Monday, May 20, 2024

Walmart Announces Closure of Health Centers & No More Dental Care in Stores

 


On April 30th, 2024, Walmart made the announcement that it is closing its health centers and virtual care service stating they were having difficulties finding success with the offerings.  The initiative was launched in 2019, but since the company has had a tough time in the market of health.

This translates to also closing any dental services the company was offering.

The company had opened 51 health centers in five states and had worked on expanding its telehealth program, but stated "there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue".

Walmart stated that "the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time."

They had previously announced plans in March 2023 to open 28 health centers in 2024.  These would have been focused in Dallas and Houston.  The company had also planned to open centers in Phoenix and Kansas City.

As practicing dentists know, the business side of things has been more difficult since the pandemic and it seems that even major retailers entering the market have experience similar issues.

The Associated Press has a more detailed story, which can be found by following this link.  

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Formlabs Dental Announces FDA Clearance for 2 New 3D Printed Mouthguard Resins


As we all know, he world of dentistry is constantly evolving, and 3D printing is rapidly changing how dental professionals operate. Now, comes the introduction of two new FDA-cleared resins from Formlabs, which allows for creating comfortable and effective mouthguards directly in-house.  

This blog post dives into the news of Dental LT Comfort Resin and Dental LT Clear Resin V2, providing a clear (pun intended) picture of the benefits they offer to both dental professionals and patients.

Innovation Meets Convenience: FDA-Cleared 3D Printing

For years, 3D printing has held immense promise for the dentistry. Now, with the FDA clearance of Dental LT Comfort Resin and Dental LT Clear Resin V2 by Formlabs, this potential is being realized to a greater degree. These resins allow dental practices create custom-made mouthguards directly on-site, eliminating the need for traditional impression methods, stone models, and external labs.

Dental LT Comfort Resin: Enhanced Comfort 

Dental LT Comfort Resin prioritizes patient comfort with its flexibility. This resin is ideal for patients who clench or grind their teeth, as the flexibility helps to absorb impact and reduce pressure on the jaw. Additionally, the material is easily polished to a smooth finish, maximizing comfort during wear.

Dental LT Clear Resin V2: Superior Optics and Durability

Dental LT Clear Resin V2 (the second generation of this resin) offers impressive aesthetics with its high optical transparency. This makes it a good choice for patients who desire a more discreet mouthguard. This resin also boasts long-term durability, ensuring the mouthguard can withstand regular use.  We've all see patients literally 'chew through' an appliance and this should help in that regard.

Benefits for Dental Professionals

The introduction of these FDA-cleared resins offers advantages for those of us in the profession:

Faster turnaround times: In-house 3D printing eliminates the need to wait for external labs, allowing for quicker delivery of mouthguards to patients.

Increased patient satisfaction: Offering comfortable and aesthetically pleasing mouthguards can significantly improve patient satisfaction.

Streamlined workflow: 3D printing allows for greater control over the entire mouthguard creation process.

A Brighter Smile for Everyone

The availability of FDA-cleared Dental LT Comfort Resin and Dental LT Clear Resin V2 marks a step forward in dental 3D printing. These innovative materials help dental professionals to provide patients with comfortable, effective, and custom mouthguards, ultimately leading to a healthier and happier smile for everyone.  I often tell patients that we can build mouthguards much more easily than we can build back a worn dentition.

Considering 3D Printed Mouthguards?

If you're a dental professional interested in learning more about how these FDA-cleared resins can benefit your practice, head over to the Formlabs Dental website and check out their 3D printing solutions. You can also consult with a dental equipment supplier to discuss these materials and determine if they're a good fit for your needs.

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Business Experts Predict Amazing Growth in the Field of Orthodontics in the Coming Years




As I've probably mentioned before, this year I was honored to become a Candid Academy Faculty member.  My good friend, Dr. David Little and I both joined in February/March time frame.

I love providing orthodontic treatment and I follow that part of the industry pretty closely.  Because of my fascination with all things ortho, I was excited to see a recent report on PR Newswire that stated experts are expecting the market for orthodontic services to be a record breaking $8.39 billion by 2027.

The prediction is that estimated growth of the market will be at a rate of 17.13%

My personal opinion is that this interesting news, but it doesn't greatly surprise me.  With clear aligner companies (like Candid) orthodontics for the GP is much more simple than it would be if every case needed brackets and wires.  I also feel that many patients who want minor corrections didn't see the big benefit of going through the bracket and wire process.  However, when minor corrections can be performed quickly and easily with clear aligners, that makes the treatment much more palatable for people who otherwise might seek treatment.

There's also the fact that the explosion of technology in healthcare is making orthodontics more available.  New resins have made aligners more responsive and better for patients.  Combining those resins with the continual advances in 3D printing means things fit better than ever before and move the teeth an in incredibly precise manner.

