4 Signs Your Daily Routine is Getting in the Way of Your Potential

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 @ 01:30 PM

student-struggling.jpg“Killing time” is not in the dental student’s vocabulary. With how busy the average dental student’s life is, it’s easy to find yourself adhering to a daily routine. While it’s good to have structure, and be able to get all of your necessary tasks done in an orderly fashion, doing the same thing every day may lead to burnout, a depressive state of mind, or even a lack of constructive days.

It's hard to juggle so many things, and having any free time might seem like a longshot. Even at times when you might find yourself with a good stretch of time, you might not know what to do with it. Life is full of these situations, and for any dental student running from class, to clinic, to making sure to eat, it’s only more of an issue. Make sure the free time you DO have is maintained well. Seize the days!

Here are some signs that your daily routine is getting in the way of your productivity:

Not Susceptible to Change

Does change scare you? When the grind of hours of class and clinic move in a slightly new direction, do you overreact? Falling into a daily routine may mean that any problems against that routine may be overwhelming. You may find yourself scrambling to get things back in order. However, change, even in the slightest sense, may actually benefit you in the long term. If you find yourself burned out by your typical day-to-day, find a new study spot, try a new food, or just turn on a new light in your room. You might be surprised by how good you feel.

No Wiggle Room

If your schedule is maxed out every day, you may not have any wiggle room to set aside for some of the more drastic things that may arise. Emergencies and other last-second rearrangements cannot make their way into your current routine. If you cannot conceive the possibility of one of these situations coming into play, you might need to rethink how tight your schedule is. No matter how busy you might be in any given day, make sure to at least be prepared when these things occur. If you had a medical (or even a dental!) emergency, would you be prepared?

No Creativity

Creativity is defined as the use of the imagination or original ideas. You might think of creativity as leading to big things out of your talents. You don’t have to paint the Mona Lisa to show some creativity, it’s much simpler than that! Think of creativity as more in terms of creating something, and you’ll have a much better time being more creative! Make a figurine or other craft, bake some food, or write a blog for THE NEXTDDS! Make sure to sprinkle some creativity into your daily routine in an effort to make each day different than the last. The reward will definitely be worth it!

Stress and Taking a Look at Yourself

When’s the last time you did something for yourself, in order to relax? With so much going on around you, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you haven’t been taking very good care of yourself. In the modern dental student curriculum, stress is sure to sweep its way into your life. Don’t let stress buildup in your psyche and be destructive. It’s important, every now and then, to treat yourself to something that relieves that tension. Going to the gym, getting a massage, or just doing something you really enjoy can help lower your stress and get you back on the right track in your dental career.

No matter how tight things get when you’re in school, it’s important to liven things up every now and then, or you might risk doing some serious damage to your well-being. Stress and anxiety affects so much of the body and mind that it’s important to ease your feelings and emotions to remain healthy and continue working hard on your journey to becoming a successful dentist.
Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Related Readings:

Top 10 Ways to Make Time for Exercise

Being Flexible: Yoga for Dental Professionals



Tags: dental school, stress management, stress relief, daily routine, productivity

Important Questions to Ask When Considering Practice Opportunities

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 @ 10:45 AM

dentist-and-practitioners.jpgHave you been searching for your associateship? There might seem like several options, and so many things to consider before landing your first position on your way to becoming a practice owner. Before you take that dive into interviews and do your necessary preparations, it’s important to reevaluate what you’re hoping to get out of the experience, and vet the practice to make sure your philosophies and ideals match up with the game plan or mission statement of the owner dentist.

Without asking yourself some important intrapersonal questions, you might wind up feeling like you’re in the wrong practice, and wish you took the time to get a sense of your future. The interview process is set up both as a way for the employer dentist to get a better idea of who you are, but also for you to find out more about the practice, so ask questions! They will help you get a better idea of what the practice owner has in mind for you when you begin, and how he or she is looking to grow with your talents and philosophies.

Courtesy of Dr. Jere Gillan’s recent presentation on the subject, here are some of the most valuable questions to ask for yourself and during the interview when considering becoming a part of a practice:

How many patients does the practice see? Are they new or recurring? What type of patient am I seeing?

