Giving Back Through Dental Care

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Male-dentist-shaking-hands-with-patient-resize.jpgThe role of the dentist as caregiver or healer is an important consideration for many dental students pursuing a career in dentistry. While the dental profession provides an excellent salary to its clinicians, it is the compassionate and humanitarian aspects of dentistry that appeal to many entering the field. As Thanksgiving approaches, the spirit of giving back is in the heart and minds of dental students across the U.S. Let us look at several organizations that allow you to provide dental services to undeserved communities.

Give Kids a Smile is a charitable program launched by the American Dental Association in 2003. The focus of the event is to provide free dental care for underserved children all over the country. The program has been a staggering success, with over five million kids receiving free oral health services since its inception. About 10,000 dentists and 30,000 other dental team members provide their dental services annually. Give Kids a Smile is credited for raising national awareness about the importance of oral health and overall health and the fact that millions of children do not receive dental care.

Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine student Mohammed Bawany ('17) participated in the school’s “Give Kids a Smile” event. In an interview with THE NEXTDDS, Mohammad said; When I reflect back to the ‘Give Kids a Smile’ event, I think of the atmosphere in general in which everyone was there for a single cause and doing their best to try to help some of these people get access to care.”

Mission of Mercy is a non-profit organization who goal is to restore dignity and “healing through love” at mobile clinics, providing free health care and medications. The organization has been providing free healthcare since 1994, and over 25,000 patients are served each year. On November 15 of this year, Mission of Mercy’s Texas branch participated in the 8th Annual Coastal Bend Day of Giving.

THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Megan Golia (University of Maryland School of Dentistry, '17) attended Maryland’s Mission of Mercy Dental Program. She stated in a blog written about the altruistic event; “The event was unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I really felt a sense of love and community among everyone there. I assisted alongside dental professionals who cared for the patients like they were family, and it was rewarding to see the impact we made in people’s lives.”

Donated Dental Services (DDS) is a program through the Dental Lifeline Network that connects volunteer dentists with disabled, elderly individuals who cannot afford proper dental treatment. The program operates through a volunteer network of more than 15,000 dentists and 3,700 dental labs across the United States. Since its commencement in 1985, DDS has aided over 117,000 people. DDS operates a program in each state. If interested, click here to locate an application for your state.

If you find yourself in the giving spirit for the holidays, volunteer your service to those who need it. The organizations listed above have greatly helped the lives of thousands of individuals who cannot afford dental care. Dentistry is much more than a lucrative profession, but also a field in which millions of people are positively affected with the restoration of oral and overall health. Dentists do not only provide wellness but also happiness.


Tags: dentistry, giving back, dentists giving back, dentistry giving back

Getting Over the Holiday Slump: Finishing the Year Off Strong

Posted by Stephen Sweeney on Sat, Nov 19, 2016 @ 10:45 AM

holiday.jpgIt might be hard to believe that it’s November, and 2016 is coming to an end. As time catches up to us, it comes as no surprise that, in one’s professional life, things can be left at the wayside. It can be addicting to get caught up reflecting on the year instead of moving forward and finishing on a high note. Take every chance to make 2016 a truly successful year, both personally and professionally. With the holidays and other major events coming in full swing, it can be easy to rest on your laurels. However, you’ve been going strong up until this point in your dental career; don’t take a step back in your journey to becoming a dentist. Both schooling and the profession itself demands so much of a student’s time, so it’s very important to keep the rhythm going.

Don’t allow laziness to become a habit; there’s no time to waste! Here are some tips on continuing to be productive this winter:

Limit the Holiday Distractions

Of course, it’s easy to have the holiday festivities: the breaks, the shopping, and the themed-parties, be a major distraction heading into the winter season. It can feel overwhelming handling the stress of both school and the holidays, so make sure to get the shopping done, and don’t go crazy with your celebrations. There’s still finals and other exams to study for, so don’t let the holiday season completely take over the end of the year. School should come first!

Focus on What You’ve Forgotten

Now’s the time to pick up the slack. Have there been things you’ve been unfortunately putting off, and want to get done before the year is over? It’s okay to find yourself in a laid-back mood during this time, but don’t let it interfere with your work. If you feel like you’ve been slipping when it comes to finishing your tasks, step up and fight the urge to fall back. If you’re having trouble during the holiday season, take a look at readjusting your time management skills.

Envisioning 2017

Start making a plan for the new year. You might have some personal New Year’s Resolutions on your mind, but what about your professional goals? If you’ve been slumping at the end of the year and will not be able to accomplish those final goals, start looking ahead to the next year. Plan ahead instead of lackadaisically stumbling into January and February without a clear head to how you’ll tackle the new year. Make a list and start the process early.

