Monday, October 31, 2022

New Data Wiping Program Attempts to Blame/Frame Honest Security Researchers

While I wish I could tell you that today's post is a Halloween joke, that simply is not the truth.  The cyber world is frequently an unsafe place, and this is another instance of that...

Here is an interesting story that, at least at this point, does not have a large number of victims, but is fascinating in its deployment.

As many in the tech world know, Putin and the Russian security services have tremendous reach in the cyber realm.  There are instances such as the 2016 US election interference, data crashing worms, the takedown of the IT systems of the Seoul Olympics, and multiple attacks on the Ukrainian power grid prior to the 2022 invasion.

Now comes an attack that attempts to blame/frame security researchers and a computer website for a new destructive program.  Called Azov, it masquerades as RansomWare, when in fact its sole purpose is to totally encrypt hard drives with no way to decrypt.

It leaves a ransom note that reads:

When the victim reads this ransom note, they see a list of potential criminal partners near the top.  All of those listed have denied an knowledge or involvement with this situation.  Also, if you read the entire note it seems to be pointing to a pro-Russia approach to the invasion of Ukraine.

If possible, do not allow Azov onto your systems and if you are one of the unfortunate individuals affected by this, hopefully you have reliable backups as there is NO decryption key.

For the full story, you can follow this link to  

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Amber Mill DIRECT and Perfit FS Now Undergoing Testing in our Office

For those of you who either have a mill in your office or are considering getting one (and if you aren't, NOW is the time to be looking into it), I have some interesting news.

For a lot of offices, they don't want to necessarily transfer ALL of their lab functions in-house.  What many offices are looking for is materials that can be polished to a finish instead of needing to stain and glaze using an oven.

However, along with that aspect, there is also the aspect of wanting certain materials that *require* firing in an oven.  Many offices would love to have the aesthetics of lithium disilicate or the strength of zirconia.  However, as we know lithium disilicate in its original state is lavender in color until it is fired.  Then there is zirconia which needs to be fired to shrink to the exact size needed to fit the prep.  If zirconia is *not* fired, the material will not fit.

Well, now those two concerns are no longer valid.  Amber Mill DIRECT is a lithium disilicate that is the correct shade when milled and can be polished to a high level.  Next up is Perfit FS which is a zirconia sintered block that does not require an over either.

Basically this means that offices wanting to do in-office milling can do so while getting the matterials they want with the convenience they need.

I've been fortunate enough to receive some samples of both materials and I will be milling some cases with them in the not too distant future.  Once we get some cases under our collective belts, I'll be posting more about how they perform.  I got a chance to see some of these milled restorations at the recently held SmileCon in Houston and in the DGShape booth, they looked amazing.  However, I'm a skeptic by nature and will withhold judgement until I work with the materials myself.

In the meantime though, here is a photo of a Perfit FS that I saw in Houston.  I'll be reporting back when I have more to say on these materials...

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Cutting the Cord... and Costs With a New Approach to Gingival Retraction


Here's a little something I put together after experimenting with VOCO's Retraction Paste.  As most of you know I'm always looking for ways to increase efficiency.  No one wants a dental procedure to take longer.  So when i see an opportunity to increase my efficiency, I explore it.  I've found one of those great little ways to increase efficiency is with this product.  Read on for my thoughts...

Fixed prosthetics are an intrinsic part of any dental practice. While the market for dental implants continues to grow, the majority of crowns are placed on natural teeth. This means that clear and easily recognizable margins are necessary and will continue to be necessary as the market for naturally supported dental fixed prosthetics continues to grow. As life expectancies continue to increase, an aging population will seek to maintain their quality of life and the number of fixed prosthetic procedures will increase along with those life expectancies.

There has also been growth in the last decade in the purchase and implementation of digital impression systems. These systems continue to experience market penetration growth with estimates being that around 20% or more of practices have expanded into this aspect.

However, whether performed by analog or digital means, the importance of good clinical technique is imperative for clinical success in fixed prosthodontics. This is especially true when consideration is made for the proper capture of the preparation margin. While many aspects of the preparation are intrinsic to long-term clinical success, perhaps nothing is more important than properly capturing the margin.


Traditionally the most common way to expose the margin for an impression has been the use of retraction cord. Even though the profession has evolved and improved, retraction cord has continued to be taught in dental schools and used in the majority of clinical cases, even though other choices exist.

Retraction cord is time consuming. A proper length of cord must be dispensed and then placed into the gingival sulcus to allow the tissues to expand and relax in a more open orientation. The actual physical process of placing retraction cord is time consuming and incredibly technique-sensitive. Apply too little pressure in the placement and the cord comes free without providing adequate retraction. Apply too much pressure and the connective tissues of the sulcus can be damaged and pushed away from the tooth, paving the way for gingival recession or iatrogenic infection. There are even instances of impression material being expressed subgingivally, creating foreign body infections from a hardened piece of material left under the tissues that were separated by over-aggressive retraction cord placement.

In some instances, a two-cord technique is used that basically doubles the amount of time to place, while also increasing the chances for cord displacement or iatrogenic injury.

There is also the concern of being able to visually identify the cord in the sulcus. Stories abound in the profession of patients presenting with a localized infection of a single tooth recently prepared for a crown and the doctor finding a strand of retraction cord still wedged snugly into the gingival sulcus with a resulting foreign body reaction in full bloom around it. Someone simply missed the tiny piece of cord.

Placing cord is a very specific and intense skill, demanding exceptional dexterity. It is a difficult skill to teach, and many doctors prefer to place cord themselves as opposed to delegating the placement to an auxiliary. However, this ties the doctor to the procedure and does not allow for other processes (such as hygiene checks) to be completed, therefore slowing the entire office workflow.

