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In brief: Largest increase in dental industry prices ever recorded; monkeypox and the dental office

Aug. 1, 2022
Making news: Largest increase in dental industry prices ever recorded, a 3D-printed toothbrush handle, monkeypox and the dental office, and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Largest increase in industry prices ever recorded

In the largest monthly change for dental services "ever recorded" since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking such numbers, those services increased 1.9% in June. As well, the ADA reports that prices in June were up 9.1% from a year ago, marking it the largest 12-month increase in more than 40 years. The increase is attributed to a confluence of factors including supply chain issues, pay raises for staff, and increased costs of PPE and other equipment.

3D-printed toothbrush handle for patients with dexterity issues

Using putty impressions of users’ hands, researchers in India have developed an individually modeled printed toothbrush and interproximal brush handle for people with limited manual dexterity. According to the developers, the implements are durable and water-resistant, and make it easier for people with grip or other dexterity issues to brush teeth their teeth effectively.

Big change to dental care across the pond

There’s been quite a bit reported recently about dental care in the UK—namely, a lack of access to care. The Guardian reports that the UK government is addressing that in part by announcing that the practice of having patients see a NHS dentist for a six-month checkup will change to every two years for healthy people. Calling the 6-month appointment model “outdated,” Wales’ chief dental officer said seeing healthy patients every two years will allow NHS dentists to focus on those who need most help.

New rule to increase OR access for dental surgery

A proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would increase access to dental rehabilitation surgery for patients who need extensive dental procedures performed in operating rooms. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMF) advocated for the rule change, noting that “The lack of OR access for needed and covered dental procedures often results in wait times of 6-12 months for these patients, many of whom are children whose daily activities and school performance are often significantly affected in the interim.”

Monkeypox and the dental office

Monkeypox has now been reported in more than 70 countries around the world and has been declared a global health emergency—but how concerned should people be? At this time, it’s still extremely rare—especially in highly developed countries like the US—and the risk of monkeypox transmission in dental practices is low. Nevertheless, the CDC recently urged health care providers in the US to “be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox and regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”