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Dentistry and the Importance of Problem Solving

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Jun 07, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

iStock_000055038294_Small.jpgAs a dental student, you already know that becoming a dentist means making critical decisions. With diagnosis and treatment planning, there are many options that are presented for any given patient who finds him or herself in your chair. Being indecisive is no place for a dentist, and both your patients and your future practice team lies their trust in you. The more training and continued education that you receive while in school, the more your confidence grows as the right decisions are made during a young career.

The ability to identify problems and implement solutions is a dentist’s bread and butter. Problem solving can go beyond your patients and find its way into managing your team, running your small business, or any other billing or marketing issues that may arise when you find yourself as a practice owner. In any event, one can use the following breakdown to combat these common challenges.

Identify the Underlying Problem

You can’t solve a problem without first defining the underlying cause. Ask yourself, is this problem a consequence of a larger issue? Focusing on the root cause will make it easier to determine solutions, rather than patching up inconsequential difficulties or other minor inconsistencies. It might take some time, but if you see the complete picture you can more accurately determine a solution from it. Whether it’s inner-office politics or a hiccup in a report, searching for that overarching problem should be your first step.

Have Many Solutions

Once you have identified the problem, don’t rush into the first solution that pops into your head. If you act too soon, you might not be considering the best possible answer. Instead, find alternative solutions—this may open more doors for compromises, and leave everyone involved with a “win-win”. When you have options, you might be able to see which solutions have the least amount of repercussions, and decide from there. Of course, if a problem doesn’t allow for these alternatives, then your first reaction has to be used.


Don’t keep the problem to yourself, or push your preferred solution. Hear out how team members might approach, and discuss how your options will play out in the long-term. Not only will it generate more options for tackling the problem, but talking it over with your staff will help build team trust and leadership. Your staff will certainly appreciate it. Once that’s in place, begin to see how each option will look in full motion, and implement the one that has the greatest gain with the lowest risk.

Implement and Evaluation

When in the implementation process, assess what responsibilities and outcomes will be expected. Does your staff need to know? What are some adjustments that need to be made when the solution is reached? What can you change to prevent this problem from recurring? You’ll find that many “soft skills” will be implemented here as well, and reevaluation should be your last step. How well is your solution working? Does a new plan need to be implemented? Is the problem ultimately solved? If things are not working out, take a step back for reevaluation. Luckily, if you’ve followed these recommendations, you’ll have many options in place, and consider alternatives to finally solve that problem.

Dental students are expected to problem solve almost every day. But have you had the time to think about whether or not your problem-solving skills are effective? Becoming a part of the healthcare profession means being a leader in your chosen field. With maturity, accountability, and a little bit of courage, dental students can find themselves reaching their fullest potential as new leaders. There’s no better time to acquire these problem-solving tools once you prepare to enter a new semester. Start your leadership skills off right!

Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Further reading:

The 4 Most Effective Ways Leaders Solve Problems

Problem Solving Skills

Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving in the Workplace

How To Solve Problems - Techniques of Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Tags: dentistry, treatment planning, problem solving

Recommendations for Finding and Building a Mentor Relationship

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Sat, Jun 03, 2017 @ 02:00 PM

mentor-mentee.jpgDental students, including some Student Ambassadors for THE NEXTDDS, often describe the importance of finding and a building a relationship with a mentor. For many students seeking this guidance in their early school career, this is easier said than done. Whether it’s a faculty member, a more experienced student, or even shadowing a practicing dentist, how does one create and breed an organic mentor-mentee relationship? If you’ve expressed interest in starting one of these relationships, learn how to begin the process of finding a relevant coach and advisor.

Courtesy of Dr. Cody Mugleston, a recent THE NEXTDDS virtual training event entitled “3 Proven Ways to Find Mentors & Build Leadership Skills” discusses topics such as the importance of mentorship, how to develop leadership skills, building relationships, and pursuing clinical excellence. In his presentation, Dr. Mugleston outlines several recommendations to finding and building a mentor relationship.

How to Begin the Mentor Process

Beginning the mentor relationship is an organic process. Engage with the potential mentor dentist on treatment philosophies and to discover what he or she is most passionate about. What makes your mentor tick? What does he or she strive to do with dentistry? What’s life like outside of work; how is he or she as a person? Make sure to approach him or her first, don’t wait for a mentor to come to you. You can’t just show signs of being coachable, you have to be the catalyst of the relationship.

