THE NEXTDDS Blog

John Papa

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The "New Dentist Track" at the CDS Midwinter Meeting

Posted by John Papa on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 09:39 AM

This year, the Chicago Dental Society offered a track of four courses specifically written and designed for new dentists. These courses were intended to give new dentists insight and tips in certain areas that might be overlooked or not covered in-depth in traditional dental school curricula. The four courses that were included in the “New Dentist Track” were:
  • Leadership in Social Media for New Dentists: Presented by Ms. Rita Zamora
  • Risky Business: What are the Dangers and How to Prepare: Presented by Dr. Roy Shelburne
  • Career Paths in the Private Practice of Dentistry: Presented by Mr. Peter Ackerman, and
  • Sales free Selling: The Death of Sales and the Rise of New Methodology: Presented by Dr. Steve Fretzin

In her social media course, Ms. Rita Zamora began by establishing the idea of creating and maintaining your online brand/identity. Her words of advice to the would-be social media savvy dentist were: know yourself, know your brand, live your brand, be visible, and lead by example. She went on to discuss social media marketing through Facebook ads or Google ad words, and suggested using small incentives to get patients to “Check-in”, “Like”, or “Follow” your social media outlets; such as giving out whitening strips (or some other one-time-use item) for check-ins before appointments. As for negative patient reviews on social media, her advice was to either ignore them or to reach out to the complaining patient personally via email or phone, talk to them, and see if they will take the review down afterwards. You can read more about Social Media Marketing and Integrating Social Media in your Future Practice on THE NEXTDDS.

Dr. Roy Shelburne’s presentation on risk management was focused on pointing out the small things that sometimes get overlooked by new dentists which could result in a visit from the IRS. He began his presentation by saying that every new dentist should know the legal definition of intent. He then went on to describe what, in his eyes, constitute the five biggest legal threats to your practice: failure to comply with HIPPA, OSHA, tax laws, the dental practice acts of your state, and other contractual obligations. He touched briefly on informed consent, malpractice claims, and record keeping; stating that keeping air-tight records of every procedure, why it was done, and how it was done is a good way to insulate yourself from malpractice suits, but that the biggest protection from malpractice suits is to have a good relationship with your patients.

Mr. Ackerman led off his “Career Paths” course by explaining his outlook about the future of the dental profession. Due to a number of factors including increased competitiveness in the field, growing student debt, distribution of new dental offices, changes in patient values, and older dentists being forced to work longer, the allure of “corporate dentistry” appears to be growing for new graduates. He does, however, still believe there are viable paths to private practice ownership for young dentists. He went on to discuss associateships at length, including why they sometimes fail, how to best insulate yourself from liability and failure, many legal issues that arise through associateships including contractual obligations, terms of agreement, compensation, "due diligence" research, and types of practice sales (retirement [full]) sales, delayed full sales, extended sales, and partial sales). Read more about making the transition from Student to Professional in THE NEXTDDS Magazine

Steve Fretzin ispecializes in coaching business owners on the finer points of sales and investment. In his presentation, Mr. Fretzin explained his new methodology of sales, which favors a much more consultative and relationship-oriented approach over the traditional sales model. He then explained how his sales model is specifically applicable in the dental/medical fields, especially during patient consultation and in attempting to garner interest and consent for treatment plans.

The New Dentist track at the CDS Midwinter meeting is a way for young dentists and current dental students alike to learn some of the finer points of business management, legal matters, and marketing that may not have been covered in depth during dental school. Each of the speakers were passionate their subjects, and gave easily applicable tips that could improve business, exposure, and revenue while reducing risk and liability for a new practice owner. As dental students attending the CDS Midwinter, the New Dentist track is one way to get a jump on one’s professional career, and to start thinking about the real-world business of dentistry in a new and exciting way.

Tags: midwinter, CDS, CE, continuing education, marketing, liability, sales, New Dentist Track, social media, legal, associateship

The Chicago Dental Society Mentorship Program

Posted by John Papa on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 @ 02:54 PM

“One of the most rewarding parts about this program is when the mentor becomes the mentee.”

These were the words of Dr. Clark Stanford, new Dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago, one of two schools that participates in the CDS Mentorship Program (the other being Midwestern – Illinois). Students and faculty from both schools were in attendance at the CDS Midwinter meeting “Mentorship Luncheon”. This lunch event, sponsored by the Chicago Dental Society, was the first chance that many of the students from these schools got to meet their mentor face to face and shake his/her hand.

