Monday, November 30, 2020

New Study Indicates that Covid-19 Fatality Rate has Dropped 30% Since April 2020

 

 

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the fear on everyone’s mind was the fatality rate.  With so little known about the disease in those first few weeks, the general public was terrified… and rightfully so.  It seemed to practically be a death sentence.  That may have been due to media focus on overwhelmed hospitals or simply fear of the unknown, but no matter the source, the fear was real and often palpable.  I distinctly remember a meeting with my staff in March where we were discussing how the world was rapidly changing due to infections.  At that meeting, many staff indicated their concerns about the risks that were (and still are) inherent in the practice of dentistry.  Many were concerned, not only about their personal health, but the health of their families if they somehow managed to become exposed and take the infection home.  

 


Now we are approaching a year since the SARS-CoV-2 virus first appeared in Wuhan China.  While infection rates in the U.S. have continued to climb in a near exponential fashion, fatality rates have not increased at the same proportion as infections.  A lot of this has to do with the incredible amount of study and the distribution of this knowledge that has been done by the world’s leading infectious disease experts.  This has lead to an incredible number of lives saved.  While Covid-19 remains a serious threat, at least we have learned how to help more people recover.

 

 A recent story on Reuters states the following:

 

(Reuters) - The likelihood that a coronavirus infection will prove fatal has dropped by nearly a third since April due to improved treatment, researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said on Thursday.

In the United States, COVID-19 now kills about 0.6% of people infected with the virus, compared with around 0.9% early in the pandemic, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray told Reuters.

He said statistics reflect that doctors have figured out better ways to care for patients, including the use of blood thinners and oxygen support. Effective treatments, such as the generic steroid dexamethasone, have also been identified.

Experts have struggled to accurately measure a crucial metric in the pandemic: the fatality rate, or percentage of people infected with the pathogen who are likely to die. The difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that many people who become infected do not experience symptoms and are never identified.

IHME said it had been using an infection-fatality rate (IFR) derived from surveys after accounting for age. Older people are at much higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than younger people.

“We know the risk is profoundly age-related. For every one year of age, the risk of death increases by 9%,” Murray said.

The Seattle institute, an influential source of COVID-19 forecasts, said it has also determined that the fatality rate for COVID-19 is worse in communities with high levels of obesity.

The group said it has now switched to an IFR that varies over time - declining since the first pandemic wave in March and April by around 0.19% per day until the beginning of September.

It also varies across locations as a function of obesity prevalence, and continues to vary based on population distribution by age.

IHME said its analysis of age-standardized fatality rates from more than 300 surveys suggests a 30% decline since March/April.

Despite that positive trend, infections and hospitalizations have spiked across the country in recent weeks. The group said its modeling suggests 439,000 cumulative U.S. deaths by March 1, and a peak of daily deaths in mid-January at 2,200.

 

The University of Washington’s Institute for  Health Metrics and Evaluation has some amazing data and graphical ways of viewing that data.  If you have any interest in projections of the Covid-19 pandemic, I highly advised giving this site a visit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Register Now for the 2020 Foundation for Airway Health Virtual Airway Summit!



This year's meeting will be virtual - and registration and CEs are free for all registered dentists and hygienists. 

The Foundation is partnering with the Dental Sleep Practice publication to present a stellar lineup of presenter and airway / sleep presentations. Topics range from recognition and screening to diagnosis, treatment, and the business of incorporating sleep in a practice. As the Foundation reaches more of the public and raises awareness about hidden airway problems, more practitioners of all disciplines will be needed to provide care. 

In October 2017, the American Dental Association adopted a policy to aid dentists on the front lines help their patients with potentially life-threatening disorders to increase proper recognition and treatment of sleep-breathing disorders. Our Airway Summit provides a unique opportunity to improve outcomes for your patients with these conditions. Whether beginning your sleep education or expanding to new levels, the Airway Summit offers something for you and your care teams. 

Leading dental educators, scientific academy representatives, allied health organizations, representatives from industry and members of the public will offer information about what the dental team must know, and can do to impact positive health change for patients. Learn from nearly 15 leading experts in the field from around the globe. 
Highlights of this year's Airway Summit include:

  • Building Better Airways
  • Diagnose and Treat Sleep Disordered Breathing: An Overview 
  • Clinical Implications of HRV
  • Sleep Disordered Breathing and Related Malocclusion Co-morbidity in Early Childhood
  • Introduction of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
  • Healthcare Inequality: Where are we now? 
  • Oral Appliances: Which one?