While you don’t have to come right out and say that you are seeking a mentor, you can instead work your way into their graces, slowly building up that relationship to a point where you are comfortable enough to begin asking those crucial training questions. You can ask questions in order to get help and questions that dig into the personality of your mentor, learning of his or her pathway into dentistry. Some examples:

To solicit help from the mentor:

  • What would you do if you were me in this situation?
  • What should I look to improve on? What do you see as my strengths?
  • What new skills should I learn?
  • How can I communicate more clearly?
  • Who should I go to when following up or to help move my career forward?

To learn more about the mentor:

  • What is an important leadership lesson you learned?
  • How do you embrace failure/setbacks?
  • How do you approach risk-taking?
  • How do you spend your time both inside and outside of the office?
  • How do you best plan for the future?

Once the relationship has been established, start having conversations that will engage the mentor in your development as professional. Ask your mentor to watch you work, and offer you feedback and constructive criticism. Maybe offer a meeting time outside of work to let you pick his or her brain on certain topics? Build your way into the relationship by trusting one another, establishing an open communication, and being assertive in your goals as a mentee with a similar mindset. Be “all in” on the relationship, don’t shut down recommendations from the mentor just because you are not comfortable or have done the approach before. Be a sponge and soak up as much as you can from your mentor, constantly learning to become a better dentist.


In order to grow as a dentist, dental students should seek the advice and guidance of their peers and more experienced professionals. Not only will it be a good safety net for diagnosis and treatment planning or how to best approach certain aspects of running a practice, but it can also be a rewarding exercise in networking and being able to get ahead on your professional career. Start looking for mentors now and you’ll be better prepared to handle the pressures ahead.

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

Tags: mentor, mentorship, questions to ask, mentoring

Associate Dentists: What Traits Do Practice Owners Want in Potential Candidates?

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, May 24, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

aspen-efficiency.jpgDental students receive the clinical training necessary to become dentists while also developing a philosophy of patient care that will become the framework of their future practices. In this way, becoming an associate dentist after school comes with its own set of challenges once preparing for that big interview with an employer dentist or practice owner. Once graduates find that perfect associateship with a mentor that has a common way of thinking about treating patients, a new question soon emerges. Assuming a candidate and employer dentist have similar philosophies, how can one differentiate him or herself in the eyes of the interviewer?

Courtesy of Dr. Bianca Velayo, this recent THE NEXTDDS webinar entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship” highlights important qualities and character traits that practice owners desire in applicants and future associates in their practices.

Humble But Hungry

According to Dr. Velayo, practice owners want friendly, personable candidates; an associate dentist who can work cooperatively without any problems. Her presentation explained that experienced dentists are usually able to provide further clinical support to their associates, but they can’t teach attitude and how an associate approaches issues. A candidate should be willing to learn about all the facets of the practice, yet still be humble in his or her abilities. Candidates should know that they still have a lot left to learn. Are they driven to become better dentists?

Confident and Passionate

When candidates are asked that age-old interview question, “So, tell me about yourself,” it could be easy to blank on an appropriate or relevant answer. Candidates might even feel that they have so much they want to say, but don’t know where to start. All in all, interviewees should show the passion they have for dentistry. Have they volunteered? Taken advantage of ASDA events to learn more about the profession? Showing passion goes hand-in-hand with showing confidence, and candidates should make it clear that they are ready for the opportunity that an associateship brings them.

Ethical and Coachable

Can the practice owner put the trust in a candidate to handle patients with ease? Candidates might not have extensive experience coming out of school. Showing to the practice owner that one is coachable means being open to criticism and feedback. A candidate can be easily taught to keep up with the hustle of appointments, treatment, and the typical daily workday. Candidates should focus on patient care, not on money, buying power, or any other factors that might distract from important goals in the short-term.


While in dental school, candidates should take advantage of the resources that will help them out as much as possible during the job search. Networking, contributing with peers, and cultivating positive relationships will mean a successful future. Utilizing alumni and a dental school’s career services will also allow young dentists to be more knowledgeable about different options after graduation. To hear Dr. Velayo’s recommendations in their entirety, be sure to click here.

