Courtesy of Kaiser News Network
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In brief: Potentially fatal fungus on the rise; investigation into dental devices intensifies

April 4, 2023
Learn about a fungal infection the CDC says is spreading at an "alarming rate"; virus-killing dental equipment; the ongoing investigation into dental devices alleged to be harmful; and more.

ICYMI: Investigation intensifies into dental devices alleged to cause harm; ADA asks public, profession to report concerns

DentistryIQ has shared ongoing reporting from CBS News and Kaiser Health News on an unregulated device that many dentists advertise on their websites, but that multiple patients say has resulted in irreparable harm.

Dental device purported to fix jaws results in wrecked teeth, allege patients

FDA looking into dentist-designed appliance alleged to cause "grievous harm"

FDA now evaluating "safety concerns" of dental devices following media investigation

Following an FDA statement on its evaluation of safety concern of the devices, the ADA released its own encouraging the “public and dental profession to follow the Federal Food & Drug Administration’s process of promptly reporting adverse events or serious complications related to certain dental devices that are fixed (nonremovable) palatal expanders” and “to report concerns to MedWatch to ensure any pertinent information related to these devices can be thoroughly evaluated by the FDA with regard to safety and efficacy.”

Dental equipment that kills viruses

Scientists in Lithuania are reported to have developed first-of-its-kind dental equipment capable of “destroying the viability of various viruses.” The equipment uses short-wave high-intensity narrow-spectrum (HINS) rays—most products on the market use different wavelengths of UV-C radiation sources, which have certain use requirements that disrupt the health care process—and include a special air purifier, a transparent protective shield, and a dental water disinfection module.

Potentially fatal fungus spreads at “alarming rate”

The AARP reports on a “highly contagious and potentially fatal” fungal infection that CDC data indicates is spreading at an "alarming rate" in health care facilities including hospitals and nursing homes. Although not considered a threat to most healthy people, C. auris infections rose from 476 in 2019 to 1,471 in 2021 and is fatal to one in three people infected with it invasively.

Rise in medical cannabis use warrants need for “surveillance system”

Medical cannabis use in the US has increased significantly from 2013 to 2020 with a “wide variation of qualifying medical or psychiatric conditions across states” that prompts several researchers to note that “clinical practice guidelines should be developed with evidence-based principles to follow in counseling patients about medical cannabis use.” A study published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine noted that “given the increasing medical cannabis use coupled with use for recreational purposes, a comprehensive, longitudinal surveillance system is needed to determine long-term benefits and harms of medical cannabis use.”