The success of a dental practice depends on its recurring patients, as well as its ability to attract new ones. Fewer patients result in diminished production, which translates into less collections and compensation. Practices that are focused on oral hygiene might see hundreds of patients in any given week with three to four dental hygienists on-hand. Keeping a full schedule means marketing the practice to ensure new patients, whether that’s your responsibility (i.e., in a private practice) or the role of the DSO (i.e., in a DSO-supported practice). If you prefer to focus on patient care and allow others to manage the marketing activities, then the DSO practice may be more appropriate for you.

The type of patient you’re seeing has several implications. If you’re not comfortable caring for adolescent patients, a pediatric practice is not your move. If you lack experience or skills in removable prosthodontics, that has a bearing on a practice with an older patient base (which can be very financially rewarding, too). A fee-for-service practice will have a different compensation model from a Medicaid practice, and knowing your projected patient base provides telling information not only about the procedures you’ll provide daily but also your collections and production. Therefore, it is important for future dentists to understand how many of these different patients they’ll be seeing in any given workday.

What does the typical schedule look like for me?

Are you seeing one patient every hour? Three hygiene checks? One or two new patients each day? Getting a good idea of what your day-to-day workload will look like can give you an idea of how much production you’ll be generating in any given day, and how you’ll be compensated as a result. Whether in a private practice, large group practice, or federal dentistry setting, get a grasp on what the daily work life is like.

What types of procedures or care is the practice providing?

You probably won’t be tasked with full-mouth reconstructions as an associate, but maybe you’ll find yourself responsible for single-unit crowns and Class I and II fillings. It’s a start! Being exposed to these procedures (while also building your knowledge through continuing education [CE] courses) can help you develop the necessary experience, improving your skills and confidence as you approach leadership roles within the practice.

What is the opportunity for professional growth or practice ownership?

Your development as a professional is important, and the training and mentorship you receive as an associate dentist are directly related. It's the way you gain exposure to and familiarity with diagnoses, treatment planning, and procedures in which you are not fully versed during your dental school training. Understanding if the practice supports the dentists and staff in these opportunities (including CE) is key, so be sure to ask during the interview process.

Additionally, many dental students dream of one day owning their own practices, so see if this opportunity will present itself. Practice ownership can be achieved through either a traditional private practice model or a dental support organization practice model, and it is healthy to understand if this is an option as you first discuss the associateship role. Both DSO and private practices offer the potential for professional growth, but ownership needs to be negotiated and talked about extensively at certain times before the eventual shift, and both pathways don’t always lead down this road. This is why it’s important to get a sense of the vision the owner dentist has in store for the practice to see where you fit. If ownership is the end goal for you, figure out if it’s available to you.

The best thing you can do for yourself prior to graduating dental school is figuring out what career path is right for you. If you are searching for your first associateship, understand what any given practice is all about and see where you fit within it. Your dental school education will help you establish yourself and your abilities, creating your practice philosophy and your strengths on the way to becoming an established dentist.
Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now

Related Reading

5 Questions You Should and Shouldn't Ask During Your Associate Interview:

6 Important Keys to Interviewing for Dental Students:

5 Tips for Interviewing:

Tags: Interview, questions to ask, practice opportunities

The Consumerization of Healthcare & How It’s Affecting Dentistry

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

modern-healthcare-consumers.pngYou’ve heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” Well, the same is true in dentistry. Today, patients are the driving force behind many of the changes, improvements, and innovations being implemented within your future dental practice. Patients are informed consumers, and they have unparalleled access to information that is guiding decisions they make regarding their oral health.

At this point in your career, you recognize dentists are caregivers and small business owners. To run a successful practice, dentists must take note of patient behaviors in order to respond in kind. For example, consumers are showing a desire for greater convenience and comfort in their office visits, and dental professionals are making it easier for them to get just that. Responding to patients is one important way to keep the chairs full in your future practice.

