Thursday, November 29, 2018

Introducing the Next Generation of Colgate Total® Toothpaste

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Advanced Fluoride Formula for Superior Whole Mouth Health

 

Colgate® is excited to introduce the Next Generation of Colgate Total®. New Colgate Total®SF contains a new Stannous Fluoride formula stabilized with Zinc Phosphate that fights plaque-causing bacteria on 100% of mouth surfaces*1 including teeth, tongue, cheeks, and gums, providing the ideal preventive solution for whole mouth health.

Colgate Total®SF effectively fights harmful bacteria while protecting against bacterial repopulation, significantly reducing the overall bacterial load while creating a protective barrier that helps shield against attachment and regrowth. In development for more than a decade, the unique formula of new Colgate Total®SF is the subject of 28 granted patents and 95 pending patent applications.

Offering comprehensive benefits for the whole mouth, the new advanced formula found in new Colgate Total®SF addresses all indications of the original Colgate Total® including plaque, gingivitis, caries, stain removal/whitening, and calculus. Yet new Colgate Total®SF delivers even more benefits than ever before to help patients achieve superior whole mouth health.

Specifically, ongoing clinical testing of new Colgate Total®SF shows superior reductions vs. ordinary non-antibacterial toothpaste in:

• Plaque
• Gingivitis
• Calculus

What’s more, Colgate Total®SF now provides additional new benefits:

• Sensitivity relief
• Enhanced enamel strength
• Odor neutralization

“The advanced fluoride formula of Colgate Total®SF offers significant advantages versus ordinary fluoride toothpaste, and still retains all of the benefits that dental professionals already love about our original Colgate Total,” remarked Dr. Barbara Shearer, Director of Scientific Affairs for Colgate. “Our advanced fluoride formula provides multiple benefits for the whole mouth. These attractive features combined with a great taste make Colgate Total®SF a great tool to empower dental professionals and patients striving to achieve whole mouth heath.”

*Statistically significant greater reduction of cultivable bacteria in saliva and on tongue, teeth, cheeks, and gums with new Colgate TotalSF vs non-antibacterial fluoride toothpaste after 8 weeks, 12 hours after brushing.

Reference: 1. Colgate Clinical Report 20180316BAC

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Dental Breach Notification Sparked by EMR Vendor Refusal

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Here is another interesting piece of information regarding a HIPAA violation.  
 
One of the questions I get when it comes to cloud based practice management systems is “what if I want my data back?  How do I get them to give it to me?"
 
This is a great explanation for that situation because, as it turns out, refusing to give the doctor their data is a violation of HIPAA.  When the office is no longer in control of the data, it is considered a data breach even though the data may be totally secure on an encrypted server run by the vendor.
 
Due to the fact that the office can no longer access the data, it is considered “insecure” and patients must be notified.  The article can be read here.  Most of it is below.  I’d also like to add to this that the company involved here is MOGO.  It is company that has been around for a while so I find this a bit surprising, however users of MOGO may want to be aware of this.  Also, there may be more to this story that I haven’t uncovered.  We have yet to hear MOGO’s side of this...
 
 
 

Florida-based Key Dental Group is notifying some of its patients of a breach, after its electronic medical record vendor refused to return a patient database at the end of its contract.

According to officials, Key Dental received a notification from its EMR vendor MOGO that it would not return the dental group’s EMR database as required at the termination of its end user license agreement. It violates both the EULA and several portions of HIPAA.

As Key Dental can no longer view or monitor the database to ensure the security of patient data, officials have begun to notify patients.

The database contained a wide range of personal data including names, health insurance information, claims data, medical history, lab or test results and Medicare data for those applicable patients. Medicare patients also have their Social Security numbers included in the data.

At the moment, there’s no evidence of a breach or unauthorized access. But officials are notifying patients of the incident and risk, given Key Dental no longer has control over the data.

MOGO did not respond to a request for comment on its reasoning for keeping customer data. DataBreaches.net was able to confirm Key Dental has taken MOGO to court, asking for emergency injunctive relief.

Under HIPAA, a “business associate shall return to covered entity [or, if agreed to by covered entity, destroy] all protected health information received from covered entity, or created, maintained, or received by business associate on behalf of covered entity, that the business associate still maintains in any form.”

“Business associate shall retain no copies of the protected health information,” according to the rule.

While it’s not known whether the business associate has retained the database or destroyed it, Key Dental has accused MOGO of breaching its EULA.

HealthITSecurity.com asked HIPAA attorney Matt Fisher, a Partner of Mirick O’Connell for potential reasoning or cause for MOGO to retain the data, and he explained there’s no obvious one outside of an attempt to obtain payment.

“It is unclear why an EMR or other vendor would attempt to withhold patient data in light of all of the guidance and commentary about access,” Fisher said. “Flaunting the tide of public opinion could be a headline that would tempt Office for Civil Rights to issue a fine or get involved, which would not be helpful for any party involved.”

“However, one potential motivation for withholding data could be to obtain payment of disputed or owed fees,” he added. “Arguably, the data is the biggest leverage that could wielded by the vendor, absent filing a lawsuit. As indicated though, blocking access to data is a risky game to play and one that will draw negative attention.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

National Commission Invites Comments On Application To Recognize Dental Anesthesiology As Specialty

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For years, many in dentistry have been trying to make the discipline of anesthesia a speciality.  This would create the speciality of Dental Anesthesiology & would greatly increase access to care for those who are stricken with dental fear.  It has been estimated that 50% of the population suffers from some type of excess fear of dental treatment and often that fear keeps them from seeking treatment until there is a severe infection or teeth are no longer restorable.  Creating this speciality would greatly help these folks.
 
Over the years I have heard hundreds of times the question “Can’t you just put me to sleep?”  Unfortunately, without extensive training, no we cannot.  This is truly an idea whose time has come.  Here is the lowdown from the ADA News:
 
The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards is inviting public comment on an application for specialty recognition requesting that dental anesthesiology be recognized as a dental specialty.
    
Written comments on the application, submitted by the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists, are due Jan. 14, 2019.
    
