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Industry news from the editorial staff at Proofs magazine, a PennWell publication

June 1, 2007
Sunstar Americas, Inc., which produces oral care products for both professionals and consumers worldwide, announced May 1 the winners of the first World Dental Hygienists Awards.

Sunstar announces recipients of international awards

Sunstar Americas, Inc., which produces oral care products for both professionals and consumers worldwide, announced May 1 the winners of the first World Dental Hygienists Awards.

Sponsored by the Sunstar Foundation for Oral Health Promotion, based in Japan, and co-sponsored by Sunstar Americas, Inc., the new awards were created to recognize and encourage dental hygienists and students of dental hygiene who make great contributions to the community of dentistry, their profession, or to the public in general.

Award winners were chosen from papers submitted to a collaborating sponsor of the awards, the International Journal of Dental Hygiene. Submissions were divided into three award categories: research paper on dentistry, report of activities that contribute in the promotion of oral health, and activity report or essay written by dental hygiene students on dental hygiene or volunteer work.

The award recipients are as follows:

• Research category: “Risk for development of atherosclerosis in women with high amount of dental plaque and severe gingival inflammation.” Birgitta Soder and Maha Yakob from the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.

• Project category: “The experience of a Canadian dental hygienist in the Dominican Republic.” Elina Katsman from Toronto, Canada reports on the activities carried out by “Sonrisas” to promote oral health.

• Student category: “Dental hygiene residential care in a 3-year dental hygiene education programme in Japan. Towards dysphagia management based on the dental hygiene process of care.” Tomomi Nishimura, Chigusa Takahashi, and Eri Takahashi from the Miyagi Advanced Dental Hygienist College, Japan.

The World Dental Hygienists Awards are granted and selected by a screening committee, and will be conducted every three years. Recipients receive a commemorative trophy and a cash prize ($5,000 for the research category; $3,000 for the project category; and $2,000 for the student category).

The award ceremony will take place at the IFDH (International Federation of Dental Hygienists) Symposium on Thursday, July 19th, at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, Canada.

Sunstar is a company founded in Japan with worldwide sales of over $1 billion. The company has offices in 15 countries and four major geographic divisions, including Sunstar Americas, Inc., which serves North and South America. Sunstar’s Butler® brand of professional dental products and GUM® brand of patient oral hygiene products have been two of the dental profession’s recommended brands for more than 80 years (

Novalar seeks FDA approval for reversal agent

Novalar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced on April 10 the submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for marketing approval of NV-101, a local dental anesthetic reversal agent. In studies, patients treated with NV-101 reported the return of sensation and function in less than half the time after receiving local dental anesthesia.

“The submission of the NV-101 NDA is a key regulatory milestone for Novalar and we will maintain a close interface with the FDA throughout the NDA review process,” said Donna Janson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novalar. “We will also continue to put in place the necessary marketing and commercialization infrastructure to ensure a successful product launch. In addition, we have intensified our business development efforts to identify and evaluate promising in-licensing opportunities to add to our product pipeline.”

In two Phase 3 studies, NV-101 was well tolerated, safe, and met its primary and secondary endpoints. NV-101 induced a 54.8 percent and a 62.3 percent decrease in time to normal for those with anesthesia administered in the mandible and maxilla respectively. These reductions were statistically different than control (p<0.0001) with no serious adverse events reported.

In the Phase 2 pediatric study for NV-101, the time to normal sensation was reduced by 55.6 percent, a clinically and statistically significant (p<0.0001) acceleration of the return to normal sensation. As in the Phase 3 studies, NV-101 continued to be well tolerated with no serious adverse events reported in the pediatric population studied.

Market research with both patients and dentists has indicated strong interest in a product that will reduce the time to normal sensation following local dental anesthesia. If approved, NV-101’s safety and efficacy profile could make it a potentially useful treatment option to satisfy this unmet need.

If approved by the FDA, NV-101 will be the only local anesthetic reversal agent that accelerates the return to normal sensation and function following restorative and periodontal maintenance procedures. The product has been tested in pediatric, adolescent and adult patients. Phentolamine mesylate (a vasodilator), the active ingredient in the investigational agent NV-101, has been approved and in use in specific medical indications at significantly higher doses for over 50 years.

San Diego-based Novalar Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company. The company’s initial product offering, NV-101, is being evaluated as a local anesthetic reversal agent and was developed to rapidly reverse the lingering and debilitating lip and tongue numbness associated with local dental anesthesia. For more information, visit

3M ESPE receives ‘most innovative’ designation

For the second year running, 3M ESPE ranks as the most innovative company in the worldwide dental industry, according to the 2006 Dental Industry Review conducted by The Anaheim Group, distributors of Dental Fax Weekly.