Courtesy of Dr. Jere Gillan’s recent webinar on the subject, here’s how the consumerization of healthcare is reshaping and continuously affecting dentistry today:

The Modern Healthcare Consumer

Healthcare consumers have certain expectations and values that they hold dear when it comes to the dental care that they receive. Convenience and consistency are at the top of their list, through things like short waiting times, online appointment scheduling, and entertainment for children that helps to create a welcome, safe practice environment. Demands like these are driving consumer purchases and healthcare choices. More so, dental consumers are looking online when shopping for a provider. Online marketing and positive feedback and patient reviews are increasingly imperative to running a successful practice.

New Practice Models

The dental practice has traditionally been less flexible and less supportive of a patient’s preference for convenience. In recent years many practices, such as those in the dental service organization model, have been emerging with new ways to satisfy customer’s needs. With flexible hours, after-hour staffing, and a more “urgent care” approach to dentistry, these models are becoming the new face of dentistry. These models and other thriving practices stress efficiency and providing comprehensive care for their patients.

How Other Professions Have Adapted

Medicine, ophthalmic, and pharmaceutical industries have already embraced the large group practice model, and dentistry is not too far behind. With the rise of retail clinics in places like CVS and Walmart, healthcare consumers have become increasingly comfortable with access that is faster, more convenient, and affordable. Why the large jump? Well, many of these clinics welcome walk-ins, are open 7 days a week, and accept multiple forms of insurance. Overall, they offer a flexible method for patients to receive care, and are visited by millions of people annually.

If you’re interested in learning more about how dental consumers are affecting the profession, take a moment to watch the archived Gillan webcast. Whether you’re considering associateship in a traditional practice or large group environment, it outlines many interesting consumer trends that are continuing to shape dentistry.

Watch Now

Tags: consumerization, healthcare, consumerization of healthcare

Productivity: You Got This

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 @ 01:00 PM




the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.


student-studying-resize.jpgAs a dental student today, you have incredible expectations placed on you, both by yourself and by others. You have lots of competing demands with everyone seeming to want a piece of you. Classes, preceptorships, study sessions, exams, not to mention family, budget, friends, and personal needs all want 100% of your attention. When you step back and look at the big picture, it can appear overwhelming and insurmountable. How do you juggle it all? Can you do it all? Should you?

As you know, should work smarter, not harder. Fine, you say, but what does that even mean? To the rescue, THE NEXTDDS has developed an approach for you that is by now comfortable and familiar: the history and exam, a logical sequence of thought, investigation, and action that can help you organize your life and become more productive. This is easy for you. You got this.

In the grand scheme of things, it is unreasonable to expect that one be highly productive every single day. It is the sum of averages that counts: if you could follow these tips every day, you would be a superhero. Follow these tips more days than not and you will find that you’re way ahead of the game. If you can improve your productivity one day per week, you will still be better off than before.

Prepare For The Day


Before you start your day, you mentally prepare yourself. This helps to sharpen yo ur thinking and avoid mistakes. This same idea helps to improve your productivity. Every night, try to get good rest. Most experts recommend 7-8 hours per night. We all know that, yet we don’t take our own advice. Shutting electronics off late at night can help. Darkness and silence are helpful to get that restful sleep that you need for your busy day.

Eat smart

Nutrition not only fuels the body, it fuels the mind. As the saying goes, you are what you eat, so choose wisely. “Brain foods” include eggs, yogurt, blueberries, avocado, spinach, almonds, salmon, whole grains, eggplant, mussels, and chocolate.1 Notably absent from this list is caffeine, alcohol, junk food, and quarter pounders (with or without cheese). Try to eat foods that provide lots of protein, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins to give you the biggest performance boost.


Even light aerobic exercise for a few minutes in the morning can help to shake off the dust from the overnight and get the blood pumping those endorphins through your system. Occupational injuries are common in dentists, and stretching those typically painful areas like the shoulders, hands, neck, and back can help prevent repetitive use trauma, chronic pain, and burn-out. Exercise has been described as a “cheap psychotherapist”, since it is associated with decreases in depression and improved mental sharpness. It is a small but significant investment in yourself.

Assess Your Mind

Are you feeling anxious about anything? Are you distracted? Taking a mental inventory can help you identify and remove hurdles to your day’s productivity. Once these obstructions are identified and understood, you can focus on putting life’s smaller annoyances in perspective and improving your productivity.