 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Dentistry Today Names Dr. Paul Feuerstein Editor-in-Chief



Sometimes nice guys finish first.  It is with a great deal of pride and emotion that I happily announce that my buddy Dr. Paul Feuerstein has been named Editor-in-Chief of Dentistry Today.  I have known Paul more than half of my life and I can attest to the what a wonderful and deserving guy he is.

Paul is truly one of dentistry's "good guys" and truly one of the nicest people I've ever known.  He's the kind of guy other people strive to be like.  He sets a tremendous example of honesty and integrity for others to follow.  I am truly honored to say he is my friend (even if he does work for a competitor publication!)

Congratulations buddy!  You've earned this!

Here is the official announcement:

Dentistry Today, the nation’s leading clinical news magazine for dentists, proudly announces the appointment of Paul Feuerstein, DMD, as Editor-in-Chief. He will succeed Damon Adams, DDS, who is retiring December 31. 

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of Dentistry Today since 2008. I often said that the best part of my work here at the publication was not the editing, but rather the blessings in life that come from serving and working with others,” Adams said.

“Dr. Paul Feuerstein, who has faithfully served Dentistry Today for a number of years now as our Technology Editor, will be taking over at the helm of the editorial team.” 

Feuerstein will begin his new role with the January 2021 issue. 

“My passion for new equipment, new products, and how things work has played a major role in my entire dental career. I spend an inordinate amount of time at dental meetings and online talking to colleagues and manufacturers, as well as reading literature, to continue learning about the profession. My patients have been the primary beneficiaries of this quest, but my secondary passion is sharing this information with all of you through writing, lecturing, and meetings,” Feuerstein said. 

“The opportunity to have Dentistry Today as a forum caps off many years of private practice, which I continue to do, and provides a chance to explore all things that run a dental practice—from the high tech to sealants and prophys,” Feuerstein said. “I hope you will all join me in this new adventure.” 

Dentistry Today is excited to see what Dr. Feuerstein, given his love and passion for digital technology, brings to the publication’s print and online presence and how he will expand its reach in the dental community. 



 

Monday, November 23, 2020

CDC Expands Definition of Who is a ‘Close Contact’ of an Individual with Covid-19

 



In the continuing and ongoing struggle of the global pandemic that is Covid-19, one of the most difficult aspects for healthcare providers is attempting to keep up (even now) with the continuing evolution of knowledge and guidance being provided by those doing research into the infectious aspects of the virus.  Things can change daily, and when they do we are expected tone able to put those advised changes into practice immediately.  It's a challenge, but that's why we do what we do.  As my grandfather used to say, "Son if it was easy... everyone would be doing it."  That's just one of the reasons I spend so much time trying to bring the profession up to speed.  

I'm no virologist or epidemiologist, so I'm trying as hard as I can to keep up and when I find something out, I figure I should tell my fellow practitioners as well.

With that in mind, here is the latest from the CDC on their definition of "Close Contact" of an Individual with Covid-19.  


Close Contact

Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period* starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.

* Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g., three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). Data are limited, making it difficult to precisely define “close contact;” however, 15 cumulative minutes of exposure at a distance of 6 feet or less can be used as an operational definition for contact investigation. Factors to consider when defining close contact include proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding), if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors). Because the general public has not received training on proper selection and use of respiratory PPE, such as an N95, the determination of close contact should generally be made irrespective of whether the contact was wearing respiratory PPE.  At this time, differential determination of close contact for those using fabric face coverings is not recommended.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Senate Democrats introduce bill to shore up PPE supply


 



Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill that would shore up the supply of protective equipment for health care workers as the U.S. faces another surge of COVID-19 cases. 

The bill would appropriate $10 billion for the government to purchase large quantities of masks, gloves, gowns and face shields, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Wednesday. 

The bill would also create a $1 billion grant program to help small businesses “retool” their facilities to manufacture protective equipment on a larger scale.

Democrats introduced the bill as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide in the largest wave of the pandemic. While shortages of protective equipment are not as widespread today as they were at the beginning of the pandemic, they still persist and are likely to get worse as cases continue to rise.

"We must do everything in our power to avoid a repeat of the widespread shortages," Schumer said. 

"We must act to ensure that these heroes have the resources they need to do their jobs, serve our country and help save us from this pandemic," he added. 

The pandemic has caused a worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as every country is competing for the same gear.

Most PPE is manufactured in China, giving the U.S. limited control over the supply chain as other countries compete for the same equipment. 

American business owners have said they are interested in making protective gear but need more financial support from the federal government to hire more workers, buy more manufacturing equipment and ensure they’re not left with unsold surplus.

