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    Kiss your lipstick naiveté goodbye.

    BuzzFeedYellow


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    You can smell the pink goop like it was yesterday.

    The dreaded PINK GOOP.

    The dreaded PINK GOOP.

    The hardest decision you'll ever make:

    The hardest decision you'll ever make:

    Twitter: @ShireenML

    But always being too chicken to try neon yellow.

    But always being too chicken to try neon yellow.

    Twitter: @_nettieryan

    This view:

    This view:

    Twitter: @mgpntaypter


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    How often do you brush your teeth?


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    The government has been caught advertising the closure of the child's dental scheme, despite the fact that parliament has rejected the measure.

    The government has been caught advertising the closure of the child's dental scheme, despite the fact that parliament has rejected the measure.

    Department of Health

    Last month the government attempted to pass its Omnibus Bill cuts to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), which would remove Medicare funded dental care for kids from January 1, 2017.

    But after opposition from the Greens, Labor and the Nick Xenophon Team in the Senate, the CDBS was removed from the Omnibus legislation to allow the rest of the $6.4 billion savings to pass.

    This is the second time the government has tried to shut down the program. From the May budget, initial fact sheets began advertising that it would close on July 1, 2016. But a double dissolution election was called, so legislation wasn't introduced.

    Despite parliament not approving the closure, the Health Department's website currently states the scheme will end in January, and fact sheets are being distributed to dentists to say that the program will no longer exist in three months.

    The website reads:

    On 31 August 2016, the Government introduced legislation to close the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) from 1 January 2017 and establish the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme.

    Eligible children will need to receive dental treatment before 1 January 2017 if they wish to access benefits under CDBS before its intended closure.

    The department's website also states that the government has sent out letters to families, telling them the scheme is closing.

    ParliView

    In a fiery exchange in Senate estimates on Wednesday, Health Department officials said advertising the scheme's closure wasn't "false" because it's "the intent to legislate to have [the closure] in place by January 1, 2017".

    If it doesn't happen in the next three months, the date will be revised for a third time, they said.

    "It's not a lie," the department's Mark Cormack said.

    "It's qualified. It expresses the government's intention that it's subject to legislation."

    But Greens leader Richard di Natale believes "ordinary punters" wouldn't be able to interpret the nuance of government jargon.

    "If you read 'this means the cost of dental services provided on or after January 1, 2017 will not be met by the government and will need to be met by the patient'... you are actively dissuading people from accessing a scheme that is currently open."

    Di Natale has accused the government of actively deterring people from accessing the funding, in a bid to save money before the program can be closed.

    The Australian National Audit Office examined the progress of the demand-driven program and found the take-up had been low, around 33%, or 1 million children.

    Only $304 million was claimed out of a total budget of more than $600 million.

    The ANAO noted that this was due to the government not advertising its availability, so families were unaware they could claim the funding.

    Di Natale says it's highly unusual for the government to actively market for legislation it hopes will pass in the future.

    "It's the intent of the government to have a plebiscite on marriage equality, but you're not posting information to people about the nature of the plebiscite," he said.

    "You can't give any guarantee that it will be closed from January 1, in fact the parliament's just rejected it, and you continue to provide advice on the website to people who want to access it that they can't," he said.

    "Sometimes these are people who need to engage in a course of treatment that might require two, three, four months. If you're going to see your dentist in a month's time and they say 'well, we can't, because at the department website says this program will no longer exist from January 1, we're not going to begin treatment at this point in time'."

    "Why are you providing this information to people when it's false?"


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    Nobody actually brushes in the shower, right?


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    Being nasty pays. ;)

    BuzzFeedVideo / Via youtube.com


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    Or maybe you just know a lot about teeth!


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    Let’s all agree that temporary crowns are the worst.

    Hearing the dentist drill down your actual tooth.

    Hearing the dentist drill down your actual tooth.

    Miramax

    Realizing your tooth is now a nub.

    Realizing your tooth is now a nub.

    mhemming / Via instagram.com

    Heavily breathing through your nose during your tooth impression so you don't swallow any of that goop.

