Cuts in California’s dental insurance cause ED visits to spike


By Alison Majikes/Special to

Since dental benefits were cut from California’s public health insurance for the poor, Emergency Department visits shot up for dental related issues.

At least that’s according to a study published May 4 in Health Affairs, which examined ED for Medicaid-enrolled adults in California between 2006 and 2011.

An article on estimated that removing the comprehensive dental benefits from the state Medicaid program back in 2009 led to about 1,800 more emergency room visits per year.

The findings are important to the U.S. in a time where many states are expanding or considering expanding their Medicaid programs under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

“California used to provide comprehensive dental benefits for adults,” said Astha Singhal, the study’s lead author from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. “During the recent economic recession they were looking for ways to cut costs and save money.”

In those six years, 113,309 adults in the state Medicaid program made 121,869 emergency room visits for dental problems.

The most common diagnosis during those visits were “other dental disease” problems within the tooth and cavities.

The study’s senior author, Dr. Peter Damiano, explains that the state’s Medicaid program likely paid for some of the care people received in the ED for dental problems because it’s often billed as a medical service.

“They’re usually giving them antibiotics and some pain killers,” said Damiano, who is from the University of Iowa Public Policy Center.

Singhal stated that since the study, California has reinstated some of the Medicaid dental benefits that were cut in 2009, but other states  are looking at possible dental benefit cuts.

“I think in this case the major takeaway is that there are unintended consequences that need to be evaluated when you make policy decisions,” said Damiano.

To read the full story:

If you interested on reading the full report from Health Affairs:



Saturday surfing for new tools? Start here.


Inside Dental Technology’s Pam Johnson recently shared some web-based tools and apps to help small businesses compete with larger operations– without a major capital expenditure.

From DocuSign’s cloud-based service that securely automates and retains – you guessed it– signed documents, to Funding Gates’ ability to automatically sync daily with QuickBooks to track accounts receivables, Johnson discusses some intriguing high tech options.

And because you can use several of the offerings in your personal life, it’s a good excuse to spend some of your precious downtime investigating them.

Start with John’s column at:

A touch of whimsy in Utah

Dr Horgesheimer 2

When not caring for patients at one of his Utah pediatric dental practices,  Dr. Jason Horgesheimer dedicates time to helping create atmospheres in which they feel comfortable during their treatment.

He recently worked in tandem with Benco Dental’s CenterPoint Design team to construct a practice – South Davis Pediatric Dentistry in Bountiful, Utah — that offers unique touches to put them at ease and create a sense fun.

Vintage bicycles, three-dimenstional wall and ceiling art (a kite with tail), a calming color palette and whimsical finishing touches add to the effect. To (literally) bolster the classic cottage details design theme: custom beams.

“The beams you see in the waiting room and hallways are from  They come prefinished in a wide variety of styles and wood species.  Or you could have them custom painted,” said CenterPoint Designer Megan Chuzas.  “It’s a very cost effective solution to using real wood beams.”

With beautifully pronounced grain pattern, deep grooves, prominent knots and more, the look and texture of heavy sandblasted beams will enhance any design. According to their creator, the faux wood beams, made from durable polyurethane, offer realism and strength without sacrificing quality. Their perfectly replication gives a highly realistic look while remaining lightweight. Unlike the real thing, this simulated wood beam will withstand warping, cracking, checking and pests while looking like new for years to come. Since they’re also weatherproof, that means you can easily use them outdoors as an exterior accent as well.

For more inspiring interiors, contact CenterPoint Design at 1.800.GO.BENCO or visit

"The beams you see in the waiting room and hallways are from  They come prefinished in a wide variety of styles and wood species.  Or you could have them custom painted," said CenterPoint Designer Megan Chuzas.

“The beams you see in the waiting room and hallways are from They come prefinished in a wide variety of styles and wood species. Or you could have them custom painted,” said CenterPoint Designer Megan Chuzas.




First the FBI, now pediatric dentists

Frank W. Abignale, the conman turned fraud fighter, Leonardo Decaprio, who played Abignale in ‘Catch Me if You Can,’ and Tom Hanks, who portrayed an FBI agent who took Abignale to task.

Located next to the Space Needle at Seattle Center, Chihuly Garden and Glass sparks wonder and inspiration for AAPD attendees and guests.

Whether you’re part of the spectacular Seattle welcome session (Space Needle, EMP Museum and Chihuly Gardens) at the AAPD today, or you’re arriving at the Washington State Convention Center tomorrow for a Scientific Session, there’s a lecture Tom Hanks suggests you attend.

Keynote speaker Frank W. Abagnale, one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement, and secure documents, will take the stage May 22 at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry annual session.

“Abagnale’s lecture may be the best one-man show you will ever see,” says Hanks, who portrayed on film the head of the FBI investigative team that chases after a character inspired by Abagnale.

For over 36 years Abagnale has worked with, advised, and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations, and government agencies around the world. Abagnale’s rare blend of knowledge and expertise began more than 40 years ago when he was known as one of the world’s most famous con men. This was depicted most graphically in his best-selling book, “Catch Me If You Can,” a film of which was also made, directed by Steven Spielberg with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. The Tony-Award winning musical, “Catch Me if You Can,” directed by multiple award winner Jack O’ Brien, opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre in April 2011.

Between the ages of 16 and 21, he successfully posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor, and a pediatrician, in addition to cashing $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, he served time in the French, Swedish, and US prison systems. After five years he was released on the condition that he would help the federal government, without remuneration, by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies.

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC): The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry strives to ensure every child has a dental home – a place where they can receive consistent, compassionate dental care.

Other AAPD highlights will include a three-day exhibit hall complete with Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Donor Lounge, where attendees can learn about Access to Care Grants and donate, and a booth with copies of the Coding Manual, the new pediatric dentistry handbook, according to a report by Dental Tribune.



Playing the VICTIM


By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America

When we are playing the role of a victim, we develop the delusion of being on moral high ground as a result of having unjust suffering inflicted upon us.  To be a VICTIM is look out the window of who did something to us and who can be blamed.  Victims don’t look inward at the personal role they played in the situations, events or relationships.

Victims feel it is a good way to attract sympathy, attention, and get them off the hook.

It becomes easy to invent a victim story. “Poor me…They did it to me again.” With a good victim story, people assign fault and blame and spend lots of time suffering.

 When we are being a victim, we ask…

 “Why did this happen to me? Whose fault is it?

Who can I blame?”

This can be a compelling position for some as it keeps them in denial, induces guilt, feeds their low self-esteem and transfers blame to others.

 A much more effective approach is to see the circumstances and accept them as they are and ask:

 “Now what?

Given that this is so, what am I going to do?”

“How did what I did or didn’t do play a critical role in the events turning out as they did.”

Signs of victim behavior…

  • Procrastinate, not keep agreements, and invent terrific stories to explain why it wasn’t my fault.
  • Victims tend to complain without a possible solution attached
  • Victims blame  others and point out their faults
  • Victims often see things a half empty and express negative feelings or thoughts
  • Victims suffer from all of life’s problems, become easily confused or frustrated, and already think they know everything.