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Dr. David Kumamoto runs the mentorship program at Midwestern University. Dr. Kumamoto is an adjunct professor at Midwestern, a former faculty member at UIC, and he maintains a general dentistry practice in Chicago. Dr. Kumamoto was involved in the program during his time at UIC, and carried the tradition with him to Midwestern. Currently, there are approximately 45 students at Midwestern and nearly 200 students at UIC enrolled in the mentorship program.

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Interestingly, Dr. Kumamoto and his counterpart at UIC, Ms. Millie Mendez-Garcia (Director of Student Affairs for UIC Dental) work hard to make sure that students from each university are NOT paired with a faculty member mentor from his/her own university, but with someone from outside the familiar confines of their school.

Other than a possible conflict of interest, Ms. Mendez (who manually pairs every applicant student with a mentor herself), explained the reasoning behind this to me as such: “The faculty within the schools are supposed to serve as mentors to their own students.”

Ms. Mendez explained that any student of any year at either university can apply for a mentor, and that no students are turned away from the program. Both students and potential mentors are required to apply for the program through the CDS’ website. Ms. Mendez and her team then try to pair mentors with mentees who share similar interests or desired specialty areas. For instance, a student interested in Implantololgy might be paired with a local implant dentist, or a student interested in joining a group practice might be paired with a dentist who is a member of a group practice.

The purpose of this program, as alluded to earlier, is to help students discover what paths they want to pursue outside the bounds of the general dental school curriculum. Students also have the option to change their mentor at any time if their interests change, or if they find they have a better connection with a different practitioner. Mentors are not exclusive to one student either; the record for mentees currently stands at 4 at one time according to Ms. Mendez.

Outside of the official luncheon event at the CDS Midwinter, the mentor program does not hold official events. Once the relationship is formed, it is the responsibility of the mentor and the mentee to maintain it. Some of these relationships may last a professional lifetime, while others may not have the sticking power to continue outside of dental school. Nevertheless, the potential that the program offers new students just entering the profession to learn from a seasoned veteran who has already forged his of her own career path cannot be understated.

Tags: chicago, dental students, CDS, mentor, Chicago dental society, mentorship, dentistry

THE NEXTDDS at the 2015 ASDA Annual Session

Posted by John Papa on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 @ 10:16 AM

 

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To most of the students in attendance, the ASDA Annual Session Dental Expo last Thursday evening was all about trying to get their “Bingo Cards” stamped as quickly as possible for a chance to win some of the fantastic raffle prizes they were giving away. For THE NEXTDDS, the Dental Expo was a challenging, exciting, and rewarding opportunity to connect with student leaders and representatives from across the country.

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For nearly three hours, we had a valuable opportunity to network with ASDA national leaders, chapter executives, even future ASDA movers and shakers, and to tell them all about the peer-reviewed educational resources (articles, videos, podcasts, clinical images, etc) and social features offered by THE NEXTDDS website. Students’ interest seemed particularly piqued by our Student Ambassador Blogs, and a surprising number of people were able to immediately recognize the Ambassador from their university by name alone. This unique event afforded us the chance to talk about THE NEXTDDS with dental students who flew in all the way fromCalifornia, as well as dental students from theBostonarea who could literally walk to the hotel where the event was taking place.

It was particularly exciting to finally meet and shake hands with many of the people whom we had only spoken to over the phone or through email correspondences in the past. Putting a face to a name, and having the chance to be in the same room with someone is an irreplaceable way to reinforce an existing relationship, or forge a new one.

We had the chance to meet THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassadors who were in attendance, continue to expand the Ambassador network, and even meet District Trustees and ASDA student executives. The atmosphere was truly special; after all, where else are you going to have ASDA President Kris Mendoza as a captive audience on a random elevator ride?

As the Expo went along, it became clear that everyone we spoke to was excited by the idea of THE NEXTDDS; who wouldn’t like the idea of free, scientifically sound educational content? This experience only further strengthened our belief that the appetite for adjunct education is real among the dental student population, and that we have the means and the technology to deliver it to them.

“It was great hanging out with (THE NEXTDDS Representatives) and talking to my colleagues about the program!”