The national commission is inviting public comment for a 60-day period, according to its Application Process for Recognition of a Dental Specialty protocol based on the applicant's compliance with the ADA Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties. 
    
Submit comments to Catherine Baumann, director, National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, 211 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611 or baumannca@ada.org.
    
To review the American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists application, visit ADA.org/en/ncrdscb.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Symantec Uncovers Tool used by Lazarus to Carry Out FastCash ATM Attacks

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Here’s an interesting tidbit concerning computer security, or in this case the lack of it, that came to my attention.  It seems that a hacker group that is part of the North Korean government has been stealing tens of millions of dollars from un-secure ATMs around the world.  The group has been given the name “Hidden Cobra” by the United States Government.   What follows here is a very interesting story that was posted by USCERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) regarding the situation as well as details on how financial institutions can prevent this from happening:
 

Systems Affected
Retail Payment Systems
Overview
This joint Technical Alert (TA) is the result of analytic efforts between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of the Treasury (Treasury), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Working with U.S. government partners, DHS, Treasury, and FBI identified malware and other indicators of compromise (IOCs) used by the North Korean government in an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme—referred to by the U.S. Government as “FASTCash.” The U.S. Government refers to malicious cyber activity by the North Korean government as HIDDEN COBRA. For more information on HIDDEN COBRA activity, visit https://www.us-cert.gov/hiddencobra.

FBI has high confidence that HIDDEN COBRA actors are using the IOCs listed in this report to maintain a presence on victims’ networks to enable network exploitation. DHS, FBI, and Treasury are distributing these IOCs to enable network defense and reduce exposure to North Korean government malicious cyber activity.

This TA also includes suggested response actions to the IOCs provided, recommended mitigation techniques, and information on reporting incidents. If users or administrators detect activity associated with the malware families associated with FASTCash, they should immediately flag it, report it to the DHS National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) or the FBI Cyber Watch (CyWatch), and give it the highest priority for enhanced mitigation.

NCCIC conducted analysis on 10 malware samples related to this activity and produced a Malware Analysis Report (MAR). MAR-10201537 – HIDDEN COBRA FASTCash-Related Malware examines the tactics, techniques, and procedures observed in the malware. Visit the MAR-10201537 page for the report and associated IOCs.
Description
Since at least late 2016, HIDDEN COBRA actors have used FASTCash tactics to target banks in Africa and Asia. At the time of this TA’s publication, the U.S. Government has not confirmed any FASTCash incidents affecting institutions within the United States.

FASTCash schemes remotely compromise payment switch application servers within banks to facilitate fraudulent transactions. The U.S. Government assesses that HIDDEN COBRA actors will continue to use FASTCash tactics to target retail payment systems vulnerable to remote exploitation.

According to a trusted partner’s estimation, HIDDEN COBRA actors have stolen tens of millions of dollars. In one incident in 2017, HIDDEN COBRA actors enabled cash to be simultaneously withdrawn from ATMs located in over 30 different countries. In another incident in 2018, HIDDEN COBRA actors enabled cash to be simultaneously withdrawn from ATMs in 23 different countries.  

HIDDEN COBRA actors target the retail payment system infrastructure within banks to enable fraudulent ATM cash withdrawals across national borders. HIDDEN COBRA actors have configured and deployed legitimate scripts on compromised switch application servers in order to intercept and reply to financial request messages with fraudulent but legitimate-looking affirmative response messages. Although the infection vector is unknown, all of the compromised switch application servers were running unsupported IBM Advanced Interactive eXecutive (AIX) operating system versions beyond the end of their service pack support dates; there is no evidence HIDDEN COBRA actors successfully exploited the AIX operating system in these incidents.

HIDDEN COBRA actors exploited the targeted systems by using their knowledge of International Standards Organization (ISO) 8583—the standard for financial transaction messaging—and other tactics. HIDDEN COBRA actors most likely deployed ISO 8583 libraries on the targeted switch application servers. Malicious threat actors use these libraries to help interpret financial request messages and properly construct fraudulent financial response messages.

A review of log files showed HIDDEN COBRA actors making typos and actively correcting errors while configuring the targeted server for unauthorized activity. Based on analysis of the affected systems, analysts believe that the scripts —used by HIDDEN COBRA actors and explained in the Technical Details section below—inspected inbound financial request messages for specific primary account numbers (PANs). The scripts generated fraudulent financial response messages only for the request messages that matched the expected PANs. Most accounts used to initiate the transactions had minimal account activity or zero balances.

Analysts believe HIDDEN COBRA actors blocked transaction messages to stop denial messages from leaving the switch and used a GenerateResponse* function to approve the transactions. These response messages were likely sent for specific PANs matched using CheckPan()verification (see figure 1 for additional details on CheckPan()).

Technical Details
HIDDEN COBRA actors used malicious Windows executable applications, command-line utility applications, and other files in the FASTCash campaign to perform transactions and interact with financial systems, including the switch application server. The initial infection vector used to compromise victim networks is unknown; however, analysts surmise HIDDEN COBRA actors used spear-phishing emails in targeted attacks against bank employees. HIDDEN COBRA actors likely used Windows-based malware to explore a bank’s network to identify the payment switch application server. Although these threat actors used different malware in each known incident, static analysis of malware samples indicates similarities in malware capabilities and functionalities.

HIDDEN COBRA actors likely used legitimate credentials to move laterally through a bank’s network and to illicitly access the switch application server. This pattern suggests compromised systems within a bank’s network were used to access and compromise the targeted payment switch application server.

Although some of the files used by HIDDEN COBRA actors were legitimate, and not inherently malicious, it is likely that HIDDEN COBRA actors used these legitimate files for malicious purposes. See MAR-10201537 for details on the files used. Malware samples obtained for analysis included AIX executable files intended for a proprietary UNIX operating system developed by IBM. The IBM AIX executable files were designed to conduct code injection and inject a library into a currently running process. One of the sample AIX executables obtained provides export functions, which allows an application to perform transactions on financial systems using the ISO 8583 standard.