    Heavily breathing through your nose during your tooth impression so you don't swallow any of that goop.

    thedailyrobot / Via instagram.com

    Realizing your temporary crown is pretty much just a clay tooth.

    Realizing your temporary crown is pretty much just a clay tooth.

    erickfails / Via instagram.com


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    Don’t bristle at these questions.


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    Prepare to be uncomfortable.


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    Sadly, your dentist will probably still ask how often you floss.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

    Jenny Chang/BuzzFeed

    An all-natural mineral powder that may be dirty, but leaves your teeth pearly.

    An all-natural mineral powder that may be dirty, but leaves your teeth pearly.

    Promising review: "I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this product. In just two brushings, it removed the brown/black stains I had from using liquid iron supplements that even my hygienist couldn't get off my teeth. It removed all of the tea stains on my teeth in less than a week. It looks like I had a very thorough dental cleaning and professional teeth whitening done. In fact, I've had several people ask me where I got my teeth whitened and how much it cost, just because it is that noticeable of a difference. My teeth feel super clean and smooth. Even first thing in the morning, I don't have that gross, fuzzy teeth feeling." —Dazie

    Price: $19.99 // Rating: 4.5 out of 5

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

    A paste specialized for sensitivity that gently whitens and strengthens delicate teeth.

    A paste specialized for sensitivity that gently whitens and strengthens delicate teeth.

    Promising review: "I have crazy sensitive teeth so this is really the only thing I can use. I heavily recommend this product for anyone with particularly sensitive teeth. Sensodyne also has another line of toothpaste that has slightly different caps (they're flush to the tube rather than tapered) that I find so awful I fear it may dissuade others with sensitive teeth away from the company, but they're completely different and this one really is a wonderful product." —Alys Anemone

    Price: $4.92 // Rating: 4.3 out of 5

    amazon.com


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    BuzzFeedVideo / Via youtube.com


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    Topos Graphics for BuzzFeed News

    As I’m writing this, my rear gums are inflamed and aching. I’ve been alternating between sipping a cocktail before bed and downing extra-strength ibuprofen, acutely aware that one should not take the two together due to the potential for internal bleeding. I’m 32 years old, and my wisdom teeth are breaking through. Again. A half dozen years ago the first one emerged, skin ripping apart to make room, and I understood then the pain that a baby feels when their first teeth come in. Every so often another wisdom tooth emerges a little more, and the pain lingers for a few weeks. It’s old hat now. Give me my cocktail, my pills.

    I grew up in a small town in West Virginia, and perhaps will soon confirm the stereotype that Appalachians are frequently missing their teeth. My mother cleaned houses for a living and my father worked full-time as a construction worker — jobs that came without health insurance. We were a lower-middle-class and doctor-averse family. You learn to avoid doctors after seeing the unbelievable expense of an uninsured visit to an emergency room, the cost of a child’s earache wiping out a week or more’s worth of pay. I ended up being the one who did well, who got away, a first-generation college student who made it not only to the ivory tower, but the Ivy League. I skipped a few class-climbing steps and seemed to prove to those around me that the American dream was still alive.

    During one of my first college breaks, in 2004, I came home with tooth pain. Well, actually, it was teeth pain. Years of neglect, years of avoiding the dentist because I couldn’t afford even a routine cleaning, had finally added up. I came home and made an appointment, desperate to ease the near-constant throbbing in my jaw. And then the shock set in. I was only 19 years old, and the dentist said I had more than $12,000 worth of work waiting for me. I would need several root canals, crowns, and fillings. The dentist also told me I ought to fix my semi-black front tooth, which I had broken as a teenager. It had originally been fixed with a metal screw during a rare visit to the dentist, a visit only undertaken because missing half of a very visible front tooth was too much for even my family. My friends at my Ivy League college, people who had typically grown up with more than enough money to see a dentist every six months, never failed to remark on the oddness of that black tooth, getting darker with every passing season.

    I ignored the pain until I learned to live with it, and became that guy who never open-mouth smiles in pictures.