- Emma Guzman, Student AmbassadorSUNYBuffaloSchoolof Dental Medicine

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As we continue to build THE NEXTDDS and our rapport with the dental students across the country, we know it will be important to attend more events like the ASDA Annual Session and individual school Vendor Fairs. If this event proved anything, it is that personal relationships are vital in such a relatively small community as we encounter in dental students, and we look forward to the challenge of bolstering these relationships in the months and years to come.

Tags: THE NEXTDDS, Emma Guzman, ASDA, Dental Expo, Student Ambassadors, Boston, Annual Session

Henry Schein & THE NEXTDDS Extend Support to Local ASDA Chapters

Posted by John Papa on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 @ 02:38 PM

In conjunction with Henry Schein, the launch of the “Student Ambassador Scholarship Program”, and the continuation of our “Grass-Roots” campaign, THE NEXTDDS has attended chapter-sponsored ASDA events at Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, and SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. These opportunities allowed THE NEXTDDS representatives to interface with dental students, exchange insights, and build a more personal relationship with those in attendance.

Throughout these events, we were equally encouraged by speaking directly with some of the 11,000 enrolled members of THE NEXTDDS, as well as students who had not yet been introduced to the program but were eager to join the community once informed.

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Henry Schein school store managers, Pat Monaghan (Temple), Brande Daniels (VCU), and John Sloane (Stony Brook) were instrumental in facilitating our participation and introducing us to some key student leaders.

While these events represent one facet of the program’s long-term outreach initiative, we believe in the mission of THE NEXTDDS as striving to provide relevant tools and resources for all of tomorrow’s practitioners, and will continue our grassroots engagement efforts throughout 2014 and beyond.

Tags: THE NEXTDDS, VCU, Temple, Grass-roots, Henry Schein, Stony Brook

10 Things You May Not Know About THE NEXTDDS

Posted by John Papa on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 @ 09:58 AM

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  1. THE NEXTDDS is Completely Free for Dental Students.

Validating your identity as a U.S. dental student permits you free enrollment and free access to all the resources of THE NEXTDDS.  You have no fees to join our expanding community of dental students, and incur no monthly charges of any kind.  Interested in joining THE NEXTDDS as an international dental student?  Send us an email ([email protected]) so we can determine how we may be able to assist.

 

  1. THE NEXTDDS is Built EXCLUSIVELY for Dental Students.

From our glossary of dental terms to our podcasts with your fellow students—certainly the soon-to-be-launched Testing tool—contents on THE NEXTDDS are developed specifically for dental students and residents.  Our mission is to support your critical thinking, comprehension, and competency in concepts relevant to your classroom training and patient care.

 

  1. Content Features on THE NEXTDDS are Reviewed for Accuracy and Quality Prior to Posting.

Before it is posted to THE NEXTDDS, each article, instructional tutorial, blog, diagram, series of clinical photos, etc. is reviewed by subject matter experts—our Academic Advisory Board members.  This review process ensures the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and overall quality of every feature posted for your review and reference.

 

  1. Students Can Easily Mark Content “Favorites” and Share Content.

Adding videos, articles, cases, podcasts, or other content to your personal “Favorites” menu, or even sharing content with your classmates (i.e., via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) is as simple as one click of a button. Favorites are easily accessible from your profile, and all content can be quickly shared with a peer, study group, social network, or any other enrolled member of THE NEXTDDS. Favorites can also be quickly recalled when studying for your Finals, NBDE I, NBDE II, or Licensure exams.

 

  1. THE NEXTDDS is Launching a New Testing Tool.

Currently in beta testing, THE NEXTDDS will soon unveil a unique testing feature that will allow you to study for your NBDE I, NBDE II, and Licensure exams in a an engaging, easily accessible online format. Use random question banks of matching, fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, and essay questions, along with videos, diagrams/illustrations, didactic images, timing tools, and instant feedback/grading features to prepare for your exams like never before.

 

  1. THE NEXTDDS Groups are Based on Dental Schools and Organizations.

Upon enrollment in THE NEXTDDS, you are automatically placed in your dental school’s social group. All group pages feature a school calendar of events, message board, and group-wide document sharing, and allow you to easily connect with all of your classmates on THE NEXTDDS. You can also join groups built for dental organizations (AO, HDA, etc) that help you network and engage with like-minded peers and fellow organization members.