Public health experts have called on the Trump administration to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA), which would allow the government to exert more control over the supply chain and compel companies to manufacture needed items.

“We've also spoken to many experts including those on the Biden transition team, and their reaction has been very positive,” Schumer said.

The bill is unlikely to pass in the current political environment, where Senate Republicans and Democrats have been in a stalemate for months on the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

MouthWatch Publishes Essential Whitepaper - “Teledentistry: Post-COVID-19 Use for Safe, Efficient and Evidence-Based Care




 MouthWatch, LLC, a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices, recently published a highly relevant whitepaper entitled, “Teledentistry: Post-COVID-19 Use for Safe, Efficient and Evidence-Based Care.”  Written by CDC Consultant and infectious disease expert, Margaret Scarlett, DMD, the paper presents teledentistry as a viable, problem-based solution for dental professionals and patients alike. 


According to MouthWatch CEO and founder, Brant Herman, “Due to COVID-19, one of the long-term changes in how dental practices connect with their patients will be the adoption of a new teledentistry-driven protocol that will virtually assess the patient’s need for oral care, improve the safety and efficiency of the care provided in the dental office, and also enable the virtual follow-up with the patient on recently-provided care.”


The whitepaper goes into great detail and is organized by the following main topics:

  • Introduction to Teledentistry
  • Teledentistry’s Battle-Tested ROI (Military Origins) 
  • Successful Civilian Services (Public Health Proving Ground)                                      
  • Policy Changes (Recommended by several government agencies)
  • Current Uses 
  • Post-Pandemic Teledentistry


“The main takeaway of this whitepaper is that teledentistry will continue to be a problem-based solution to increase patient volume and increase practice efficiency during and post-pandemic,” said Dr. Scarlett. “What’s more, teledentistry will soon take its rightful place as must-have dental technology.”

 

“Teledentistry: Post-COVID-19 Use for Safe, Efficient and Evidence-Based Care” is available as a free download at http://mwtch.co/gtpcw. For more information on MouthWatch TeleDent, visit www.MouthWatch.com/TeleDent


About MouthWatch LLC:


Headquartered in Metuchen, New Jersey, MouthWatch, LLC is a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices. The company is dedicated to finding new ways to constantly improve the dental health experience for both patient and provider.


In 2020, the company received the following awards and accolades: The 2020 Cellerant Best of Class Award for TeleDent™, the provider-focused, patient-friendly teledentistry platform. TeleDent also won Dentistry Today’s  2020 Top Innovative Products Award and Dentistry Today’s 2020 Reader’s Choice Award. The affordable / high quality MouthWatch Intraoral Camera was honored with the Dentistry Today Top 100 Products Award. MouthWatch was also ranked #1303 in the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies. For more information, visit www.MouthWatch.com.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Ditron Dental USA Announces Official Launch of Commercial Operations in the United States





 Ditron Dental USA, the US affiliate of Ditron Dental, a subsidiary of Ditron Precision Ltd., will officially commence commercial operations for its dental implant portfolio as of October 1st, 2020.  Ditron Dental USA is able to capitalize on over 50 years of experience by the corporate parent in the manufacture of ultra-precise components for the aerospace, automotive, and medical device Industries.  The company applied its multi-disciplinary philosophy teaming engineers, micro-machining operators, and top-notch clinicians to develop its dental implant portfolio, resulting in products with an astounding sub-micron level of accuracy.  The product portfolio is represented by the flagship ULT™ Ultimate Precision Dental Implant System and the MPI™ Molecular Precision Implant System, both featuring a host of design innovations in addition to the ultra-precise manufacturing.


"Our goal is to launch something exceptional in terms of the product line and business approach into what is an already crowded US dental implant market,”, said Ole Jensen, OMS founder of Ditron Dental USA and Chairman of the Board.  “In addition to what I believe to be the most precise dental implants in the world, we have assembled one of the most prestigious clinical advisory boards to help guide and support our path to growth.  As a forward-looking organization, we have already made substantive investments in antimicrobial technologies that will further differentiate our implant offering in the years to come,” added Dr. Jensen.


“Commercially, we are building out a national team of seasoned dental implant industry professionals to complement our world-class advisory board”, stated Mike Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of Ditron Dental USA. As Mr. Stevens continued, “while the innovations and precision manufacturing are critical to our success, it is the Ditron team members and clinical advisors who will personify and bring to life what we have to offer by introducing clinicians and their patients to the Ditron experience.  I am pleased to have Brian Bashaw, a 30-year dental implant industry veteran and prior executive with some of the market leaders, to be joining Ditron Dental USA to lead our commercial efforts as Chief Commercial Officer.”