    My mother cried back then, when the dentist told her the cost: It was a third of my family’s annual income. It was, in other words, impossible. I cried too. I was already working my way through college; there was simply no time left for me to work off a $12,000 bill and keep up with my classes. So I ignored the pain until I learned to live with it, and became that guy who never open-mouth-smiles in pictures. It was an awful realization. Just when I thought I had escaped the confines of my poor background in West Virginia, as I was building the kind of life that I thought would make me financially secure, there was that ugly pain: a throbbing in my mouth that made me question if I’d ever be part of that other, privileged world.

    I’m still not there, 13 years later, and the $12,000 tab has only ballooned over time. All four of my wisdom teeth ought to be removed. I have a broken molar, at least three deep cavities that will require root canals and crowns, and who knows how much minor work. I fear that the broken molar is now too far gone and will need to be removed and replaced with an implant — which alone can cost as much as $10,000. This doesn’t take into account that I live in New York now, where the cost of dental work is just a tad more expensive than it was in West Virginia. And so this is how it spirals, the lingering bacteria from one cavity exacerbating the decay of the other teeth, the loss of confidence, the social shaming. A hopeless cycle.

    A few years ago, after getting through graduate school and settling into an office job that had decent insurance, I made myself an appointment. The dental insurance plans I’ve had cap out at $1,500 or $2,000 a year (with only 50% covered for major work), so I braced myself for the long haul. The dentist looked at my mouth and said, “Wow.” The dentist said, “For people like you, we like to work in stages.” I tried to keep up with the dental work and maximize what my insurance provides, while balancing the expensive rent of New York and the cost of living any kind of modern life. But after a half dozen visits, when the first few crowns ate up more than $10,000 of my hard-earned savings — a sum I’d spent a decade amassing — I threw in the towel.

    I wasn’t going to go in deep debt over my teeth. I wasn’t going to spend my thirties constantly broke because of dental work. I wasn’t going to rob my spouse of another vacation by spending another year’s worth of savings on partially fixing my mouth. After all the work I’d had done, my husband and I were already living month to month, despite our careful budgeting. I wanted something more — a life in which I could dream of things like putting a down payment on a first home, a life in which having a child, if I ever decided I wanted one, wouldn’t seem like such a selfish decision.

    It’s an impossible choice to have to make: to have a good life or to have good teeth.

    It’s an impossible choice to have to make: to have a good life or to have good teeth. I say this because I know that some people would fault me for my choices, would accuse me of being not quite “by-the-bootstraps” enough for their tastes. They could point to my desire to enjoy a bottle of wine and an occasional cut of fancy cheese, to the fact that I have a laptop and an iPhone, that when I travel to visit one of my out-of-town friends, I like to take the train instead of the bus. And I do sometimes feel guilty for these indulgences. I feel guilty that I ever made my spouse choose between us having an emergency fund and me having a clean bill of health. There are days when I wonder how much better off he’d be without me, both financially and psychologically. And that’s why I’ve chosen to live with the pain, despite my husband’s desire that we focus on getting me better. I’ve become a frequent customer at my local Duane Reade, where I buy that cheap temporary dental filling that comes in a little blue canister. I smudge it in the back of my mouth, in the hole of my broken molar, biding my time until the system changes or the tooth falls out. I can’t bring anyone else down with me.

    I have a friend from my old hometown in West Virginia who also lives in New York. She has a master’s degree and a nice, well-paying job now, but also suffers from dental issues. She said to me, “People who are born poor are never able to get ahead.” And that’s the most obvious truth, I think, and one that’s magnified when other factors like race, religious background, and educational attainment come into play. My friend and I are “strivers,” I suppose, but it’s hard to strive when you don’t have the huge deposit to put down on that first city apartment, when you are afraid to smile at an interview because the manager might wonder what the hell is wrong with your mouth.

    One night over dinner, my friend told me the story of a woman she had known back in West Virginia. They were in college together, in their early twenties. The woman’s dental problems became so bad that she opted to have all of her teeth removed and replaced with a set of dentures rather than deal with any more pain or the crippling costs of dental care. This woman had been a striver once too. We can never, it seems, escape our childhoods.

