Think before you 3D print: DIY orthodontics receive warning from USC – 3D Printing Industry

Experts from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California (USC) have expressed concerns about businesses offering direct-to-customer 3D printed aligner services.

The worry with such services is that patients are missing out on crucial care steps provided by a one-to-one consultation with an orthodontist. This can include jaw x-rays, and general dental health checks, which are fundamental to the overall well-being of the teeth.

USC alumni Nehi Ogbevoen, now an accomplished orthodontist, explains, “There’s a lot of things we can catch on an X-ray — for example, impacted teeth. There are other things we can catch that, if you aren’t seeing a dentist regularly, can be really scary.”

“We not only want to improve aesthetics but also the function of the bite,” he adds,

“We’re trying to plan your bite and smile and how they are going to age over the next 30, 40 years.”

The open-source dental opportunity

In 2016 famed designer Amos Dudley shed significant light on the power of 3D printing in dentistry by creating his own corrective braces at home. The blog charting his homegrown dental care project comes with a disclaimer advising readers against taking such action on their own. However it seems it has sparked some concern within the professional dental market.

Not only this, but entrepreneurs seeking to cash-in on the opportunities offered by dental 3D printing have also started cropping up. And this, in particular, is what comes under scrutiny at USC.

The problem with “DIY” dentistry

As an established brand within dentistry Invisalign is of course a respected business within this sphere. However, “the world’s largest user of state-of-the-art 3D printing technology for making highly accurate, customized aligners,” is not the kind of opportunist targeted by USC critics.

Invisalign requires patients to organize an appointment before seeking treatment. It is instead such businesses that seem to solely operate online that have come under fire. Those that allow a patient to submit their own 3D scanned dental model for consideration, without consultation.

The problem here can be that any existing dental-health conditions can fly under the radar, causing deeper issues for the patient. In particular Hany Youssef, faculty member at the  USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, has come face-to-face with a patient who suffered negative side effects due to a condition missed when undertaking this type of “DIY” dental care.

How to get low-cost dental care

Rather than scaremongering though, the recommendation here is that patients should be asking lots of questions before they go ahead with the low-cost alternative. It is also making orthodonists reflect on the high cost of treatment and, USC experts, believe that this new, more convenient approach will have a trickle-down effect on the wider dental industry.

Glenn T. Sameshima, chairman and program director of USC’s Advanced Orthodontics Certificate Program, says accessibility needs to be taken into account. “I see a future,” he adds, “20 to 30 years from now, when they’ll be able to do a combination of clear aligners and braces, with 3D printing bringing these costs down.”

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This content was originally published here.

Federal Government Misled Public on E-Cigarette Health Risk: CEI Report

A new report from the Competitive Enterprise Institute calls into question government handling of e-cigarette risk to public health, especially last week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tacitly conceded that the spate of lung injuries widely reported in mid-2019 were not caused by commercially produced e-cigarettes like Juul or Njoy.

Rather, the injuries appear to be exclusively linked to marijuana vapes, mostly black market purchases – a fact that the Competitive Enterprise Institute pointed out nearly six months ago. The CDC knew that, too, but for months warned Americans to avoid all e-cigarettes.

“The Centers for Disease Control failed to warn the public which products were causing lung injuries and deaths in 2019,” said Michelle Minton, co-author of the CEI report.

“By stoking unwarranted fears about e-cigarettes, government agencies responsible for protecting the health and well-being of Americans have been scaring adult smokers away from products that could help them quit smoking,” Minton explained.

Now that the CDC has finally began to inform the public accurately, it’s too little too late, the report warns. The admission has done little to slow the onslaught of prohibitionist e-cigarette policies sweeping the nation, and the damage to public perception is already done.

Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers in the U.S. now incorrectly believe that e-cigarettes are no less harmful than combustible cigarettes, according to survey data from April 2019. Yet the best studies to-date estimate e-cigarettes carry only a fraction of the risk of combustible smoking, on par with the risks associated with nicotine replacement therapies like gum and lozenges. Meanwhile, traditional cigarettes contribute to nearly half a million deaths in the U.S. every year.

The CEI report traces the arc of CDC and FDA messaging and actions, starting in late June 2019, about young people hospitalized after vaping. Concurrent news reporting ultimately revealed, though virtually never in the headline, that the victims were vaping cartridges containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the key ingredient in cannabis, with many admitting to purchasing these products from unlicensed street dealers. Yet for months the CDC consistently refused to acknowledge the role of the black market THC in the outbreak, which had a ripple effect on news reporting and on state government handling of the problem.

By September 2019, over half of public opinion poll respondents (58 percent) said they believed the lung illness deaths were caused by e-cigarettes such as Juul, while only a third (34 percent) said the cases involved THC/marijuana.

The CEI report warns that federal agencies should not be allowed to continue misleading the public about lower-risk alternatives to smoking.

View the report: Federal Health Agencies’ Misleading Messaging on E-Cigarettes Threatens Public Health by Michelle Minton and Will Tanner.

This content was originally published here.