Upon successful compromise of a bank’s payment switch application server, HIDDEN COBRA actors likely deployed legitimate scripts—using command-line utility applications on the payment switch application server—to enable fraudulent behavior by the system in response to what would otherwise be normal payment switch application server activity. Figure 1 depicts the pattern of fraudulent behavior. The scripts alter the expected behavior of the server by targeting the business process, rather than exploiting a technical process. 

During analysis of log files associated with known FASTCash incidents, analysts identified the following commonalities:

Execution of .so (shared object) commands using the following pattern: /tmp/.ICE-unix/e <PID> /tmp.ICE-unix/<filename>m.so <argument>The process identifier, filename, and argument varied between targeted institutions. The tmp directory typically contains the X Window System session information.
Execution of the script which contained a similar, but slightly different, command: ./sun <PID>/tmp/.ICE-unix/engine.so  <argument>The file is named sun and runs out of the /tmp/.ICE-unix directory.
Additionally, both commands use either the inject (mode 0) or eject (mode 1) argument with the following ISO 8583 libraries:

m.so [with argument “0” or “1”]
m1.so [with argument “0” or “1”]
m2.so [with argument “0” or “1”]
m3.so [with argument “0” or “1”]
Detection and Response
NCCIC recommends administrators review bash history logs of all users with root privileges. Administrators can find commands entered by users in the bash history logs; these would indicate the execution of scripts on the switch application server. Administrators should log and monitor all commands.

The U.S. Government recommends that network administrators review MAR-10201537 for IOCs related to the HIDDEN COBRA FASTCash campaign, identify whether any of the provided IOCs fall within their organization’s network, and—if found—take necessary measures to remove the malware.
Impact
A successful network intrusion can have severe impacts, particularly if the compromise becomes public. Possible impacts to the affected organization include

Temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information,
Disruption to regular operations,
Financial costs to restore systems and files, and
Potential harm to an organization’s reputation.
Solution
Mitigation Recommendations for Institutions with Retail Payment Systems
Require Chip and Personal Identification Number Cryptogram Validation

Implement chip and Personal Identification Number (PIN) requirements for debit cards.
Validate card-generated authorization request cryptograms.
Use issuer-generated authorization response cryptograms for response messages.
Require card-generated authorization response cryptogram validation to verify legitimate response messages. 
Isolate Payment System Infrastructure

Require two-factor authentication before any user can access the switch application server.
Verify that perimeter security controls prevent internet hosts from accessing the private network infrastructure servicing your payment switch application server.
Verify that perimeter security controls prevent all hosts outside of authorized endpoints from accessing your system.
Logically Segregate Operating Environments

Use firewalls to divide operating environments into enclaves.
Use Access Control Lists (ACLs) to permit or deny specific traffic from flowing between those enclaves.
Give special considerations to enclaves holding sensitive information (e.g., card management systems) from enclaves requiring internet connectivity (e.g., email).
Encrypt Data in Transit

Secure all links to payment system engines with a certificate-based mechanism, such as mutual transport layer security, for all traffic external or internal to the organization.
Limit the number of certificates used on the production server, and restrict access to those certificates.
Monitor for Anomalous Behavior as Part of Layered Security

Configure the switch application server to log transactions. Routinely audit transactions and system logs.
Develop a baseline of expected software, users, and logons. Monitor switch application servers for unusual software installations, updates, account changes, or other activity outside of expected behavior.
Develop a baseline of expected transaction participants, amounts, frequency, and timing. Monitor and flag anomalous transactions for suspected fraudulent activity.
Recommendations for Organizations with ATM or Point-of-Sale Devices

Implement chip and PIN requirements for debit cards.
Require and verify message authentication codes on issuer financial request response messages.
Perform authorization response cryptogram validation for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa transactions.
Mitigation Recommendations for All Organizations
NCCIC encourages users and administrators to use the following best practices to strengthen the security posture of their organization’s systems:

Maintain up-to-date antivirus signatures and engines.
Keep operating system patches up-to-date.
Disable file and printer sharing services. If these services are required, use strong passwords or Active Directory authentication.
Restrict users’ ability (i.e., permissions) to install and run unwanted software applications. Do not add users to the local administrators group unless required.
Enforce a strong password policy and require regular password changes.
Exercise caution when opening email attachments, even if the attachment is expected and the sender appears to be known.
Enable a personal firewall on organization workstations, and configure it to deny unsolicited connection requests.
Disable unnecessary services on organization workstations and servers.
Scan for and remove suspicious email attachments; ensure the scanned attachment is its “true file type” (i.e., the extension matches the file header).
Monitor users’ web browsing habits; restrict access to sites with content that could pose cybersecurity risks.
Exercise caution when using removable media (e.g., USB thumb drives, external drives, CDs).
Scan all software downloaded from the internet before executing.
Maintain situational awareness of the latest cybersecurity threats.
Implement appropriate ACLs.
For additional information on malware incident prevention and handling, see the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-83: Guide to Malware Incident Prevention and Handling for Desktops and Laptops.[1]

Response to Unauthorized Network Access
Contact DHS or your local FBI office immediately. To report an intrusion and request resources for incident response or technical assistance, contact NCCIC at (NCCICCustomerService@hq.dhs.gov or 888-282-0870), FBI through a local field office, or the FBI’s Cyber Division (CyWatch@fbi.gov or 855-292-3937).

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Owandy Radiology’s I-Max 3D wall-Mounted, Panoramic Digital Radiography Unit Receives FDA 510 (k) Clearance

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I’ve just received some breaking news for those of you who will be at the Greater New York meeting this week.  Make sure to stop by the Owandy booth and check this out!
 
 
The Lightest, Smallest and Most Affordable 3-D Panoramic System on the Market will be Ready-to-Order During GNYDM
 

Middlebury, CT  – Owandy Radiology Inc., a global leader in the manufacture of dental radiology hardware and imaging software recently received FDA 510 (k) Clearance for its innovative 3-D wall-mounted panoramic digital radiography unit. The company will be showcasing the I-Max 3D during the upcoming Greater New York Dental Meeting in booth #5125.

