and flossing their teeth each day, they might also be avoiding this potentially lethal condition.

An article published in the December issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), the official publication of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), suggests that periodontal patients whose bodies show evidence of a reaction to the bacteria associated with periodontitis may have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Study Abstract

“Although there have been many studies associating gum disease with heart disease, what we have not known is exactly why this happens and under what circumstances,” said JOP editor Kenneth Kornman, DDS, PhD. “The findings of this new analysis of previously published studies suggest that the long-term effect of chronic periodontitis, such as extended bacterial exposure, may be what ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease.”

Researchers at Howard University identified 11 studies that had previously examined clinically-diagnosed periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. The team then analyzed the participants’ level of systemic bacterial exposure, specifically looking for the presence of the bacteria associated with periodontal disease, as well as measuring various biological indicators of bacterial exposure. They found that individuals with periodontal disease whose biomarkers showed increased bacterial exposure were more likely to develop coronary heart disease or atherogenesis (plaque formation in the arteries).

“While more research is needed to better understand the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, this study suggests the importance of taking of your teeth and gums and how that can help you take care of your heart,” said Susan Karabin, DDS, President of the AAP. “With the number of people with heart disease continuing to increase, it is important to understand that simple activities like brushing and flossing twice a day, and regular visits to your dental professional can help lower your risk of other health conditions.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back From NADL Vison 21

The DTS Trio spoke at the National Association of Dental Laboratories meeting in Las Vegas. It was very interesting hearing about some of the latest dental lab offering but mostly an enjoyable change in perspective. Hearing what goes on in the dental lab makes you look at what we as dentist miss when dealing with the labs.

So the key to any relationship is "Communications"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Amalgam fillings don’t affect children’s brain development, says study in ADA Journal

CHICAGO, Jan. 25, 2008—Dental amalgam tooth fillings do not adversely affect children's brain development and neurological status, researchers report in the February issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

The authors of the report—members of a joint team from the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and the University of Washington, Seattle—studied the possible neurological effects of dental amalgam tooth restorations. Dental amalgam contains elemental mercury combined with other metals such as silver, copper, tin and zinc to form a safe, stable alloy. Dental amalgam has been used for generations to fill decayed teeth that might otherwise have been lost.

Beginning in 1997 and continuing for seven years, the authors studied 507 Portuguese children aged 8 through 12 years who received either amalgam or resin-based composite fillings. They conducted routine clinical neurological examinations to assess two types of neurological signs: hard (indicating damage to specific neural structures) and soft (subtle signs of central nervous system dysfunction that likely point to immature sensory-motor skills rather than to any structural damage in the brain). The researchers also evaluated the children for presence of tremor.

After seven years, the two groups of children did not differ in terms of the presence or absence of hard signs or tremor. They also didn't differ in terms of the presence or absence or severity of soft signs at any point. Also, as expected in healthy children, the severity of any neurological soft signs diminished as the children aged.

"Even at the levels of amalgam exposure in this study (a mean of 7.7-10.7 amalgam surfaces per subject across the seven years of follow-up)," the authors write, "[we] conclude that exposure to mercury from dental amalgam does not adversely affect neurological status.

"These data indicate the absence of a generalized negative effect on children's nervous system functions stemming from the presence of dental amalgam," they continue, "and while we cannot rule out potential adverse reactions in individual children, we found no indications of any."

JADA, a monthly journal, is the ADA's flagship publication and the most widely read scientific journal in dentistry.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Methicillin-ResistantStaphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

The American Dental Association has published information on Methicillin-ResistantStaphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)and what you need to do in your dental office.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Innovative Cold Sore Treatment Device Virulite Comes to US

COSTA MESA, Calif. (Business Wire EON/PRWEB ) January 18, 2008 -- Virulite, LLC, a medical device manufacturer dedicated to developing the market for an innovative new treatment for cold sores, today announced that it has retained Compass Point Capital, Inc. and Murphy Business and Financial Corporation as its mergers and acquisitions advisors.

Virulite, LLC has validated the US market for the Virulite device by successfully completing clinical trials and is presently in the process of obtaining FDA clearance. The Virulite product is successful in the UK and is both approved by the British National Health Service and CE marked.

The Virulite product, (patents granted and pending), is a portable, hand held device that uses an invisible, non-thermal band of near-infrared light. Virulite was developed in the UK after ten years of research and development, and has been medically proven in independent clinical trials to reduce the healing time of cold cores by up to one half.

The company completed a US market test of the product through Walgreen’s online distribution channel, where Virulite outsold all competing cold sore remedies, including the current market leader, the topical cream Abreva by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). In addition, Virulite received numerous customer testimonials from users who experienced astonishing results. Virulite, LLC recognizes the product requires a home with an established pharmaceutical, health product or medical device company in order to effectively penetrate the estimated $4 billion cold sore remedy market, and is actively seeking suitors.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Has Dental Amalgam Been Torpedoed and Sunk?

J Dent Res 87(2):101-102, 2008
© 2008 International and American Associations for Dental Research

Has Dental Amalgam Been Torpedoed and Sunk?
Derek W. Jones

Professor Emeritus of Biomaterials, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

KEY WORDS: Mercury • amalgam • environment • scientific principles

For the past 20 years, the public has been bombarded by sensational, confusing, and misleading media reports about health issues related to dental amalgam. The public opinion on this issue has been modified by minority, non-scientific views driven and supported by media sensationalism. Mobilization of irrational public fear is the strategy used by lobby groups to pressure governments to change public policy (Jones, 1993). It is important that governments adhere to scientific principles and base health and environmental policies on sound scientific knowledge. Dentistry is an applied science and needs to bring issues such as those dealing with dental amalgam to the attention of governments.

