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Featured California Academy of General Dentist Articles from General Practitioner News

Hobbies and Dentistry

I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Dr.James Spalenka, a general dentist and longtime AGD member. He is a past San Diego AGD and California AGD president. He has been practicing in the Rancho Bernardo community of San Diego for thirty-six years. I discovered his passion for surfing and scuba diving alongside his other passion, dentistry. What follows is my conversation with Dr. Spalenka on his two hobbies:

Surgical and Non-Surgical Management of Third Molars

The third molar (M3) or “wisdom tooth” can be a treatment dilemma for many practicing dentists. Not all third molars require removal but delaying treatment of those indicated for extraction may lead to complications including pain, caries, pericoronitis, infection, and/or formation of odontogenic pathology. Studies show that a small majority of impacted teeth result in a pathologic process, including an 8.6% that result in cysts or tumors.[1] In fact, a review by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) indicated that prophylactic removal of M3s could be associated with overall improvements in health-related quality of life.[2]

Covid-19 Assistance Relief

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic affected every dental practice in America. Here in California, an unprecedented shutdown led to fear and uncertainty for dental practice owners. In addition to a concern for their health and the health of their families, the shutdown led to a concern for their financial futures and their staff's financial futures. Thankfully, we quickly saw numerous, much-needed programs open to help protect business owners. These programs provided financial assistance to keep dental practices afloat over the past year and a half. However, their quick rollout led to confusion. How should these funds be used? Are they taxable? What reporting requirements do they have? Below we will answer these questions and more regarding these assistance relief programs.

The painful transition period in sedation regulations

The BIG NEWS from the November Dental Board of California (DBC) meeting is the results of two studies of pediatric dental sedation deaths and changes to sedation regulations and permits. There are new definitions of levels of sedation, there are new names for sedation permits, new requirements for personnel and training, and of course new fees. It is going to be a painful transition period for dentists who do sedation.

AGD applauds U.S. House decision to refrain from advancing the Medicare Dental Expansion Proposal

AGD is pleased that legislators acknowledged the concerns of general dentists and eliminated provisions to add a dental benefit to Medicare from the “Build Back Better Act” passed today in U.S. House of Representatives. The AGD supports consumer surveys, research, and reports that have concluded the inclusion of dental benefits into the program could harm the 27 million Americans who have Medicare Advantage (MA) and indicates that expansion proposals would effectively discourage provider participation.

What to expect from CAGD in 2022? – A Presidents Message

In my time with the California Academy of General Dentistry, never has this organization’s leadership, resolve and overall ethical fiber been tested more than in this past year. With time, we can look back at the direction that was taken, the decisions that were made, and adverse events that happened (or were prevented). We are not out of the woods yet, but from my perspective, past presidents Dr. Ricardo Suarez and Dr. Samer Alassad navigated the waters with clear heads, patience, and purposefulness for our organization. I owe a great debt to them for paving the way for what I hope to accomplish.