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In brief: Dental staffing shortage "the worst I've seen"

Sept. 1, 2022
Learn about continued staffing woes across the country, what people say is their top reason for delaying dental care, and more.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

Staffing shortage: “The worst I’ve seen”

This article about dental staffing shortages in Massachusetts highlights what many practices across the country are experiencing: labor shortages compounded by higher-than-normal patient demand because of patients deferring care early in the pandemic. “I've been practicing for about 15, 20 years now, and I would say this is pretty much the worst I've seen it,” noted one dentist.

Dental biorhythm and adolescent weight gain

Researchers in Kent, England, have posited a relationship between biorhythm in primary teeth and weight gained during adolescence. Teens with faster dental biorhythm—the period in which tooth enamel forms—weighed less, gained the least weight, and had the smallest change in their body mass index (BMI). The researchers believe their findings provide a new avenue from which to explore links between overweight children and adult health risks.

Survey: Reasons for delayed dental care

In other news about delayed patient care, a survey of some 1,214 adult respondents revealed high out-of-pockets costs to be the top reason given for people who said they’ve gone without dental care even after offices reopened after COVID-19 closures. Thirteen percent of respondents gave fear of pain as a reason for putting off care, and a much greater prevalence for this fear was among adults in the 18- to 24-year-old age segment than among seniors who are 65 and older.

Henry Schein acquires Midway Dental Supply

Last week, Henry Schein announced the acquisition of Midway Dental Supply, a full-service dental distributor serving offices and laboratories across the Midwest. According to a press release on the acquisition, the integration of Midway’s sales and service team will further advance Henry Schein’s efforts to deliver customized solutions and technology-driven products and services to help their dental customers meet the needs of patients.

A step toward broader care access for people with disabilities

Disability Scoop reports that a rule change could improve access to dental care for people with disabilities. Three leading dental groups wrote to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) citing “significant concerns” about access to dental procedures in hospitals and similar settings and attributed the difficulty to the lack of a sustainable billing mechanism specifically related to a Medicare code. Under a new proposal, CMS plans to update the code and increase the payment rate, which advocates say would significantly improve access to dental surgeries for children and adults with disabilities.