When it comes to owning a 3-D panoramic digital radiography unit, cost and physical space are the most common obstacles for many dentists. The I-Max 3D effectively addresses both issues, which is why it is selling briskly in many other parts of the world.

According to Owandy company spokesperson, Boris Loyez, “Thanks to our recent FDA clearance, 3-D panoramic digital radiography is now well within the reach of most American dental practices who were previously tight on space and budget.”

The I-Max 3D provides the perfect balance of price and performance. For example:

• The sleek and light-weight I-Max 3-D is only 145 lbs. and is shipped fully-assembled in one box. It can be easily wall-mounted by one technician.

• Comes equipped with a cone beam flat panel which delivers high-definition image quality.

• Automatic Layers Integration System (ALI-S) ensures exceptional image quality and automatically selects the best images.

• Multiple FOV’s (Fields of View): 4 volume sizes to choose from :12x10 cm ideal for implantology-full mouth and condyle, 9x9cm for a full mouth, 9x5 cm for a full arch.

 • Endodontics Recommended: With its small 5x5cm volume coupled with an excellent resolution of 87μm.

• 24 Programs (including adult and child versions): Enable a full range of examinations required by today’s dental practice.

• Includes an intuitive, user-friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI) with automatically-integrated imaging tools and image-enhancing filters.

• CAD/CAM Ready: Equipped with QuickVision 3-D software for comprehensive case planning and can share .STL files from a dental lab or a digital scanner.

• Face Features Scan: You can import .PLY or .OBJ files into your 3D software and associate the corresponding 3D volume.

• Implant surgical guides included.

Since GNYDM is the final major dental meeting of the year, this may be the last chance for dental practice owners to take advantage of the Section 179 tax deduction when they purchase any Owandy Radiology unit. Owandy is also offering the following promotions:

• I-Max 3-D Wall-Mounted & 2D Pan unit: Regular Price $59,900 / GNYDM Price $49,900

• Free iPhone Xs with the purchase of any Owandy 3D unit

For more information about the I-Max 3-D wall-mounted panoramic digital radiography unit, visit www.owandy.com , call 203-745-0575 or e-mail at sales@owandyus.com
Distributors inquiries are always welcome.

About Owandy Radiology, Inc.:

Headquartered in France, and serving North America from Middlebury, Connecticut, Owandy Radiology is a global leader in the manufacture of dental radiology hardware and imaging software. Its products are distributed through dental dealers all over USA, and in 50 countries world-wide, on every continent.

Monday, November 19, 2018

CELLERANT INVITES INNOVATORS TO SUBMIT FOR THE 2019 BEST OF CLASS AWARD

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I’m proud to be a part of Cellerant Consulting Group as well as being able to vote on the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards.  For over 10 years now, Cellerant has been voting on the Best of Class and  providing awards to the true innovators in the dental space.  We work hard to be constantly on the lookout for the best products available.  We’re relentless in our pursuit of finding new or existing technologies that need to be brought to the attention of the profession.  It’s a job that the entire panel truly loves and no one takes lightly.

Our voting meeting, held each year late at night during the Chicago Mid-Winter Meeting is often contentious between the panelists, but we all are so truly passionate about the award that we want to make sure that only the best survive our evaluation and voting process.

For any company or individual that has a product they would like to have considered, now is the time.  The last paragraph of this post has all the pertinent information on how to contact us.




Dentistry’s Premier Award Announces an Additional Submission Process for Dental Industry Companies

WASHINGTON, D.C.,  — Now entering its second decade, the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards are getting their own upgrade. The awards’ sponsor, Cellerant Consulting Group, has introduced an additional process for dental companies to nominate their innovative products and services for consideration.

Created in 2009 by Dr. Lou Shuman, the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards recognize and honor products and services that lead the way in dentistry. “Staying abreast of technology is a significant undertaking and an important responsibility,” says Dr. Shuman. “The Best of Class now occupies a unique and highly visible role in the dental community as an unbiased guide for important practice purchase decisions. Adding the open submission process to our existing year-round panel research will ensure that the Best of Class deliberations remain comprehensive.”

The awards process is currently based on the year-long research and evaluation efforts of its panel of dental technology experts. For the 2019 award, dental industry manufacturers and service providers can now nominate their technologies for consideration at www.cellerantconsulting.com. The simple process involves completing the Best of Class submission form online.

“With new technologies coming at a faster pace than ever, the open submission process assures that our panel will have maximum exposure to the most innovative products in dentistry,” said Dr. John Flucke.

For this year, the submission window will be open from November 2018 through February 1, 2019. The Best of Class panel members — Dr. Paul Feuerstein, Dr. John Flucke, Dr. Marty Jablow, Dr. Maragliano-Muniz, Dr. Chris Salierno, and Dr. Lou Shuman — have been evaluating technologies throughout the award year and will be voting at the 2019 Chicago Midwinter Meeting. In the fall, the winning technologies will be on display at the American Dental Association Annual Meeting. They are then recognized at an official VIP reception and awards ceremony.

About the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards
The Best of Class Technology Awards were launched in 2009 as a new concept to provide an unbiased, non-profit assessment of available technologies in the dental space. Through print and digital media coverage, the Best of Class message reaches the community of 150,000 dentists through multiple touch points — both print and online — educating them about the products. Honoree participation in the Technology Expo at the American Dental Association’s Annual Meeting offers face-to-face interaction with the companies as well as technology-centered education provided by members of the panel.

About Cellerant Consulting Group
Founded and led by CEO Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, Cellerant provides strategic dental market insights, clinical expertise, implementation resources and support to accelerate growth for client dental companies. Cellerant services include new concept incubation, clinical product evaluation, product development, continuing education program development and CE sponsorship, strategic branding and marketing, online marketing, lead generation and dental media relations management. As an orthodontist and former owner of a 10-doctor multi-specialty private group practice, Dr. Shuman guides clients to offer products that engage dental customers and provide sustained differentiation. Cellerant operates under a unique model that merges leading voices in clinical product evaluation and strategic partner companies to provide a menu of services from one easily accessible network.