There is also the consideration of effectiveness of cord in all cases. In patients with high salivary flow, the cord can be washed out of the sulcus and require the procedure to be repeated thus slowing the workflow even more.

Considering Costs

Not only are assurances of long-term success a motivator, cost savings can be as well. Often doctors consider the “hard costs” of impressions when attempting to analyze office costs without taking into consideration the “soft costs” of time, frustration and lack of optimized workflow.

Survey data from the American Dental Association tells us that the average dental practice prepares about 360 crowns per year, which translates to 30 crowns per month. Factor into the equation that dental office overhead is roughly $5.00 per minute and it is easy to see that “soft costs” of time and optimized workflow mentioned above come into play in a very real way. If 5 minutes is spent in properly placing a single piece of retraction cord, that translates to around $25 just to cover the cost of placing the cord.

Improving Efficiencies and Workflow

One of the things successful doctors embrace is the concept of “just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean we have to always do it that way”. There is no better example of this than achieving successful retraction in fixed prosthetics.

VOCO has developed a Retraction Paste that offers several advantages over the traditional placement of retraction cord.

First of all, the material is a paste, which means that expressing it into the sulcus is significantly less traumatic than pushing cord into place with a stainless steel instrument. The paste is provided in small capsules that hold 0.3 g of material, which is enough for approximately 3 single units. It is expressed from the cartridge via a traditional composite dispenser gun.

The compule has an extra-long tip with a very small diameter that allows the operator to place the tip into the sulcus and express the paste gently so that it provides consistent and atraumatic placement of the material. The lumen of the tip is carefully formed out of plastic with rounded edges so that it can be placed into the sulcus without the risk of traumatic injury to the soft tissue.

The paste contains aluminum chloride, which chemically dries the sulcus of blood, saliva, and crevicular fluid while also widening the sulcus. It has a two-phase consistency for ease of use. When first expressed from the cartridge, the paste is of low viscosity. This allows the material to be gently expressed and delivered precisely into the sulcus. Once placed, it changes to a higher viscosity and expands slightly to allow for adequate displacement and expansion of the tissues.

Once the paste is expressed into the sulcus, it remains there for 1-2 minutes and is then rinsed away with water. The material is easily removed by air/water spray and its unique bright turquoise color helps to assure the operator that all remnants have been removed prior to impressing.

Better Direct Restorations

Often in Class V restorations, there is either the need for retraction or drying. Many operators will notice that around 12 months post op, many buccal Class V restorations begin to develop a dark line around the gingival margin. This line is caused by less than ideal bond strengths in this area that allow for bacteria to begin to grow under the restoration. The most common cause of these “black lines” is contamination of the gingival margin with crevicular fluid.

This fluid is hard to stop mechanically as it tends to seep continuously despite the operator’s best efforts at control. Placing retraction paste is a great advantage in placing these restorations. The aluminum chloride in the paste is a tremendous drying agent and placing it prior to beginning the bonding process greatly helps in preventing contamination of the field.

It is also tremendously helpful for retraction during the restorative process. Doctors who use cord in these procedures are often faced with a dichotomy: Do you pull the cord prior to restoring or after? Sometimes the cord can aid in retraction by leaving it in place, however, there is also the risk of the cord becoming entangled in the restorative material which can lead to myriad problems. Using paste instead of traditional cord greatly simplifies this restorative process.


While retraction cord has served the profession well, it is imperative that doctors continue to explore procedural options that can help lead to better clinical outcomes.

VOCO’s retraction paste is one of those options. Whether the objective is analog or digital impressions or improving outcomes in indirect restorations. A paste that is easily dispensed, works quickly and predictably, and is removed easily offers the doctor options that are not routinely available with retraction cord.

Retraction paste can improve clinical workflows as well as providing for better and more predictable patient outcomes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

SOTA’s Dental Imaging Software Gets Pearl’s AI Pathology Detection Capabilities

 Pearl and SOTA have partnered to offer native support for Pearl’s industry-leading, FDA-cleared radiologic AI solution Second Opinion® within the SOTA Cloud® software platform. SOTA Cloud® will be the first dental imaging software in the United States to offer a fully-integrated clinical AI feature set.

Pearl, the global leader in dental AI solutions, and SOTA Imaging, the leading manufacturer of dental imaging hardware and software, announced today a partnership to integrate Pearl’s FDA-cleared Second Opinion® real-time clinical pathology detection artificial intelligence (AI) solution with SOTA’s popular SOTA Cloud® dental imaging software. Native support for Pearl’s chairside AI within SOTA’s cloud-based imaging interface means that, for the first time, dentists in the United States can conveniently capture, display, and perform AI-assisted clinical evaluation of dental radiographs within a single software platform.

"Together with SOTA, we are pushing the envelope of dental imaging further toward a fully AI-powered dental future,” said Ophir Tanz, Pearl’s founder and CEO. “AI will be a basic utility in dentistry, and we see obvious advantages to making that utility an integral feature of the tools that dentists are already using. Through this partnership, dentists using SOTA Cloud® can seamlessly access Pearl’s AI capabilities to obtain better, more consistent insights from patient imagery and present cases to patients more effectively –– leading to better outcomes, a higher standard of care and more productive patient communication."

Pearl’s Second Opinion® is a clinical AI system cleared for use as a patient-facing radiologic aid to dentists in over 90 countries. With native Second Opinion® integration, dental practices using SOTA Cloud® –– the robust cloud-based dental imaging software which SOTA introduced last year to complement its line of state-of-the-art intraoral cameras and X-ray image sensors –– can view automatic AI detections of most conditions commonly found in dental x-rays.