My complaint on the PR Newswire article is that they mention many "problems" that can result from orthodontic treatment.  They failed to state how *rare complications are*.  In all my years of doing dentistry and evaluating patients... most of whom I did NOT treat orthodontically, I've probably seen less than 5-10 cases where there was an uncorrectable problem.

Considering the article mentions well researched numbers on growth, they should have also provided well researched numbers on the complications, which are rare... very rare.

If you'd like to read the full article, follow this link.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Another Hacking Trick used against Healthcare Offices...


 

As almost everyone now knows, you should *never* click on a file emailed to you without first making sure it is authentic.  Even then there are risks, but by contacting the people or organization that supposedly sent the file, you can eliminate the majority of that risk.

Generally speaking, in the chain of security, the human element is the weakest link.

This is especially true when faced with well thought out social engineering schemes.  The person attempting to start a breach will usually try to put the target into a panic, which helps them because when humans panic, we tend not to think as clearly.  In my office, we once got a call from someone claiming to be from the local power company telling us they were going to shut our power off in one hour unless we paid the bill. They told us that they could take care of it with a credit card, but that we had to give them the number NOW or we were going dark.

 Of course, we panicked.  It was only when someone had the presence of mind to ask if they could give us our account number along with the date and amount of our last payment that we figured out it was a scam.  The person on the other end of the phone call couldn't answer those questions.

Along similar lines, I've learned of another social engineering scam.  The office receives an email that is faked to appear to be from the state medical or dental board.  A complaint is alleged and a file is attached that supposedly contains the complaint.  Of course, in a panic people click on the file and in addition to opening a fake complaint, it also installs a file that allows the criminals access to and control of the network.

This scam has been used with some success against plastic surgery offices.  The worst part of this scam for those offices *and* the patients is that hackers then download all the patient files and use what is in them to extort money from the office.  Some offices that have been hit have had the worst possible scenario evolve out of it.  The hackers are then posting photos of patients that were taken pre and postoperatively.  Being in the practice of cosmetic surgery, many of the photos are of patients disrobed.  Hackers have been posting these images in publicly accessible websites.  You can imagine the humiliation that patients face when they learn that photos are online of them not wearing clothes.  Some of the sites have gone as far as to post the patients' contact info with the images.

The lesson here is to NEVER click on a link or any file from an outside source without verifying its authenticity.  Data security breaches are increasing in the healthcare sector every year and we all need to do everything we can to protect the patients we care for.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Medit Announces Launch of the New i900 Intraoral Scanner


 


The Medit i900

The dental industry is abuzz with the release of the Medit i900, the latest intraoral scanner from the innovative company Medit. Medit has a history of disrupting the market with user-friendly and high-precision scanners at a good price point, and the i900 promises to be another game-changer.

Today's blog post dives into the features of the i900 and explores how it might impact the future of digital dentistry.

Intuitive Design 

The i900 boasts a completely redesigned user interface. Gone are the buttons, replaced by a sleek and intuitive Touch Band and Touch Pad. This allows for comfortable scanning from any angle, regardless of hand size. The scanner itself is incredibly lightweight, weighing in at just 165 grams.

Unparalleled Precision and Speed

Medit boasts that the i900 is their fastest scanner yet. The all-new 3rd-Generation Optical Engine with a 10-bit camera captures incredibly detailed scans with a wider field of view. This translates to sharper images and improved accuracy for capturing even the most challenging oral structures. The improved technology also tackles issues like capturing reflective surfaces like metal restorations or bleeding gums.

Enhanced Workflow

The i900 incorporates real-time haptic feedback, guiding the user's hand for smoother and more efficient scanning. The 360° Touch Band allows for easy navigation, and customizable controls on the Touch Pad and Touch Menu streamline the workflow. All of this combines to create a more positive experience for both the dentist and the patient.

Is the i900 Right for You?

While the i900 boasts impressive features, it's important to consider your specific needs. If you're a dentist looking for a cutting-edge scanner to enhance your practice, the i900 is definitely worth investigating. However, pricing information hasn't been released yet, so it's wise to compare it to other scanners on the market before making a decision.

Stay tuned for further updates and reviews on the Medit i900 as more information becomes available.


Thursday, May 9, 2024

 



For the last several years, when I've needed to protect my eyes from laser wavelengths, I've used Ease-In-Shields.  In fact, I was so impressed with them, that I brought them up during the meeting of the Cellerant Best of Class meeting where we determined the winners for 2017.  If I remember correctly, they were a unanimous winner with myself and the rest of the panel all voting "yes" to give them the award.

They offer incredible protection, but the *best* feature in my opinion is how easy they are to use.  Over 80% of dentists work with some type of magnification.  Doctors become so used to seeing everything magnified that we don't want to work without our surgical telescopes (loupes).  The question is "how do I continue to work with mag AND protect my eyes.  These lenses slide behind your glasses and allow the doctor to continue to work with magnification while also protecting the eyes.  The big plus is that you don't even have to take your mag off to use them.  They gently and easily slide between the scopes and your face which makes putting them on simple.  The operator doesn't even need to remove their mag, the shield slides in easily behind them while the mag stays in place on the doctor's face.