 

  1. Users Control Their Personal Privacy Settings in THE NEXTDDS.

User privacy is important to THE NEXTDDS. For this reason, all of your personal privacy settings are completely customizable, and you can set exactly what information others will see when they view your profile. To change your settings, simply click the “My Settings” button at the top of any page on THE NEXTDDS, then click “Privacy Settings” and adjust to your desired specifications.

 

  1. Members of THE NEXTDDS Have Access to Online Learning Events and Webinars.

THE NEXTDDS offers its members access to exclusive webinars, streams, and online learning events in the dental space. Stay abreast of important web-based events and opportunities that will aid in your dental education. Important dental news, as well announcements from the industry's leading associations and organizations, are distributed to members through eNewsletters, Facebook, and Twitter throughout the year.

 

  1. Exclusive Offers Are Available to Enrolled Members of THE NEXTDDS.

Enrolled members of THE NEXTDDS are also eligible to participate in activities that help measure users’ interests and needs during their time readying for a career in dentistry. We use such feedback in planning future content, tools, and new ideas for the website, and provide special “exclusives” as a way of showing our gratitude for your time.

 

  1. We’re Interested in Spreading Awareness of THE NEXTDDS and its Instructional Goals.

As you plan the next lunch-and-learn, vendor fair, webinar, or social activity for your chapter or classmates, know that THE NEXTDDS is interested in participating too. Attending dental student events is a valuable way for us to make new acquaintances, share our educational goals with dental students and faculty members, and spread awareness of this free resource. Simply follow this link to our Sponsorship Page to share pertinent information that we’ll use in planning our activity calendar for the coming year.

Tags: offers, favorites, peer-reviewed, exam, THE NEXTDDS, privacy, free

The increasing role of mobile browsing in education

Posted by John Papa on Fri, Nov 01, 2013 @ 11:05 AM

In increasing numbers, students and educators alike are embracing tablets and eBook readers in both their personal and professional lives1.  However, is the increasing role of mobile browsing in education a good thing?  Are instructors able to use it to maximize the classroom experience for their students?  Are students able to be more productive with these devices?

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While there a few important considerations including cost, security, and the need for a robust wireless infrastructure and a strong professional development program2, most higher education institutions believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.  The expanding role of mobile browsing in education presents the following advantages:

  • Wealth of educational resources. As mobile use becomes more prevalent, educational publishers are moving toward more and more digital content.  Typically, it is more cost effective for school districts and educational institutions such as dental schools to purchase digital content instead of textbooks.  The initial investment is more modest, and publishers can provide edition upgrades for a fraction of the cost of new textbooks.  Publishers are offering everything from electronic textbooks to online videos to multimedia-rich applications.3
  • Collaboration and interaction opportunities. Professors, including those in dental school, can connect their mobile devices directly to projector screens, allowing them to share lecture presentations, video, website content, and additional media (i.e., clinical photos, diagrams) seamlessly during classroom instruction. They can also administer exams and conduct instant polling and then use the results to customize instruction to more readily respond to students’ learning needs.  In turn, students can use mobile devices to access resources via electronic textbooks and take notes using a variety of tools and apps.
  • Mobile devices provide quick, direct access. Tablets and eBook readers—smartphones too—seldom provide the robust computing power that laptops do.  However, many credible sources, such as THE NEXTDDS, have already embraced mobile technology; providing access to a wide range of credible, scientifically sound information comparable to what is available on a desktop computer, complete with all the advantages of mobile browsing. As mobile technology processing speeds, wifi, and data transfer rates continue to improve each year4, mobile sites and apps will continue to become more responsive, fast, and accessible to ultimately match up with the level of convenience that they already offer.
  • Visual element of touchscreen devices. Touchscreens enable dental students and faculty to use their fingers to manipulate images and applications.  As opposed to simple viewing of two-dimensional images, users can interact with three-dimensional images, such as moving them and zooming in on them. Not only do students stay engaged but they're able to visualize, comprehend, and retain complex abstract concepts in a way that would not be possible otherwise.5
  • Time-saving tools. There is a growing variety of applications that students can use to maximize their work time for both individual and group projects.  We have had several students tell us that looking up drug effects and drug interactions was one of the most time consuming and difficult aspect of clinics. With mobile technology, and new dental and medical apps, this hassle is all but completely eliminated.6
  • Efficiency. Electronic textbooks and additional digital classroom content saves students money as well as bulk.  Instead of purchasing and hauling heavy textbooks, students can keep the majority of their classroom resources on their mobile devices. As is the case with many mobile sites, eTextbooks, and apps, students visiting THE NEXTDDS on their mobile device are afforded a convenient “Search” feature to easily find any piece of content they may need at the click of a button. This feature saves the time and tedium associated with flipping through pages in a book, searching for the exact paragraph one needs.