“Understanding the needs of clinicians and ensuring that dentists are able to focus solely on providing the best possible patient care has always been the top priority when developing our software,” said SOTA founder and president Brian Kim. “Our partnership with Pearl speaks directly to that focus by giving practices using SOTA Cloud® push-button access to the most innovative AI technology available for streamlined patient communication and improved image-based diagnostic evaluations.”

To register for SOTA Cloud® with fully-integrated AI capabilities, visit:

To learn more about Pearl’s Second Opinion®, visit:

To learn more about SOTA Cloud®, visit:

About Pearl

Pearl is shaping the future of dental care by delivering AI and computer vision solutions that advance efficiency, accuracy, transparency and patient care. Founded in 2019 by Ophir Tanz, Pearl is backed by Craft Ventures and other leading venture capital firms. For more information or to request a demonstration, please visit

About SOTA

SOTA Imaging is a leading manufacturer of dental imaging hardware and software since 1987. SOTA Imaging solutions include Clio Prime & Clio Pedo digital x-ray sensors, the Claris i5HD intraoral camera, SOTA Image and SOTA Cloud dental imaging software, and aerosol reduction solutions, including the Cazoo Extraoral Aerosol Evacuator. Contact SOTA at (888) 266-7682,, or

Monday, October 24, 2022

OraCare Names Kristin Goodfellow RDH as Chief Clinical Officer


Hygienist, Thought Leader, and Educator Assumes Expanded Role to Further OraCare’s Growth and Mission 

OraCare is excited to name Kristin Goodfellow, RDH to the position of Chief Clinical Officer. OraCare was founded in 2009, by three dentists seeking to improve the standard of care in dentistry, patient hygiene, and overall oral health. Goodfellow became the company’s first full-time employee in 2015, and has been instrumental in driving rapid growth and industry leadership. 

“Kristin first started working in one of my practices as a dental hygienist, and early on, I noticed the take-charge attitude, humor, and positive influence she brought to the clinical department. My team knew she had enormous potential to help shape the trajectory of the brand,” said CEO Dr. Robert Martino who also owns and operates seven dental practices in West Virginia. “In the last several years, Kristin has become the public face of the company. She impresses us daily with her clinical knowledge and her drive to make impactful changes on the industry and has been instrumental in helping OraCare achieve rapid growth.”

Originally, from Pennsylvania, Goodfellow now calls the mountain state of West Virginia home. She graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies, then continued on to Allegany College of Maryland where she completed her degree in Dental Hygiene. During her hygiene program, Goodfellow was recognized with the Proctor & Gamble Preventative Dentistry Award, for her outstanding patient communications skills. “I’m so proud of what the OraCare team has accomplished and am honored to assume the Chief Clinical Officer role,” said Goodfellow. “It’s mind blowing to consider where we come from over the last seven years and just how many practices and patients we have touched in that time.” 

In addition to her responsibilities at OraCare, Goodfellow is an educator and hygiene thought leader. She has been a contributing author to many dental industry publications and is an accomplished speaker having presented at numerous national conferences and continuing education events. She currently holds positions on the RDH editorial advisory board and is a member of the Cellerant Best of Class Hygiene panel. 

“Increasing the standard of care is the core of OraCare. Kristin is a true advocate of this, whether she’s working with provider practices or delivering one-on-one patient care,” said Dr. Martino. “She’s the obvious choice for our Chief Clinical Officer role which expands her responsibilities, reach, and impact in driving OraCare’s mission of improving dental hygiene and oral health.”

About OraCare

OraCare products are dedicated to raising the standard of care in dentistry through the

development, production, and delivery of revolutionary products. Our unique partnership

with the dental community is built upon the promise that you can only find our products

in the dental office setting. Each product in our line is backed by real science and

centered around the ingredient-activated chlorine dioxide. Our company was founded

for dental professionals by dental professionals, so we understand the doctor-patient dynamic. All of our products reflect a commitment to creating better patient health and advancing the dental profession in partnership with our providers. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Congrats to my Friend Dr. Cesar Sabates as he Wraps Up His ADA Presidency!!!


I've mentioned him here before, but I want to give him one more round of applause.  My good friend and classmate Dr. Cesar Sabates is wrapping up his term as president of the ADA and I am so proud of him!  He has worked tirelessly for the profession over his career and it is amazing to think that he made it to the pinnacle of organized dentistry.  He took over the job when the world was still rapidly changing due to the pandemic and he's managed to steer the profession into better times.  Here is a write up about him that appeared in the ADA News as Dr. Sabates kicked off the SmileCon meeting in Houston last week...

Houston — SmileCon 2022 got off to a roaring start on Oct. 13 with thousands of dentists and dental team members celebrating the profession.

"This meeting is a great example of the Power of 3," said ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S., in opening remarks in the George R. Brown Convention Center. "Local, state and national societies coming together with one shared purpose: for our communities and celebrating each other.”

SmileCon 2022 is a joint meeting with the 2022 Texas Dental Association Meeting and the 2023 Greater Houston Dental Society's Star of the South Dental Meeting.

"I hope that your SmileCon experience gives you the feeling of being inspired and more connected than ever before,” Dr. Sabates said. “Because if there's one thing I want you to remember it’s this: You belong to something big. Whether you're caring for a patient in your chair or meeting a student during office hours or working with materials in a lab, your work has an impact on the overall health and wellbeing of our communities."

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Ransomware Attack Hits CommonSpirit Health

 As a reminder to all the dentists out there who read this blog every day, you have to be vigilant and take cyber security seriously.  Attacks are happening all too frequently and can be devastating.  Here is the statement from hospital system CommonSpirit Health...  For the full response, follow this link.