For more information about the Cellerant Best of Class Technology Awards, visit www.cellerantconsulting.com or email info@cellerantconsulting.com.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Academy of Laser Dentistry Partners Again with the Greater New York Dental Meeting to Provide Unbiased Laser Training

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3 Essential Sessions Will Provide a Glimpse of What’s Ahead
at the ALD’s Annual Meeting in April


 – For the 11th consecutive year, the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD) will carry on its mission of providing unbiased, non-commercial laser education and training with three hands-on sessions during the upcoming Greater New York Dental Meeting.

According to ALD executive director Gail Siminovsky, “We’re pleased to announce that the, ALD is continuing its tradition of sponsoring several objective CE programs, taught by some of the world’s most prominent laser dentistry experts; Dr. Lawrence A. Kotlow, Dr. John Graeber and Dr. Samuel B. Low.” Here are the highly-informative ALD-supported programs scheduled for this year’s GNYDM:

• #4350: Lasers, the New Norm for Pediatric Dentistry: Merging Medicine and Dentistry / Dr. Lawrence A. Kotlow / 11/26/2018 / 9:00 am -12:00 PM / 3 CEUs

Today’s pediatric dental practice is treating children as early as a few days after birth to teenagers for a variety of problems due to Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) such as lip, cheek and tongue ties which can interfere with many newborn and infant developmental conditions.

Oral surgery for infants can safely and quickly be completed in the dental office using lasers with little or no complications. This discussion includes the use of lasers for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of soft tissue surgeries for infants, toddlers and older children as well as for treating traumatic injuries and will provide the following takeaways: • How TOTs can affect many of the body’s systems
• How the tongue is really an organ rather than just a simple muscle
• How to treat various oral soft tissue procedures
For more information and registration details, visit http://bit.ly/2Cni16d.

#5420: Diode Laser Basic Competency Course / Dr. John Graeber - 11/27/17
From 9:00 am – 5:00 pm / 6 CEUs

This full-day program provides a detailed and focused basic competency in the use of diode lasers - one of the most popular dental wavelengths. Clinical techniques for dentists and hygienists will be reviewed including: basic troughing, laser sculpting in smile design, frenectomies, and the minimally invasive laser protocol in periodontal treatment.

Techniques in low level laser therapy will be reviewed in wound healing and cellular regeneration. Attendees must demonstrate clinical simulation on pig jaws and must pass a written exam to achieve the coveted Academy of Laser Dentistry Basic Competency Letter of Completion. 

This full-day course and workshop with cover the following key areas:

• Basic scientific principles in how lasers interact with dental tissues
• How to use a diode laser safely to avoid complications
• Various tissue biotypes and fine tune diode laser settings

The ALD Laser Basic Competency Letter of Completion is included with successful course completion. This course serves as fulfilling the prerequisite for Standard Proficiency Certification with the ALD.
For more information and registration details, visit http://bit.ly/2RWUDBK.

• #43460: Periodontal Therapy and Managing Peri-Implant Diseases from Lasers to Air Technologies / Dr. Samuel B. Low - 11/26/2018 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm / 3 CEUs

Perplexed by the elusive inflamed dental implant? Confused by the various treatment/management strategies? The introduction of the dental implant to the overall management of the patient is at an all-time high and so is the standard of care.

However, recent data demonstrates that inflammation associated with the implant is commonplace and can result in loss of the implant. The entire dental team requires successful systems and tools in place to enhance the longevity towards implant health.

This session will focus on systems utilizing safe laser wavelengths and innovative technologies to manage both mucositis to bone loss implantitis to help retain implants.

Attendees will learn the following:

• How enhance your diagnostic skills for implantitis versus mucositis and how to script patient explanations to turn into a positive interaction
• Which laser wavelengths are indicated for the respective implant surface 
• Why to consider laser techniques in detoxification/decontamination

For more information and registration details, visit http://bit.ly/2ykoYlS.

“These three information-packed sessions are just a small sample of the caliber and quantity of objective learning opportunities that await dentists and their teams at ALD’s Annual Meeting which is being held in Dallas from April 4-6th 2019,” explains Siminovsky.

The upcoming meeting’s focus is “The Laser-Systemic Connection: Lighting the Way to a Healthier Mouth and Body. “We’re very excited about next year’s theme,” explains Siminovsky. “For decades, ALD members were the unsung heroes of oral-systemic health. First by applying laser technology to treat periodontal disease and more recently, by applying light therapy to help patients suffering from the oral mucositis side-effects of chemotherapy as well as TMJ and sleep apnea and other medical conditions will all be included in the learning and discussion topics.”

Registration for ALD 2019 is now open. Make reservations for your entire dental team by visiting http://bit.ly/2JPhAXp.

About the Academy of Laser Dentistry

The Academy of Laser Dentistry is the only independent and unbiased non-profit association devoted to laser dentistry and includes clinicians, academicians and researchers in all laser wavelengths. The Academy is devoted to clinical education, research, and the development of standards and guidelines for the safe and effective use of dental laser technology. ALD was founded in 1993, with the merging of the International Academy of Laser Dentistry, the North American Academy of Laser Dentistry and the American Academy of Laser Dentistry. For more information, visit www.LaserDentistry.org.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Check out the PowSmart Toothbrush at the U.S. Private Label Trade Show this Week in Chicago

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A smart new powered toothbrush system is coming to market.  From the company PowSmart Technology Co., Ltd.  The company was created 14 years ago and they worked with lots of brands you may have heard of such as Incipio, Lidl, Homedics, Pearl, and Joy Factory.
 
Now the company has set it sights on the powered toothbrush market here in the U.S. with their Sonic Electric Toothbrush line featuring models PTR-C3-6.
 
They have the following features:
  • Up to 40,000 vibrations per minute
  • 5 brushing modes
  • 12 week battery life on a single charge
  • 2 charging modes wireless (like most powered rechargeable brushes) and direct charge which allows you to charge on the road
  • Quad pacer that alerts you to brush 30 seconds per quadrant for a total of 2 minutes brushing time

The devices also come in a variety of colors including white, pink, and my favorite… black.

