Bulletin of Dental Education

Dentistry in the News - August 2010

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Fluoride Consumption Risks Bone Health

Dr. Gary M. WhitfordMost people ingest two to three milligrams of fluoride daily through fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste, and food. However, new research suggests that heavy tea drinkers (those who consume more than four cups a day) may put themselves at risk of harming their bone health. The amount of fluoride per liter in black tea could be as high as nine milligrams.

Dr. Gary M. Whitford, Regents Professor of Oral Biology in the School of Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia, analyzed four patients with advanced skeletal fluorosis and found that over 10 to 30 years, each consumed one to two gallons of tea each day. The disease, though rare in the United States, is marked by joint and bone pain and damage.

Dr. Whitford tested store-bought black tea using a traditional method and found the fluoride levels were low. When he compared tea brewed through a diffusion method, the fluoride levels were 3.3 times higher.

The new information shouldn't deter tea drinkers, as the beverage is safe and some teas even have health benefits, Dr. Whitford said. "The bottom line is to enjoy your favorite tea, but like everything else, drink it in moderation."

iPad in Your Dent Pad

The popularity of the iPad continues to soar. Many dental practitioners use them to track patient care and show patients their medical information. Dr. Mark Burhenne of Sunnyvale, California, told DrBicuspid.com, "If a patient has a cavity or a root canal, I can hand her the iPad, and she can zoom in and examine the issue herself and keep it for her personal online health records."

Waiting patients can take interactive quizzes, watch videos, or read dental care articles. Security on the iPad is not as much of an issue as it is with laptops, where information is stored on a hard drive. If patients forget to log out of their account, "we reset the cache so the information isn't stored," Dr. Burhenne says.

There are several applications, commonly referred to as "apps," that dentists can download on the iPad. One such app provides access to illustrative dental diagnoses and procedures, while another allows dentists to access patient charts from home or a satellite office.

iPads are less cumbersome than laptops. "Laptops are a white elephant in an operatory," Dr. Burhenne said. "You can spill things on them and you can't clean them. With an iPad, you just put a Ziploc bag over it. Getting rid of a keyboard made a huge difference for asepsis concerns."

Science Channel Features Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a specialty of dental lab technology and a part of dental education and clinical practice - but do you personally know exactly how they are made? The Science Channel featured a video segment on its popular show "How It's Made" exploring the process of creating dental crowns. 

See the video here and check out some of the other videos on the site.

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