So, how are you using mobile devices in your education? We’d love to hear from you.

  1. http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/05/08/report-students-use-smart-phones-and-tablets-for-school-want-more.aspx
  2. http://www.communitycollegetimes.com/Pages/Technology/How-mobile-learning-devices-are-changing-the-face-of-higher-ed.aspx
  3. http://www.coursesmart.com/
  4. http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/technology/mobile-innovation/mobile-device-technology-components.jhtml
  5. http://www.towardsmaturity.org/article/2012/11/22/towards-maturitys-2012-benchmark-study-highlights-/
  6. http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2011/07/the-best-5-dental-apps.html

Tags: education, iphone, mobile, android, internet, phone, cell phone

Recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt

Posted by John Papa on Tue, Oct 08, 2013 @ 10:59 AM

Are you starting to worry about how you're going to pay for your dental school education? One of the biggest concerns that we hear consistently from dental students is getting out from under their debt burden when they finish school.

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Many people already have previous schooling debt from their undergraduate programs and are looking for recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt.

The good news is that there are a few simple tips that can make a big difference for virtually every student.

 

 

  • Compare costs. Above all other recommendations for reducing the burden of dental student loan debt, the best method for ensuring less debt is paying less upfront. For example, in-state tuition is cheaper than out-of-state tuition and both of these numbers can vary significantly between schools. Getting into an in-state program or one with substantially lower tuition than comparable programs can mean the difference of thousands of dollars.

  • Try to get government loans. Not only are government loans less expensive, but the government is also vastly more flexible when it comes to working with those who are experiencing financial difficulties after the fact. In addition, consolidating government loans can be much more helpful (i.e. result in more discounted rates) than consolidating private loans.

  • Consolidate student loans. Do you have multiple loans? You may be able to group them together and make one payment at a lower rate. Keep in mind that you can consolidate private or government loans, but you cannot mix the two. Take the time to crunch the numbers before you agree to consolidation to ensure that it will save you money in the long run.

  • Prepay loans whenever possible. Most students are not able to pay down their loans while they're still in school, but they may have the means to pay the interest in order to prevent it from adding to an already high loan balance. Additionally, if you have higher interest loans (i.e. credit card debt, car payments) these loans should take priority and be paid off first. However, if paying off your dental school debt early is an option, you should take advantage of it. Pay off your highest interest loan first, and make sure to apply the money toward the principal, not the interest. Paying down the principal saves you money over the loan's lifetime.1

  • Make every payment on time. Late charges add to an already big bill and they are entirely avoidable. Some people find it beneficial to enroll in an automatic payment program so they never forget to make a payment.

  • Qualify for loan forgiveness. The government will forgive debts after 10 years for borrowers that make their career in the public sector. (http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service). The government is also aggressively promoting other relief programs including the Pay As You Earn program (http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/pay-as-you-earn) which adjusts repayment to affordable levels while extending the loan term to accommodate that. Either way, the key is to get your arms around your post-graduation obligations before you leave school so that you can apply for these programs ahead of time. Questions? Let us know we’d love to help!
  1. http://www.finaid.org/loans/prepayment.phtml

Tags: student, loan, government, debt, private, payment

Mobile Internet Consumption and its Implications on Education

Posted by John Papa on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 11:14 AM

How do you as a dental student surf the web? According to a recent PEW research study, if you are like most Americans you browse the web from your mobile phone.1 The PEW Research Center published a study last week that showed 63% of cell phone owners (which account for 91% of all American citizens) use their phones to access the internet, with 34% of respondents saying that they primarily use their phones—not a desktop or laptop computer—to access the web.

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These numbers are significant because this marks the first year that more than half of the total American population have used their phones to access the internet, and that more than half of the adult population inAmerica(56%) now owns a smartphone capable of accessing the internet.