I recently read a news item regarding the ban being imposed on dental amalgam in Norway. As a scientist, I was appalled to read of the decision taken by the Norwegian Government (Ministry of Environment) on December 14, 2007. This legislation aims to prohibit the production, importation, exportation, sale, and use of substances that contain mercury. However, the prohibition does not cover mercury that occurs naturally in coal, ore, and ore concentrations (presumably cinnabar could be included in this category). According to the Norwegian government, the regulation covering dental amalgam will come into effect on January 1, 2008, and for more limited use on December 31, 2010 (Norwegian Ministry of the Environment, 2008). In a prepared statement, Norwegian Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim said that the reason for the ban is the risk to the environment that mercury may pose. "Mercury is among the most dangerous environmental toxins. Satisfactory alternatives to mercury in products are available, and it is therefore fitting to introduce a ban," said Solheim.

My strong objection to this bureaucratic travesty relates to the following:

1. At least 50% of environmental mercury pollution comes from natural sources.
2. Some 42% of environmental mercury pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuels (and yet for the moment they exclude coal) (Jones, 2004).
3. No valid scientific studies have ever shown that dental amalgam poses a health hazard to patients, to dentists, or to the environment.
4. A patient with 10 amalgam surfaces in his/her mouth would have a mercury intake into the blood which would be only 2% of the World Health Organization’s Acceptable Daily Intake (WHO ADI 40 µg/day) for mercury, with no adverse health effects.
5. I have calculated that the environmental impact of mercury from 800,000 dental offices worldwide would represent between 0.04 and 0.2% of the total worldwide environmental mercury pollution from all sources (this would be significantly reduced by the use of amalgam traps [ISO 11143, 1999], which are increasingly being used).
6. I have also calculated that the worldwide environmental impact of mercury discharges into the sewers from 20 billion amalgam surfaces in people’s mouths represents between 0.01 and 0.07% of the total environmental mercury pollution.

I could understand if all industrial use of mercury, such as the burning of fossil fuels, was banned in Norway, together with the unsafe disposal of mercury-containing batteries and lamps. Each year, close to 8000 kg of mercury from fluorescent lamps end up in landfills and incinerator plants in North America alone (Chong, 1997). Without question, it is the emerging industrial countries that represent the major threat to increased mercury pollution. Estimates of mercury put into sewer systems by dentistry are incredibly small in comparison with the worldwide release of mercury, which has been estimated as 6.3 million kg (Chong, 1997). However, another estimate puts the global figure at between 22 and 33 million kg of mercury discharged into the environment each year as a result of human activities (Chin et al., 2000). Whatever the real number is for total mercury released into the environment on a global scale, the amount released from dental procedures and dental amalgam is not a significant contributor to the problem.

The proposed implementation by Norway to ban a very sound and effective dental material makes no scientific, economic, or environmental sense at all. Unlike composite-resin-based materials (alternatives to amalgam fillings), amalgam has an elastic modulus (stiffness) similar to that of natural tooth enamel. This lends support to the tooth structure by the filling material. Composite resin fillings, in contrast, are less stiff than natural tooth enamel and are unable to support the tooth structure at the margins to the same extent. Unlike amalgam, composite resin materials take up water, which is detrimental to their mechanical properties. Amalgam has wear characteristics similar to those of natural teeth, while composite materials wear more readily. In addition, interproximal placement of amalgam is much easier than for composite. Composite resin materials retain a greater amount of plaque compared with amalgam, which can predispose to dental caries adjacent to the composite restorations. Composite resin materials are required to be replaced more frequently than dental amalgam. Each time a restoration has to be replaced, additional natural tooth structure is lost.

At present, there is no conclusive evidence in the scientific literature to demonstrate a link between the cause of irreversible neurological disorders or of impaired kidney function and mercury vapors from dental amalgam. Animal experiments to date have not been able to establish conclusively any cause-and-effect link that can be extrapolated to human exposure to mercury from amalgam restorations (Jones, 1999).

Although it is generally accepted that some 50% of mercury pollution comes from natural sources, the relative contribution from natural vs. anthropogenic mercury sources remains unclear, and the natural source may be considerably higher. Pollution from dentistry is insignificant compared with that from industrial use and natural sources. Clearly, the above information leads to the logical conclusion that banning "dental amalgam" is a political issue that will have no impact on total worldwide mercury pollution.

A colleague (C Lloyd, personal communication) recently brought to my attention the very significant mercury pollution problem faced by the Norwegian government. This involves a German submarine U864 that was torpedoed off Bergen in February, 1945. It was carrying some 65 thousand kg of mercury and heading for Japan (Oziewicz, 2006; Cowell and Gibbs, 2007). The wreck was discovered in 2003, and the Norwegian government has been criticized for mishandling this mercury pollution problem. It is tempting to consider whether the banning of dental amalgam by Norway is in fact a political diversion.


About the author: Derek Jones is a Past President, Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR, 1992-95), Past President of the IADR Dental Materials Group (1990-91), and Chair of the Canadian Dental Association’s Dental Materials and Devices Committee (1993-1998). He is currently Chair of ISO/TC 106 Dentistry (2005-2010). He was Secretary of ISO/TC/SC1 Dental Filling and Restorative Materials from 1979 to 1997, and Chair of ISO/TC/SC1 from 1998-2005, as well as Chair, Canadian Standards Association Technical Committee on Dentistry, and Chair, Canadian Advisory Committee to the International Standards Organization, 1979-2005.

Received January 10, 2008; Accepted January 10, 2008


Chin G, Chong J, Kluczewska A, Lau A, Gorjy S, Tennent M (2000). The environmental effects of dental amalgam. Aust Dent J 45:246–249.[ISI][Medline]

Chong R (1997). Mercury reduction and product stewardship. Paper presented at Mercury Elimination and Reduction Symposium Pollution Probe, May 5–6, 1997, Toronto.