    In my desperation to have a pain-free, healthy mouth, I’ve researched, contemplated, and tried nearly every option that’s out there. During one of my more painful dental bouts (the big ones come and go), I found out about the low-cost clinic run by NYU’s dental school — low-cost, but not free. I thought I could finally have a little work done. Because the clinic is run by student dentists and each procedure needs to be checked by a master dentist on staff, the process moves slowly and the amount of appointments nearly doubles. On my second visit, the teaching dentist examined my mouth and confirmed the student’s long list of recommended treatments. The teaching dentist said, “What did you do to your mouth? Why have you let it get like this?”

    I may not have good teeth, but I still have a modicum of dignity.

    I was angry, and shot back that I had grown up poor, that I brushed my damn teeth multiple times a day just like anyone else. “No,” she said. “You should have taken care of your teeth.” I was so upset by the experience, so embarrassed and humiliated, that I decided not to go back. Well, that’s not entirely true; I did go back a couple years later, desperate, in another bout of pain. And I was treated almost exactly the same way. I may not have good teeth, but I still have a modicum of dignity.

    Back in 2004, when I received that first impossible bill, my mother said to me, “I have a dead tooth.” She pointed to the back of her mouth. “It’s turning black, and one day it will just fall out.” I think of those words now not as a warning, but as a statement of solidarity. Her words were a reminder of how hard she’d worked scrubbing other people’s floors to get me up and out, even at the expense of her own well-being, her own decaying teeth. She was saying that, for me, there was still hope. I want to believe that she was right, that she’s still right, that I could still yet achieve all the dreams she had for me. But I wonder often, despite my fancy college degree, despite how far I’ve come, if some hurdles are truly insurmountable.

    When health care costs spiral out of control (and access to even the most basic medical insurance, let alone dental coverage, is far from certain), when the long-term effects of untreated medical issues catch up with us as adults, there can seem like no way out. At the moment, I don’t see an immediate way out. I’m a published author. I teach college writing. I work hard, but every single day I have to make a choice between paying the rent and student loans, having a vacation, or literally throwing every penny of my savings toward a fraction of the cost of my dental work. And I’m one of the lucky ones, because my dental pain comes and goes. I can afford the luxury of pain-numbing cocktails and extra-strength ibuprofen. Those with more painful or life-threatening conditions don’t have the choice to ignore it.

    Before all of the dental pain and the problems began for me, I truly bought into the belief that I could work my way into a better life. I made it out of a small town in Appalachia, I attended a great college, and I have begun to build a meaningful career. I just didn’t realize there would be one big catch: that I’d forever be weighed down, financially and otherwise, by a series of events and circumstances that occurred mostly without my knowledge, and uniformly without my consent.

    In a more equitable world, I’d smile toothsome and wide for my husband — who, though he’s from a different background, has never looked at me like an alien or a charity case. I’d go to bed without worrying whether the effects of painkillers and alcohol will be enough to get me through the night. I’d walk into a dentist’s office for a cleaning and nothing else. I’d tell the dentist, “See, it’s possible for a poor boy from West Virginia to make something of himself.” Some days I can almost taste it, that other world. But right now my mouth hurts too much to taste much of anything. ●

    Jonathan Corcoran teaches writing at Rutgers University - Newark and the West Virginia Wesleyan College low-residency MFA program. His debut story collection, The Rope Swing, is a 2017 Lambda Literary Awards finalist.


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    The horror. THE HORROR.

    This is Jay. Looks like a cute, normal 21-year-old British guy, right?

    This is Jay. Looks like a cute, normal 21-year-old British guy, right?

    youtube.com

    UNTIL HE OPENS HIS DAMN MOUTH.

    UNTIL HE OPENS HIS DAMN MOUTH.

    youtube.com

    You see, JAY HAS NEVER BRUSHED HIS DAMN TEETH IN HIS WHOLE DAMN LIFE.

    You see, JAY HAS NEVER BRUSHED HIS DAMN TEETH IN HIS WHOLE DAMN LIFE.

    Or, you know — obviously — visited a dentist.

    youtube.com

    Jay says he was never encouraged to brush his teeth as a kid, so he developed bad habits early on. Plus, he loves sugar and "fizzy drinks," aka sodas.

    Jay says he was never encouraged to brush his teeth as a kid, so he developed bad habits early on. Plus, he loves sugar and "fizzy drinks," aka sodas.