I’m always on the lookout for a new, affordable brush to recommend to my patients.  If you happen to be in the Chicago area this week, PowSmart is exhibiting at the Private Label Trade Show.  

Their sonic toothbrush was selected by the PLMA show as the premium product to display in their Idea Supermarket which is the “Highly Recommended Product Display Hall) and is the only one selected in the toothbrush/electric toothbrush category.

I you are planning on being the PLMA show this week, be sure to stop by and check them out!¬

 

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program Will Replace the Tricare Retiree Dental Program Later this Year - Eligible Members MUST Sign Up

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According to the ADA News, the Tricare program will be transitioning to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program.  The plan will begin coverage on January 1, 2019.  Information regarding enrollment and webinars that explain the enrollment process can be found via this link.  
 
The important thing for those affected is that you must enroll during open season if you'd like FEDVIP dental and/or vision coverage in 2019.
 
Here is all the info courtesy of the American Dental Association:
 

Participants may begin enrolling in the federal program Nov. 12 through Dec. 10 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2019.

Delta Dental previously administered the program. The move from Delta Dental to a federal plan resulted from  the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which mandated giving military retirees access to a vision plan that was not previously available to them in Tricare.

Under the new plan, retired uniformed service members and their families who are eligible for the Tricare Retiree Dental Program will be eligible to enroll in dental coverage under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program. 

The federal plan will give enrollees the option of choosing from six national plans: Aetna Dental, Delta Dental, FEP BlueDental, GEHA, MetLife and United Concordia Dental, and four regional plans: Dominion Dental, EmblemHealth, Humana and Triple-S Salud. 

For dentists who receive questions from patients, Delta Dental is urging them to have patients select a FEDVIP dental plan in order to continue their dental benefits. The switch is not automatic: Patients must sign up during the open enrollment period.

Tricare is also encouraging patients to use its online comparison tool for figuring out which plan works best for them. The comparison tool can be found here. By entering specific ZIP codes, patients will receive estimates on what to expect from coverage costs.

"Many dental offices may be treating patients who are retired from the military and using the Tricare dental plan," said Dr. Steven Snyder, chair, ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs. "Following enrollment in the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Plan, their benefits may be significantly different. Offices should have a conversation about the patients' needs and their new benefits along with explaining the office's financial policies. Experiences that offices have with the national carriers already participating in the federal plan may give them a sense of what to expect in terms of processing policies and documentation requirements for claims for these patients."

For more information, including enrollment tips and scheduled webinars on enrollment, visit the Tricare page here.

 

Monday, November 12, 2018

FDA alerts patients and health care professionals that some EpiPen auto-injectors may not readily slide out of carrier tube

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For those of you with EpiPens in your office medical emergency kit and also for those of you with loved ones that have severe allergies, here is a recent release by the FDA.
FDA is alerting patients, caregivers and health care professionals that the labels attached to some EpiPen 0.3mg and EpiPen Jr 0.15mg auto-injectors, and the authorized generic versions, may block access to the auto-injector and prevent the ability to easily access the product.
In a letter to health care professionals from Pfizer, the manufacturer of the Mylan EpiPen, the label sticker on the auto-injector unit may have been improperly applied, causing resistance when removing it from the carrier tube. The carrier tube is the immediate package in which the auto-injector is contained. In some cases, the patient or caregiver may not be able to quickly remove the epinephrine auto-injector from the carrier tube.
The auto-injector device and the epinephrine it delivers are not affected by this issue and can be used as prescribed. It is vital for lifesaving products to work as designed in an emergency situation, and patients and caregivers should inspect their epinephrine auto-injector prior to needing it to ensure they can quickly access the product.
The letter also describes how to inspect potentially affected products and explains that patients should contact Mylan Customer Relations at 800-796-9526 if an auto-injector does not slide out easily from the carrier tube ORthe label is not fully adhered to the auto-injector. Pharmacists should inspect the products before dispensing them to patients to ensure quick access to the auto-injector and should not dispense any product which does not easily slide out of its carrier tube.   
FDA is not aware of any adverse event reports associated with improperly applied EpiPen or EpiPen Jr auto-injectors, or their authorized generics label. As stated on the product label, consumers should always seek emergency medical help right away after using their epinephrine auto-injector.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Learn About Orthodontics and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Las Vegas March 2019

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We are at an exciting time in dentistry.  The problems related to OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) are becoming more well known and better understood.  
 
I find it fascinating that as knowledge of any subject increases, we often find out that treatments that were considered “scientific breakthroughs” and “state of the art” can sometimes be realized to create new problems or actually make some situations worse.  During the late 1800s morphine addiction was a serious problem and some well respected scientific minds favored treated those addicted to morphine with cocaine.  Obviously this didn’t work out too well, but it was a popular idea for a few years.  Medical history is full of examples like this.
 
There have also been some similar situations in orthodontics over the years.  Even into the early 80s, it was very common to do what is referred to as “4 bicuspid extraction”.  This was a treatment where, to decrease crowding, 4 permanent teeth (usually first bicuspids) were extracted to create room and then the anterior teeth were moved backward to fill the space.  This made straightening the teeth pretty easy, but at the time no one seemed to consider the option of keeping all the teeth moving the anterior teeth forward to increase arch length.
 
The other option was to use “headgear” which is an extra oral appliance that attached to the molars and had an elastic strap that went behind the patient’s neck.  This moved the molars in a posterior direction, creating space in front of them.
 
What we have learned since then, is that all of this “distalization” actually caused the airway to become more constricted.  When you think about it logically, it makes sense.  You have a finite space in the patient and as you move things backward, the tube that is the airway becomes pushed back and compresses against the spine.  This causes the airway to become more narrow which decreases the volume of air that can pass through it.  Think of this in terms of breathing through a drinking straw.  A straw with a large diameter is easy to breath through, but a very narrow straw makes it very difficult.
 
To the rescue comes Dr. William Hang.  Here is his bio:
 

A traditionally trained orthodontist, early in his career Dr Hang saw serious limitations in esthetics and function with the orthodontics he had been taught. Having rejected retraction - in all of its obvious and not so obvious forms - he learned and developed innovative techniques to protect and enhance the airway while enhancing esthetics and function.