Cowell A, Gibbs W (2007). German sub menaces North Sea 61 years after sinking, International Herald Tribune Europe, January 10.

ISO 11143 (1999). Dental equipment-amalgam separators. Geneva, Switzerland: ISO Central Secretariat.

Jones DW (1993). The enigma of amalgam in dentistry. J Can Dent Assoc 59:155–166.[Medline]

Jones DW (1999). Exposure or absorption and the crucial question of limits for mercury. J Can Dent Assoc 65:788–792.

Jones DW (2004). Putting dental mercury pollution into perspective. Br Dent J 197:175–177.[ISI][Medline]

Norwegian Ministry of the Environment: Amendment of regulations of 1 June 2004 #922 relating to restrictions on the use of chemicals and other products hazardous to health and the environment (product regulations). The amendment will come into effect 1 January 2008. WHO (2004). International Digest of Health Legislation. Reg 1479 amending Reg 922, 17 Nov 2004, and Reg 818 amending Reg 922, 11 July 2005.

Oziewicz E (2006). Toxic shield guards U-864’s secrets. The Globe and Mail, December 7.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

3D Systems To Launch Dental Lab System

3D Systems Corporation (NASDAQ: TDSC), a leading provider of 3-D Modeling, Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing solutions, announced it plans to unveil its ProJet™ DP 3000 3-D Production System, a 3-D Printer that accurately, consistently and economically manufactures precision wax-ups for dental professionals, at LMT's Lab Day Chicago exhibition at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers on Saturday, February 23, 2008.

The user of the ProJet™ DP Production System scans a model, designs a virtual wax-up using 3-D software, then sends the data to the ProJet™ Production System to "print" wax-ups in layers; the system can generate hundreds of units each cycle. Built in VisiJet™ DP 200 Material, the wax-ups have a smooth surface finish and can be cast or pressed with conventional techniques. The specially formulated material for dental applications is virtually ash-free and can be used with traditional laboratory waxes. The printer's large build volume and optional part stacking and nesting capabilities enable unattended operation ideal for high-volume production. The open architecture allows file transfer from any open scanner on or off site. Current material applications include full cast crowns, bridges, partial frameworks and full contour units to be pressed over metal and zirconia copings. This allows small, medium and large sized labs to stay competitive in today's ever-changing market environment. Other potential applications include the rapid production of surgical guides and models.

"We are delivering to dental labs a solution that gives them the ability to increase their productivity and improve the quality, consistency and delivery of their product," said Abe Reichental, 3D Systems' president and chief executive officer. "3D Systems is continuing to improve 3-D Modeling technology, responding to the growing demand for rapid and affordable dental services."

The ProJet™ DP Production System will be available to customers in the U.S. beginning in March 2008.

About 3D Systems

3D Systems is a leading provider of 3-D Modeling, Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing solutions. Its systems and materials reduce the time and cost of designing products and facilitate direct and indirect manufacturing by creating actual parts directly from digital input. These solutions are used for design communication and prototyping as well as for production of functional end-use parts: Transform your products.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cruise Medicine: The Dental Perspective on Health Care for Passengers During a World Cruise

Bernhard A.J. Sobotta Dr. med. dent., Mike T. John DDS, PhD, MPH, Ina Nitschke PD Dr. med. dent. habil., MPH (2008)
Cruise Medicine: The Dental Perspective on Health Care for Passengers During a World Cruise
Journal of Travel Medicine 15 (1), 19–24.

Background. Although more than 100 million passengers have taken a cruise since 1980, it is not known what dental treatment needs occur at sea.

Methods. The routine dental documentation of a 2-month period at sea on a cruise ship carrying 1,619 passengers was analyzed. The subjects for the study were 57 passengers (3.5% of 1,619), with a mean age of 71 years (±9.8 y). Age, gender, number of natural teeth and implants, prosthetic status, diagnosis, treatment performed, percentage of emergency and routine procedures, number of appointments, duration of appointment, time since last visit to the dentist, and cabin category as indicator of socioeconomic status were extracted. Oral health–related quality of life (OHRQoL) was measured using the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile.

Results. Passengers had a mean number of 20 natural teeth plus substantial fixed and removable prosthodontics. Emergency dental treatment accounted for 97% of the chairside time. The three most frequent emergency diagnoses were defective restorations (36%), pulpal disease (20%), and defective prosthesis and caries (both 11.5%). Common emergency therapies provided were complex surgical-prosthodontic rehabilitation, various endodontic treatments, and extractions. Per 1,000 persons/month, passengers required 21.6 emergency plus 2.5 routine appointments; 49% of passengers had seen a dentist within 3 months before going to sea.

Conclusions. Passengers do attend their dentist for routine care/checkups before the voyage, yet experience complex dental emergencies. This is due to the presence of a high number of restorations that fail unexpectedly. Some failures are so severe that they would have forced the passenger to abort the cruise had there been no dental service available. The ease of access to quality dental care may explain the relatively low level of perceived problems as characterized by OHRQoL scores.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Bad Dentist...

Dentists like this need to be prosecuted. Again the percentage of dentists like this are small but they give us all a bad reputation. MJ

Some patients may expect their dentists to check for cavities during their visit, but instead, they find the dentist drilling for dollars inside their mouths. Insurance companies pay out millions annually in unnecessary dental claims.

Read the rest on the ABC web site

Monday, January 21, 2008

Computed tomography could be a risk to public health?