    Jay, who is a sanitation worker, says his teeth are holding him back from pursuing his dream career in sports or physiotherapy.

    "I feel embarrassed to tell somebody how to look after themselves when I haven't taken care of my teeth," he said on the show.

    youtube.com


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    People See How Gross Their Teeth Really Are

    BuzzFeedVideo / Via youtube.com


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    PLEASE. JUST. STOP.

    Alright, so, brushing your teeth and showering...both basic everyday things, right?

    Alright, so, brushing your teeth and showering...both basic everyday things, right?

    Sony Pictures

    Well, while most of us do those two activities separately, there's a small group of people who do them at the SAME DAMN TIME.

    Well, while most of us do those two activities separately, there's a small group of people who do them at the SAME DAMN TIME.

    If you think I'm overreacting and that "everyone is doing it," you are TOTALLY WRONG. This poll we conducted definitely proves that if you brush your teeth in the shower, YOU ARE LITERALLY A PART OF THE MINORITY THAT THINKS THAT'S OKAY.

    BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

    And if you're one of those people, please consider this post a big 'ol @.

    And if you're one of those people, please consider this post a big 'ol @.

    hello_joel / Via Twitter: @hello_joel

    Not only is it dangerous...

    Not only is it dangerous...

    gl0gl0_ / Via Twitter: @gl0gl0_


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    BuzzFeed News

    For years, a startup called SmileDirectClub has drawn fire from dentists for trying to upend the traditional braces industry. Now the tiff has blown up into all-out legal war, with the country’s largest dental association issuing a formal resolution against do-it-yourself orthodontics while the company tries to sue its critics into silence.

    SmileDirectClub sent cease-and-desist letters to at least two dentists in October, threatening a lawsuit if they did not remove YouTube videos they had posted critiquing the company’s plastic teeth “aligners.” On Oct. 23, it sued a large group of New York and New Jersey orthodontists for a similar video, and three days later, it filed suit against the Michigan affiliate of the American Dental Association over four paragraphs that the nonprofit published about the company in its monthly journal.

    Although the exact claims vary, the company’s basic case is that its detractors are part of a “well-funded lobbying and public relations effort” that’s trying to shut down a competitor.

    “Several dentists and orthodontists have made publicly false, disparaging and misleading statements on various social media websites regarding SmileDirectClub all in an effort to protect their traditional business model and to limit access of care to keep prices for orthodontic care artificially inflated,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement to BuzzFeed News. “SmileDirectClub has pursued legal remedies to prevent these dentists and orthodontists from making false, disparaging and misleading statements regarding SmileDirectClub.”

    The dentists, meanwhile, say they are simply expressing their professional opinion.

    "It's pretty aggressive."

    It’s not unusual to see an industry disrupter turn scrappy to survive. But the intensity of SmileDirect’s legal campaign is notable, experts say. “It’s pretty aggressive,” Gabriel Nugent, a law partner at Barclay Damon LLP in New York, told BuzzFeed News.

    Since its launch in 2014, Nashville-based SmileDirectClub has promised a cheaper alternative to braces, without the hassle of visiting a dentist. The service allows customers to make bite casts at home, which then get reviewed by a dentist online who approves a series of aligners that SmileDirect will deliver by mail to a customer’s doorstep.

    This premise has catapulted SmileDirectClub to the big time, with national TV commercials and ads plastered across New York City bus stops and subway cars. Customers post photos of their treatments on Instagram and swap stories about their progress in Facebook groups with thousands of members.

    SmileDirectClub — whose plastic trays are made by Align Technology, the company that makes Invisalign and owns 19% of SmileDirect — is threatening to the average orthodontist’s bottom line, just as Invisalign was when it debuted in the ‘90s. On YouTube and in interviews with reporters, dentists and orthodontists have complained about SmileDirect’s model, warning that skipped dentist visits and X-rays risk customers' oral health. The outcomes, they claim, may include shrinking gums and jawbone, or lost teeth.

    In April, the 18,000-member American Association of Orthodontists filed complaints in 36 states alleging that SmileDirect was breaking laws governing the practice of dentistry.