We have been managing a response to a cyberattack that has impacted some of our facilities. Patients continue to receive the highest quality of care, and we are providing relevant updates on the ongoing situation to our patients, employees, and caregivers. Patient care remains our utmost priority and we apologize for any inconvenience this matter has created. 

As previously shared, upon discovering the ransomware attack, we took immediate steps to protect our systems, contain the incident, begin an investigation, and ensure continuity of care. Our facilities are following existing protocols, which includes taking certain systems offline, such as electronic health records and patient portals. In addition, we are taking steps to mitigate the  disruption and maintain continuity of care. To further assist and support our team in the  investigation and response process, we engaged leading cybersecurity specialists and notified  law enforcement. 

We continue to conduct a thorough forensics investigation and review of our systems and will also seek to determine if there are any data impacts as part of that process.  

There is no impact to clinic, patient care and associated systems at Dignity Health, Virginia Mason Medical Center, TriHealth or Centura Health facilities. For the other parts of our health system that have seen impacts on operations, we are working diligently every day to bring systems online and restore full functionality as quickly and safely as possible.  

Central to our decision-making has been and will continue to be our ability to carry out our mission in a manner that is safe and effective to those we serve. At CommonSpirit Health, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of the communities we serve and are guided by our core set of values, which include integrity, excellence, and collaboration. We are grateful to our staff and  physicians who are doing everything possible to mitigate the impact to our patients and ensure continuity of care. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Orascoptic Announces Newest Product - DragonFly


Throughout my time in dentistry, I have relied on the power of visual communication.  I purchased an intraoral cameral system in the very early 90s when the price was $15,000.  The reason for that was simple.  My undergraduate degree in psychology had taught me that well over 80% of what humans perceive about their environment comes from the eyes.  Patients understand their conditions better when they can see them and informed patients make better decisions regarding their overall health.  All these years later, we are still using intraoral cameras in my office every day.

Then, let’s turn this issue around.  Patients make better decisions when they see better, so do doctors make better decisions when they see better?  Of course they do.

I started with magnification in around 1995 and I have continued to improve my clinical vision ever since.  I remember an instructor once telling me, “Flucke, in order to do well, one must SEE well.”  This particular person wasn’t wearing magnification, but back then no one did.  However, that advice rings even *more* true when one considers how superior magnification can affect your dentistry.

Of course, magnification goes hand in hand with lighting.  As you increase your level of magnification, the amount of light that enters the telescope decreases.  That is simple physics.  That translated into “as you increase magnification, you also must increase light” or you will lose clarity and detail.  That is one of the reasons that I am a huge fan of having a bright LED attached to my scopes.  (By the way, I realize that everyone calls them “loupes”, but I prefer to call them “surgical telescopes”.  I think that term is simply more accurate.)  Having a bright light attached to your scopes provides amazing visualization.  The operatories that I have designated as my preferred workspaces in my office do not even have track lights.  The amount of illumination I get from my scope mounted LED is good, that I find track lights of no use.  If you are still using track lights, pay attention to how often you move/adjust them during each appointment.  When you start paying attention to that and realize how frequently you are stopping to move the light, you will be surprised.  Having a light that  is bright and is always available everywhere you look quickly becomes a necessity.

Which brings us to the reason for this discussion.  I have recently been doing a Test Drive of the new DragonFly system from Orascoptic.  I’ve always been a fan of Orascoptic as a company.  Their products are always well made, they hold up to the rigors of daily use (and occasional abuse), and they provide phenomenal visualization of the field.  That visualization is especially amazing when it is combined with one of their Endeavour XL lights.  I love the Endeavour XL, but the drawback for me is the battery.  The system requires a fairly hefty battery that is connected with a wire.

A few years ago the company came out with a radical new design that really turned the magnification space on its proverbial ear.  The new design, called XV-1, was a huge leap forward in the world of dental magnification.  It combined a sporty frame with your choice of magnification, but the really radical aspect was that it had a built-in light.  The design was such that the batteries were in ‘pods’ that were at the end of the arms of the frame.  This meant no battery pack on your waist or pocket and no wire that dangled and got caught on things.  The XV-1 was the first “all in one” design of telescopes and light.  I put an order in immediately.

Now we are seeing the next step forward in this concept with DragonFly.  The system is extremely well thought out.  The smart people at Orascoptic took some time to really analyze their previous system and then approved upon it significantly; even going so far as to consider different categories of end user and planning for them accordingly.  Allow me to explain.

DragonFly is still a single unit magnification and built-in light device.  However, it is built in different sizes and different models.  There is the DragonFly Pro, which is designed for dentists and surgeons.  It is completely customizable, meaning it can be ordered with any of the magnification setups that Orascoptic offers.  This means things like the variable level EyeZoom telescope or the interchangeable lens Omni can equip the unit.  It also comes with extra batteries, multiple light intensity settings, and has an extremely durable ceramic paint finish.  There are four frame colors available of Amethyst, Charcoal, Neptune, and Olive.  These colors make use of a ceramic polymer coating that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also resistant to corrosion from disinfectants.

Then there is the DragonFly RDH.  This model is designed for hygienists and features the RDH line of scopes which were designed specifically for the dental hygiene profession.  There are three colors available, Champagne, Lilac, and Midnight.

The third model is the DragonFly Neo.  This model is intended for users on a budget as well as students.  It supports the 4 most popular magnification levels that are preferred by first time purchasers (2.5x micro, 2.5x macro, 3.0x, and 3.5x).  I am really impressed by this model.  Magnification is no longer a ‘nice to have’ in our profession.  It truly is a ‘must have’ but for people on a budget, oftentimes purchasing clinical telescopes can be a serious drain on the budget.  By offering this model, Orascoptic is providing a great product at a great price point.