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

Tags: associateship, personality traits, leadership traits

Importance of Lifelong Education

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, May 19, 2017 @ 10:15 AM

AD_CE.pngYou are the best and brightest dentist in your town, with freshly minted skills and knowledge. How will you maintain that edge and continue to be the best provider that you can be? Through continuing education (CE). Continuing Education is extremely important to keep dentists of all levels on top of their games, since the field is evolving rapidly with new technologies and digital solutions that improve practice efficiency and patient care. Journals are an important resource, but without a well-developed plan including hands-on courses, classes, and lectures, you may lose that edge.

It is widely held that the body of scientific knowledge in healthcare doubles every six months. The one article that may fundamentally change the way you practice and impact the standard of care may be published the day after you graduate from dental school. You need a well thought out plan that will keep you abreast of changes that occur in the profession. You can quickly learn about new approaches that provide better outcomes, happier patients, and a more efficient workflow for you and your staff. Some products or techniques that you currently rely upon may be found to have significant adverse effects, or a newer generation of those products may be described that can make what you learned from your mentors obsolete. You, your patients, and your staff deserve the latest scientific knowledge available.

The Importance of Compliance

Dentists in all 50 states must acquire and maintain a license to practice. The vast majority of states require license renewal every one to three years, and most of those renewals require a prescribed number of CE hours and credits. Many states have specific guidelines on what types of CE they will or will not accept, such as home study versus group education formats, classes on ethics, courses on domestic violence and child abuse recognition, prescribing, and care of the underserved. If you want to continue practicing, you will have to comply with the rules of licensure in your state. State-by-state regulations vary, and links to information on these regulations can be found here.

But CE is not simply designed to keep you out of trouble. Through CE courses, you have the opportunity to improve your skills and learn the latest clinical techniques from qualified, knowledgeable instructors. Thus, your patients can be offered the latest diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic methods in the industry. Letting your patients know that you are the first dentist in the area to offer this new approach will help with practice marketing as well, since word of mouth from satisfied patients is a powerful tool. Your reputation in the community will improve as a direct result of your cutting-edge approach to dental care.

Opportunities for Professional Development

Continuing education courses are often designed for the dentist to have fun while learning. Some live courses are offered in vacation destinations, and industry conventions such as the ADA Annual Session, Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting, and the Greater New York Dental Meeting now feature live patient demonstrations and exhibitions with vendors with whom dentists can interact. Manufacturers will demonstrate new technologies available to improve the efficiency and results achievable in your practice. Many dentists travel to these conferences with their families, combining education with entertainment. You can also meet and network with other dental professionals, opening new career pathways for you as you begin your new position in the dental industry. In almost all cases, traveling to and attending CE courses is a tax deductible expense for you and your practice. Once you return to work that next Monday morning, you can begin to share your new knowledge and clinical “pearls” with other dentists in your practice, your support staff, and your patients.

Self-Directed Education

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we gain information—and consume CE. Interactive CE courses abound, many more engaging than a printed journal. Interactive education through online webinars (live or archived), instructional videos, and the like allow you and your professional peers to consume CE at your own pace and convenience. Finding high-quality CE courses that fit your needs, schedule, and finances is easy. The American Dental Association and the American Dental Education Association provide numerous self-study programs that are certified for CE credits, and also list links to live CE courses and CE providers. THE NEXTDDS is a leading provider of educational articles, videos, and
webinars, with multimedia courses available free to dental professionals. Your state’s dental licensing board is also a reliable resource for local and national courses for dentists.


Continuing education is a critical component to your ongoing success in practice. While it is true that it is a requirement for licensure, the reasons to actively plan for and seek CE go far beyond that. CE courses keep you sharp, educated, attractive to patients, and marketable for your next career move. Aspen Dental Management Inc., is a great resource for high-quality education for you in your successful career as a dentist and available to support you throughout the journey. Ask us today how we can help!


Are you a recently graduated D4 student? Check out these related articles:

Dental Practice Insurance that Pays for Itself
Ten Tips for Running a Successful Practice
Partnering for Success

Tags: education, continuing education

Understanding Common Obstacles to Endodontic Therapy

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

root-canal-obstacles.jpgRoot canal therapy requires the clinician to carefully satisfy a host of requisites through each phase (e.g., access, preparation, disinfection, and obturation, sealing) of treatment. As Dr. Gary Glassman explains in Part 1 of his four-part virtual training series on endodontic therapy, not only does the process require diligent examination, shaping, and disinfection, but no two therapies are the same. This becomes a factor due to the differing anatomy of teeth in patient’s mouths. For some, this may come as a great challenge, working with what is present and tackling it through the necessary precautions and treatment. Dental students and practitioners know that several complications often come into play, including:

Calcifying Root Canals

Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for endodontic instruments to reach the apex of the root. If teeth have this calcification, the practitioner may perform endodontic surgery to clean and seal the remainder of the canal.1 Calcified root canals can be caused by a whole host of reasons, such as caries, trauma or infection, drugs, or simply because of the natural aging of the tooth.2

Obstructions and Ledges

Instrument obstruction is another common obstacle to successful endodontic therapy. Because of complications such as calcified root canals, sometimes a practitioner does not have both a good visual and/or physical space to achieve the intended access into the root canal. This leads to the stubborn approach of forcing therapy, which may lead to broken or fractured instruments. However, there are many approaches, such as proper radiography and pre-curved files, that can be used around these obstructions.3 If the practitioner is unsure about access, then alternatives should be the main focus.

Soft or hard tissue blockages can present clinical challenges as well. A ledge is created when the working length can no longer be negotiated and the original pathway of the canal has been lost. Don’t force the instruments by instead using passive step-back and balanced force techniques, instrumenting the canal to its full length to help prevent ledge formation.4

MB2 Canal

Though a real challenge, finding the MB2 canal in endodontic treatment means that you have finally arrived as a clinician. More often than not, the MB2 is identified in maxillary first molars, and being able to clean the root canal system here is of the utmost importance. Patient examination is critical here, with steps that include checking for apical palpations as well as sensitivities to biting, percussions, and on/off swelling. Three-dimensional (3D) imaging provides optimal evidence of the canal location, and provides the practitioner with sufficient information to begin treating the canal. The future of 3D imaging, therefore, looks very bright for endodontic treatment.5

While root canal therapy can often be complex, dental students know that such difficulties are expected. The obstacles and hurdles that are common with the treatment provide a challenge that requires focus, patience, and much, much practice. Endodontic therapy requires diligence and repetition, but can be rewarding as one's skills and experience develop over time. Building one’s skills is key in all aspects of dentistry, but for the endodontic specialty, it’s even more so. If you treat endodontics with the right mindset, you’ll be more confident in performing consistent root canal therapy.


[1] Krasner P, Rankow HJ, Abrams ES. Access opening and canal location. Endodontics Colleagues for Excellence. 2010. Accessed December 27, 2016.

[2] Garg N, Garg A. Cleaning and shaping of the root canal system. In: Textbook of Endodontics. Westminster, London, England: JP Medical Ltd; 2013:277.

[3] Carrotte P. Endodontic problems. Brit Dent J. February 2005:127-133.

[4] Jafarzadeh H, Abbott PV. Ledge formation: Review of a great challenge in endodontics. J Endo 2007;33(10):1155-1162. Accessed December 21, 2016.

[5] Glassman G. Advances in Endodontic Treatment: Part 1--Diagnosis and Treatment Planning. Accessed December 21, 2016.

Tags: root canal, root canal therapy, endodontic therapy, obstacles of root canal therapy

Strategies for Removing and Managing Dental Biofilms

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 @ 10:30 AM

gums-and-teeth.jpgIn the role of the dental professional to ensure optimal patient care, the continuous and routine removal of dental biofilms needs to take place. Despite patients being able to treat through at-home care and chemotherapeutic agents, proper oral health care is an ongoing maintenance when combined with the help of the dental health professional. Studies indicate that inflammation in the mouth has been linked to conditions elsewhere in the body,1 and as a dentist working with a dental hygienist, patients need to be educated and assisted on this oral-systemic connection and how they can adequately remove this dental biofilm and work toward the goal of proper oral health.

In a recent THE NEXTDDS live training event, Dr. Christine Hovliaras discussed key strategies for managing and removing dental biofilms.

Mechanical Plaque Removal

Manual and electric toothbrushes, floss holders, and other oral irrigation and interdental devices provide perhaps the quickest and easiest way for patients to remove harmful dental biofilms. Brushing twice a day in the morning and evening, as well as recommending flossing every night before bed is the main goal for practitioners. In this way, dental biofilms can be removed by the patients themselves and prevent issues that can lead to dental caries and gingivitis.

However, patient compliance remains a consideration and must be part of any oral health instructions provided by dental professionals. In addition, it has been noted that patients brush their teeth too fast, falling short of the two-minute recommendation issued by the ADA.2 Thus, patient education is a must for new dentists working in collaboration with dental hygienists in order to ensure that specific oral health needs of their patients are met.