Patients from more than 25 states and several foreign countries have come to Dr. Hang for non-retractive orthodontics &/or resolution of their E.R.R.S.™ (Extraction Retraction Regret Syndrome™). In his presentation Dr. Hang will outline these nonretractive techniques as well as give a step-by-step protocol to reopen extraction spaces which often eliminates symptoms such as TMJ pain, facial pain, sunken lips, and SDB/OSA.

 

Dr. Hang has spoken on orthodontics, facial esthetics and airway locally, nationally, and internationally. He was awarded the AAPMD Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016 for his contribution to the field of airway orthodontics.

Dr. Hang is presenting a seminar on methods and treatment that can provide great aesthetic results while also protecting or opening the airway.  

The seminar is being held at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas on march 22-23, 2019.

If you are interested in attending, here is a link to the website.  

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What NFL Retirees Need to Know About Sleep Apnea and the Concussion Settlement

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As a board member of the Foundation for Airway Health, helping patients sleep better and not suffer with sleep apnea has become a passion of mine.  Recently I was approached by the Advocacy for Fairness in Sports.  This is a group that provides lots of information to former players regarding the NFL concussion lawsuit and settlement.  The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business run by multi-billionaire owners who are fighting with everything they have to prevent having to pay for the poor health suffered by former players to do the physical trauma they endured while playing.
 
The latest tactic NFL lawyers are using is to claim that players who suffer from sleep apnea are experiencing mental problems not due to all the head trauma they endured while playing, but because they are not wearing their CPAP devices.  The science behind this is dicey at best, but that doesn’t mean a lawyer cannot argue it.
 
So… the group asked if I could write an explanation to help players be able to verify their proper CPAP usage.  Here’s what they published:
 
Word has it that current NFL strategies to disqualify players from the concussion settlement can involve blaming the symptoms and effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The NFL seems to be approaching this from the perspective of saying that OSA can mimic the same symptoms and problems of repeated concussive head trauma.

The best way for this to be dealt with is to use a CPAP that tracks usage and then sends it to a secure website that is run by the manufacturer.

While manufacturers and devices vary in the amount of data they can create, at a minimum tracking the amount of time the CPAP is used is crucial.  Some machines will track pressure, mask fit, AHI, and time worn, among other statistics.

Some CPAPs will store usage data in the machine itself, while others can connect to the user’s phone via Bluetooth.  While both of these options are better than no tracking data at all, I feel that using an impartial storage system from the manufacturer will help head off potential arguments that data could have been altered.

CPAP units such as the Philips Respironics Dreamstation connect to the manufacturer via a built in cellular transmitter and send the data directly to the Philips servers.  This data can be accessed by your doctor and, if authorized, your insurer.

This uploaded data allows your doctor to review your nightly statistics to better understand your condition.  Reviewing the data can allow the doctor to make changes to the CPAP to better treat your condition and help you get more restful sleep.

Your health insurance company may request access to this data to prove that you are using the machine as instructed and therefore help you pay for your CPAP supplies.

Obviously with doctors and insurers relying on this data, this aids in verification that you are using your device as prescribed which should proved that OSA is not the cause of your problems.

As an aside to this if, despite CPAP usage your numbers show you are still being deprived of oxygen while you sleep, you should consult a dentist who treats sleep apnea.  Often mouthpieces can be created and worn while you sleep to correct airway problems.  Some patients wear only these specialized mouthpieces without a CPAP while more difficult cases require a mouthpiece and a CPAP.

If you have questions about your CPAP and recording data, ask your doctor or check the company’s website.  It’s important for these records to be kept to help protect you.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Dr. Flucke for providing this valuable information to instruct players with sleep apnea as how to best preserved their rights in the NFL Concussion Settlement, as the NFL has been questioning dementia diagnoses of players with this condition and blaming impaired memory and function on the sleep apnea as opposed to concussive hits in football play. Some players have been required to provide proof of using a CPAP and Dr. Flucke has provided great instruction in this regard.  You can follow him on Twitter @jflucke .

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Don’t Be A Statistic - Courtesy of Delta Dental

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After my Delta post last week, I thought I’d post this in the interest of fair play, I thought I’d post a nice guest column that appeared on the Delta Dental of Missouri website that discusses basic cybersecurity.
 
The author is Tom Terronez, who is the CEO of Medix Dental.  Here is his guest column:
 

Every day, my company helps practices overcome IT nightmares they never before anticipated. Dental professionals are extremely busy, and often can’t find the time to prioritize and implement preventive measures that keep their business and patients safe. Hackers are having a hay-day right now, and your office’s network filled with sensitive information is a goldmine. This keeps a dental technology company like ours quite busy, as we assist with everything from standard tech issues to the prevention of critical problems. This includes protecting networks from breaches, proactively fighting malicious malware, and mitigating devastating data loss.

If you don’t currently work with a trustworthy dental IT partner, a cybersecurity assessment is a great place to start. A good assessment helps you identify needed protections for your practice and serves as a helpful road map to security. If you do have an IT partner, a trusted third-party assessment is a great way to see if you are being protected as strongly as you assume. In either case, it’s important to know where exactly where your practice’s security stands.

Delta Dental of Missouri has agreed to allow us to introduce a special value-add offering to preferred providers like you. You may request your complimentary cybersecurity assessment at medixdental.com/DDMO1. Your assessment results are 100% confidential, and will not be shared with Delta Dental. Your practice will receive a comprehensive report detailing vulnerabilities found in your practice, prioritized by importance. You may resolve the issues with your current IT provider, otherwise we will be happy to provide guidance. The assessment takes about one hour and does not interfere with practice operations.

Medix Dental is a Midwest-based dental technology integration and support provider. Since founding in 2003, we’ve partnered with dental practices all over the nation to manage their IT as well as advise strategically on practice technology decisions and security. By becoming an extension of their clients’ practices, Medix Dental is able to minimize technology issues, increase practice profitability, and improve practice contentment. We look forward to helping your practice become more secure and efficient than ever before.