All three models are available in Small, Medium, and Large which is a big improvement over the XV-1 concept of “one size fits all”.  Every model also comes with Orascoptic’s TruColor LED headlights.  This makes shade matching while working with the light much easier.  The company is also offering square or round lens shapes.  This allows the user to customize the shape of the scope to the user’s facial feature.  It’s a nice little benefit to have and Orascoptic is currently the *only* company offering this.

I have been using a pre-production model for my Test Drive and I have been impressed.  One of the great things about being an established customer is that the company has all of my measurements stored in my customer file.  In normal circumstances a sales representative would come by the office, take measurements, and then have the system custom built for the user, for my Test Drive they took the measurements in my record and created a “Pro” setup based on those numbers.  They were “spot on” right out of the case!

The unit I’ve been testing is the Pro model, charcoal finish, and the adjustable (3.0x, 4.0x, 5.0x) EyeZoom telescopes.  These scopes allow me to change levels simply by twisting the scope until it clicks into the correct setting.  I have always been a fan of very bright lighting which is why I have often chosen to put up with the hassle of an external battery pack.  The DragonFly Pro setup I have used has the TruColor LED with a high output of 78 lumens and a low output of 49 lumens.  I have found the 78 lumen setting to be adequate for almost all of my procedures.  The DragonFly is extremely comfortable to wear.  The battery pods being at the end of the arms means that the weight on your nose is lessened due to the counterbalance of the batteries.  The batteries last for over a single workday and are recharged at night.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Canada’s 2022 Dental Hygiene Superheroes Unmasked

I thought this was a fun idea and a great way to honor the hardworking dental hygienists in Canada.  Read on for the details!

From an impressive field of 685 deserving nominees from across Canada, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) was thrilled to reveal the winners of its fifth Dental Hygiene Superhero Competition at our recent conference in the Yukon.

This remarkable field of nominees was narrowed to 20 finalists and evaluated by a panel of judges who selected Jadina Yip of Burnaby, British Columbia, as Canada’s Dental Hygiene Superhero. Two honourable mentions were also selected: Laura Iorio of Ajax, Ontario, and Elizabeth Jones of Vancouver, British Columbia. 

  Championed by oral health defender CDHA and sponsored by SENSODYNE, this competition recognizes dental hygiene health care superheroes, the important work they accomplish, and the roles they play as essential primary health care providers in communities across Canada. 

 “I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about the 2022 Sensodyne Superheroes” says Wendy Stewart, CDHA president. “Their inspiring stories remind me of why I became a dental hygienist – to help others. Their exceptional service to their patients, their communities, and our profession. has had a huge impact on the overall health of their communities, and I thank them for their hard work and generosity.” Dental hygienists were nominated primarily by clients, but also by colleagues and employers, and were evaluated on their client focus, empowerment through education, accountability, leadership, integrity, respect, and compassion. 

 Congratulations to all nominees. Visit to read more about these inspiring heroes.  

CDHA is the collective national voice of more than 30,000 dental hygienists in Canada, directly representing 21,000 individual members, including students. Since 1963, CDHA has worked to advance the profession and promote the importance of oral health. Dental hygiene is the sixth-largest regulated health profession in Canada, with professionals working in a variety of settings, including independent dental hygiene practice, with people of all ages, addressing issues related to oral health. For more information on oral health, visit  

Thursday, October 13, 2022

WhipMix is Stepping Up with a TurnKey 3D Solution

I love it when a company does things the right way.  I've recently been doing a Test Drive for Whipmix and I've been very impressed.

Often when I'm working on an evaluation for a company, I am working with a single product.  However, the work I've been doing lately is a little different..  Whipmix has entered 3D in a big way with a whole turnkey system.  It includes a 3Shape intraoral scanner with access to cloud storage, 3D DLP printer, a 3D model wash station, and a 3D model curing oven.

While you could certainly buy all of these components from different companies, there is a certain advantage of scale that comes with having one company to order from and one company to call if you happen to need customer support.

Whipmix has greatly simplified the process of creating and using 3D printing.  In addition to hardware, they also have a full line of materials for the 3D printer.  They are calling their turnkey system Verione and if you are looking to get your office involved in the world of 3D printing (and you should!) , take a look at the offerings from WhipMix.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Pediatric Dentist and Affiliated Practices to Pay Over $750,000 to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations


Why do people do these things?  The US Department of Justice does not tolerate abuse of federal healthcare dollars.  If you are attempting to game the system, you WILL be caught.  Then there is the fact of ethics and the Hippocratic Oath.  

I salute the hard work of the law enforcement and prosecution team involved with this case.  As a licensed professional and a healer, I am appalled at this type of news...

Pediatric Dentist Barry L. Jacobson and his company, HQRC Management Services LLC (HQRC), along with 13 affiliated pediatric dentistry practices, agreed to pay $753,457 to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by allegedly performing and billing for medically unnecessary therapeutic pulpotomies on pediatric patients, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

The settlement, which is the result of a joint investigation between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and the New York Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), also resolves allegations that defendants provided inaccurate servicing provider information on claims submitted to Medicaid managed care organizations. .

“It is unconscionable that medical professionals were willing to perform unnecessary dental procedures on children simply to make money,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said.  “Recovering their ill-gotten gains only begins to undo this damage. Working with Attorney General James and our partners in the New York Attorney General’s Office, we want to make it clear that this behavior is intolerable.”