The new year is almost here, and with that comes a new set of responsibilities for your dental career. If you feel like your year hasn’t been the best it could be, there’s still time in the final two months of 2016 to turn things around! Getting over the holiday hump can be challenging, but once you prioritize and rethink how you will approach this final time and plan for the new year, you’ll be in a good place to look back on your year with a sense of achievement.

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Tags: holiday slump, ending the year strong, 2017

Understanding the CAMBRA Approach for Caries Management

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Nov 10, 2016 @ 05:04 PM

Murphree3.jpgIt’s interesting to see how far dentistry has come in such a short amount of time. As the industry grows, dentists are constantly adapting to new technology and methodologies for restoring their patient's teeth to ideal form and function. Despite how common dental caries and periodontitis are in the modern patient population, new understandings are still being applied to the risks of the disease, improving patient education, and assessing the preventive measures that must be enforced to combat these risks.

The acronym CAMBRA stands for Caries Management By Risk Assessment. It encompasses a methodology of identifying the cause of caries disease through the assessment of risk factors for each individual patient and then managing those risk factors through behavioral, chemical, and minimally invasive restorative procedures.1 In an effort to forego the dependence on operative procedures (the so called “drill and fill”) for dental caries, a CAMBRA Approach can be more cost-effective for the patient, and be less invasive over time.

Given these benefits, it’s easy to see why CAMBRA has become the new standard of care for many practices due to the growing body of research and experts to confirm its efficacy. Since dental caries is a multifactorial process, using CAMBRA can support dentists in managing the disease by three main ways: 1) determining the contributory factors, 2) assessing the risk level for the patient, and 3) ultimately helping the patient find a clear treatment regimen. Risk factors can include visible cavities, enamel lesions, white spots, three-year-old fillings, harmful bacteria, inadequate saliva flow, and frequent snacking.2

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry is just one of the many schools that advocate this relatively new, but wholistic technique to dental caries treatment. In a recent article, Dr. Peter Rechmann, Professor of Preventive & Restorative Dental Science, and Dr. John Featherstone, Dean of UCSF School of Dentistry and leading researcher for the school’s new CAMBRA Approach, discussed how the school has adapted to this new curriculum.

Murphree5.jpgThe CAMBRA Approach can be a way to create a long-term goal for the patient and practitioner instead of a short-term solution. Instead of more invasive operative procedures, utilizing a series of chemotherapeutic agents or fluoride-based solutions in the CAMBRA Approach can create a conservative option for the dentist and encourage additional self-care by the patient. In a couple years’ time, CAMBRA began to take a hold nationwide, and Dr. Rechmann is leading a team to study and confirm the approach’s effectiveness.

With many professionals looking to avoid irreversible cavity preparations to manage dental caries, CAMBRA is a very contemporary topic in today's dental schools. Dental students at the UCSF School of Dentistry, for example, learn about dental caries and the CAMBRA approach during their first year of training. Despite this emphasis both at UCSF and many dental schools across the country, operative procedures continue to be the standard response to dental caries for many private practices, and the challenge lies in instilling CAMBRA after graduation. The biggest barrier, besides a change in practice philosophy and patient compliance, is that most insurance companies do not yet reimburse preventive therapies for adults, meaning patients face higher costs and dentists make less profit from incorporating CAMBRA. But as insurance companies see proof of the long-term cost savings of prevention, they may be more likely to expand coverage to these measures.2

While implementing CAMBRA can involve a small learning curve for the practice, it is ultimately in the best interest of the patient and the professional looking for a diagnostic-based, minimally invasive approach to the management of dental caries. On behalf of THE NEXTDDS user community, we'll continue to monitor the progress of the UCSF research team and share their findings.
Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now


[1] Bernie KM. CAMBRA: Caries management by risk assessment. DentistryIQ. Published March 1, 2011. Accessed October 27, 2016.

[2] Bai N. Prevention-oriented approach to dentistry helps patients avoid the drill. University of California San Francisco. Published October 20, 2016. Accessed November 4, 2016.

Tags: caries, CAMBRA, dental caries, caries management

MUSoD Student, Pinkesh Shah, Discusses Patient Care & Career Goals

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Nov 04, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Advisory Board-Pinkesh Shah.jpgPinkesh Shah our Student Ambassador of the Month for November is a fourth-year dental student attending Marquette University School of Dentistry. If you’re a student interested in the prevention chronic musculoskeletal pain while conducting dental procedures, be sure to read his blog titled An Ergonomically Friendly Dentist. In this THE NEXTDDS interview, he discusses the challenging as well as the rewarding aspects of dentistry and also why he chose this profession. 