If you’d like to see the article as it originally appeared.  Here is the link.  

Monday, November 5, 2018

Help in Avoiding Phishing Scams

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We live in a time where security needs to be at the forefront of everything we do before we click or tap a screen.  You could easily be giving away access to your phone, your tablet, your computer, or God forbid your corporate network.  It’s a very easy mistake to make and happens all the time.  All of the recent data break-ins that I’ve researched recently have started with a phishing attack like the one shown above.
 
The concept behind phishing is pretty simple.  Send someone an email and convince them to click on a link that downloads malicious code to the device.  Usually the email comes from what appears to be a “trusted source” such as a friend, co-worker, or as in the case above a credit card company.  These emails also frequently utilize some psychology that is referred to as “impending doom” to get you to act.  This impending doom in the example above is “avoid temporary block of your card”.  Many folks see this and panic thinking they are about to have their card shut off.  In that temporary moment of fear, they panic and, not thinking rationally, click the link… and that is all that it takes.  The link unleashes nefarious software that then takes control.  Of course the user is never aware of this.  The device/computer continues to function perfectly in a normal fashion.  However, in the background, the device begins to leak information like the proverbial sieve.
 
If this is a personal device, everything you do, type, every website you visit, EVERYTHING is sent to a bad guy somewhere who can then begin draining bank accounts, sending SPAM with your device, access and attempt to phish your contacts.  They can also control your camera and your microphone to use your device as a way to spy on you personally.
 
The only thing worse may be having this happen at work and the only reason that’s worse is that it may get you reprimanded and best and terminated at worst.  That’s because all of the above and more can be stolen from your employer’s network.  Hackers will soon gain administrative logins and then begin to steal or delete data.  They may also trigger a Ransomware attack that encrypts essential hard drives and then demands a payment to send you the unlock code… if they ever send it.
 
Ransomeware is becoming a much bigger threat every day.  I personally know of several people who have fallen victims to it.
 
So how do you avoid these types of scams?
The number thing to do is t be vigilant!!!  Cyber criminals count on either frightening us into action or lulling us into a false sense of security, either of which can then get us to act against our own self interests.  The above screen shot is a great example.  It appears come from a trusted source that you depend on and also uses the fear of having your account inactivated.
 
Some good advice for these situations is, first of all, stay calm.  No matter how great the impending doom, the delay of a few minutes won’t really make it any worse.  So stop, take a couple of deep breaths, and then re-read the notice.
 
By looking at the notice calmly and with a clear head, you may notice things out of the ordinary such as misspellings, mistakes in grammar, or incorrect use of a word which is a homonym for another.  There and their are classic examples.
 
Also check the *actual* email address my hovering over it.  In the example listed above, the sender was “American Express” but the actual address was some gibberish account.  The one you see when you hover, is the real address that your email will be sent to.
 
Also check with the company itself.  AmEx has a huge section on their website related to security.  I have even forwarded copies of emails to the fraud protection department of companies to find our if they are legit or not.  Amazingly, every one of them I have sent has been a fake.  If it is from a friend, text or call them and make darn sure they sent you the questionable email.  A few minutes of checking can save you inordinate amounts of time and grief trying to “undo” a security breach.
 
Also do some research on phishing scams.  There are many good websites out there with great advice and info.
 
Remember, preparing for an emergency is the best way to prevent one!
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Delta Dental of California Announces Departure of Chief Executive Officer Tony Barth - Due to "Consensual Relationship"

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Well, well, well it seems that those of us practicing dentistry are not the only ones being *ahem* taken advantage of by Delta Dental (BTW you have no idea how difficult it was not to be more blunt there).
 
Delta Dental of California appointed Tony Barth as CEO not quite 2 years ago (January 2016 if memory serves) and they have now announced he is being terminated… or “departing” in dental insurance speak.  The reason?  It seems, according to Delta, that Mr. Barth was "engaging in and failing to report a consensual relationship with a subordinate employee”.  
 
While his career has ended in shame, he won’t be living out of a cardboard box.  According to the company’s Form 990 for the fiscal year of 2016,  Barth managed to eke out a subsistence living on a mere $8.2 million that year.  That’s a pretty good draw FOR A NON-PROFIT CORPORATION.  Sorry for the all caps, but Delta is notorious for being stingy with doctors, while they seem to have no problem paying Mr. Barth the equivalent of a good MLB middle reliever.
 
Here is the official press release from Delta Dental California announcing the termination:
 

Delta Dental of California and affiliates announced today that the Board of Directors has terminated the employment of Chief Executive Officer Tony Barth, effective immediately, for reasons relating to his engaging in and failing to report a consensual relationship with a subordinate employee.

Lynn Franzoi, Chair of the Board of Directors of Delta Dental of California, said, “Delta Dental’s culture is based on a strong set of ethics and values, including trust, service, excellence and innovation. As one of the nation’s largest dental benefits providers, these values are vital to our culture, guide how we operate and treat one another, and are essential to our future success.”

The Board of Directors is taking several steps to ensure strong leadership and continuity during this transition. The Board has formed an Office of the CEO and appointed Chief Financial Officer Mike Castro as acting CEO to lead the Company. Mr. Castro will be supported by Steven McCann, a member of the Board of Directors, who will serve as Special Advisor to the CEO, and Chief Human Resources Officer Sarah Chavarria. The Office of the CEO will report to the Board and have oversight over all operations of the company throughout the transition.

The Board intends to launch a formal search process to identify a permanent CEO. It has also appointed Senior Vice President of Finance Alicia Weber as acting CFO while Mr. Castro serves as acting CEO.

Mr. McCann said, “Mike has been a widely respected leader at this company for almost two decades and he has the full confidence and support of Delta Dental’s Board. With a strong acting CEO and talented senior leadership team, we expect a seamless transition.”

Mr. Castro said, “I thank the members of our board for placing their trust in me and look forward to leading the company during this transition, with the support of Steven and Sarah and the rest of our outstanding senior management team. In the meantime, it will be business as usual, and our day-to-day operations will not change. We are more committed than ever to serving the customers and enrollees who rely on us.”