Computed tomography could be a risk to public health
N Engl J Med 2007;357:2277-84 [Full Text]

Computed tomography (CT) generates ionising radiation, so each scan carries a small but detectable increase in the lifetime risk of cancer. For most people, the diagnostic benefit of a scan outweighs the risk, but at least two experts are getting worried about the effects on the US population of a sharp rise in the use of computed tomography for diagnosis and screening. They estimate that 1-2% of all cancers in the US are attributable to radiation from CT scans [View slide in free full-text BMJ article pdf online].

Children are particularly vulnerable. They are more radiosensitive than adults and have more remaining years of life in which to develop cancer. In the US, 6-11% of scans are performed in children, often to diagnose or rule out appendicitis. Ultrasound might be a better option, say the experts. Other questionable uses of CT, particularly multiple scans, include the investigation of seizures, chronic headaches, or blunt trauma. Using CT defensively is even harder to justify, but not uncommon.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that up to a third of CT scans could be replaced by other diagnostic tests, or not done at all, say the experts. If that is true, about 20 million adults and more than a million children in the US are irradiated unnecessarily each year.

Copyright © 2007 by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Relationship between clinical–radiographic evaluation and outcome of teeth replantation

Adriana de Jesus Soares, Brenda Paula Figueiredo de Almeida Gomes, Alexandre Augusto Zaia, Caio Cezar Randi Ferraz, Francisco José de Souza-Filho
Relationship between clinical-radiographic evaluation and outcome of teeth replantation
Dental Traumatology (OnlineEarly Articles).

Abstract – The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate clinical and radiographic results related to avulsed and replanted teeth in patients who sought treatment at the Dental Trauma Center of the Dental School of Piracicaba, State University of Campinas, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil. One hundred replanted teeth were studied from 48 individuals (18 females and 30 males, with a mean age of 15 years and 9 months). Post-replantation factors (clinical and radiographic) were observed. The clinical aspects evaluated were crown discoloration, pulp necrosis, mobility changes, presence of fistulae and tooth infra-position. Radiographic examination aimed to identify replacement and inflammatory root resorptions, pulp canal obliteration and the presence of radiolucent areas. Depending on clinical and radiographic findings, results were classified as: complete success, acceptable success, uncertain success or failure. During anamnesis, other factors such as stage of root formation, period extra-alveolar, storage medium, type of splintation, and period after replantation time were recorded. The data obtained were statistically analyzed in order to determine the relationship between the post-replantation factors and outcome of teeth replantation. Linear logistic regression revealed that the majority of replanted teeth were associated with root resorptions and its occurrence duplicated proportionally as the time after replantation increased. Based on these findings, replantation procedures must be submitted to an accurate follow-up, as the success of replanted teeth, which already tends to be limited, may be even more jeopardized if cases are not controlled.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Price Of A Perfect Smile

If it seems like more people are smiling these days, there's a good reason why.

Thanks in part to our nation's never-ending obsession with looks, cosmetic dental procedures are increasing in popularity. A survey of more than 350 members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, conducted in the fall, shows that the total number of patients seeking procedures to brighten their smiles in 2006 climbed by an estimated 12.8% over 2005.

They weren't afraid to spend some money in the process, either.
Read the rest on the Forbes web site

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Romo dentist appointment comes at bad time for Cowboys

we all thought a vacation with Jessica Simpson was the reason for Tony Romo's poor performance against the NY Giants in last weeks NFC playoff game. Now the blame is being shifted to Tony Romo's dentist.

Read all about it on the SSNN web site

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Amalgams pose no risk to human health, EU report says

By Anna Stablum

Amalgam fillings for teeth, containing mercury, pose no health risk to the human nervous system, an EU scientific committee said on Tuesday.

The opinion supports arguments by some dentists and governments, who have said the material is safer and more durable than alternatives. But the results caused a stir among patients' organizations who argue amalgam is dangerous, because of the known side effects of mercury.

"The facts do not add up -- mercury is the third most toxic poison in the world and we are still putting it in people's mouths," said Becky Dutton of patient organization Mercury Madness.

The EU said it had investigated claims of a link between amalgams and a variety of systemic conditions, particularly neurological and psychological or psychiatric effects.

"It is concluded however, that no risks of adverse systemic effects exist and the current use of dental amalgam does not pose a risk of systemic disease," it said.

Mercury, which accounts for 50 percent of an amalgam filling, persists in soil, water and living organisms. While high doses can be fatal, relatively low doses have been linked to adverse neuro-development impacts.

Most countries advise against use of amalgam for children and pregnant women due to its impact on brain development, but patient organizations believe the rest of the population, carrying an average of 2.5 grams in their mouths, is also at risk.

The list of effects from mercury poisoning goes from mild tremors due to neurological damage and kidney problems to autism and even Alzheimer's, according to advocates for a European ban.

The EU report said no studies had shown that dental personnel suffer classical signs of mercury intoxication.

"All I can say is that if mercury/amalgams are so safe why have three countries just banned them?" anti-mercury campaigner Dutton asked.

This month the Swedish government is expected to decide on a ban, while Denmark and Norway are taking similar steps.

Another patient organization in Spain said it rejected the provisional report because it was partial and ignored the World Health organization (WHO) and other scientists' recommendations.

"The main dentist organization before the ADA (the American Association of Dental Surgeons), already in the 1830s saw a clear relation cause-effect with amalgam...and prohibited its members to place amalgams in people's mouths," the Spanish National Association MERCURIADOS told Reuters in an email.

The opinion provides the EU with scientific advice needed when preparing policy in relation to its wider mercury strategy, which has for example banned the use of mercury in barometers.

The report was prepared by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) and is made up of external experts.

A public consultation will run to February 22, after which the EU could potentially revise the preliminary report.

