Dental Education Caravan Talks Tooth Damage from Sports, Energy Drinks

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email

Keeping a dental license means keeping up with continuing education hours. That's why the UNMC College of Dentistry has hit the road the past 25 years with a dental education caravan.

350 continuing education hours have been doled out to more than 8,000 attendees over that time.

"It's part of our mission to try to provide for all the state and we're very pleased that we can do this," says Dr. John Reinhardt, Dean of UNMC College of Dentistry. "It's not a chore to be out doing the dental caravan, it's a joy, we really enjoy it."

UNMC officials say that dentistry is an ever-changing field, and they want professionals to have the latest information to help their patients, like research that shows that after that workout if may be more beneficial for your teeth to forgo the sports drink and take a sip of water instead.

"They say that 62% of teenagers today drink sport drinks or energy drinks and we don't know sometimes what the effect that those drinks are going to have on their teeth," says Dr. Paul Hansen, Director of the Prosthodontics Section at the College of Dentistry.

Hansen says when tooth structure loss isn't a result of tooth decay, it might also be from those drinks, or from eating acidic foods, having gastric reflux, or could even be a symptom of bulimia.

Dental professionals also got a refresher on handling a medical emergency that might crop up during a patient visit.

"That could be anything from just fainting in the chair all the way to having a heart attack or stroke," says Dr. Lindsay Mundil, associate professor at the College of Dentistry and dental hygienist. "It's good to kind of just keep updated with it and have reviews every now and then just to keep yourself fresh on how to handle those situations since we don't typically deal with them."

Dentists say that with advances in computer scanning and new materials used in restorations, there's always something new to learn.

Officials also say the dental field is growing, and there's a need for dentists and dental hygienists, especially in rural areas.

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