“Dr. Jacobson and HQRC allegedly performed unnecessary and invasive dental procedures on children to line their own pockets,” Attorney General Letitia James said. “My office will not tolerate any instance of medically unnecessary procedures performed on vulnerable Medicaid beneficiaries. I am grateful to U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger and team for their partnership as we investigated this fraudulent scheme.”

According to the contentions of the United States contained in the settlement agreement:

Jacobson is the chief executive officer of HQRC, now doing business as PDS Management Solutions. He is also the founder and owner of the following New York and New Jersey based Pediatric Dentistry Practices party to the agreement: Pediatric Dentistry of Paterson, Pediatric Dentistry of Teaneck, Pediatric Dentistry of Wykoff, Pediatric Dentistry of Flushing, Pediatric Dentistry of the Bronx, Pediatric Dentistry of Valley Stream, Pediatric Dentistry of Brooklyn (Avenue U), Pediatric Dentistry of Brooklyn (Boro Park), Pediatric Dentistry of Monsey, Pediatric Dentistry of Kingston, Pediatric Dentistry of Albany, Pediatric Dentistry of Malone, and North Country Pediatric Dentistry.

The settlement resolves allegations that HQRC dentists performed medically unnecessary therapeutic pulpotomies on pediatric patients. According to the United States, certain dentists performed therapeutic pulpotomies on primary teeth even though there was no dental decay in the inner third of the dentin. The defendants also provided inaccurate servicing provider information on claims for services submitted to New York and New Jersey Medicaid Managed Care Organizations.

Jacobson and the affiliated corporate defendants admit that, in some instances between 2011 and 2018, some dentists affiliated with HQRC performed and billed Medicaid for pulpotomies not supported by the medical records maintained at the respective HQRC affiliated dental practices. The defendants also admit that in some instances, between 2011 and 2014, HQRC made billing errors to New York and New Jersey Medicaid contractors that resulted in inaccurate servicing provider information on claims for services performed at three of its locations.

The allegations were originally made in a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Lauren Simpson. The Act permits private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Simpson will receive a total of $135,622 from the federal and state shares of the settlement.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Naomi Gruchacz and civil investigator Jeffrey DeFuria of the District of New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, with the investigation leading to the settlement.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Pappy of the District of New Jersey’s Health Care Fraud Unit.

The lawsuit is captioned United States of America, State of New York, and State of New Jersey, ex rel. Simpson v. HQRC Management Services, LLC, et al. The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

HHS Authorizes Dentists, Dental Students to Administer Vaccines Against Monkeypox

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is amending a Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act declaration to authorize additional providers, including dentists and dental students, to vaccinate patients against monkeypox virus, smallpox and other orthopoxviruses in a declared emergency, according to an Oct. 3 news release.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, or PREP Act, allows the Health and Human Services Secretary to issue a medical countermeasures declaration in public health emergencies. HHS previously amended the Act in 2021 to allow dentists and dental students to administer COVID-19 vaccines, which the ADA advocated for and supported.

“As our [vaccine supply] steadily increases, we are now exceeding demand in all 50 states," said Dawn O'Connell, HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. “By expanding the pool of providers who can administer monkeypox vaccines, we can increase equitable access for people at high risk for monkeypox infections who have not yet had an opportunity to get vaccinated."

The HHS news release also noted that authorized providers “must administer all countermeasures in accordance with all relevant requirements and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and consistent with the scope of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval, authorization, and any applicable expanded access requirements of FDA's protocol.”

The news release also said the amendment does the following:

• Makes explicit that the declaration “applies to public health threats arising from smallpox (variola virus), monkeypox virus, and other orthopoxviruses,” noting that in 2008, HHS issued a declaration under the PREP Act for smallpox medical countermeasures which was amended in 2016 to provide liability coverage for “smallpox countermeasures against variola virus or other orthopoxviruses,” including monkeypox.

• Extends the effective time period of the declaration to Dec. 31, 2032, which allows coverage for manufacturers, distributors and other covered persons through that date.

• Allows coverage “for administration of countermeasures by subcutaneous, intradermal, or intramuscular injections, dermal/percutaneous scarification, orally or intranasally in response to a declared emergency by authorized qualified trained persons to be extended during the relevant emergency or Dec. 31, 2032, whichever occurs first. A declared emergency can be any federal, state, regional, or local declaration.”

For more information about monkeypox and PREP Act coverage, visit the HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response's website.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Sore Throat Becoming Most Common COVID-19 Symptom

 The family of corona viruses have a great defense mechanism of evolving over time.  That's why we need to continue to be aware of and track outbreaks and symptoms.

Over the weekend I was doing some reading and I came across an interesting bit of information regarding a change in how we are now detecting Covid infections.  

There is a website and an app that is run by Dr. Tim Spector in the UK.  His work which you can see at the ZOE Health Study website uses the app to help track the data.  Basically individuals download the app and then use it to indicate their current symptoms.

I love apps that use "the hive" mentality of everyone contributing just a little bit to then improve things for everyone.  When you download the app, which can be found by searching "ZOE Health Study" in the Apple App Store, you open it and create an account.  It asks for basic demographic information to setup and then you can fill out how you are currently feeling.

The great thing about this type of data gathering is that it allows for fast collection of data.  If you indicate you are not feeling well, you fill out your symptoms.  If you have a positive test you also indicate that.  This lets the professionals at ZOE Health Study to see symptoms and infection trends rapidly and easily.

Lately statistics indicate that most people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 have a sore throat.  In the early days of the pandemic, the prominent symptoms were loss of taste/smell and fever.  However data coming into ZOE Health Study is showing those symptoms are not as common in current infections.

