:DentalPlans Weekly Dental and Healthcare News Roundup


3D Printer Saves Lives

Surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami are using a 3-D printer that makes exact replicas of organs that doctors can use to plan surgery, and even do practice operations using the same surgical tools they work with in the operating room. The printer uses images from patients’ MRI or CT scan images to create 3D models of the patient’s heart or other organs.

According to a news story by CNN, Dr. Redmond Burke, director of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus, meditated on a model of a young girl’s heart for a couple of weeks. He showed it to colleagues for their input and even carried it around in his gym bag for quick reference.

Burke said his work with the model let him avoid making a bigger incision than was needed, resulting in a faster recovery time and less pain for his young patient. It also reduced the time needed to do the surgery by about 2 hours. The technology has also enabled the Nicklaus surgical team to perform operations that they might have refused to do before for fear that the patient would not survive the surgery.

About 75 hospitals in the United States, and around 200 worldwide, have 3D printers capable of making medical models. Doctors have used the replicated organs to prepare for many kinds of challenging operations, such as surgery to remove a brain tumor or to correct a severe cleft palate.


 Yes, You Can Afford Quality Dental Care

St. Petersburg’s Bay News 9 featured Dr. Nicole Mitchell’s great tips on how to save at the dentist. Dr. Mitchell participates in a dental savings plan that helps her patients to get the care that they need.

Dr. Mitchell’s patient, Tricia Sifford, and her family went without dental care for five years after she changed jobs and lost her dental insurance.

“We couldn’t afford it. We tried to get just private coverage through an insurance company and for five people it was just too much,” Sifford said.

“The years they haven’t sought care, a lot of irreversible damage can occur to both the gums and the teeth,” Dr. Mitchell said.

The article outlines the benefits of dental savings plans, noting that “Discount dental plans are not insurance.  They work like a membership at a wholesale store like Costco or Sam’s Club.  You pay a yearly fee and in exchange get discounts off the regular cost of procedures by participating dentists.”

“Depending on the plan, joining a discount dental plan costs anywhere from $80 to $300 a year. Discounts range from 10 to 60 percent.  Discount dental plans generally don’t have any exclusions and also cover some services like orthodontics and veneers, which regular dental insurance sometimes does not.”

“I love it. It’s easy. There are no forms to fill out,” Sifford said.  “You just come in, get the work done and they show you what you would have paid and what you’re actually going to pay.”


Stay Home!

Your coworker is coughing up a lung, and you’re wishing he or she would just stay home rather than spewing germs in your general direction? Get used to it – more than half of U.S. workers go to work when they are sick with the flu, even though they know better, according to a new survey conducted for Staples by Redshift Research.

The survey shows most employees go to work sick because they believe there is too much going on at work to take a sick day. Half of them feel pressured to be at work or “tough it out” and 25 percent don’t believe someone else can handle their work when they are out sick.

Dear sick people: it makes no sense to infect dozens of your co-workers in your personal quest to be ruggedly efficient. Stay home, get the medical care – and prescriptions – that you need via a virtual visit to the doctor. Pick the right telemedicine plan, and consultations with a local doctor are free.


A Better Breakfast

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition (confirmed by several follow-up studies) found that people who eat protein-rich breakfasts don’t experience mid-morning energy slumps and stay full longer than us poor sods who want a snack at 11am. This is because protein takes longer to digest than carbs.

Eggs are the obvious solution but they aren’t the only one. The Daily Beast provides seven protein-packed breakfast ideas that are super easy to make (and eat).  Example: did you know that a cup of Greek yogurt has at least 17 grams of protein —the same amount you’d get from eating three eggs?


Go Home, Vegetarian, You’re Drunk

Speaking of protein, American vegetarians, on average, eat a serving of meat per day. So that recent study showing that one third of vegetarians eat meat while they’re drunk really is no surprise.

This finding about carnivorous vegetarians comes from a 2003 analysis of data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the late 90’s.

“The researchers examined responses from a representative sample of nearly 10,000 Americans who had detailed everything they ate over two separate and nonconsecutive 24-hour periods. And vegetarians, it turns out, eat meat. About 40 percent of what the typical American reported—220 grams or so—but meat all the same.”

Why are vegetarians eating meat? Possibly the study rooted out those “sortavegetarians” who think poultry or fish are fruits. What is certain though is that vegetarians who don’t eat meat for health reasons are more likely to cheat on their diets than those who feel that eating animals is wrong.


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