    Those details were first publicly revealed in a BuzzFeed News story on Oct. 14. Two days later, Jeffrey Miller, a Maryland orthodontist who had published YouTube reviews of SmileDirectClub and spoken to BuzzFeed News, said he received a cease-and-desist letter from the company delivered by hand and email. The letter, addressed to Miller and four other orthodontists in his practice, demanded that he remove two YouTube videos in which he warned customers about the potential dangers of straightening their teeth without taking X-rays first.

    SmileDirectClub claimed that Miller was making “false and deceptive statements” and violating copyright because the video included scans that SmileDirect had made for a customer. (Miller says that “customer” was one of his employees checking out the service on his behalf.) SmileDirect requested that Miller take down those videos and any other online postings that named the company by Oct. 17 at noon.

    Miller shrugged off the note. The next day, hours after the deadline, he received another letter, delivered by hand and by email, that stated SmileDirect’s intent to sue his practice for damages of more than $34 million, “plus punitive damages of not less than three times that amount.”

    “They’re not playing around,” Miller told BuzzFeed News. He saw the threats as attempts to “make an example of anyone who says anything bad about them.” Though he stands by his observations, Miller took his videos offline in the hopes of avoiding a costly legal battle.

    Grant Olson, a dentist in Springfield, Missouri, received a similar letter from SmileDirectClub later in October, claiming that he had made “false and deceptive statements” in a YouTube video reviewing the aligners. The note threatened to sue Olson’s practice, Innovative Dental, for more than $18 million plus punitive damages, if Olson’s posts referencing the company stayed online.

    Olson was ruffled but, like Miller, decided it was prudent to comply and took his video down. “I don’t have the funds or time to fight SmileDirectClub in court, despite the fact that I have pride in my statements,” he told BuzzFeed News.

    “Isn’t it crazy? It’s unheard of to me,” Olson said. “What’s a dentist supposed to do? Say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to lawyer up'?” He decided that it fell to state dentist regulators to inform the public about the products’ potential risks.

    Ben King / BuzzFeed News

    When Diamond Braces, an orthodontists’ group with offices in 19 locations in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, received SmileDirectClub’s request to remove a YouTube video made by one of their dentists, they ignored it, according to a lawsuit filed by SmileDirectClub on Oct. 23. In the suit, SmileDirect accuses the practice of defamation, unfair competition, and trade libel. (Diamond Braces did not respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment; the 17 dentists named in the complaint either declined to comment or did not respond, and one told BuzzFeed News he was no longer affiliated with the practice.)

    Then on Oct. 26, SmileDirect filed a lawsuit in Michigan district court against the Michigan affiliate of the American Dental Association (ADA), seeking damages for trade libel and alleging that the MDA presented the company in “false light.”

    The focus was a four-paragraph note in the August issue of the Journal of the Michigan Dental Association, published under the headline “MDA Probes SmileDirectClub.” The note called on anyone who had been harmed by SmileDirect or other mail-order orthodontics companies like it to get in touch.

    “This method of providing diagnosis and treatment raises numerous legal and patient safety concerns,” the MDA’s article says, also noting that the website did not list the names of any Michigan dentists, as required by Michigan law. In fact, “[i]t does not appear from the website that a dentist ever sees the patient.”

    Before publishing the note, the MDA wrote, the group had sent a list of questions to SmileDirectClub and the company had replied. But, according to the article, the company did not offer evidence that it was following the law, or provide a list of Michigan dentists it worked with.

    In its lawsuit, SmileDirectClub contends that the MDA had wrongly implied that licensed dentists do not participate in its customers’ treatment plans, in order to persuade people to consult with dentists in the association instead. The article stood to drive away new customers and new dentists from the company, the suit alleges.

    “The statements in the article, and the overall tenor of the article, are untrue,” SmileDirect stated in the complaint. In a press release, company founder Alex Fenkell said that “the inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the MDA article are egregious.” The company told BuzzFeed News that a licensed dentist is involved in every customer’s treatment, but citing confidentiality, declined to name any of its affiliated dentists in Michigan.