Listen, Look, and Learn

Size up our day and the challenges before you. What lies before you today? This week? What is do-or-die? Probably not much. Review your previous day’s successes and opportunities as well as unfinished work. Are you one of those who tries not to leave any work for another day? Many experts suggest that you pace yourself and leave less important tasks to later today or tomorrow. Assess your tasks and be aware of specific challenges for the day.


Evaluate Your Challenges

Look at your schedule for the day, whether you’re at home, in the office, or in the library. Evaluate the resources you have available to make the most of this day. Diagnose your level of stress as well as the etiologies of those stresses. Meditate whenever possible to clarify your thoughts and emotions before you dig in to conquer the world.


Put Your Life in Context

A lot has been written about how to handle those incredible time wasters like e-mail, telephone messages, and social media. Get into the habit of looking at your e-mail – once. Take advantage of e-mail filters on your favorite e-mail program to shunt spam and other distractors to specific mailboxes, and to forward important e-mails to a key mailbox. You can check out the advertisements, funny videos, and Internet jokes later when you get home, and instead try to focus only on those e-mails that are important enough to impact on your productivity. The rest will wait.

Remember The Important Stuff

Check in with your significant other – frequently. Check the news and social media – once. Meditate to put the other competing signs and symptoms in context and help keep the important, centering priorities on top of mind. Effective use of your time and balancing competing interests is central to improving your productivity.

  1. Diagnosis
    1. Write down your challenges, tasks
    2. Prioritize
    3. Rewrite your list
    4. Don’t ignore mundane tasks that are expected of you
  2. Treatment plan
    1. Focus on that 20% that gives you 80% of your personal effectiveness
    2. Try to put off the other 80% until the important stuff is handled
    3. Consider writing out a schedule
    4. You can’t accomplish everything
  3.  Treatment
    1. Follow your treatment plan as best as possible
    2. Be open to “work-ins” and emergencies
    3. When possible, keep your blinders on to improve your focus
    4. Check things off the list as you move through it
    5. Busyness does not equal productivity2
  4.  Follow-up
    1. Ask yourself, “how did it go today?”
    2. Learn from errors
    3. Gather notes on unfinished business for tomorrow
    4. Celebrate successes
  5. End of day
    1. Relax and celebrate
    2. Work less3
    3. Today is done – don’t dwell on it
    4. Tomorrow isn’t here yet – don’t dwell on it
  6. Summary


Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS


  1. Reader G. 11 Foods That Can Help You Be More Productive. Entreprenuer 2016.
  2. Friedman R. 9 Productivity Tips from People Who Write About Productivity. Harvard Business Review 2015.
  3. Vozza S. 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity. FastCompany 2015.

Tags: productivity

THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Feature: Asma Patel

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Oct 07, 2016 @ 12:00 PM


Asma Patel is a fourth-year dental student at the Western University College of Dental Medicine. Her latest blog post, The Power of Service!, can be seen on the Student Ambassador blogs.

Asma shares in this interview what brought her to the field of dentistry and what she expects as a member of the graduating class of 2017. She explains the challenges she faces in school and how she thinks dentistry will change for her and her contemporaries.

THE NEXTDDS: What attracted you to the field of dentistry?

AP: Working with people in more of a team matter and actually being able to see the outcome of your own work in such an instant. A lot of other health professions have a longer waiting time to see improvement in health.

THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics do you find most intriguing?

AP: I find being able to learn about dental materials the most interesting. Being able to know what each material is made out of and how that advances that certain material is great knowledge for ourselves and our patients.

THE NEXTDDS: What aspect of dental school has been most challenging for you?

AP: Being able to time manage everything that we have going on. From treating patients in the clinic, to doing lab work in the evenings, to studying and doing extra-circulars on the side. It’s always a lot to keep track of.

THE NEXTDDS: What aspect of dental school has been the most surprising?

AP: How different your first two years of dental school are compared to the second two years. It is like a whole different world when you enter clinic and start seeing patients.

THE NEXTDDS: What do you envision your next five years in dentistry to look like?

AP: After graduation I plan to work in a private office for a good amount of time and then slowly drift into dental academia.

