New Dental Treatment Helps Fill Cavities And Insurance Gaps For Seniors

11 hours ago
dental worker hands
Jennifer Geiselhofer

Dental hygienist Jennifer Geiselhofer often cleans the teeth of senior patients who can’t easily get to a dentist’s office. But until recently, if she found a cavity, there was little she could do.

“I can’t drill. I can’t pull teeth,” said Geiselhofer, whose mobile clinic is called Dental at Your Door. “I’d recommend they see a dentist, but that was often out of the question because of mobility challenges. So visit after visit, I would come back and there would be more decay.”

But now Geiselhofer has a weapon to obliterate a cavity with a few brushstrokes.

Some Florida Dental Offices Are Charging Extra Pandemic Fees

Jul 20, 2020
Northwest Family Dental in Gainesvulle

Florida residents may be due for a dental cleaning since dentists were closed for months during quarantine — but these appointments may come with extra fees.

Many hospitals, clinics and dental offices in some places across the U.S. are beginning to open now for routine, preventative care that was postponed in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. But still, patients wonder: Is it safe to go?

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law HB 843 that – among other things - revives a defunct loan repayment program for dentists who serve low-income patients.

Dentists burdened by high student loan debt may soon get some relief. 

Lawmakers are being asked to consider two competing proposals surrounding access to dental care. One would allow mid-level practitioners to be licensed, while the other would provide incentives to would-be dentists.

A coalition called Floridians for Dental Access wants the Florida Legislature to allow licenses for dental therapists.

Therapists have more training than a dental hygienist and less training than a dentist. They can perform services like filling cavities and pulling teeth.

Dentists graduate with a lot of student loan debt. That means it's hard for them to set up in rural areas where people might not have much money -- or health insurance.

Walk down the aisle of your local pharmacy or grocery store and you'll be bombarded by a dizzying array of bleaching products, from gels and strips to paint-on bleach.

Broken teeth are all too often a punchline in conversations about poor people in rural places. But for Heather Wallace, dental problems are anything but funny.

"Basically it's just like a nerve pain. Your whole body locks up; you have to stop for a second to try to breathe," she said. "And sometimes if it hurts bad enough, you might cry."

Firsts can be life changing — think about your first kiss, your first time behind the wheel of a car. But what about the first time you got a prescription for a narcotic?

James Hatzell, from Collingswood, NJ, is now a technology officer for a college addiction treatment program. He didn't realize it at the time, but that spring day of his junior year of high school — seven years ago — was a pivotal moment in his life.

Dr. Ben Mac-Ryan Spivey, an Ocala dentist who was suspended and heavily fined in 2012 based on complaints from at least 10 patients, completed his probation only to find himself in trouble again.

A group of women in Miami walked into a dental office seeking pap smears and treatment for yeast infections.

It was a protest against a recently passed law that will cut funding to women’s reproductive healthcare in Florida.

Florida Medicaid Kids Miss Out On Dentist

Oct 7, 2015
Daylina Miller / WUSF

Children who get health insurance through Medicaid go to the dentist about half as often as children in Florida who have private insurance, according to a new study out from the American Dental Association and the Health Policy Institute.

Corey Perrine/Naples Daily News via AP

Police in southwest Florida say vandals spray painted the words "lion killer" on the garage door of the vacation home owned by a Minnesota dentist who has been identified as the hunter who killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

Marco Island police Capt. David Baer says the vandals also left at least seven pickled pigs' feet on the driveway of Walter Palmer's $1.1 million home. Baer says police have opened an investigation.

A hand-made sign criticizing Palmer was left in the yard last week. A security company has been hired to protect the property.

Wall Street Journal-Alexia Fodere

Miami’s so-called 'Rock Doc' apologized for his involvement in a Medicare scheme on Friday, but that didn’t stop a federal judge from sending him to prison for six years, the Miami Herald reports.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

 Over two days at the Florida State Fairgrounds, volunteers organized by the Florida Dental Association provided more than $1 million in free services.

When volunteers got there to open the doors on the first day at 5 a.m., there were more than 800 people in line, according to association president Terry Buckenheimer. By the end of the event, volunteers served 1,660 patients.

A Pensacola dentist has vanished -- as has his patients' cash -- and police are looking for both.

The Escambia County Sheriff said Dr. Thomas Rollins, a licensed dentist with a history of disciplinary actions suddenly, closed down his office without alerting patients or performing services for which they had already paid, according to the Pensacola News Journal. They are asking patients who may be victims to contact detectives.

If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.

Dental coverage for children is one of the benefits that must be offered under the law. But, it turns out, a loophole in the law means that — in most states — families don't actually have to buy that coverage.

These rules are so confusing that they even tripped me up.

A Brazilian dentist who lacks a Florida license has been operating an illegal practice in his Boca Raton home the past six years, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. In a  deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time, Ubaldo Bittencourt, 63, will serve probation for five years, plus community service and fines. “Dr.

Doctors and pharmacists accused of running one of the nation’s largest steroid supply rings are on trial in federal court, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office

As a dentist, Thomas Floyd developed a reputation as a dental champion for poor children, serving as president of the Florida Dental Association in the late 1990s, serving on committees dealing with indigent care, and giving lectures nationwide.  But in his West Palm Beach office, he developed another, more sinister, reputation, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Doug Engle / Ocala Star-Banner

Dr. Michael Addair Tarver’s license has been suspended by an emergency order from the Florida Department of Health, the Ocala Star-Banner reports (paywall in effect). According to DOH records, the dentist allegedly tried to cover up two separate incidents involving 4-year-old patients having a reaction to anesthesia.

Miriam R. Rubano, a Palm Beach County dentist, had her license suspended in an emergency Department of Health order in October, on the grounds that she was a danger to the public. But apparently she ignored that and kept right on practicing, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post.

The Florida Department of Health has imposed emergency restrictions on an oral surgeon  accused of sexually assaulting patients while they were sedated, the Pensacola News Journal reports. The public complaint, which says one of the patients was 16 years old, notes staff members saw that the dentist was touching the patient and was “sexually aroused.” 

Ben Spivey, the focus of a Health News Florida article in May about reports he bilked patients, has agreed to a settlement with the state dental board that allows him to practice.