CLEARsmile’s Dr. Reizenson Featured as Medical Technology Expert in Recent Blog Post

CLEARsmile’s Dr. Igor Reizenson was recently featured in a Pannam Imaging blog post about the challenges that MedTech companies face when growing. Dr. Reizenson was one of 13 experts featured in the blog post and specifically discusses the challenges surrounding fundraising:

“The big financial hump is moving from the alpha prototype stage to the beta prototype, where most people get stuck in the process. At this point, the inventor needs to be meeting with venture capital and angel investors. The cost of developing a beta prototype is high, ranging from one hundred thousand dollars up to one million. The beta prototype is a nearly complete product that needs FDA approval along with user testing and feedback from a small group of potential customers.”

CLEARsmile is in good company in this blog post, featured alongside other medical technology companies like Breakthrough Medical Innovations, TrueVault, Accel Spine, and more.

To read the full article, click here.

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Dental Health and Bad Breath

Dental Health and Bad Breath

Bad breath, medically called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.

How Does What You Eat Affect Breath?

Basically, all the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing — even mouthwash — merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.

Why Do Poor Habits Cause Bad Breath?

If you don’t brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, which promotes bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue. This causes bad breath. Antibacterial mouth rinses can also help reduce bacteria. In addition, odor-causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned.

Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate the gums.

What Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath?

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form in the mouth, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries.

The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and washing away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by the side effects of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

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Oral Health In Nursing homes: Does it exist?

In Nursing Homes, an Epidemic of Poor Dental Hygiene
By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS AUGUST 4, 2013, 2:30 PM 207 Comments

Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times
Dr. Sarah Dirks, right, a dentist who treats nursing home residents in San Antonio, said she would be “surprised if oral care was even on the radar of the medical directors” at nursing homes

Katherine Ford visited her father, Dean Piercy, a World War II veteran with dementia, at a nursing home in Roanoke, Va., for months before she noticed the dust on his electric toothbrush. His teeth, she found, had not been brushed recently, so she began doing it herself after their lunches together.

But after he complained of a severe, unrelenting headache, she said, she badgered the staff to make an appointment for him with his dentist. The dentist found that a tooth had broken in two, and he showed Ms. Ford the part that had lodged in the roof of her father’s mouth.

“I was livid,” said Ms. Ford, 57, a court reporter. “I’m there every day, pointing out he’s in pain — and he had dental insurance. So there’s no reason this wasn’t addressed.”

In nursing homes across the country, residents like Mr. Piercy are plagued by cavities, gum disease and cracked teeth, in part because their mouths are not kept clean. While residents now require more dental care than in the past, nursing home employees are rarely prepared to provide it. Aides are swamped with other tasks, and when older charges must be helped to the toilet, fed or repositioned in bed, brushing their teeth often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

Even when care is available, few staff members are trained to cope with the rising numbers of residents with dementia who resist routine dental hygiene.

Jennifer Whitney for The New York Times
Dentures are easier for nursing home staff to clean.
“I always say you can measure quality in a nursing home by looking in people’s mouths, because it’s one of the last things to be taken care of,” said Dr. Judith A. Jones, chairwoman of the department of general dentistry at Boston University. “Aides change someone’s Depends, change a catheter or turn somebody every few hours, but teeth often don’t get brushed twice a day.”

The neglect can lead to terrible pain for the residents. Worse, new studies suggest that this problem may be contributing to another: pneumonia, a leading killer of institutionalized older people.

The lack of daily oral care in nursing facilities is “an epidemic that’s almost universally overlooked,” said Dr. Sarah J. Dirks, a dentist who treats nursing home residents in San Antonio.

There are no current national assessments of oral health in nursing homes, but since 2011, at least seven states have evaluated residents using a survey developed by the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors. One was Kansas, where dental hygienists examined 540 older residents in 20 long-term-care facilities. Nearly 30 percent of the residents had “substantial oral debris on at least two-thirds of their teeth,” according to a report issued by the Kansas Bureau of Oral Health. More than one-third had untreated decay.

The screeners saw plenty of fillings and crowns but concluded that “regular dental care has become a thing of the past” for many of the residents.