THE NEXTDDS: Let’s start at the beginning--why did you choose dentistry as a career?

PS: From a very young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would provide meaningful aide to individuals. I became very familiar and in love with the opportunities healthcare provided. Dentistry stood out to me the most because it provides the opportunity for me to get to know the patient on a greater level and practice preventative care.

THE NEXTDDS: That a commendable reason. Is it at all generational?

PS: Actually, I will be the first in my family to be a dentist.

THE NEXTDDS: How exciting! Briefly take a look to your earlier years in dental school. Were you excited or nervous when working on your first patient?

PS: As an upcoming 4th-year dental student, I am seeing a couple of patients every day. I’ll admit, although it was exciting to finally be working on actual patients, it was nerve-wracking. 

THE NEXTDDS: We can imagine. Now, what aspect of dental school is the most challenging for you?

PS: I find frustrating how underemphasized dental care can be at times among my patients. Trying to educate them to seek continued preventative care or follow through with referrals is definitely something I struggle with.

THE NEXTDDS: It definitely is challenging, yet rewarding once accomplished. What roles do social media and educational resources play in dental education? How frequently do you access them for school-related activities?

PS: THE NEXTDDS helps supplement the education I received in dental school. It provides students with a vast network of learning opportunities to broaden the scope of what they know.

THE NEXTDDS: Well we’re glad to be of assistance to your studies. Next question: What do you envision your next five years of dentistry to look like?

PS: I hope to pursue oral and maxillofacial residency, and thereafter join a group or multi-specialty practice.

THE NEXTDDS: Sounds like a plan! Are there any clinical topics you find most intriguing?

PS: I am always fascinated by the ability of the human body to heal itself. It’s amazing how we can do full craniofacial reconstructions and restore a person’s life to what it used to be.

THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics would be most beneficial to illustrate in online articles/images/videos?

PS: I don’t think the stress should be placed on presenting particular clinical topics, but more or less on presenting a wide variety of each. As an educational resource, it is important to have variety in what we provide so that students can get the most out of their experiences with THE NEXTDDS.

THE NEXTDDS: Interesting outlook. You’ve been a Student Ambassador for THE NEXTDDS for a little while now. How has this experience helped you in networking with your peers?

PS: I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know so many representatives across the nation, and it has allowed me to communicate with them regarding experiences at their respective schools.

THE NEXTDDS: Do you have any chief concerns about being a dental student?

PS: To name a couple, student debt and licensure examinations.

THE NEXTDDS: Student debt is definitely the most common answer. Finally, what do you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?

PS: It is great finally getting to learn what I will be doing for the rest of my life.

THE NEXTDDS: We’re sure it is. Pinkesh, thank you for your participation in this interview--we appreciate your opinions and insight. We look forward to collaborating you throughout your 4th year and beyond!

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

Tags: Student Ambassadors

10 Relaxation Techniques for Dental Students

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Nov 02, 2016 @ 11:45 AM

Legs-Up-The-Wall-Pose-Viparita-Karani-yoga-poseiStock_000030761864_Medium-300x192.jpgStress is a normal part of life. At times, it serves a useful purpose. Stress helped you to get this far in school and headed towards a successful career. But if you don't get a handle on your stress, it can seriously interfere with your work, family life, and health. Our message to you? Relax. You deserve it, it's good for you, and it takes less time than you think. Following these tips can take you from “take a pill” to “chill” in less than 15 minutes.

1. Meditate

Humans have been meditating for centuries. It’s free and is has no side effects. A few minutes of this practice per day can help ease anxiety. Solid physiologic evidence has shown that meditation alters the brain’s neural pathways in a process referred to as “neuroplasticity”. You can effectively rewire your brain to look at life and its associated stressors differently.

It's simple: Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting -- out loud or silently -- a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I love myself.” Place one hand on your belly to sync the mantra with your breaths. Let any distracting thoughts float by like clouds.

2. Breathe Deeply

Even when you’re stacked up with patients, you can take a 5-minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes closed, with a hand on your belly. Slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. Focus only on the sensations of air moving into and out of your nostrils. This simple trick counters the physiologic effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

3. Be Present

Mindfulness is an extension of meditation. It compels you to be present, to pay attention to things in your environment--even if just for a few minutes. Notice how the air feels on your face when you’re walking and how your feet feel hitting the ground. Enjoy the texture and taste of each bite of food. Pay close attention to the smell of fresh coffee brewing, or even something as mundane as the hissing of the autoclave or the sound of the air conditioner. This is an extension of meditation, and is incredibly powerful.

