The Dental Bur is Not the Cutting Edge of Dentistry


Presented by Dr. Bill Maas

The development of the air turbine dental hand piece dramatically increased the ease of cutting sound tooth structure and, therefore, dentists’ ability to restore many teeth economically in a reasonable time frame. Sixty years later, dentists serving communities at high risk of caries take pride in restoring multiple teeth ever more efficiently.  At the same time, all would agree that preventing the onset of dental caries across the lifespan should be the primary goal of dental care.  Unfortunately, disease is already present in many of their patients.  Fortunately, we now have many more options to stop the consequences of the cariogenic process, which can be applied at both the patient and lesion level.  Recently, several initiatives have been started to support dentists when moving towards an up-to-date, evidence-based, tooth preserving preventive caries management strategy.  This presentation addresses interventions that can be used to arrest or reverse existing caries lesions without picking up the dental handpiece, including those that can be delivered at locations more convenient for patients, thus avoiding the non-productive “no show” appointments that are so costly for dental practices.

Dr. Bill Maas is a dental public health consultant and has an appointment as Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry.  Since 2009, he has served as an advisor to the dental campaign of the Pew Charitable Trusts, an effort to change state and federal policy to improve dental health of disadvantaged children.  During 36 years of federal service, Bill served in the Indian Health Service, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he directed the oral health division for 10 years.  In each agency, he identified, developed and disseminated science-based, policy-relevant information needed by patients, clinicians, health plans, purchasers, and policy makers to make better oral health care decisions.  From 1997-2001, he served as the chief dental officer of the U.S. Public Health Service as an Assistant Surgeon General and was a member of the project team that prepared the first-ever Surgeon General’s report on oral health in America.  Bill has a particular interest in the delivery of preventive services to individuals in underserved communities.  Since 2016, he has served on faculty of the Sealant Improvement Collaboratives of the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA).  Bill is board-certified in dental public health.  He earned his dental degree from The University of Michigan and public health degrees from Harvard University.