When you're finished they can be wiped down with a disinfectant.  It's a great and super easy thing to use.  I was thrilled to learn that the company has now been acquired by one of my favorite companies, Ultradent.   Here is all the info from the company...


SOUTH JORDAN, Utah May 8, 2024. Ultradent proudly announces the acquisition of Ease-In-ShieldsTM from ViewMax Solutions, LLC. Ease-In-Shields provides unique eye protection for laser and curing light users, with their double patented shape, allowing the shields to fit into most loupe and eyewear shapes for maximum safety.

Of the Ease-in-Shield acquisition, Scot Andersen, Ultradent’s Vice-President of Business Development, said, “After years of working with ViewMax Solutions LLC, we’re pleased to announce the acquisition of their product, Ease-In-ShieldsTM. We’re excited to continue working in conjunction with the founders to promote Ease-In-Shields more broadly in the dental space.” 

Ease-In-Shields’ polycarbonate construction makes them both light and strong, less prone to fogging, and unlike other laser filter inserts in the market, offering total protective coverage as certified by Laservision USA’s Safety Laboratories.

The Ease-In-Shields won the prestigious 2017 Cellerant “Best of Class” Technology award, thanks to the unprecedented protection they offer and their unique benefits, such as quick and hygienic placement and removal from loupes without having to remove eyewear from the face. Ease-In-Shields’ various options afford eye protection for different types of laser wavelengths and accommodate many facial sizes.


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

FBI Sounds Warning on a Credible Cybersecurity Threat to Offices in the Dental Industry

 


There is a reason I believe in the ADA.  Although I don't agree with everything they do, dentistry needs a united voice to communicate with the public and legislators.  Density also needs a voice that can speak to the profession when something important is happening that the profession needs to be aware.  Today is one of those days.

In case you have not been notified or perhaps missed the email sent yesterday May 7th, today's post is *incredibly* important to dental practices.  I am posting the email I received in its entirety.  Please read it!


The American Dental Association (ADA) urges all dental practices to remain vigilant after it was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with information regarding a credible threat to the practices of oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Current Threat Information from the FBI

On Tuesday, May 6, 2024, the FBI informed the ADA and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) of a credible cybersecurity threat to the practices of oral and maxillofacial surgeons. The FBI said that as of that date there were no known cyberattack victims, but the agency is working proactively to raise awareness to help prevent victimization. The FBI suspects the group behind the cyberattacks may be shifting tactics to oral and maxillofacial surgery practices after targeting plastic surgeons last year.

While this current threat is focused on oral and maxillofacial surgeons, the FBI is concerned that the practices of general dentists and other specialists could also eventually be targeted.

Cybercriminals often use social engineering scams — such as phishing (email), SMSishing (through text or instant messaging apps) and vishing (using phone calls and voicemail) — to gain access to sensitive personal data such as electronic protected health information. Spear phishing refers to a phishing email appearing to be from a trusted contact. For example, a threat actor may use phishing to impersonate a credentialing agency. Through these scams, threat actors try to convince people to reveal sensitive information, or to click on a link, open an attachment or visit a website that causes malware to be deployed. This malware can lead to ransomware, which blocks system and/or file access  until money is paid.

The FBI provided an example in which the threat actor poses as a new patient or says they want to become a patient at the practice to obtain new patient forms online. Once the forms are received, the threat actor will then contact the practice to report they are having trouble submitting them online and ask if they can scan the forms and email them instead. The threat actor then emails the “forms” as an attachment. When the attachment is opened malware is deployed in a phishing scheme.

The FBI requests dental practices that experience any fraudulent or suspicious activities to report them to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

Precautions Practices Can Take

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recommends four vital ways to protect your practice from cyberthreats:

Teach your team to recognize and avoid phishing

Require strong passwords

Require multifactor authentication

Update all business software

The following resources  are also available to support healthcare professionals:

A CISA.gov toolkit aids healthcare practices in building cybersecurity foundations and implementing more advanced, complex tools to stay secure and ahead of current threats.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Knowledge on Demand resource offers five free cybersecurity trainings that align with the top five threats named in HHS’ Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices. HHS also offers information on how the HIPAA security rule can help defend against cyberattacks.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Security Risk Assessment Tool, a resource designed to help medium and small providers conduct a security risk assessment as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Information Security and Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center’s “Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity and the Health Sector” guide shares how health care entities help protect against AI-enhanced cyberthreats.

Additional resources can be found at ADA.org/riskmanagement

As the nation’s largest organization of dentists, the ADA is advocating on behalf of all dentists at the federal level to recommend several measures to protect and ensure the resilience of health care infrastructure against cyber threats. The ADA will continue to lead this charge and provide cybersecurity updates as they become available, all in service to you and your patients. Please visit ADA.org to see the many ways the ADA advocates on behalf of dentists nationwide.