Periodontal Debridement

From the clinical perspective, periodontal debridement is used to stop the progression of periodontitis to restore that patient to healthy pocket depths and attachment levels.3 Supragingival and subgingival scaling are standard non-surgical treatments for periodontal disease as are local or systemic antimicrobial therapy. Root surfaces should be smooth upon completion of periodontal debridement, thereby reducing the potential recolonization of harmful bacteria. Dental calculus provides an environment conducive to the adhesion of bacteria and biofilm retention, which also contains endotoxins in gram-negative bacteria and can cause inflammation.

The objective of periodontal debridement is to disrupt the dental biofilm and remove the maximum amount of biofilm, calculus, periodontal bacteria, and debris on the root surfaces and at the gingival soft tissue. Through a combination of hand and ultrasonic scaling (for patients with tenacious calculus), this goal is achieved.

Ultrasonic Instrumentation

When compared with hand scaling, ultrasonic scaling can offer the dental professional a number of advantages.4 It can be less fatiguing and time consuming in debris removal, it can retain more tooth substance and structure, it can provide irrigation of the pocket during instrumentation because of the water used to cool the heated tip, and can provide superior access to tight subgingival areas.

There are two types of ultrasonic instruments:

  • Magnetostrictive — A vibrational movement and frequency of 25,000 to 30,000 cycles per second via inserts connected to the handpiece. Power is distributed to all surfaces of the tip for removing deposits.
  • Piezoelectric — Has a frequency of 25,000 to 50,000 cycles per second and contains quartz discs or ceramic plates in the handpiece that vibrate, rather than vibrating metal stacks on the magnetostrictive insert. A linear motion of the tip occurs and the two lateral sides of the tip provide the working stroke to remove calculus and other debris.


The goal of the dental professional is to assess each patient, conduct a proper oral examination, and obtain quality radiographs that permit preventive care and assessment. Dentists are also responsible for evaluating the patient’s periodontal and restorative health and identifying the appropriate treatment plan to provide optimal care. Working in a team in a proactive and engaging way with trust, respect, and value allows the dental assistant, the dental hygienist, and front office team to provide the highest level of professionalism and care for patients.

Click here to watch this THE NEXTDDS live training event.

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  • Li X, Kolltveit KM, Tronstad L, Olsen I. Systemic Diseases Caused by Oral Infection. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2000;13(4):547-558.
  • Creeth JE, Gallagher A, Sowinski J, et al. The effect of brushing time and dentifrice on dental plaque removal in vivo. J Dent Hyg 2009;83(3):111-6.
  • Aimetti M. Nonsurgical periodontal treatment. Int J Esthet Dent. 2014 Summer;9(2):251-67.
  • Chatterjee A. Baiju CS, Bose S, Shetty SS, Wilson R. Hand Vs Ultrasonic Instrumentation: A Review. Journal of Dental Sciences & Oral Rehabilitation Oct-Dec 2012.

Tags: dental biofilms, clinical, removing dental biofilms, managing dental biofilms

The Fundamentals of Root Canal Therapy

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

proper-root-canal-access-thumb.jpgRoot canal therapy is an important requirement during your dental school training and a mainstay of clinical practice. Root canal therapy is often classified according to three main requirements: proper preparation, disinfection, and obturation. As you focus on developing your treatment planning and hand skills for your future in the profession, understanding the nuances of endodontic therapy is important.

Dr. Gary Glassman, a leading educator and authority in the field, recently presented a four-part virtual training continuum on endodontic treatment, discussing such topics as proper diagnosis, shaping, disinfection, obturation, and key variables to treatment. In Part 1, Dr. Glassman begins his instruction with these fundamentals to root canal therapy.

The Basics

A principle goal with endodontic therapy is to sustain the vitality of the affected tooth. However, if the tooth has been committed to root canal treatment, then the pulp tissue needs to be removed. Canals need to be shaped to accomplish disinfection and, once that is complete, the root canal system is to be cleaned and obturated in three dimensions, finished with a restoration and crown if necessary.