The company’s commercialization efforts are being supported by Cellerant Consulting, a dental incubator and highly specialized consulting firm that focuses exclusively on the dental industry.  Cellerant’s CEO, Dr. Lou Shuman, added “we are pleased to be working with Ditron on their US launch.  Dr. Jensen is such a respected and accomplished Oral & Maxillofacial surgeon, so his involvement instills confidence.  Add to that a very solid product portfolio, a best-in-class group of clinical advisors, and a growing team of industry experts and this company is sure to achieve a high level of success.”


To remain apprised of new developments with Ditron Dental USA and to take advantage of special offers, please register at https://ditrondentalusa.com/register/



About Ditron Dental USA: Ditron Dental USA offers a comprehensive portfolio of dental implants and related prosthetic components with a focus on innovation and ultra-precise manufacturing.  The dental implant portfolio includes the ULT™ Ultimate Precision, MPI™ Molecular Precision, and OPI™ One-Piece Dental Implant Systems.  Established in 2020 and headquartered in Ladera Ranch, CA, Ditron Dental USA is the US affiliate of Ditron Dental, a subsidiary of Ditron Precision LTD which was founded in 1968 and is located in Ashkelon, Israel.  The Ditron culture embodies a relentless focus on precision, quality, and reliability as manifest in its customer relationships across the automotive, aerospace, and medical device segments.  Ditron Dental USA aims to complement an exceptional product portfolio with world-class educators, experienced representatives, and a sensible pricing policy to create lasting customer relationships.  For more information visit ditrondentalusa.com.


Press Contact

Ditron Dental USA

Michael Stevens, CEO

844.4DI.TRON (434.8766)

ms@ditrondentalusa.com


About Cellerant Consulting Group: Founded and led by CEO Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS Cellerant provides strategic dental market insights, clinical expertise, and implementation resources to accelerate growth for client dental companies. Cellerant services include product development, accelerated market awareness due to intimate relationships with the media community, new concept incubation, clinical product evaluation, manufacturing, seed funding, continuing education program development and CE sponsorship, 510k support, strategic branding and marketing, corporate social media, website development and online marketing resources, 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 develop offerings that connect with and engage dental customers on a relationship level that provides 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.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Join Dr. Jason Streeter and Myself Wednesday Evening for a Discussion on Moving Your Practice to the Cloud!!!


On Wednesday evening, please join Dr. Jason Streeter and myself for a webinar discussing the advantages of practice management in the Cloud.  We will be spending an hour talking about why the Cloud is a now proposition.
 
Jason is a younger general dentist how purchased a practice that was running an old school server/client office and became tired of the expense and limitations that the old technology p provided.  He decided to explore other options to see if there wasn’t something better out there and decided to convert his office to Curve Hero.
 
Rather than a true lecture format, Jason and I are going to be using slides but also conversation to help you understand the thought processes he went through and the things he weighed as he considered his options.  You will walk away from this webinar with a much improved understanding of the limitations of client/server computer systems and why moving to the Cloud is a decision that makes sense in today’s high tech environment.  
 
Our world is constantly changing and in order to ensure the long term success of your practice, the practice owner needs to not only be an outstanding clinician but also a person with the right understanding of the current business environment.  That understanding includes a grasp of the current technological landscape.  You’ll understand why the Cloud is a better solution to make your practice more nimble and more efficient
 
You can sign up for this exciting event with this link.  We hope to see a lot of you there!!!


 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Taking a week off!

I've got some very time constraining projects the next few days so I'll be taking time off to get them completed.


I'll be back with regular posts starting on Monday November 16th.


Thanks for letting me take the time!


John

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Join Me This Afternoon for "Redefining Digital Workflows for Delivering Better Care"


Join me today at 1:00pm Mountain time and 2:00pm Central time for a webinar sponsored by Dentrix.  I'll be discussing how digital workflows in the office can increase efficiency and decrease stress.  I promise to deliver good info and have fun.  It'll be an hour well spent.

This webinar is for dentists and staff who are not satisfied with how their current practice management system helps them achieve greater clinical efficiency or supports their work as a dentist.  If you're employing workflows (digital or paper-based) that are disjointed or otherwise problematic, it's time to rethink and redefine how y our software should be working for you.

Your practice management software should be like an invisible assistant that works so well that you forget it's there - supporting you and your staff, and supporting the patient journey through enhanced digital workflows.