Then it is up to the scientific committee to adopt the final opinion and the timeline depends on the number and sort of comments received, the European Commission told Reuters.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Something New From Apple

Here is the new Apple Macbook Air the smallest notebook yet.
The innovative now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t port hatch flips down to reveal (and closes to hide) all the ports you really need: a USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and a micro-DVI port that supports DVI, VGA, composite, and S-video output. Even the MagSafe power connection has been reconsidered and slimmed to fit MacBook Air. A 13.3 inch screen, 2GB of RAM, 80 GB Hard Drive or a 64gb SSD.

This looks really cool for $1799

More on the Macbook Air website

Monday, January 14, 2008

DTS Continuing Education For Your Group

It is that time again where I start booking the Fall 2008/Winter 2009 Dental Technology Solutions lecture schedule. So if your local component or study club is looking for a low cost technology seminar take a look at the DTS web site. Drs. Flucke, Feuerstein and I look forward to seeing you. Go to the DTS web site for more information.

Dental Technology Solutions web site.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ceramic Hybrid Needles Take the Sting Out of Shots

Chapel Hill, N.C. – January 7, 2008 – New polymerization technology may one day take the pain out of injections and blood draws. A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina and Laser Zentrum Hannover have recently used two-photon polymerization to create hollow needles so fine patients wouldn’t feel them piercing their skin. Clustered together on a patch, these microneedles can deliver drugs or draw blood efficiently as standard hypodermic needles. These findings are reported in the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology.

Developing a way to deliver drugs intravenously with minimal pain and trauma, by someone without medical expertise, has long been a mission of biomedical engineers. Until recently, their most promising product had been stainless steel and titanium microneedles. These metal microneedles, though, are prone to break on impact with skin.

Researchers led by Roger Narayan, MD, PhD, of the University of North Carolina , used two-photon polymerization of organically modified ceramic (Ormocer®) hybrid materials to create microneedles resistant to breakage. Another benefit of the hybrid needles is that they can be made in a wider range of sizes than those made with conventional microfabrication techniques.

The first patients Narayan imagines will benefit from his technique are those who require frequent injections or blood monitoring.

“Microneedles may be integrated with micropumps and biosensors to provide autonomous sampling of blood, analysis, and drug-delivery capabilities for treatment of chronic disease,” he said. “For example, one needle, pump and sensor unit would assay the glucose level in interstitial fluid of patients with diabetes mellitus. Another needle, pump and drug-delivery unit would deliver insulin in a continuous or programmed manner.”

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dentists could soon carry out a simple saliva test for breast cancer

From the Daily Mail. Click the link to read the entire article.

A £10 saliva test capable of detecting breast cancer during a routine visit to the dentist is being developed by scientists.

Used during six-monthly dental check-ups, it would provide early warning of the disease that claims the lives of more than 1,000 women a month.

As quick and easy to use as a home pregnancy test, it would be able to detect the cancer from just two or three drops of saliva.

Researcher Dr Charles Streckfus (CORR) said it could prove invaluable in picking up the disease in its earliest stages, when it easiest to treat.

Used during routine dental check-ups, it could spot cases of the disease which could otherwise go unnoticed until too late.

The most common cancer in Britain, breast cancer affects more than 44,000 women a year and claims the lives of more than 12,000

Friday, January 11, 2008

Laser Procedure Treating Gum Disease

New Study Shows Unique Scientific Support for Laser Procedure in Treating Moderate to Severe Gum Disease

Growing Body of Data Supports Effectiveness of Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure™ (LANAP™) as Alternative to Conventional Gum Surgery for Millions of Americans

Millennium Dental Technologies, Inc. ( today announced the results of a new peer-reviewed manuscript, published in the refereed specialty journal The International Journal of Periodontics & Restorative Dentistry, that demonstrates uniform histologic success in the treatment of moderate to severe gum disease (periodontal pockets) using the patented Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure™ (LANAP™). Millennium Dental Technologies estimates that LANAP-licensed practitioners are currently treating over 14,000 patients nationwide, on an annual basis.

New connective tissue attachment (CTA) and regeneration of root surface (cementum) was achieved in 100 percent of the cases studied in the human histology study using the PerioLase® MVP-7 variable pulsed Neodymium:Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (Nd:YAG) dental laser, the only laser designed especially for LANAP. Study results show the FDA-approved and patented LANAP is now a legitimate treatment alternative to conventional scalpel/suture flap surgery.

Gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, is a chronic bacterial infection that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. It is often painless and can go undetected or ignored until severe gum and bone destruction catches the individual’s attention. The American Dental Association (ADA) conservatively estimates that three out of four adult Americans have some form of gum disease and about 25 million adults suffer from serious forms of the disease, but some estimate the figure to be much greater. In an address at the 7th Annual Conference on Periodontal Surgery on November 8-9, 1996, Michael Newman, DDS, PhD, Adjunct Professor of Periodontics, UCLA School of Dentistry and former president of the American Academy of Periodontology, reported that more than 100,000,000 American adults have moderate to severe gum disease, yet less than 3 percent receive conventional treatment.

Led by Raymond A. Yukna, DMD, MS, now the Director of Advanced Periodontal Therapies, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, the study documents consistently positive responses in humans treated with the LANAP. In a split mouth design, twelve single-rooted teeth with moderate to advanced chronic periodontitis were treated. Six teeth received treatment by LANAP, while the other six control teeth received scaling and root planing only.

After three months, 100 percent of LANAP-treated teeth showed new cementum and new CTA, whereas effectively none of the control teeth had any evidence of new attachment or regeneration. There was no evidence of any adverse changes around the LANAP specimens.