THE NEXTDDS: What do you think will be the biggest material or procedural shift once you’re a few years into your career?

AP: My speed and confidence is something that I know will increase as time goes on in my career.

THE NEXTDDS: What’s one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you first started dental school?

AP: To try not to shortcut your way out of things. Being able to have all these professors around you, picking their brain about dentistry is something you will never get back. Take that time to learn about everything you can.

THE NEXTDDS: If you could give one piece of advice to any dental student, what would it be?

AP: Make the most of your dental school experience and do everything to its fullest extent.

THE NEXTDDS: What’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to in the dental profession?

AP: Being able to start my day at 9 instead of 8.

Thank you for participating in this interview. We greatly appreciate your thoughts and insight and we look forward to working with you for the rest of the year! Have a great final year!

Want to be a Student Ambassador at your dental school? Submit your Application!

Tags: Student Ambassadors

10 Things to Know About Periodontal Disease and Chemotherapeutic Agents

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

man-pouring-mouthwash.jpgPeriodontal disease is one of the most common dentists witness in daily practice. With the large number of people that suffer from periodontitis (an estimated 47% of U.S. adults, and 70% aged 65 and older),1 a comprehensive approach to treatment Is necessary in order to manage the etiological factors and restore the patient to state of oral wellness. While a practitioner can remove plaque biofilm through mechanical therapy (e.g., periodontal debridement), many patients require supplemental measures as well.

One of those methods involves chemotherapeutic agents that are used to eliminate, reduce, or alter the effect of microorganisms in the oral cavity and elevate levels of pro-inflammatory mediators. Many of these chemotherapeutic agents can be used by the patient as an at-home treatment in the form of mouthwashes; other cases require antibiotics. Here are some essentials to know about periodontal disease and chemotherapeutic agents:

  1. Periodontal diseases are serious chronic infections that involve destruction of the tooth-supporting apparatus, including the gingiva, the periodontal ligament, and alveolar bone.2
  2. Although plaque is essential for the initiation of periodontal diseases, the majority of the destructive processes associated with these diseases are due to an excessive host response to the bacterial challenge.2
  3. Research shows that in the right patient, some periodontal diseases can be effectively treated with periodontal debridement (i.e., scaling and root planing or “SRP”) plus systemic antibiotics.3
  4. The best way to gauge an antibiotic/antimicrobial treatment’s efficacy is to look at the tangible benefits it provides to the patient. Today, periodontists are using systemic antibiotics and locally delivered antimicrobials and observing success. At the same time, the incidence of periodontal surgery is decreasing.3
  5. Many dental professionals are opposed to using antibiotics and antimicrobials because they believe they can achieve the best results by SRP followed, if necessary, by surgical procedures alone.3
  6. The use of chemotherapeutic agents is specifically designed to improve the clinical outcomes of mechanical treatments for periodontal diseases and may be particularly useful in the management of individuals with single or multiple risk factors.2
  7. The need for the development of chemotherapeutic agents is necessary as adjuncts to mechanical debridement since surgical and nonsurgical procedures cannot alone reduce the bacterial effects of periodontal disease completely.2
  8. Chemotherapeutic agents typically take the form of mouth rinses or dentifrices. Other agents available for the control and treatment of chronic periodontitis, such as locally applied antimicrobials/antibiotics and systemically administered antimicrobials, are reserved for more aggressive cases.4
  9. Currently, three resorbable, site-specific locally administered antimicrobial/antibiotics products are approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic periodontitis—minocycline microspheres, doxycycline gel, and chlorhexidine chips)4
  10. The use of antiseptics, antibiotics, and host modulatory therapy as adjuncts to brushing, ultrasonics, and SRP have made non-surgical therapies more predictable, resulting in improvements in plaque control, pocket depth reductions, clinical attachment levels and bleeding.4

Strategies for the prevention and management of periodontal disease continue to evolve, and those involving mechanical debridement and the adjunct use of chemotherapeutics allow dental professionals to more effectively manage gingivitis and periodontitis. This combination approach can improve plaque control, reduce pocket depth, and improve clinical attachment levels. Re-evaluation of affected patients is key to ensure long-term health and to planning treatment that address the needs of each on an individual, personalized basis.

  Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now


[1] Eke PI, Dye BA, Wei L, et al. Relevance of periodontitis in adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. J Dent Res 2012;91(10):914-920.

[2] Genco RJ, Williams RC, eds. Periodontal Disease and Overall Health:A Clinician's Guide. Yardley, PA: Professional Audience Communications; 2010.

[3] Loesche WJ. Treating periodontal diseases as infections. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. Published June 2008. Accessed September 29, 2016.

[4] Wilder RS, Ryan ME. Chemotherapeutics in the treatment of periodontal diseases. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. Published June 2010. Accessed September 29, 2016.

Tags: chemotherapeutic agents, periodontal disease

Financial Security and Responsibility

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 @ 09:42 AM

financial-security-hack.jpgDo you have a Yahoo email account? Well, unfortunately, you might have heard about the recent massive data breach of information that Yahoo announced on September 22nd. The breach has compromised over 500 million users’ personal information and details.

Situations like this present very serious questions for dental students and potential dentists: Are your finances safe, and how well are you managing your money? With money being such a big part of everyone’s way of life, it’s important to reevaluate how you are choosing to handle your money, and see if any changes need to be put in place.

Making a Healthy Profile

Two important aspects of one’s financial profile are personal debt and overall credit rating, which will establish your worthiness to qualify for a loan. Having good credit and a clean financial profile will make it easier to get the necessary funds to purchase a practice in the future.

To protect or even improve your financial profile, try to maintain a few revolving credit accounts, but do not apply for credit from too many lenders, as that may lower your credit score. Review your credit before a big purchase, or at the very least once a year. There are various places (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax) you can go to check your credit and receive free reports. To obtain a report, you may need to provide some contact information. Sometimes, you may supply some more personal info to safely secure your account.

Managing Payments

Regular payments are important to the health of your financial profile. Make your monthly payments on-time, even if it’s only the minimal required amount. If you cannot pay your bills for any reason, contact your creditors to try to work out an agreement to reduce your payments to an amount you can manage. Since other aspects of your credit score include current account balances, payment histories, and, if applicable, any bankruptcies, liens, or judgments, it’s important to keep on top of your monthly expenses. Keep a record of the conversations and correspondences with creditors, as you may need to reference them at some point.

Identity Theft

Be wary of identity theft, as it could completely ruin your credit score. Some things you can do to prevent this disastrous occurrence is protecting all contact information and using good judgement when giving out any of this information (by asking questions as to how or why it is used), protecting important mail while ripping up all important information or mail you put in the trash, checking your monthly or annual credit reports for any discrepancies (especially when shopping online), and protecting your computer using firewalls and virus protection. Check to see if Identity Theft Insurance might be right for you, which will ensure the protection of your identity and personal information.

There is no question that managing your money and monitoring your finances in order to have a healthy profile effects not only one’s personal life, but professional life as well. If you want to be a successful dentist, you need to be aware and on top of everything administrative to your business, from staffing to practice marketing to finance. You don’t want to wind up in a compromised situation, with your credit score and identity in bad shape.

Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now

Related Reading:

Managing Your Financial Profile:

The 4 Decisions Every Lender Makes:

Purchasing a Dental Practice: Legal Protection:

Understanding Your Dental Practice Office Lease:

Tags: identity protection, cyber security, financial security

Manual Toothbrushes or Power Toothbrushes: What to Say When Patients Ask

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

manual-and-power-toothbrush.jpgThe nylon bristled toothbrush has essentially existed in its current form since the early 20th century. While several advances and upgrades have been applied to the manual toothbrush, it has been a relatively unchanged oral hygiene tool. The power toothbrush has come along more recently as an alternative to the golden standard. Given the opportunity to choose between power and manual toothbrushes, many patients ask whether one is more effective than the other, and if one is favored by you as their caregiver.

So, what do you tell them? Here are the pros and cons:

Manual Toothbrush

To effectively clean the teeth and gingiva, a proper brushing technique is essential with a manual toothbrush. Patients should be instructed to place the bristles of their manual toothbrush along the gingival margin at a 45-degree angle, contacting both the tooth surfaces and the gumline.1 With a vibrating, back-and-forth rolling motion, the patient should gently brush the surfaces of two to three teeth at a time, manipulating the brush head toward the chewing surface before continuing to the other teeth. This same motion is used first on the labial surfaces and then the lingual and occlusal surfaces.