    Jenny Armistead, the MDA’s director of marketing and communications, told BuzzFeed News by email that the MDA had no plans to retract the item. In a statement, the organization said that it stood by the accuracy of the article, dismissed SmileDirectClub’s claims, and added that “the MDA will vigorously defend itself in court.”

    The MDA also proposed a new policy to the national ADA — ratified on Oct. 23 — to discourage patients’ use of do-it-yourself orthodontics. The policy, provided to BuzzFeed News, states that a licensed dentist must supervise orthodontic procedures like oral exams and treatment planning, and must check a patient’s progress during and after a course of treatment.

    For Miller, the Maryland orthodontist, the story wasn’t over. On Oct. 25, he told BuzzFeed News, SmileDirectClub’s lawyers emailed him once again, seeking an agreement that would bar him — and the other four dentists in his practice — from making any negative statements about the company, in private or in public.

    "They want blood."

    The orthodontist was appalled. He’d already taken his videos down. “They want blood,” Miller told BuzzFeed News that week, calling their new demands “completely unrealistic.” A SmileDirect spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “Our policy is not to comment on individual situations or litigation.”

    Miller worried that the letter’s proposed terms would prevent him from adequately treating patients who had been hurt by the company's product and sought him out for a professional opinion.

    Now, according to Miller, his attorney and SmileDirect’s lawyers are working on a different settlement with more acceptable terms. He declined to provide details of that agreement to BuzzFeed News, but said that he’s ready for it to be over: “The only reason I’m signing this is to avoid the aggravation of going to court.”

    Meanwhile, as the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) waits for state dental boards to act on its complaints about SmileDirect, the group is hoping to also get the attention of the federal government.

    In mid-October, the AAO filed a complaint with the FDA alleging that SmileDirectClub is flouting the terms of its registration with the agency. Although its aligners and retainers do not need to be approved for sale by the FDA, the company is required to give the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health a description of how the products will be used.

    In a letter submitted to the FDA by the AAO’s lawyers on Oct. 13, the group argued that SmileDirectClub is running afoul of this so-called 510(k) requirement, at least for the last year or so. The letter points out that SmileDirect is using exactly the same FDA paperwork as Align Technology, even though the two companies don’t provide the same service: Invisalign relies on patients visiting dentists, whereas SmileDirect-affiliated dentists review cases virtually.

    “The AAO is disappointed that SDC has resorted to this kind of legal bullying rather than explaining how SDC’s business model is operating within the bounds of the law and focusing on promptly responding to the numerous patient complaints and issues about its product and services found in various forums,” Kevin Dillard, general counsel at AAO wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News.

    SmileDirectClub said the FDA has not contacted them, and contested the AAO’s claim. “Despite the AAO’s attempt to create a distinction as to the actual intended use of the aligners in its alleged complaint filed with the FDA, SmileDirectClub’s intended use is exactly the same,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

    Stephanie Caccomo, an FDA press officer, told BuzzFeed News that the agency does not confirm or comment on the status of complaints that are received. A spokesperson for Align Technology told BuzzFeed News by email that the company has not been approached by AAO or the FDA, and referred queries to SmileDirectClub.

    Legal experts say the FDA complaint will hinge on the precise role of the dentists affiliated with SmileDirectClub. In its statement to BuzzFeed News, the company said that a state-licensed dentist or orthodontist reviews every customer’s treatment plan, and checks on their progress — by reviewing “extra oral photos and patient comments” — every 90 days. “Patients are able to speak with their treating dentist/orthodontist if requested,” the spokesperson said.

    “If FDA thinks SmileDirectClub is violating the law, that poses a quite big problem for SmileDirectClub because this is their entire business model,” Patricia Zettler, a former FDA attorney and associate professor at Georgia State University College of Law, told BuzzFeed News.

    It’s unclear whether the FDA will want to wade into this issue, as it usually punts these questions to medical licensing boards instead, Zettler said. “It’s hard to know whether this is something FDA would decide is within its bailiwick, or that’s veering too far into the practice of medicine.” ●


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    Turns out that the Top End feels exactly like being on Isla Nublar.

    For starters, you can fly around both on an actual chopper.

    For starters, you can fly around both on an actual chopper.