“I am quite pleased and encouraged by the results of this study. These positive results support the concept that LANAP can be associated with cementum-mediated new connective tissue attachment and apparent periodontal regeneration of diseased root surfaces in humans,” said Yukna. “Recent years have seen major advancements in periodontal technology, and this study is a successful demonstration of using a free-running pulsed Nd:YAG laser applying the specific LANAP protocol.” The study was the fourth largest prospective comparative human histology project in the entire peer-reviewed, periodontal literature.

“The findings presented in this landmark study are unprecedented and the culmination of nearly two decades of periodontal medicine,” said Delwin McCarthy, DDS, Millennium Dental Technologies co-founder. Robert Gregg II, DDS, co-founder and chief dental officer added, “The publication of this study in a prestigious, peer-reviewed journal adds to the growing body of scientific evidence that LANAP is a complete and effective periodontal disease treatment protocol that can routinely result in cementum-mediated new periodontal ligament attachment to the root surface in the absence of long junctional epithelium.”

“Millennium Dental Technologies has seen strong adoption for laser-based periodontal disease treatment protocol and the PerioLase MVP-7. The publication of this study addresses many of the concerns held by the dental community,” said Michael Minailo, president and CEO of Millennium Dental Technologies. “With growing demand and continued scientific support, we expect to see significant momentum in 2008.”

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New smart anti-microbial approach to preventing tooth decay

Preventing cavities could one day involve the dental equivalent of a military surgical strike. A team of researchers supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research report they have created a new smart anti-microbial treatment that can be chemically programmed in the laboratory to seek out and kill a specific cavity-causing species of bacteria, leaving the good bacteria untouched.

The experimental treatment, reported online in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, is called a STAMP. The acronym stands for "specifically targeted antimicrobial peptides" and, like its postal namesake, STAMPs have a two-sided structure. The first is the short homing sequence of a pheromone, a signaling chemical that can be as unique as a fingerprint to a bacterium and assures the STAMP will find its target. The second is a small anti-microbial bomb that is chemically linked to the homing sequence and kills the bacterium upon delivery.

While scientists have succeeded in the past in targeting specific bacteria in the laboratory, this report is unique because of the STAMPs themselves. They generally consist of less than 25 amino acids, a relative pipsqueak compared to the bulky, bacteria-seeking antibodies that have fascinated scientists for years. Because of their streamlined design, STAMPs also can be efficiently and rapidly produced on automated solid-phase chemistry machines designed to synthesize small molecules under 100 amino acids, called peptides.

The first-generation STAMPs also proved extremely effective in the initial laboratory work. As reported in this month's paper, the scientists found they could eliminate the cavity-associated oral bacterium Steptococcus mutans within 30 seconds from an oral biofilm without any collateral damage to related but non pathogenic species attached nearby. Biofilms are complex, multi-layered microbial communities that routinely form on our teeth and organs throughout the body. According to one estimate, biofilms may be involved to varying degrees in up to 80 percent of human infections.

"We've already moved the S. mutans STAMP into human studies, where it can be applied as part of a paste or mouthrinse," said Dr. Wenyuan Shi, senior author on the paper and a scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Dentistry. "We're also developing other dental STAMPs that target the specific oral microbes involved in periodontal disease and possibly even halitosis. Thereafter, we hope to pursue possible medical applications of this technology."

Shi said his group's work on a targeted dental therapy began about eight years ago with the recognition that everyday dental care had reached a crossroads. "The standard way to combat bacterial infections is through vaccination, antibiotics, and/or hygienic care," said Shi. "They represent three of the greatest public-health discoveries of the 20th century, but each has its limitations in the mouth. Take vaccination. We can generate antibodies in the blood against S. mutans. But in the mouth, where S. mutans lives and our innate immunity is much weaker, generating a strong immune response has been challenging."

According to Shi, a major limitation of antibiotics and standard dental hygiene is their lack of selectivity. "At least 700 bacterial species are now known to inhabit the mouth," said Shi. "The good bacteria are mixed in with the bad ones, and our current treatments simply clear everything away. That can be a problem because we have data to show that the pathogens grow back first. They're extremely competitive, and that's what makes them pathogenic."

To illustrate this point, Shi offered an analogy. "Think of a lawn infested with dandelions," he said. "If you use a general herbicide and kill everything there, the dandelions will come back first. But if you use a dandelion-specific killer and let the grass fill in the lawn, the dandelions won't come back."

Hoping to solve the selectivity issue, Shi and his colleagues began attaching toxins to the homing region of antibodies. They borrowed the concept from immunotherapy, an area of cancer research in which toxin-toting antibodies are programmed to kill tumor cells and leave the nearby normal cells alone.

Despite some success in killing specific bacteria in the oral biofilm, Shi said his group soon encountered the same technical difficulty that cancer researchers initially ran into with immunotherapy. Their targeting antibodies were large and bulky, making them unstable, therapeutically inefficient, and expensive to produce. "That's when we decided to get higher tech," said Dr. Randal Eckert, a UCLA scientist and lead author on the study.

Or, as Eckert noted, that's when they turned to the "power of genomics," or the comparative study of DNA among species. Eckert and colleagues clicked onto an online database that contains the complete DNA sequence of S. mutans. They identified a 21-peptide pheromone called "competence stimulating peptide," or CSP, that was specific to the bacterium. From there, they typed instructions into an automated solid-phase chemistry machine to synthesize at once the full-length CSP and a 16-peptide anti-microbial sequence, and out came their first batch of STAMPs.

After some trial and error, Eckert said he and his colleagues decided "to get even shorter." They ultimately generated a STAMP with the same anti-microbial agent but with a signature eight-peptide CSP sequence to target S. mutans. "We pooled saliva from five people and created an oral biofilm in the laboratory that included a couple hundred species of bacteria," said Eckert. "We applied the STAMP, and it took only about 30 seconds to eliminate the S. mutans in the mixture, while leaving the other bacteria in tact."