The ADA recommends brushing teeth for two minutes, twice daily.2 As opposed to power toothbrushes that may have automated timers, patients with manual toothbrushes need to keep track of how long they’re brushing.

Toothbrushes are a personal choice. Patients with different size mouths may opt for a full-sized or compact head for their brush. Some may even prefer a child-sized toothbrush because of the ease of accessing hard-to-reach areas. With many different styles and the ability to be tailored to an individual in the form of bristles, heads, and special prints, manual toothbrushes are never short of options for patients with sensitivities or other problems.

Manual toothbrushes are also very easy to travel with, and don’t require charging packs or batteries. It’s inexpensiveness and easy availability makes it a preference for many.

Power Toothbrush

Power toothbrushes, including oscillating, vibrating, and ultrasonic options, provide patients with greater conveniences under the premise that less work = better results! Today, a growing body of research (including those with random trials, standardized brushing regimens, and independent evaluators) indicates that the current generation of power toothbrushes removes more plaque than do manual toothbrushes.3,4 While automated toothbrushes are effective in removing the dental biofilm, it is still important for patients to supply proper technique with their use. The bristles will do the work (and thus require less force by the user), but proper angle and compliance are still essential parts of the toothbrushing routine.

As many feature a built-in timer, patients using power toothbrushes don’t have to do guess work on time spent brushing. However, with all the good that a typical automated toothbrush does, there are some drawbacks. Charging and replacing batteries means that travel can be less convenient than with a manual brush, and they can be damaged in transit. Additionally, power toothbrushes are typically more expensive than their manual counterparts. Nevertheless, the effectiveness and conveniences of the automated toothbrushes make them a compelling choice for many patients.

So What’s the Right Choice?

Although power toothbrushes have been proven to more reliably remove plaque and improve gingival health better than manual brushes,1 the difference between the two options often comes down to personal taste. Some like to stick to their instincts with the manual toothbrush, making sure they personally are caring for their teeth. Still others prefer the pulse or pressure of power toothbrushes. It’s important for patients to choose a toothbrush that will encourage the most compliance, proper technique, and frequency of use. Both can be effective in their own way, and whichever they go with, they should be satisfied.

Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS


  1. Proper brushing. American Dental Hygienists' Association. Accessed September 19, 2016.
  2. Learn more about toothbrushes. ADA Seal of Acceptance. Accessed September 19, 2016.
  3. Barnes C. The bottom line on toothbrushes. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene 2003;1(1):32-33, 35, 37. 
  4. Walters P, Campbell SL. Five common misconceptions about power toothbrushes. RDH 2005;25(10).

Tags: electric toothbrush, power toothbrush, manual toothbrush

THE NEXTDDS "Going Pro" Peer Networking Event Series Kicks Off in Los Angeles for Area Dental Schools

Posted by Eric Silverstein on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 11:35 AM

September 8th marked the launch of THE NEXTDDS "Going Pro" Series, peer networking events conducted on behalf of dental students and THE NEXTDDS user community. The first event was hosted in Los Angeles, California, on behalf of invitees from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC, UCLA School of Dentistry, Western University Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine, and Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. Dozens of attendees came together after a full day of classes and patients for an evening of camaraderie, fun, and learning.

USC Attendees at the first THE NEXTDDS Going Pro event.


Upon arrival at the Radisson Hotel at USC, attendees were greeted at the registration booth by THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassadors Giuliana Di Piazza (USC ’17) and Asma Patel (Western ’17) and Eric Silverstein of Next Media Group, who hosted the event along with sponsors Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co., LLC, and Aspen Dental Management, Inc. Registrants received “Going Pro” VIP Admission Passes and personalized nametags as well as tickets for the evening’s complimentary refreshments. All had an opportunity to mingle and network with peers from other universities during the arrival portion of the event. The hors d’oeuvres included a perfectly seasoned chicken satay and delicious shrimp tempura, dumplings, and a first-class pita and hummus spread. Great foodstuffs will be a mainstay of THE NEXTDDS “Going Pro” events!