“At the heart of the company’s culture lies 100+ years of research and development expertise, making discovery a way of life at 3M ESPE,” said Jeff Lavers, division vice president, 3M ESPE. “With more than 6,500 scientists companywide, it’s no surprise that innovation is fostered at every level within the organization - from the lab to the sales force.”

During the past five years, 3M ESPE has led the dental industry with an average of 45 innovations per year. In 2007, the company is poised to retain its “most innovative” designation with early introductions of RelyX Unicem Self-Adhesive Universal Resin Cement in the Clicker Dispenser and Protemp Crown Temporization Material.

“Our people understand that innovation, in and of itself, is not enough,” continued Lavers. “It’s only when we combine that spirit of discovery with customer insights that we are able to apply our deep knowledge and technological expertise for the betterment of dentistry.”

The Anaheim Group considers three components in its innovation index, including: FDA 510(k) new product clearances for the U.S. market; United States Patent Office dental industry patents; and dental patents from the European Patent Office and the World International Patent Office. The Dental Industry Review summarizes the key business and technical events occurring in the worldwide dental industry.

Firms raise capital for The Natural Dentist

Aisling Capital has joined Great Spirit Ventures, Burrill & Company, Prolog Ventures, and Brooke Private Equity in the completion of Series B financing for The Natural Dentist, an oral care company.

The new financing from Aisling Capital will strengthen The Natural Dentist’s ability to link emerging scientific knowledge and the company’s effective natural oral care solutions. The Natural Dentist is currently working with scientists and institutions in oral care research to demonstrate the efficacy of its products and develop proprietary natural formulations that address oral health issues. The new financing will enable The Natural Dentist to continue to place emphasis on research and innovation. The financing will also allow The Natural Dentist to expand its distribution channels and improve its presentation at retail, as well as increase consumer marketing initiatives.

“Aisling Capital has a phenomenal record of selecting and shaping high growth businesses,” said Nancy Rosenzweig, President and CEO, The Natural Dentist. “Their blend of experience with both life science and consumer companies makes them a unique and valuable resource for our company. Aisling Capital’s confidence in The Natural Dentist is affirming for our brand and our business model.”

Diana Robinson, director of business development at Aisling Capital, said, “Aisling Capital is committed to life science innovation and the practical application of that knowledge. The delivery of better oral care through clinically proven, botanically formulated products is a strong proposition and attractive to a growing number of educated consumers. We look forward to playing a leadership role in the further success of The Natural Dentist.”

As part of the financing, Robinson joined The Natural Dentist’s Board of Directors. Current board members include Will Rosenzweig of Great Spirit Ventures, Roger Wyse of Burrill & Company, Ilya Nykin of Prolog Ventures, Gerard Moufflet of Acceleration International, and Rosenzweig.

The Natural Dentist product line offers botanically-formulated products for oral care, an alternative to mass-market prescription and over-the-counter products, many of which contain alcohol, chemicals, preservatives, and artificial dyes, flavors, and sweeteners.

To learn more about The Natural Dentist, please visit the Web site at

Tom’s of Maine announces grants for dental care

Tom’s of Maine recently noted its fourth year of the company’s Dental Health for All program by awarding $120,000 in grants to community dental health programs in six states across the country. Total grant support for dental clinics since 2004 is now more than $670,000 and has helped more than 15,000 children and adults gain access to dental care.

Tom Chappell, CEO and co-founder of Tom’s of Maine, said the company “is pleased to continue its long history of partnering with consumers, nonprofit organizations, and retail partners to strengthen communities throughout the country. This year our Dental Health for All program is providing grants to eight dental clinics.” He announced that the following clinics will receive funds for long-term patient capacity improvements, operatory upgrades, and new equipment.

• San Diego, UCSD Student-Run Free Dental Clinic, $15,000. Founded in 1999 by UCSD students, the student-run Free Dental Clinic Project provides accessible, quality health care to the underserved communities of San Diego. Beneficiaries of this program include approximately 1,000 patients from underserved and diverse groups within San Diego County, who receive over $800,000 worth of needed dental care at no cost. All of the clinics serve the working poor and homeless in their areas. The Tom’s of Maine grant for $15,000 will be used to purchase new equipment for the clinic. This funding will enable the clinic to accommodate an additional 500 patient visits annually.