These numbers have risen meteorically in just four short years, as reflected in the referenced study. Just 5 years ago, in April of 2009, a similar study found that just 31% of cell owners used their phones to go online. In fact, just one year ago, in April of 2012, PEW found that only 55% of cell phone users used their phones to access the internet; this figure increased by 8% in 2013. The fact that this number has literally doubled in just five years is a clear indication of the consumer trend towards mobile technology.

There is no question that having direct, 24/7 access to the internet as a student is beneficial to learning, and it is probable that these numbers are even higher among students. In support of this claim, one can point to the demographics figures cited in the PEW study. Unsurprisingly, the number of individuals accessing the web using their phones decreased with age.

Who Accesses the Web on Their Phones?

Young adults (ages 18-29):     85%

Adults (ages 30-49):               73%

Older Adults (ages 50-64):     51%

Seniors (age 65+):                   22%

Since a majority of dental students fall into the “Young Adult” age range, it is safe to assume that most of you have, at one point, used your smartphone to access the internet, look up and answer or definition during a class, or check for treatment options during clinic. In this way, mobile technology has changed the face of learning forever, and its use among students will (presumably) only continue to increase in the future.

The number of cell internet users who stated that they primarily access the internet on their phone (rather than a traditional computer) has also risen steadily, though much less dramatically, over the past two years. The first time that PEW included the question; “Overall, when you use the internet, do you do that mostly using your cell phone or mostly using some other device like a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer”, in their survey was in 2011. At that time, the percentage of people answering “Mostly Cell Phone” was 27%; a number which increased to 31% in 2012, and again to 34% in 2013. The results also suggest that socioeconomic status plays an influential role in whether or not an individual primarily accesses the internet from his/her phone, as the less affluent may also be less likely to own a desktop/laptop computer.

What do these numbers mean for the future of computing, internet consumption, and education in theUnited States? The data from these studies suggests that the number of cell phone owners will continue to rise steadily in the foreseeable future. Concurrently, there is reason to believe that the number of cell phone owners who access the internet via their phones will also continue to increase. There was nothing in this study correlating the sales of desktop/laptop computers to cell phone usage, but presumably as the number of people who access the internet exclusively on their smart phones continues to rise, desktop/laptop sales will begin to decline. Who knows, in ten years it is conceivable that the desktop computer could go the way of the cassette player, VCR, and landline phone! As for dental students in particular, there may soon come a day when your school has a mandatory mobile app that you will need to download to keep track of your schedule, submit assignments, or complete a reading posted by your professor.

The future certainly looks bright for mobile technology in the educational space, and that is why THE NEXT DDS has worked hard to develop our mobile platform; to ensure that dental students across the country can access free educational tools on THE NEXT DDS from their preferred device. THE NEXT DDS Mobile is available 24/7 to enrolled dental students, and includes all of the resources, information, and social tools available on the full website. In the future, we hope to expand this mobile version of the site to other mobile operating systems to encompass the full array of devices that today’s dental students may be using.

Tags: education, iphone, mobile, android, internet, phone, cell phone, PEW

Dentists for Della: The ADA's Best New Student Organization

Posted by John Papa on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 @ 04:13 PM

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Mallory Dawson, a D4 student at Georgia Regents University College of Dental Medicine. Mallory and her classmates participate in the Dentists for Della student organization, which recently received the Horizon Award for being named Best New Student Organization by the American Dental Association. The Dentists for Della program is dedicated to providing quality dental care to elderly and geriatric patients living in the local area. Mallory joined us to discuss the specifics of the program, and spread the word about this initiative.

Can you give us some specifics about what the Dentists for Della organization is all about?

Once a month, over 20 students volunteer under faculty supervision to visit the Georgia War Veterans nursing home. Students clean and adjust dentures and brush the teeth of nursing home residents, and provide general oral exams. Over the past year, we expanded the services we offered, and Junior and Senior students now do rotations at the nursing home. During these rotations, students perform denture repairs and more in-depth restorative procedures.

You mentioned that Dentists for Della was a volunteer program, but is participation now mandatory for GRU students?

There are two aspects of the program. The rotations are mandatory for Junior and Senior students, and they’ve been integrated into our curriculum. These are the days that we provide restorative care and full exams for the patients. On the first Wednesday of each month, any student can volunteer at the nursing home, and that is when students brush and clean the patients’ teeth, clean dentures, and provide small assistance to the patients. This is unique because it lets Freshman and Sophomores get involved with patients before they have any clinical experience.