Special thanks to Giuliana and Asma for making the
evening a success for all their peers in attendance.


Dr. Brian LeSage of the Beverly Hills Institute of Dental Esthetics (and himself UCLA School of Dentistry faculty), contributed the keynote presentation for the evening. For the assembled dental students Dr. LeSage highlighted his own journey into dentistry and shared some of the experiences that enabled him to graduate from dental school and ascend into the ranks of the nation’s best-recognized dentists and educators. “He’s a great speaker,” said Gwendolyn G (Western ’20) “Motivational and really captured my attention 100%.” Importantly, Dr. LeSage offered recommendations on how each student can best position him/herself for the transition into practice after graduation.

“Very informative and engaging,” commented Joshua K (Western ’18). The keynote was followed by an interactive question-and-answer session that allowed Dr. LeSage to emphasize the need to continue the push for knowledge. It was clearly evident for all that Dr. LeSage’s recommendations were of particular interest to the Going Pro attendees.

Dr. LeSage’s experiences and the work he put into becoming a successful dentist resonated with the students, and he in turn applauded the attendees for their drive and passion to learn as much as possible in the time they can during dental school. Dr. LeSage also conveyed the importance of being confident in the craft of dentistry and being confident with one’s patients and staff.

Dr. Brian LeSage brings clarity to the transition from dental student to professional.


 Remarked Dr. LeSage, “Don’t get into dentistry for the money; do it because you enjoy it and the satisfaction you get in helping your patients. The day I stop having fun doing dentistry is the day I retire, but I hope I can do this forever.”

Dr. LeSage was warmly greeted by dental students following his presentation and fielded additional questions before the evening’s conclusion. All were extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend and expressed interest in similar events in the future!

Be sure to spread the word about THE NEXTDDS Going Pro peer networking events that will be hosted in Columbus, Chicago, New York, San Antonio, and Boston throughout Fall of 2016!

Tags: THE NEXTDDS, dental school, Going Pro, Los Angeles, Live Event

3 Ways to Recharge on Your Day Off

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

girl-stretching-working-out-resize.jpgGiven the density of your dental school schedule, it might seem like you never have a day off. Free time is sparse, and when you do schedule a few moments for yourself, you definitely want it to be both productive and relaxing. But how do you make the most of it?

Here’s three things to do on your off day to recharge your batteries!


Haven’t had the time to go food shopping or clean your apartment? Do them on your off day! Get to these chores early in the morning to get them out of the way and free up the rest of your day to relax, study, or go to an event. As time permits, you might even combine two of these and study through one of THE NEXTDDS webinars. Scheduling chores ahead of time as well can be a good way to work on your time management skills. Amidst very busy weeks, errands are an unwelcome but necessary aspect of life, so checking them off your list as early as possible will help free up your day to more important tasks.

Make a Quiet Space

Try to create a day for yourself free from distractions and noise. While being on the phone or playing video games might sound like a good day off, chances are you’ll probably feel crummy wasting the day away with electronics. Relax, meditate, or just otherwise make sure that you’re in a clear state of mind. Reading, meditating, crafting, or just going on a nature walk will help put you in a good mood to tackle the rest of the day and ready for more dentistry.

Work Out

Sometimes, all you need is a quick boost to reenergize yourself for the coming days in the classroom or clinic. Exercising or working out are good ways to reboot your physical self, while also refreshing your mental state. Sticking to a workout routine can really help maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can also read or listen to podcasts (Stress and Burnout in Dental Education) while working out, in case you need to study as well! If you are unable to attend a gym, try going for a walk and otherwise being active to clear you mind, body, and soul.


With a little planning and some energy, one will no doubt be able to formulate a successful day off. Time is so valuable to dental students, and being able to put that time to good use is so important. Juggling studies with a personal and social life is no easy task, so be sure to manage your time wisely!


Related Reading

Sheri Granader’s article, “Top 10 Ways to Make Time for Exercise,” in the Spring 2014 edition of THE NEXTDDS Magazine

Tags: stress management, recharging on your day off, time management, exercising

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