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Beware the fluoridation opponents

May 1, 2004
I read with interest the article by Connie Sidder, RDH, BS, about water fluoridation opponents ("Coming to a Town Near You") in the February 2004 issue.

Dear RDH:
I read with interest the article by Connie Sidder, RDH, BS, about water fluoridation opponents ("Coming to a Town Near You") in the February 2004 issue. It was very timely for me, since Hawaii has been facing opposition to water fluoridation for many years (it has never been implemented here).

In fact, in February 2004, the city council of Honolulu voted to ban fluoride in the drinking water! While the issue of fluoridation has come up every year, Honolulu city council representatives made the issue moot by instituting the ban. The ban was presented under the guise of keeping the water "pure" and not adding chemicals that would change the taste.

In fact, it was done so secretively that members of the health-care community — including the Hawaii Dental Hygienists' Association and the Hawaii Dental Association — had no knowledge of the proposal until a few days before it was introduced to the city council.

While health-care representatives presented the case for fluoride's positive effects, the ban was passed and then signed by the mayor. A very vocal, but small, group of anti-fluoridation supporters found this back-door way to ensure fluoride is never added to our water.

Hawaii's population has a rampant caries rate (except on the military bases where the water is fluoridated), yet those council members who supported the ban by a margin of 5 to 2 wanted to keep Hawaii's water "the best tasting water in the world." One individual who supported the ban stated that fluoridated water "tastes like chlorine," which obviously shows how unaware fluoride opponents can be.

So watch out for such sneaky tactics. As Ms. Sidder explained in her article, they could be "Coming to a Town Near You."
Jill Rethman, RDH, BA
Kaneohe, Hawaii

About the cover
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Sherri Selvey, RDH, has been practicing for more than 20 years. She graduated from West Virginia University Institute of Technol-ogy in 1983.For the past 17 years, she has practiced at the Cassis Dental Center inFayetteville,W.Va., working alongside Dr. Bruce L. Cassis.

Selvey is very proud of her 2001 certification in the use of lasers."I am still the only laser certified hygienist in the state of West Virginia. I practice three days per week, and those days are filled with laser hygiene procedures."

The dental practice employs three hygienists, and Selvey also serves as the hygiene coordinator. On Selvey's 15th anniversary with the practice, Dr. Cassis purchased and installed a sign with her name on it. "It is rare a dentist recognizes a hygienist in this way," Selvey says.

During a laser-assisted periodontal therapy session at Cassis Dental, the laser is used twice — once before scaling and root-planing to decontaminate the sulcular area, and once after SRP to vaporize remaining necrotic tissue and sterilize the sulcus.

Selvey says that patients who received periodontal laser therapy — presenting with a healthy immune system and 5 to 6 mm perio pockets — decreased to healthy levels after only two weeks.

"This compares quite favorably to conventional therapy, which can take up to four weeks to see marked improvement," she says.

"Anyone who is proficient with a probe can exhibit good instrumentation with a laser. Tactile sensitivity seems to be lessened, so it is wise to be familiar with pocket depths and probe findings throughout the mouth. Laser safety is as easy as posting a sign, letting everyone know a laser could be operating in the office and ensuring the operator and patient wear protective glasses."

The dental practice actively promotes the availability of lasers to patients, Selvey says.

"We have marketed our laser hygiene and other laser services to the public and the results have been remarkable. When people hear the word laser, they automatically think of fast, painless procedures. We continually have patients actually ask for some type of laser procedure.

"We have been so accustomed to being associated with pain and anxiety. We can now bask in the glory of laser energy and offer our patients the speedy, pain-free, quality care they deserve."

Dr. Cassis also doesminor orthodontic cases, and his work with the wires and pliers led Selvey to an interest in jewelry making and design.

"I love wrapping river stones and river glass that I have collected from the NewRiver here in Fayette County. I have made hundreds of pieces of jewelry and have my own jewelry making and design business called Posh here in Fayetteville."

She and her husband have three children. Her oldest daughter is a college student, and her youngest son — called a "miracle child" by Selvey — is two years old.

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