    I mean, you wouldn’t exactly be thinking “I wonder what else might be on that island…” when you’re on a FREAKING HELICOPTER!

    BuzzFeed

    Just like Isla Nublar, the Top End can also look pretty stunning when you first get there.

    Just like Isla Nublar, the Top End can also look pretty stunning when you first get there.

    But we all know looks can be deceiving...

    BuzzFeed

    When you start exploring, you find some amazing scenery.

    When you start exploring, you find some amazing scenery.

    Why would you suspect anything out of the ordinary so far?

    BuzzFeed

    There’s some pretty lush vegetation around.

    There’s some pretty lush vegetation around.

    Perfect for all the herbivores that may or may not be lurking around the place.

    BuzzFeed

    You can even go swimming in some of the prehistoric-looking waterfalls.

    You can even go swimming in some of the prehistoric-looking waterfalls.

    In the movies the tourists always survive the water, right?

    BuzzFeed

    If boats are your thing, you can take this spooky looking one out to explore the local waters.

    If boats are your thing, you can take this spooky looking one out to explore the local waters.

    Because a Kronosaurus would never catch you in that…

    BuzzFeed

    Or this one, which actually warns you about dinosaurs.

    Or this one, which actually warns you about dinosaurs.

    BuzzFeed

    IT LITERALLY SAYS T-REX!

    IT LITERALLY SAYS T-REX!

    BuzzFeed

    You can even take a kayak out and just keep your fingers crossed you don’t bump noses with a Ichthyosaurus.

    You can even take a kayak out and just keep your fingers crossed you don’t bump noses with a Ichthyosaurus.

    You’re not out-swimming anything, mate.

    BuzzFeed

    You might need to go full on Jurassic survival mode.

    You might need to go full on Jurassic survival mode.

    Just stay away from the water during the night, yeah?

    BuzzFeed

    If you choose to explore by foot, you'll probably need to cross a few bridges that look like this.

    If you choose to explore by foot, you'll probably need to cross a few bridges that look like this.

    Why is there ALWAYS a flimsy looking bridge?!

    BuzzFeed

    You’ll probably come across these giant things that have literally been built by insects!

    You’ll probably come across these giant things that have literally been built by insects!

    No Velociraptor would ever see you hiding behind one of them.

    BuzzFeed

    And then comes a time when you find out you’re actually not the only ones kicking about this supposed paradise. And. You. Freak. Out.

    And then comes a time when you find out you’re actually not the only ones kicking about this supposed paradise. And. You. Freak. Out.

    That’s it, I’m done! Tell my family I loved them.

    BuzzFeed

    No, but seriously. Is that an actual dinosaur?

    No, but seriously. Is that an actual dinosaur?

    That’s just creepy AF.

    BuzzFeed

    Just like the goat in Jurassic Park, you can even watch these almost-dinosaurs being fed.

    Just like the goat in Jurassic Park, you can even watch these almost-dinosaurs being fed.

    RIP goat.

    BuzzFeed

    In the Top End, you get to stay in places like this.

    In the Top End, you get to stay in places like this.

    Don’t worry... there’s a toilet inside so there’s no risk of being eaten while taking a dump in an outside one.

    BuzzFeed

    There’s plenty of other life kicking about the place, too. Like these mini-dinos who help light the way home...

    There’s plenty of other life kicking about the place, too. Like these mini-dinos who help light the way home...

    #squadgoals #minidinosaurs

    BuzzFeed

    And these guys who aren’t actually Pterodactyls, I swear.

    And these guys who aren’t actually Pterodactyls, I swear.

    BuzzFeed

    Also this little dude who will happily guard your bedroom door.

    Also this little dude who will happily guard your bedroom door.

    Do-you-think-he-saur-us?

    BuzzFeed

    Travel was provided by Tourism Australia. BuzzFeed writers do not guarantee coverage.


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  • 03/23/10--22:46: Baby Teeth Time Lapse
  • Watch this girl’s teeth disappear and grow back over a seven-month period. (Sped up, fortunately.)

    LINK: Baby Teeth Time Lapse


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    Besides bleach and Brillo.

    LINK: Home Remedies for Teeth Whitening


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