In Wisconsin, nearly 1,100 residents from 24 homes were examined. About 31 percent had teeth broken to the gums, with visible roots; 35 percent had substantial oral debris.

The problem has been graphically documented in state and federal inspections of nursing homes. In Texas, inspectors noted one resident with memory problems in too much pain to eat, her lower gums red, swollen and packed with food debris.

A 2006 study of five facilities in upstate New York found only 16 percent of residents received any oral care at all. Among those who did, average tooth brushing time was 16 seconds. Supplies like toothbrushes were scarce, the report said.

At the Raleigh Court Health and Rehabilitation Center in Roanoke, where Mr. Piercy was a resident, the administrator, Mark Tubbs, said in a statement that he could not discuss Mr. Piercy’s case because of federal privacy laws, and he could not corroborate Ms. Ford’s account. “All patients receive medically necessary, high-quality care, including oral care and hygiene,” Mr. Tubbs said.

Just as nursing home workers are expected to help residents bathe or reposition them to avoid bed sores, they are supposed to brush the teeth of residents who cannot do it themselves. So important is this task that it was federally mandated in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, which set new standards for nursing homes.

“They should be getting their care, but a lot of people don’t,” acknowledged Dr. David Gifford, the senior vice president of quality at the American Health Care Association, a trade group representing two-thirds of nursing homes nationwide.

Some residents decline help, he noted, and nursing home employees can do little about it. “It’s a very personal thing to have someone else brush your teeth,” Dr. Gifford said. “A lot of residents don’t want it, don’t like it and will ask not to have it.”

Many arrive at nursing homes with poor teeth, he added, after long periods without seeing a dentist.

Certainly, oral care can be a vexing challenge for nursing homes. Older Americans are more likely than ever to retain their natural teeth. Edentulism, total tooth loss, in older people declined from 1988 to 2004, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

“Before, they came in with dentures,” said Barbara J. Smith, the manager of geriatric and special-needs populations at the American Dental Association. “Now it’s a whole different ballgame.” Dentures are easier for nursing home staff to clean.

Nearly two-thirds of those who stay in a nursing home long term have dementia, and many resist oral care, clenching their mouth shut or even trying to hit aides. The National Institutes of Health is financing research to address such resistance among nursing home residents with dementia.

Many prescription drugs — including some antidepressants, medications for high blood pressure and anti-seizure medications — can reduce saliva and dry out the mouth. Without daily oral care, older people taking such drugs are especially prone to “a relatively rapid deterioration,” said Dr. Ira Lamster, a dentist and a professor of health policy at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia.

The consequences are not limited to cavities and gum disease. Since 2004, when researchers first linked oral bacteria to the occurrence of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older people, a series of studies has shown that oral care — from regular brushing to professional dental care — might reduce the risk. Roughly one in 10 cases of deaths from pneumonia in nursing homes could be prevented by improving oral hygiene, according to a 2008 systematic review published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

But even when residents and their families know that better oral care is needed, paying for it can be a challenge. Medicare does not cover routine dental care like cleanings and fillings. Most states provide at least some dental services to adults on Medicaid, but coverage varies widely, and finding a local dentist who accepts Medicaid payments can be difficult.

More than 30 states allow dental hygienists to provide some treatment without specific authorization from a dentist, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association. But medical directors at nursing facilities do not necessarily see the value of having a dental hygienist on contract or on staff, said Shirley Gutkowski, a dental hygienist of 27 years who educates nursing-home workers in Wisconsin.

Dr. Dirks, the Texas dentist, said she would be “surprised if oral care was even on the radar of the medical directors” at nursing homes. Indeed, her group practice used to contract with 62 nursing homes, but now works only with 24 that make oral health a priority. For change to occur, she said, “every nursing home needs an oral care champion.”

 

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Toothbrush Can Chip Teeth and Cause Choking

When using your electric toothbrush, you don’t expect parts of the device to pop off and chip your tooth, fly into your eyes or get stuck in your throat.

But that’s exactly what has happened to some users of the battery-powered Arm & Hammer Spinbrush—or the Crest Spinbrush, as it was called before 2009.