• Denver, Inner City Health Center, $15,000. The Inner City Health Center is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based medical and dental clinic that provides dental care to more than 2,000 patients a year. Approximately 60 percent of these patients live at or below the federal poverty level, and 65% are uninsured. The Tom’s of Maine grant for $15,000 will increase the clinic’s hygiene services, and the dental clinic estimates that this project will provide for an additional 384 dental visits annually.

• Minneapolis, Apple Tree Dental, $15,000. Apple Tree Dental Clinics provide outpatient services to low-income families and children, persons with disabilities, and the frail elderly. The clinics have much larger than usual treatment rooms designed to accommodate people who use wheelchairs. In 2005, staff provided 45,096 dental visits to 13,897 patients. In 2005, 73 percent of dental visits were provided to patients covered by Medicaid and other public programs, and 12 percent were to people without dental insurance. The Tom’s of Maine grant of $15,000 will be used to purchase two portable, handheld X-ray machines. It is estimated that the clinic will be able to schedule as many as 9,000 additional patient visits as a part of the expansion related to this purchase.

• Schenectady, N.Y., Hometown Health Centers, Inc. $15,000. Hometown Health Centers has been located at the center of Hamilton Hill, the poorest and neediest neighborhood in Schenectady. The populace is comprised mainly of the middle class, lower middle class, and the working poor, with more than 40 percent of its residents living at 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level. Currently more than 9,567 patients are served per year at the center, with over 80 percent of these being uninsured or on Medicaid/Medicare. In November 2005, Hometown Health Centers moved into a new, larger center at the intersection of two main transportation arteries. The Tom’s of Maine grant of $15,000 will be used to nearly fully cover the cost of equipping an operatory. It is estimated that the clinic will be able to schedule as many as 2,100 additional patient visits.

• Portland, Ore., Pediatric Clinic, $15,000. The OHSU School of Dentistry Dental Clinic sees between 1,500 and 2,000 clients annually. Thirty-five percent of these clients live at or below the federal poverty level, and 54 percent of these clients are uninsured. A new pediatric dentistry residency program was recently made possible at the School of Dentistry by a generous estate gift. The School of Dentistry is using this bequest for student and resident scholarships and facility enhancement to build one of the nation’s finest pediatric dentistry programs. The Tom’s of Maine grant for $15,000 will enable OHSU to purchase digital X-ray sensors and a laptop for the hospital OR.

• Cranston, R.I., Comprehensive Community Action, $15,000. Comprehensive Community Action’s programs are designed to meet the needs and interests of the low-income and disadvantaged residents of Cranston and surrounding communities, including Scituate, Foster, Coventry, Providence, North Providence, Johnston, and Smithfield. Comprehensive Community Action plans to open two dental clinics: one in Cranston and one in Warwick. These facilities will be part of existing community-based health centers, currently providing care to more than 5,500 patients annually. The Tom’s of Maine grant of $15,000 will be used to help equip an operatory. It is estimated that the clinic will be able to schedule an additional 1,800 visits.

• Winooski, Vt., Vermont Dental Care Programs, $15,000. Vermont Dental Care Programs is a 34-year-old nonprofit agency with more than 12,000 active patients. In the 1970s, there was an urgent need for dental care in Winooski, particularly for children without the financial means to pay for care. Vermont Dental Care partnered with city and state agencies to meet that need, and has since expanded from a mobile unit to a fully established office space. Of their patients, 76 percent are living below the poverty level, and 76 percent are covered by Medicaid or are reduced fee/uninsured. The clinic has received a grant of $15,000 from Tom’s of Maine to help a clinic relocation project.

• Seattle, Georgetown Dental Clinic, $15,000. The Georgetown Dental Clinic is one of the principal providers of affordable dental care in King County. One of five dental sites for Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Center, the Georgetown Clinic meets a particularly critical need: dental care for uninsured adults. Each year the Georgetown Dental Clinic provides 2,599 people with over 8,000 dental visits. 78 percent of the patients have incomes below 100 percent of poverty, 73 percent are uninsured, and 24 percent have Medicaid coverage. The clinic serves many special populations, including migrant and seasonal farm workers, patients living with HIV/AIDS, the homeless, and immigrants and refugees. Though each patient is asked to pay what he or she can, this is rarely enough to meet the expenses of services provided. As a result, Georgetown Dental Clinic provides more than $721,000 worth of uncompensated care each year. The Tom’s of Maine grant for $15,000 will enable Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Center to purchase new equipment as part of a clinic upgrade. The clinic estimates this project will make possible an additional 480 patient visits.