4. Reach Out

You are a leader by the very nature of your job, and leadership can be lonely. Remember that your social network is one of your best tools for handling stress. Talk to others -- preferably face to face, or at least on the phone. Share what's going on. You can get a fresh perspective while keeping your connection strong. And remember that it is always preferable to lean on friends, colleagues, family, and counsellors than it is to lean on staff or patients.

5. Tune In to Your Body

When you get home from a busy day, take some time to mentally scan your body to get a sense of how stress might be affecting it. Lie on your back, or sit with your feet on the floor. Start at your toes and work your way up to your scalp, noticing how your body feels. You can focus on those tight traps in your shoulders and get them to relax. You can ease that tightness in your lumbar paraspinals or the achiness in your feet. Allow the muscles to your hands to relax: their work is done for the day. As you breathe, imagine that fresh oxygen is flowing into those body parts, nourishing and relaxing them.

6. Decompress

Physical therapists rely on modalities such as heat and acupressure to treat tense muscles. You should too. Place a warm heat wrap around your neck and shoulders for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and relax your face, neck, upper chest, and back muscles. Remove the wrap, and use a tennis ball or foam roller to massage away tension. You can place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean into the ball, and hold gentle pressure for about 15 seconds. Then move the ball to another spot, and apply pressure. If you’re fortunate enough to have an understanding significant other, that works too.

7. Laugh Out Loud

It is said that laughter is the best medicine. It lowers cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, and boosts brain chemicals including endorphins and dopamine, which help your mood. Lighten up by tuning in to your favorite sitcom or video, or chatting with someone who makes you smile.

8. Crank Up the Tunes

Listening to soothing music can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. You can create a playlist of relaxing songs or nature sounds like the ocean or rain. Many online websites have these canned soundtracks for meditation. You can focus on the different melodies, instruments, or singers in the music. You also can blow off steam by rocking out to more upbeat tunes, dancing, or singing like no one is watching!

9. Get Moving

Exercise is a cheap psychotherapist, and in fact numerous controlled clinical trials have confirmed the efficacy of exercise in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. You don’t have to run in order to get a runner’s high. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress. You can go for a quick walk around the block, take the stairs up and down a few flights, or do some stretching exercises like head rolls and shoulder shrugs. And it’s free.

10. Be Grateful

Gratitude is powerful medicine for the worst events in your life. Even when things are difficult, you still have all of your skills, your friends, your knowledge, your family, your patients, your support staff, your means of transportation, and a home. Gratitude for the small victories in life helps to stomp out stress and improve your outlook on life. It helps keep challenges in perspective.

Keep a gratitude journal—or running list on your smartphone--to help you remember all the things that are good in your life. Use these notes to savor good experiences like a child’s smile, a successful patient case, a sunshine-filled day, and good health. Don’t forget to celebrate accomplishments like mastering a new knowledge factoid at school or a new hobby. Take care of yourself, doctor-to-be. Then you can be more present for others.

Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Tags: stress management, stress relief, relaxation techniques, relaxation

Factors in the Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Sun, Oct 30, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

periodontal-disease.jpgAs we’ve seen well-established in literature,1 periodontal diseases today affect a significant percentage of U.S. adults, with nearly 47% of U.S. adults (70% aged 65 and older) having periodontitis per researchers.2 Periodontal disease is multifactorial and, while periodontal research continues to examine the involved host factors and bacteria, caregivers focus on the preventive measures for high-risk patients. With a combination of in-office periodontal debridement3 and chemotherapeutic agents, dental professionals have valuable treatment alternatives to manage periodontal disease.

Focus shifts now to the etiology of periodontal disease. In her presentation, “Working Collaboratively with the Dental Hygienist in Periodontal Treatment Planning,” Dr. Christine Karapetian, a Board Certified Specialist in Periodontics and Implantology, discusses the etiology of periodontal disease, explores the benefits of teamwork and interdisciplinary care, and outlines the roles of the dental hygienist and dentist in diagnosis and periodontal care. Here’s what she had to say on the factors in diagnosis of periodontal disease:

Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacteria

In the oral cavity, two types of bacteria are present: gram-positive and gram-negative. Ideally, we would want the gram-positive bacteria to be higher than gram-negative. When gram-negative bacteria begin to proliferate, patients who are at high risk of periodontal disease suffer an immune response. The immune response begins to cause destruction of the periodontal tissue, bone, and gingiva. The main etiology of periodontal diseases lies in this bacterial plaque of a susceptible host.