 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Dental Sleep Medicine- 2 CE Webinar Courses- Nov 5 & 12 and a FREE Sleep Screener

 



Here's some news on an educational event that has nothing to do with me... for a change.  Well... other than I'm pretty passionate about the subject.

For the past few years, I've been working at treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  It's a horrible condition that can greatly affect quality of life and overall sleep cycles.  I was personally diagnosed with the condition about 5 years ago and proper treatment may well have saved my life.

Because of my experience, I've become really passionate about helping others with the condition.

On November 5th and November 12th, my good friends at Goetze Dental are offering a virtual course to help doctors build their skills to treat OSA.  Here are the details:



With COVID-19 cases rising and flu season upon us, health is an everyday topic.  A good night's rest has proven to have a positive impact on health.  You can help your patients improve their health by making sure they're getting good sleep.

We have partnered with Awaken2Sleep, a company dedicated to helping dentists impact their local communities by raising awareness of obstructive sleep apnea.

This is an invitation to a 4 CE, two-part webinar AND a link to a free downloadable Sleep Screener.  Attending the two, two-hour webinars gives you the opportunity to learn more about how a conversation about sleep can help your patients.

Three different boards have shared that dentists can and should be involved in various parts identifying sleep apnea.  Together, we can significantly impact patients' lives, especially as they learn to be healthier and so they can have lasting life changes!

Want to Learn More?

Join the Awaken2Sleep Coaches for a two-part, 4 CE webinar on November 5th and 12th from 6-8 p.m. to discuss two significant area surrounding dental sleep medicine.


There is NO charge to attend these two webinars which will cover two topics:
  1. The 4 Proven Steps to Success in Dental Sleep Medicine
  2. COVID Considerations and Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

If you have considered or are considering getting into treating sleep apnea, take the next step and register for the 4 CE, two-part webinar.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Restorative Revolutions: Transforming Dentistry Through Materials, Techniques, and Technologies

 


As I said in yesterday's post, I've got a lot of stuff on my plate this week... and for the coming month, for that matter.  Yesterday I told you about a webinar that I'll be giving on Thursday afternoon November 5th.

The *next* day, Friday November 6th, I'll be hosting and moderating another amazing event that is being put on by my favorite dental publication, Dental Products Report.  


The Friday event is all about the latest and greatest techniques, materials, and methods that are changing the face of dentistry as we know it.  Here is what DPR has to say about it:

We invite you to join Dental Products Report® for an exclusive virtual event taking you through the revolution of restorative dentistry, including a deep dive into new materials, techniques, and technologies in the evolving industry. 

You won’t want to miss this full-day opportunity on Friday, November 6, 2020!

Explore and learn from industry experts for this full-day virtual event! Earn up to 6 continuing education (CE) credits during this 7-hour event.

Receive education from industry experts across the world and gain 6-CE credits.


This fast paced, 6 hour course will cover things such as:

  • Resin materials that get the job done
  • Self adhesive composite
  • The power of chairside Katana zirconia block
  • How 3D printing benefits the restorative dental practice
  • Tooth preparation disinfection
  • A round table discussion with the presenters
Make sure to register and get 6 hours of CE and learn some incredible info about the changes coming to our profession.  I hope to see a lot of you there, virtually!


Monday, November 2, 2020

Join Me on Thursday for a Webinar on Digital Workflows!



I've got a busy week coming up!  In addition to my normal patient load I'm also going to be participating in a couple of webinars.  Today I'm going to discuss the first one and tomorrow I'll discuss the second.



 My staff will attest to the fact that frequently when they ask if we should take an image, my response is "it's just electrons".  By that I don't mean we just take random images, but that we don't worry about a lot of the sundry things that might come with imaging in a non-digital platform.

I don't worry about the cost of film, the cost of chemistry, the cost of ink, or the cost of photo paper.  All that we are concerned about is what is the best thing for the patient.

Digital workflows save tons of time and so there is no need to worry about what the cost of data gathering might be.  The importance becomes the data itself.  That's because the cost in time and treasure is so minimal.  Basically the cost is "the electrons" it takes to create the data.

As our world is evolving into a more digital world our data is evolving with it and moving away from a hybrid model of digital and analog & moving more and more into a totally digital workflow environment.

It's amazing to me to think that I started this journey to full digital when some of my younger peers were in elementary school.  Our profession has taken amazing steps forward in the last 20 years.

On Thursday afternoon, I'll be discussing the advantages of digital workflows and how those can help propel your office to a level of efficiency that you didn't think possible.

Join me as I discuss what you can expect now as well as in the future!