Approximately about how many patients have been seen so far this year?

Since January when we started providing the actual treatment and rotations, we have seen more than 50 different patients and provided more than $7,500 worth of treatment.

What kind of challenges are presented when you’re working with geriatric patients that you might not see when you’re working with other adults or pediatric patients?

One big challenge that sticks out in my mind is trying to treat patients with severely limited mobility. A lot of these patients are in wheelchairs, and even though we have the basic equipment at the nursing home to provide quality care, you have to improvise when your patients have this mobility impairment. At the school, we’re very used to seating our patients in a chair with great lighting and providing care in a state-of-the-art facility with state of the art equipment, but we can’t always have these optimal conditions at the home. On multiple occasions, I have treated patients while they were standing up. Being able to adapt and provide quality care in that environment is probably the biggest challenge.

How are the patient attitudes toward the students?

The patients volunteer for this care, and they are so excited every time we come in. They’ve developed relationships with numerous students and our advisors. They know a lot of us by name, and they just light up when we come. More than just the dental care we provide, it’s just to be able to smile, to talk, to see a new face that they’re not used to seeing every day, it’s a great experience for us and for them.

Have you had a case that really stuck out in your mind that you yourself or one of your classmates encountered during one of these visits?

I remember one patient who had extremely large cavities on his teeth, and he would never smile and was very self-conscious about their appearance. Over the course of several visits, we were able to fully restore his teeth and create a much more aesthetic smile, and now every time we see this patient, he has a huge grin on his face and a big smile. For us, that’s what dentistry is all about; trying to help people and making them feel more comfortable in their own shoes.

That’s a great story. You’re so right, that’s what it’s all about. That’s why people ultimately get into dentistry, to help people and make them feel better about themselves. Thank you so much for joining us today, Mallory!

Absolutely, thank you!

To listen to our full podcast with Mallory Dawson about the Dentists for Della organization, visit http://thenextdds.com/Podcasts/Dentists-for-Della--ADA-s-Best-New-Student-Organization/.

Tags: ada, dentists for della, georgia, organization, della, gru, program

Dental School? Yeah, There's an App for That!

Posted by John Papa on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 @ 10:06 AM

For as valuable as texting, tweeting and social networking are culturally, these functions represent only a fraction of mobile technology functionality. iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and other smart devices offer unprecedented value as educational and professional development tools that enhance traditional classroom instruction, complement clinical training, and expand research beyond the library walls. Online and remote activities in programs such as The NEXT DDS, platforms like Blackboard, and downloadable apps are all aspects of digital age remote learning.

There are currently more than 700 apps available for general medical education, such as Medscape, which offers physician and pharmacy directories specialty-specific medical news, or Taber’s Medical Dictionary, which contains 60,000 definitions, 1,000 images, and more than 30,000 audio pronunciations.

There are also apps designed specifically for dental students, from first year basics to final year hands-on clinic work.

While the iPhone may be the best known smartphone, there is an array of smartphones on the market that offer advanced functionality that can make it easy to use educational apps, online resources, and other remote learning tools. Android phones are becoming increasingly popular. The HTC EVO, billed as the first 4G phone inAmerica, offers the fastest speeds available for downloading material and overall functionality. The EVO and the Motorola Droid X turn into roaming hotspots for other devices, such as a student’s laptop. The Droid X also offers up to 40GB of storage.

The new Windows Phone 7 smartphones, which include the HTC HD 7, Samsung Focus, and the LG Quantum are individualized communication devices that accommodate a student’s particular educational needs.

User-friendly slate devices such as the iPad, HP Slate, and ExoPC Windows 7 are becoming increasing popular among students. These devices are perfect for reading, browsing the web and organizing materials.

With smart phones becoming ubiquitous, college programs are incorporating more remote education tools into their curricula. For dental students, resources such as THE NEXT DDS offer access to articles, procedures, reports, study aids, and information on traditional, new and/or experimental clinical procedures. And, of course, smart devices also allow students to communicate with each other and with their instructors.

While academic class and clinical instruction will always be an aspect of dental school, utilizing digital technology to expand student learning opportunities will produced the most knowledgeable and highest-quality dentists possible.

*Adapted with permission from Kathleen Tracy, Writer. Los Angeles, CA

Tags: ipad, smartphone, technology, iphone, electronic, app, ipod

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