Secondary Factors

Calculus and Plaque – As we know, effective control of the plaque biofilm depends on intervention by both the dental professional and the patient through his or her at-home treatment.

Smoking – Unless the patient is willing and follows through on quitting, patients who are smokers will continue to have a high risk of periodontal disease.

Diabetes – People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered a complication of diabetes. Those people who don't have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.4

Open Contact and Malposition Teeth – With orthodontic treatment and restorations, mismatched, crooked teeth can easily be fixed, closing their gaps to prevent periodontal disease from being more prevalent.

Utilizing a comprehensive periodontal risk assessment, the practitioner can establish an accurate diagnosis, provide an optimal treatment plan, and determine appropriate maintenance programs. Dentists can start by using an extraoral/intraoral or a head and neck exam, leading to treatment in the oral cavity. Checking the teeth for any informalities, eruptions, caries, and open margins, while also keeping your full-mouth x-rays handy to guide you, can help examine what risk factors are present in the patient.

Check the patient’s periodontal health and be sure to check off these questions:

How well is he or she maintaining proper oral hygiene (e.g., brushing, flossing, rinsing)?

How much calculus or plaque is accumulated?

Is there inflammation present? Bleeding on probing? Clinical attachment loss? Recessions? Furcations and mobility?

What is the patient's occlusion?

After establishing your comprehensive dental exam, you’ll be better able to recognize the etiology of the specific patient’s periodontal disease. It is also important to update and assess risk factors for each patient on a regular basis, as some of these factors are subject to change throughout the patient’s life. While searching for these factors, the etiology of periodontal disease can help practitioners make sound judgements on what the best course of action will be.
Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS


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

[2] 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.

[3] Loesche WJ. Treating Periodontal Diseases as Infections. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. Published June 2008. Accessed September 29, 2016.

[4] Diabetes and Periodontal Disease | Accessed October 24, 2016.

Tags: diagnosing, periodontal disease

HEALTH-O-WEEN, Keeping the Dentist & Doctor Away

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Oct 27, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

candy-around-pumpkins.jpgHalloween is rearing its jack-o-lantern-shaped head and, of course, most kids couldn’t be any more excited. Partaking in costumes and trick-or-treating have become pastimes for American children. Despite the joy of the tradition, however, there is one aspect of the holiday that the adolescents love but their dentists may hate: sugar-based candy. With Halloween being ages old, maybe it’s time to start a new, healthy tradition for Halloween treats?

As future dentists, surely we all know the negative effects of sugar on the dentition—dental caries being the obvious result. Young children are largely affected by this disease. As report by, 52 million school hours are lost each year due to dental disease. Also, by age 11, 50% of kids experience tooth decay. According to the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, 42% of children 2 to 11 have had dental caries in their primary teeth and 23% of children 2 to 11 have untreated caries.

Indulging in Snickers, Skittles, Hershey bars, candy corn, etc. may not be too harmful to children if consumed in moderation. As future dental professionals, however, we still need to acknowledge and cater to adolescents who have cannot eat Halloween candy because of food allergies. According to, 1 in 13 children have allegoric reactions (some even life threatening) to certain foods. It doesn’t help that most popular candy bars contain common allergens like nuts, soy, eggs, wheat, and dairy.

tppprofilepicpublic.pngThe Teal Pumpkin Project was launched as a national campaign in 2014 by FARE—Food Allergy Research & Education. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about food allergies. This idea is the brainchild of Becky Basalone, Civil Servant and Founder/Director of the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee. She also the mother of a child with severe food allergies. At Halloween, she decided to hand out alternatives to candy, such as small toys and other non-edible fun treats and created a movement to enable her kids to partake in the holiday.

Teal is the color of choice for Basalone’s project because it is the national color for food allergy awareness. If you are trick-or-treating and see a teal-painted pumpkin on someone’s front yard, do not expect to receive candy. If you’re not sure what to hand out in lieu of sugary snacks, think about other things children enjoy. Crayons, bracelets, markers, necklaces, stickers, bubbles, noisemakers, action figures, and other toys are all good alternatives.

The Teal Pumpkin Project has significantly grown in popularity and is widely embraced by parents around the country. The campaign has reached 5.5 million people on Facebook and attracted national media attention.

This Halloween, let’s make healthy decisions for the children. They can still partake in the joy of the holiday without indulging in junk food. Let’s give them treats that do not negatively affect their oral health or trigger allergies. Breaking tradition in this case should be accepted because the health of our children is worth preserving.


Tags: children, dentistry, halloween, children's health

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.
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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.

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Tags: consumerization, healthcare, consumerization of healthcare

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