As dentists sometimes wonder, what would happen if S. mutans is eliminated from the oral biofilm? Does another equally or more destructive species fill its void, creating a new set of oral problems? Shi said nature already provides a good answer. "About 10 to 15 percent of people don't have S. mutans in their biofilms, and they do just fine without it," he said. "Besides, S. mutans is not a dominant species in the biofilm. It only becomes a problem when we eat a lot of carbohydrates."

Looking to the future, Shi said new STAMPs that seek out other potentially harmful bacterial species could be generated in a matter of days. He said all that is needed is the full DNA sequence of a microbe, a unique homing sequence from a pheromone, and an appropriate anti-microbial peptide. "We have a collection of anti-microbial peptides that we usually screen the bacterium through first in the laboratory," said Shi. "We can employ the anti-microbial equivalent of either a 2,000-ton bomb or a 200-pound bomb. Our choice is usually somewhere in the middle. If the anti-microbial peptide is too strong, it will also kill the surrounding bacteria, so we have to be very careful."

Monday, January 07, 2008

BIOLASE Names Healthcare Veteran Jake St. Philip Chief Executive Officer

Its been a very busy time at Biolase the last few months. MJ

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - January 7, 2008) - BIOLASE Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: BLTI), the world's leading dental laser company, announced today that it has named veteran healthcare executive Jake St. Philip as Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as a member of its Board of Directors, effective immediately, replacing Interim Chief Executive Officer Federico Pignatelli, who has been named President and will continue to serve as a Director and Chairman Emeritus. With the addition of St. Philip, the size of the Board increases to seven members.

St. Philip, 54, a resident of San Diego, CA, has more than 25 years experience in healthcare general management and sales leadership having most recently been in a senior leadership position with Dublin, OH-based Cardinal Health (CAH), an $87 billion global company serving the healthcare industry. St. Philip was formerly Senior Vice President of Integrated Provider Solutions at CAH where he was responsible for more than $4 billion in acute care product sales during his tenure.

George V. d'Arbeloff, Chairman of the Board, said, "We have the world's leading dental laser product, a technology base that allows us numerous and distinct growth opportunities and our challenge now is to execute. Jake understands the intricacies of the healthcare market and has successfully led a large technology business unit as well as a variety of national sales organizations, which is just the kind of expertise we need in the leadership role at BIOLASE. We look forward to Jake helping us make 2008, and our long-term future, very rewarding times for BIOLASE, its employees and shareholders.

"I would also like to thank Federico Pignatelli," continued d'Arbeloff, "on behalf of all shareholders, for stepping in as Interim CEO and restructuring and re-energizing the Company, its employees and its operations in what turned out to be a record setting period for sales, and for being instrumental in assessing and guiding the Company's strategy going forward."

In 1998, St. Philip became Vice President and General Manager of San Diego-based Alaris Medical Systems before it was acquired by CAH. In this role, he was the leader of the North American Business Unit and was responsible for sales, marketing, R&D, technical service and customer service. In this role, his organization led the transition from a commodity-based infusion business to a medication safety solutions company transforming that traditional technology market to a new standard of care.

After Alaris was acquired by Cardinal Health, St. Philip served as President of Alaris Products North America at CAH from 2004 to 2006. In this role, he oversaw the transition and integration of Alaris Products to Cardinal Health as the organization continued its market leading growth.

He became Vice President of Sales of Alaris Medical Systems in 1997 when the company was formed by the merger of San Diego-based Advanced Medical's wholly owned subsidiary IMED Corp and San Diego-based IVAC Medical Systems, a former unit of Eli Lilly. St. Philip served as Vice President of Sales of IVAC from 1994 to 1996. From 1981 to June 1994, St. Philip held various sales and marketing positions with IVAC Corporation.

St. Philip completed the SEP executive program at Stanford University and received a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of New Orleans.

In connection with his employment, St. Philip is granted a nonqualified stock option to purchase 450,000 shares of BIOLASE common stock at fair market value as of the close of business today. The option will vest in twelve equal quarterly installments, beginning on March 31, 2008 and will have a ten-year term. The option is subject to St. Philip's employment agreement and an option agreement which contains terms and conditions similar to those in the Company's existing stock option plan.

The Company also announced that Chief Financial Officer Richard L. Harrison left the Company effective January 2, 2008 to accept a position at another company. Management and the Board are conducting a search to fill the position.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oral Osteoporosis Meds Appear To Reduce The Risk Of Jaw Degradation

From Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Jan. 6, 2008) — Athanasios Zavras began receiving messages from distraught patients in 2005 after case reports linked oral osteoporosis meds to bone death in the jaw. A number of doctors and dentists advised women and men taking these drugs to postpone dental work, fearing that procedures such as tooth extractions would exacerbate the problem. That's when Zavras, an associate professor in the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, decided to take a closer look at the purported link.
After analyzing the medical claims of 714,217 people, Zavras, along with Vassiliki Cartsos at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and Shao Zhu of Ingenix--i3 Drug Safety (the company that provided medical claims data), have concluded that oral osteoporosis meds seem to reduce the risk of jaw degradation. Clinical studies are needed to replicate and clarify the results, which appear in the January issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

"This is good news for the roughly 3 million Americans who take Fosamax, Actonel, Boniva or similar osteoporosis meds orally," says Zavras, who is also director of dental public health in the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology.

The drugs, which are called bisphosphonates, inhibit cells that break down bone tissue, and a growing number of Americans with osteoporosis or low bone mass ingest them orally to halt bone loss. In fact, they have been used for this purpose since 1977. Some cancer patients also rely on bisphosphonates to prevent bone fragility and metastasis, but these individuals typically receive potent intravenous versions of the drugs.