Tom’s of Maine began the Dental Health for All program with two goals: to increase access to dental care and to educate the population about the link between oral and overall health. Since its inception, retailers and consumers across the country have joined Tom’s in making more than $670,000 worth of donations to dental clinics nationwide, helping tens of thousands of people in need receive quality, affordable dental care.

The Dental Health for All program has resulted in the following:

  • 25 school- and community-based dental clinics have received grants from Tom’s to increase patient capacity and improve or expand their patient services.
  • Nearly 60,000 annual patient visits can now be scheduled.
  • More than 238,000 tubes of free toothpaste have been given to underserved children and adults.
  • More than 1,800 dental offices signed on to be Dental Health for All Professional Partners and distributed information about the program to their patients.

  • The award-winning “Dental Health” episode of the Tom’s-sponsored Healthy Body, Healthy Mind consumer health series has aired more than 150 times on public television in more than 106 million households across the country.

For more information about dental health issues and how you can support Dental Health for All, please visit

Hu-Friedy raises more than $18,000 for Y-ME

Hu-Friedy and the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (Y-ME), a Chicago-based national nonprofit organization with the mission to ensure - through information, empowerment and peer support - that no one faces breast cancer alone, formed a special bond last year when Hu-Friedy created a special periodontal promotion, “Inspired by You,” focused directly towards dental professionals.

From left, Karen Neiner, Hu-Friedy General Manager, Customer Relationship Management; Kathryn Stack, Y-ME, Director of Special Events & Cause-Related Marketing; Ron Saslow, Hu-Friedy, owner and CEO; Karen Araujo, Y-ME, Marketing; and Eva Frankiewicz, Y-ME, Public Relations
Click here to enlarge image

A unique Y-ME scaler was created (featuring pink grips and the Y-ME ribbon) for the promotion, and a $2 donation was made to the Y-ME organization with every offer redeemed.

The promotion resonated strongly with dental professionals, and Hu-Friedy was pleased to present the Y-ME organization with a contribution for $18,424.

Hu-Friedy continues to support the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization through the sales of newly designed Y-ME products that were developed through hygienist collaboration within Hu-Friedy. The instruments will be permanent fixtures in the Hu-Friedy catalog, and employees participate in Y-ME fundraising events such as the Y-ME Race to Empower hosted annually on Mother’s Day morning.

ADA fluoride recommendations accepted

The American Dental Association’s (ADA) “Evidence-Based Clinical Recommendations for Professionally Applied Topical Fluoride” were accepted in early April by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The acceptance results in increased accessibility for the ADA clinical recommendations through AHRQ’s National Guideline Clearinghouse (NGC) Web site.

According to the NGC, their mission is to provide a comprehensive database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and related documents to further their dissemination, implementation and use.

The topical fluoride recommendations are the first clinical recommendations developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs using a comprehensive evidence-based dentistry (EBD) approach. EBD, according to the ADA, is “an approach to oral health care that requires the judicious integration of systematic assessments of clinically relevant scientific evidence, relating to the patient’s oral and medical condition and history, with the dentist’s clinical expertise and the patient’s treatment needs and preferences.”

The ADA clinical recommendations for professionally applied topical fluoride serve as a chairside reference for patient care that are intended to make it much easier for dentists to use the most current scientific evidence in clinical decision making. The recommendations are available at

The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs expects to develop additional recommendations in key clinical areas using an evidence-based approach.

Survey offers details on consultant usage

Most dentists are not currently using a dental consultant in their practices. In a recent dental survey by The Wealthy Dentist (, 41 percent of dentists reported that their practices are currently using consultants for marketing and/or practice management. Of the remaining 59 percent not using consultants, some have never tried, whereas others have tried consultants in the past and been disappointed with the results.

Rural dentists are distinctly more likely to use a consultant than suburban dentists, who in turn are more likely to use one than urban dentists. The reasons for this are unclear, but it may be that urban dentists are more able to rely on high-visibility locations to attract new patients than their rural counterparts.

“I have in the past used consultants, but not a one has ever been able to get me more patients,” complained a Connecticut dentist. An Iowa doctor echoed the feeling: “I have tried, but have not been satisfied as of yet.”

Specialists were particularly likely to feel that consultants did not understand the nature of their practices, a fact that may explain why specialists are less likely to employ a dental consultant in their practice.

A number of dentists shop around, employing a variety of resources to meet marketing and practice management needs.

The Wealthy Dentist is a dental marketing and practice management resource featuring dental consultant Jim Du Molin. The site’s weekly surveys and dental newsletters are viewed by thousands of dentists across the United States and Canada.