Of course being able to track things like this, especially symptoms that show up early in the infection is a terrific way to help the public as well as professionals to be aware of the changing landscape.  It helps doctors to be better prepared and to make a better diagnostic decision as well as helping the public know when isolate.  Before this data was available I'm not so sure that many people would have connected that symptom to a potential SARS-CoV-2 infection.

I salute Dr. Spector and his group in the UK for their hard work and for making the app and its data available to us.  I've downloaded the app and will be supplying my data on a regular basis.  If we all do a little, we can accomplish a lot.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

DentaQuest Donates $500,000 to Support Hurricane Ian Relief Efforts in Florida

It's always nice to see people helping people.  Ian has left a MESS in Florida.  From what I've managed to read, there are alligators and snakes all over the place in addition to massive destruction.  Some islands are completely cut off from the mainland, while some are receiving bridge repairs that, while not permanent, will at least allow access to shore.

Instances like this always tend to bring out support from others and so it is now with Ian.  DentaQuest has graciously donated money to those in the disaster zone.  Read on for the details...

 DentaQuest, the nation’s largest provider of Medicaid and CHIP dental solutions, today announced a $500,000 contribution to the Florida Disaster Fund, which assists Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of disaster. In addition to the donation, DentaQuest is sending oral health kits — filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss — to relief centers across Florida and matching 100% of employee donations to Hurricane Ian relief efforts in the month of October. 

“In the wake of Hurricane Ian, it’s clear that the road to recovery will not be easy, but we are here to support Florida,” DentaQuest President Steve Pollock said. “Individuals have lost their homes and communities have been devastated, but together we can rebuild. We’re proud to support the Florida Disaster Fund and call on others to make a pledge toward relief efforts.”  

DentaQuest’s donation marks the beginning of a series of activities to help Floridians in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. In addition to supporting the rebuilding efforts, DentaQuest, provides government dental services in the state and continues to work with Medicaid enrollees and dentists to help those affected by the storm get the support they need. DentaQuest works with more than 1,800 dental providers in the state of Florida who serve roughly two million Floridians. Many of the people they serve reside in some of the hardest hit areas devastated by Hurricane Ian. 

“At the core of who we are is the commitment to helping people get the care they need and connecting communities in need with critical resources,” Steve continued. “As an organization dedicated to both social and financial impact, this contribution is a step to help these communities in Florida recover and rebuild.”  

If you are a DentaQuest Medicaid member or dental provider that needs support, please contact: (877) 468-5581 (Providers) or (888) 5468-5509 (Members). For more information about DentaQuest please visit us online at

About DentaQuest

DentaQuest is a purpose-driven health care company dedicated to improving the oral health of all. We do this through Preventistry® — our inclusive approach to quality care and expanded access built on trusted partnerships between patients, providers and payors. As one of the nation’s largest and most experienced Medicaid dental benefits administrators, we manage dental and vision benefits for more than 33 million Americans through a nationwide network of providers in all 50 states. Our outcomes-based, cost-effective dental solutions are designed for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses, and individuals. At the same time, we are expanding our footprint of more than 70 oral health centers in six states to deliver direct patient care in rural and underserved populations. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Canadian Health Professionals Lay Out Fall Policy Priorities

One of the great things about our world and technology is that I get information that I can share from a lot of sources.  This is a terrific example of that.  Here I am, a dentist in the central United States and I am lucky enough to share information from other professionals from our neighbor to the north!  

As Members of Parliament return to Ottawa for the House of Commons fall session, the Extended Healthcare Professionals Coalition (EHPC) looks forward to collaborating with federal leaders and policy makers to address some of the most pressing healthcare issues facing Canadians.
First and foremost on the agenda: Canada is in the middle of a healthcare human resource crisis. While much attention has been paid to hospital closures and access to primary health care, the issue is much broader and affects all parts of the healthcare delivery system, across the public and private sectors. EHPC members are committed to providing innovative solutions to address longstanding systemic pressures noting that current system challenges extend beyond physicians and nurses.
“The EHPC represents over 100,000 of Canada’s regulated healthcare professionals who are grappling with these challenges and have a crucial role to play in terms of identifying and implementing solutions,” said Ondina Love, Chair of the EHPC. The EHPC looks forward to working with key federal decision makers in the coming weeks and months to improve timely access to care and overall system performance for all Canadians.”
The four key recommendations which EHPC will be advancing this Fall are:
Address the health human resources crisis by investing in short and long-term retention and recruitment strategies for all healthcare practitioners. This includes expanding the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program, supporting provincial and territorial recruitment strategies, and expanded funding for educational institutions.

Ensure the long-term resiliency of the healthcare sector by improving the collection of workforce data to identify and understand labour trends and challenges within and across the public and private sectors.
Reduce the reliance on in-hospital care by improving access to preventative and early intervention interdisciplinary community-based primary care that includes the services provided by EHPC members such as Audiologists, Chiropractors, Dental Hygienists, Dentists, Denturists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Optometrists, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Social Workers.

Explore models that require Canadian employers to provide their employees with health and dental benefits to cover their health and wellness needs that are not covered by Canada’s public healthcare system.
“We encourage decision makers to broaden their understanding of Canada’s healthcare landscape and bring extended professionals into the conversation”, said Ms Love. “Addressing the many challenges facing healthcare in Canada, including the human resources crisis, will require all hands on deck, and our members offer the expertise and perspective needed to keep Canadians healthy and productive.”  

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Ultradent Introduces New VALOTM X Curing Light


For at least that last 10 years, the Ultradent VALO™ line of curing lights has been in the top three systems when it comes to sales.  That's because the VALO™ has always been *bright*, dependable, and durable.  I actually was doing a site visit when the original VALO™ was being designed and tested.  I watched the design team knock it off of a counter and onto a concrete floor 147 times before it stopped working.  These lights are designed to take the stresses of everyday use and they simply keep working.