In 2003, case reports linked the potent versions to bone death in the jaw, and subsequent studies confirmed the statistical significance of the association. Concern was limited to intravenous bisphosphonates until May 2005, when the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery published a report on 63 patients with bone death in the jaw. Seven of those patients had taken oral bisphosphonates.

Zavras and his colleagues used a medical claims database from a large national health insurance plan to probe the connection. They analyzed records coded under osteoporosis, female breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer or multiple myeloma from April 2000 through April 2006, which gave them a pool of 714,217 people.

Based on pharmacy and drug infusion claims, the researchers were able to determine if these individuals had received oral bisphosphonates, intravenous bisphosphonates, or neither. Next, the team examined claims for adverse bone outcomes and major surgery in the oral cavity to determine which patients might have experienced "jaw death."

Osteoporosis patients who took oral bisphosphonates were slightly less likely to have adverse jaw outcomes than osteoporosis patients who were not taking the drugs. The protective association was statistically significant. A generally similar pattern emerged in the analysis of people with cancer. Those who had received oral bisphosphonates experienced protective associations or slightly increased risks that were not statistically significant. But receiving intravenous bisphosphonates significantly increased an individual's risk for adverse jaw outcomes in both cancer patients and those with osteoporosis.

"Our findings on intravenous bisphosphonates are consistent with the literature, which makes me confident that our findings on oral bisphosphonates are correct," says Zavras. "We're currently recruiting patients for a clinical study to confirm them."

This research is partially supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Adapted from materials provided by Harvard Medical School.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Friday, January 04, 2008

Digital Radiography Pioneer Paul Suni Leaves SUNI As German Private Equity Firm Assumes Control

SILICON VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Suni Medical Imaging, Inc. (SUNI), a leading global manufacturer of intraoral digital radiography equipment announced today that German private equity firm Forstgarten Holdings has acquired majority stake in the company from SUNI Founder, former CEO and Chief Technology Officer Paul Suni and that Mr. Suni has resigned from the SUNI Board of Directors effective December 31st, 2007. It was also announced that Mr. Suni has donated the remaining 6,000,000 of his SUNI shares to a charitable foundation that provides financial support to students of dentistry in American colleges and universities.

"I leave SUNI with a sense of gratitude towards the SUNI team and all those individuals who helped make it a success including thousands of dentists around the world who are using products that bear the SUNI name," said Paul Suni. "The company is equipped with a competent management team and solid financial backing suitable for its present stage of evolution."

According to Mr. Holger Essig, Suni Medical Imaging Chairman of the Board, Mr. Suni's departure from the company comes at a time when new product designs have been handed off to manufacturing and the company is preparing to release new digital radiography products to the market in 2008. Said Mr. Essig, "Paul was the first to propel intraoral digital radiography sensor technology into commercial reality with his sensor technology innovations in the 1990's. Thanks to his entrepreneurship digital radiography is in the main stream today. His contributions as 'Father of Intra-oral Digital Radiography' are greatly appreciated. The Board accepts his desire to move on to other areas that he is passionate about."

He continued, "Suni Medical Imaging is now a mature company and it is ideally positioned in the global dental market with a high value, cost effective digital radiography product offering and a technical services infrastructure that emphasizes education and training. As an investor, Forstgarten Holdings sees SUNI as a strategic investment in a growing global market for digital radiography. We are in this for the long haul."

Regarding his future plans Paul Suni said that he will continue to stay involved with the dental profession as a consultant, speaker, seminar leader and mentor to individuals and teams: "Dentists are problem solvers and so many dentists are quintessential inventors. But, it is an enormously challenging undertaking to transform an idea from invention into profitable reality. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to apply myself for 23 years as physicist, engineer, inventor and entrepreneur to turn my ideas into profitable realities. It is time for me to help other people succeed with their own ideas and desires to make meaningful contributions to the world. That is what I plan to do as soon as I get a couple of other projects under way."

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Nobel Direct Dental Implants In Question

Three years after patients were given Nobel Direct dental implants, the risk of the implant loosening has increased even more. A follow-up by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy in Sweden shows that eight per cent of the implants are lost.

Nobel Direct was launched in 2004 by Nobel Biocare AB. The implants were considered a great innovation, as they could be screwed directly into the jawbone without having to first lift up the mucous membrane.

"We have followed up 48 patients who were among the first to get the implant. For each passing year, we have been able to see how the problems related to these implants have grown more and more," observes Pär-Olov Ostman, a dentist who presented the study at the defence of his dissertation.

After one year, about five per cent of the implants had been lost, and 20 per cent of the remaining implants showed bone loss of more than three millimetres. The new report indicates that after three years, eight per cent of the implants had been lost, and 25 per cent of the remaining implants showed bone loss of more than three millimetres.

"We believe that the problems related to Nobel Direct result both from the design of the implant and an uneven surface against the soft tissue in combination with the method of treatment recommended by the company," according to Professor Lars Sennerby.

For some time, Nobel Direct was marketed as an implant that was easy to use, and therefore suitable for less experienced dentists. According to the company's marketing, the implant would also counteract marginal bone loss.

"If the implant is inserted in a more conservative manner, avoiding direct load, the results appear to be better. We believe that there are additional implants with similar design that can also cause problems if they are inserted in the same way as Nobel Direct. However, we are unable to draw any certain conclusions regarding these," says Professor Tomas Albrektsson, the head of the Department for Biomaterials Science at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

At the request of the Medical Products Agency, Nobel Biocare AB is now working to clarify certain information in the product information material. The company also markets several other titanium implants that have been scientifically proved to be very safe, including a Brånemark implant with the same patented surface as the Nobel Direct implant in dispute