Inside Dentistry, March 2010


Dear Readers,

This month, Inside Dentistry joins the discussion about the pressing issues facing Washington. Healthcare reform remains a key focus for our nation’s leaders, and aspects of oral health—whether coverage, education, access, or research funding— are part of proposed legislation.

Expanding Coverage
Without question, oral health is the need and right of everyone. As our lawmakers in Washington finalize their proposed healthcare reform bills, it is imperative that they keep in the forefront the need for essential oral health benefits. While the inclusion of such benefits for children is encouraging and applauded, there still remains a large adult and elderly population in need of coverage and dental care that cannot be ignored. However, dentists must ready themselves to provide care to an expanded population of covered individuals. It would be a shame to face the dilemma of having achieved universal coverage, only to be faced with an inadequate supply of trained dental professions to provide care.

Dental Research & the Public
Of course our mission as doctors is to serve the public and help improve its oral health and well-being. Unfortunately, challenges in securing federal funding are making it difficult for researchers to translate their pioneering work into everyday applications that will benefit day-to-day patients. At a time when our nation is focused on care—and more specifically, who is receiving it and who isn’t—there still remains a need to support translational research so that, when the time comes, patients in our offices can receive state-of-the-art, leading-edge treatments.

Marketing & Conflicts of Interest.
In Washington and in states across the country, new regulations are challenging dentists in terms of their relationships with dental product and equipment manufacturers. We’re not—nor are the product and material samples we may receive—as free as we used to be. Samples that are distributed to clinicians are being tracked and monitored. In some instances if you give a CE lecture and receive sponsorship support from a manufacturer, you may be required to receive support from a competing sponsor. It’s all a means to provide transparency and complete disclosure, as well as ensure that no unnecessary bias influences the education or the treatment process.

We hope you enjoy this issue and find that it helps you navigate your way through some of the issues in Washington that could come to bear on the dental industry. We encourage you to send us your feedback to [email protected]. Your thoughts, opinions, and reactions continue motivate us to enhance our clinical content and coverage of the issues that most interest you.

Thank you for reading and, most of all, thank you for your continued support.

With warm regards,

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD
Associate Dean for Research
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Boston, MA