Oral cancer kills 40 percent of those diagnosed within five years. If caught early, the survival rate is as high as 90 percent. Scarier still, more than 1 percent of U.S. adults will develop oral cancer at some point in their lives. Despite these sobering statistics, many patients aren’t screened regularly for the appearance of oral and pharyngeal cancers. According to Matthew Kim – chairman, founder and CEO of Vigilant Biosciences – only 29 percent of U.S. adults are screened by their dentist. Part of the oversight, he explains, is a widespread lack of awareness and understanding of the danger of oral cancer. His plan, in addition to increasing awareness for the general public, involves a novel diagnostic test that identifies patients as high risk of developing certain types of oral cancer.
The question of anesthesia always comes up when discussing the removal of wisdom teeth. Mine were extracted with the use of local anesthesia and nitrous oxide. Many patients select intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, despite the increased cost and risk. The power to remove pain is one of the greatest tools and practice builders offered to oral professionals. Altering consciousness has been an effective way to reduce patient discomfort since the 19th century. William Morton, an American dentist, used diethyl ether to successfully perform an extraction without pain. Advances in sedation and anesthesia have led to a standardized protocol for painless surgery. However, sedation utilized without proper medical history review and training can lead to tragic consequences. In October 2016, at the American Dental Association (ADA) annual meeting, Resolution 37 was passed. The resolution called for revisions to the safety regulations for providing anesthesia and sedation. The full resolution can be found in Appendix 1 of the Report of Reference Committee C: Dental Education, Science, and Related Matters.
When I made the decision to pursue dental school, I knew that I would not only have to take one of the most difficult exams of my life, but also pay for it as well. The challenge of taking the DAT did not deter me, but the significant cost in order to achieve the success I wanted almost did. Through my initial research, I learned that taking the DAT alone was $415! I would also need to purchase several DAT study materials to prepare me for the exam.
As a health sciences major, I enrolled in a course called Evidence-Based Practice. Every week, we would learn new skills to apply to the ultimate objective: choose a clinical topic in our field and evaluate the literature to make a (hypothetical) treatment decision. As an undergraduate student with little exposure to clinical research papers, the assigned task seemed overwhelming. The truth is, learning how to evaluate literature is a skill that takes effort and time to develop, but doing so is critical. Evidence-based dentistry is so important, in fact, that it is listed as one of ADEA’s entry-level competencies for graduates entering into practice. Despite this, new dentists struggle to implement it into their practices. The two most frequently cited obstacles are lack of time and insufficient background knowledge to evaluate research critically. If you are unfamiliar with evidence-based dentistry, here are some things to help get you acquainted.
As the second year of the ADAT test cycle approaches, it becomes more and more apparent that the ADAT is here to stay. The ADA launched the Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT) in April of 2016 to test dental students, as well as practicing dentists, interested in postgraduate training. The purpose of the exam is to provide advanced dental education programs with a means to assess applicants’ potential for success. With the roll out of the ADAT and our first look at the participating programs, I was curious to see how the pilot year fared. Here are some takeaway points from the results…
Most medical professionals pride themselves on their ethics. They are trained in ethical management just as they are in clinical skills. Concepts such as confidentiality, justice, beneficence and veracity are emphasized throughout our schooling so that future clinicians can best serve their future patients. These ideals are challenged, especially in dentistry, when it comes to accepting culpability in medical accidents.
On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Just a week before the inauguration, both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed budget resolutions that serve as initial steps in repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Trump’s health care reform plan strongly supports the repeal of the ACA, and make no mention of dentistry or oral health, perpetuating the status quo of oral health being left out of general health. As the country faces a major potential shift in health policy, it’s important that we consider how this may affect our profession.