“It’s important that consumers know how to avoid the risks associated with using the Spinbrush,” says Shumaya Ali, M.P.H., a consumer safety officer at the Food and Drug Administration. “We’ve had reports in which parts of the toothbrush broke off during use and were released into the mouth with great speed, causing broken teeth and presenting a choking hazard.”

FDA regulates toothbrushes—whether manual or electric—as medical devices that are intended to help prevent tooth decay. Safety precautions should be taken with all kinds of electric toothbrushes.

“Electric toothbrushes can be very effective in removing dental plaque, and so they can help prevent dental decay and gum disease,” says Susan Runner, D.D.S., chief of FDA’s dental devices branch. “At the same time, it’s important to supervise children when they use these brushes, and to look out for any malfunctions of the toothbrush that might cause an injury.”

Injuries reported from using the Spinbrush powered toothbrush include

chipped or broken teeth
cuts to the mouth and gums
swallowing and choking on broken pieces
injury to the face and eyes
FDA is alerting the public about the potential for injury while using the following models of Spinbrush:

Spinbrush ProClean
Spinbrush ProClean Recharge
Spinbrush Pro Whitening
Spinbrush SONIC
Spinbrush SONIC Recharge
Spinbrush Swirl
Spinbrush Classic Clean
Spinbrush For Kids
Spinbrush Replacement Heads
Parts Popping Off
The Spinbrush handle contains batteries and a motor that operates the brushes, which are attached to a brush head. In the models of Spinbrush made for adults, the brush head is removable and can be replaced.

But the brush head should not pop off during normal use, says Ali. “In some cases, the brush head popped off to expose metal pieces underneath that can—and have—poked individuals in the cheek and areas near the eyes, causing injuries.”

The “Spinbrush for Kids” models, which have different handle designs, such as Spiderman and Thomas & Friends, do not have removable brush heads. Nonetheless, problems with the Spinbrush for Kids have also been reported, such as cut lips, burns from the batteries, and bristles falling off and lodging in a child’s tonsils.

“FDA’s concern is that the unexpected release of any part of this battery-powered toothbrush during use poses a risk of injury,” says Steven Silverman, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “And the risk is higher in children or adults who may need assistance but are not supervised while using the toothbrush.”

 

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Poor Dental Hygiene in Nursing Homes – One of the Reasons CLEARsmile was Invented

Dr. Igor Reizenson, the founder and inventor of CLEARsmile, has been in dentistry for over ten years and many of the patients he has worked have been patients with dexterity problems, including the elderly. According to a New York Times article published in August of 2013, titled “In Nursing Homes, an Epidemic of Poor Dental Hygiene,” this is still a problem that many patients and families have to deal with today.

The article reveals some shocking facts from a survey from the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors:

– In Wisconsin, nearly 1,100 residents from 24 homes were examined. About 31 percent had teeth broken to the gums, with visible roots; 35 percent had substantial oral debris.

A 2006 study of five facilities in upstate New York found only 16 percent of residents received any oral care at all.

Since 2004, when researchers first linked oral bacteria to the occurrence of hospital-acquired pneumonia in older people, a series of studies has shown that oral care — from regular brushing to professional dental care — might reduce the risk. Roughly one in 10 cases of deaths from pneumonia in nursing homes could be prevented by improving oral hygiene, according to a 2008 systematic review published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Beside placing the blame on the care facilities, the article also points out that brushing someone else’s teeth is a very personal experience, and some patients may decline the assistance. Dr. Reizenson was well aware of these issues after serving time with bed-ridden patients in a residency program at the Veterans Hospital of New York. As he thought about the features of a new kind of oral hygiene device, he imagined it being small, extremely easy to use, and physically easy to handle.

In addition to the elderly, CLEARsmile was also designed for young children and people with braces. Anyone with dexterity problems, or the general public who are sick of spending their money on disposable toothbrushes and other oral heath tools, can benefit from the convenience, speed and effectiveness of CLEARsmile.

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Recent News

Dr. Reizenson of CLEARsmile was recently featured as one of 13 medical device and technology experts, discussing the #1 challenge that MedTech companies face when scaling.

Click here for the article, or on the image below.

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