Now Ultradent has brought the latest version in the VALO™ family to market, the VALO™ X.  Read on for all the details...

Ultradent Products, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-tech dental materials and equipment, launched the newest edition of its multi-award-winning VALOTM curing light—the completely redesigned VALOTM X broadband LED curing light. As Ultradent’s most innovative curing light yet, the VALO X curing light offers the ultimate in engineering and design when it comes to every aspect of the light—including durability, power, accessibility, and versatility.

Thanks to its larger 12.5 mm lens and new powerful custom LED chip, the VALO X curing light offers a more complete cure than ever before. Its superior features allow clinicians to cure with confidence, and not have to question the capabilities of their light. This includes improved curing depth, beam collimation, and thermal management. The VALO X curing light comes equipped with two power modes (Standard Power and Xtra Power), two diagnostic light modes (black light and white light), as well as the ability to work corded or cordless.

The light’s one-button activation also sports a user interface with an accelerometer, so users can cycle between the light’s power and diagnostic modes with just the wave of the wand, a light drum tap, or the push of a button. This helps reduce mid-procedure fumbling and the likelihood of dropping the light. The VALO X light also comes with five accessory lenses, which further enhance its capabilities. A simplified, low- profile design enables the light’s head to reach posterior restorations with ease.

Like Ultradent’s other award-winning VALO curing lights, the VALO X curing light is milled from a single bar of aerospace-grade aluminum—a material that improves thermal management, LED longevity, and provides unmatched durability.

Click here to learn more about or to purchase the VALO X curing light. About Ultradent Products, Inc.

Ultradent Products, Inc., is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-tech dental materials, devices, and instruments worldwide. Ultradent’s vision is to improve oral health globally. Ultradent also works to improve the quality of life and health of individuals through financial and charitable programs. For more information about Ultradent, call 800.552.5512 or visit or find us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Middlesex College Adopts MouthWatch TeleDent for Classroom Instruction and Community Outreach

This is a nice way to start the week.  For the past 3 years or so I have been hoping to see that dentistry starts having a greater focus on remote data gathering.  Even before the 2020 shutdown from Covid-19, I had been in some skilled nursing facilities and was witness to an incredible need the ability for doctors to remotely evaluate dental problems.

As our healthcare system improves, we are seeing folks living longer and longer.  Unfortunately those folks often end up in skilled nursing facilities.  Now don't get me wrong, those facilities serve a very important purpose and they are doing the best they can.  However, due to demand and staffing shortages, those dedicated folks that staff those facilities are working hard and doing the best they can with limited time and limited staff.  Unfortunately due to the setup of the current system, dental care gets pushed down on the "hierarchy of healthcare needs".    Often there are greater needs, such as changing a soiled undergarment, that takes precedence over brushing a resident's teeth.

What the system needs is a way to get people into these facilities who can collect data and get that data to doctors who can make decisions or provide care to keep patients healthy and out of pain.  That's why I was really excited to see that Middlesex College is training their hygiene students on the TeleDent platform.  Being able to send hygienists into healthcare facilities with technology that allows for remote viewing of patients and coaching of professionals is a huge step in the right direction toward solving this problem.  Here is their press release:

Middlesex College in Edison, New Jersey has incorporated TeleDent by MouthWatch in the curriculum of its dental hygiene program and is also using the dental telehealth platform during its community outreach programs.

Although the earliest examples of teledentistry were introduced more than 20 years ago, teaching it in dental hygiene schools is relatively new and forward-thinking. “We want to ensure our students are graduating knowing how to use the most up-to-date technology,” said Middlesex College’s Chair of Dental Hygiene, Michelle Roman, EdD, RDH. 

Middlesex College graduates about 30 students from its hygiene program each year. When they leave the college after two years with an Associate in Applied Science 

Degree in Dental Hygiene, they will now have eight hours of training specific to teledentistry; four hours of lectures and 4 hours of hands-on experience. 

Some Middlesex College hygiene students recently gained hands-on experience with TeleDent during an oral health screening program for children between 11-months and 5-years old that was conducted at Noah’s Ark Preschool in Highland Park, New Jersey. 

During this event, the hygiene students conducted oral screenings and took intraoral photos of 66 children. The screening notes and photos were then sent to a dentist working remotely for analysis and diagnosis. 

The dentist then developed a detailed referral including intraoral photos of decayed teeth that were shared with the child’s parent or guardian so they in turn could share with their dentist. “If the child did not have a dentist, which is often the case, one would be recommended to ensure that the child would receive treatment,” explained Roman.

According to MouthWatch CEO and Founder Brant Herman, “We’re very honored to be associated with this visionary dental hygiene program. Middlesex College dental hygiene students will be well prepared for the future of virtual care, which will include new career opportunities.”

To explore adding teledentistry to the curriculum of your dental or hygiene school, contact MouthWatch Professional Education Manager Jamie Collins at

 About MouthWatch, LLC:

Headquartered in Metuchen, New Jersey, MouthWatch, LLC is a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, and intraoral imaging devices. The company is dedicated to improving oral health around the world through innovative software and products that improve communications, enhance understanding, and facilitate the delivery of dental care across multiple touchpoints within the healthcare system. For more information, visit

About the Middlesex College Dental Hygiene Program:

Middlesex College offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene. The curriculum is rigorous and includes general education, science courses and dental hygiene courses. Students complete two years of academic study including clinical practice under the supervision of Middlesex College faculty in the college’s Dental Hygiene clinic and external clinical practice sites. Learn more at