First and Second Appointments

Whether a root canal takes one appointment or two depends on a practitioner’s level of expertise, as well as the status of the dental pulp. Make sure that you are focusing on the quality of the endodontic care, rather than the number of the appointments you need to make with the patient.

accessing-root-canal-systems.pngTake a radiograph to visualize the anatomy of the tooth and aid in the diagnostics. Sedate the patient using locally administered anesthesia, or conscious sedation for patients with anxiety. It’s important to use rubber dam isolation, for moisture control at the site as well as to prevent the inadvertent aspiration of endodontic instruments and/or debris. Access and locate the canals, shape them, and irrigate to clean. If a second appointment is needed, provide the patient with a temporary restoration (e.g., calcium hydroxide) to protect the affected tooth, and/or a temporary restoration to seal.

In the second appointment, re-access the affected tooth and apply the final irrigation protocol for 3D disinfection. Dry the root canal and fully obturate it in three dimensions as well. Restore the tooth with a restoration and crown if necessary.

Postoperative Care

It is important to equip the patient with all the necessary information that he or she needs to know after therapy. Prescribe the patient with any medication that will manage his or her pain, and emphasize the importance of a regular antibiotic schedule if need be, fulfilling and refilling prescriptions as directed. Provide additional oral health instructions to the patient to allow time to heal, stressing his or her need to avoid chewing in the affected areas but allowing brushing and flossing as usual.


No matter where you stand with endodontic treatment, root canal therapy is a very sophisticated aspect of daily practice that has a lot of dentists intrigued. With its rich history of research and continued exploration of advances in the future, endodontic therapy continues to evolve and provide greater efficiency for dental professionals. Based on attendee feedback from the virtual training continuum, the importance for additional hands-on learning in this facet of dentistry is much needed, as many attendees plan to have endodontics become a big part of their practices down the road.

To start watching the endodontic therapy continuum, click here for our complete YouTube playlist.Watch the Continuum Now

Tags: root canal, root canal therapy, endodontic therapy

The History of Dental Adhesives

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 @ 11:18 AM

adhesion-2.jpgAdhesion, or bonding is the process of forming an adhesive joint, consisting of two substrates joined together. Most adhesive joints involve only two interfaces; a bonding composite restoration is an example of a more complex adhesive joint.1 The word “adhesion” is derived from the Latin roots that translate as “to stick together,” and is defined as the molecular attraction exerted between the surfaces of bodies in contact; the force referred to as adhesion occurs when unlike molecules are attracted.2

Dental adhesives are used for a wide range of clinical applications in restorative dentistry. Direct composite resin restorations all require bonding, and indirect resin inlays, onlays, and veneers require bonding and—depending on their design—crowns, bridges, and endodontic posts and cores may require and/or benefit from the use of dental adhesives in conjunction with resin luting materials.3

Adhesion technology has allowed for more freedom for dentists and a better way to treat teeth without the need for extensive preparations, preserving the original sound tissue. However, the constant battle with adhesive dentistry becomes making procedures more efficient while not sacrificing bond strengths. In this way, dental adhesives have become so much of a changing force that it establishes a new way of thinking and treating cavities, orthodontics, and other treatments that are crucial to patient’s overall health. It’s important for future dentists to learn more about how these different generations of adhesives have both improved in quality over time and have grown to be a standard of care for many dentists.

A recent presentation, “A Primer on Dental Adhesion,” by Dr. Howard Glazer discussed the evolution of adhesive bonding in dentistry, the indications of total-etch and self-etch adhesives, and other related topics. Here’s a rundown of the differences involved in the generations of dental adhesives as Dr. Glazer explains:

4th-Generation Adhesives

The 4th generation of adhesive bonding in dentistry achieves bond strengths of over 18 megapascals in the enamel in order to have a strong adhesive bond. If a system requires more than one bottle and requires a separate etch step, it is commonly referred to as a "4th generation" adhesive. In a three-step total etch procedure, the etch is first applied, then primer, and then the adhesive agent.

5th-Generation Adhesives

On the other hand, if there is a separate etch step with only one bottle, it is regarded as a "5th generation" system. In the 5th generation, the procedure is now condensed to an etch, then a bottle that has the combined primer and adhesive. As one step in the process is eliminated from the 4th-generation adhesives, you can see how the bonding procedure can become simpler, faster, and more efficient.

6th-Generation Adhesives

In the 6th generation, the separate etch step is eliminated, and a primer adhesive, two-bottle system is now utilized. This approach has an acidic primer that is built into its system, and a separate bottle for the adhesive. Bond strengths in the 6th and 7th generation are among the strongest of their kind for enamel and dentin, with upwards of 20 megapascals.

7th-Generation Adhesives

A 7th-generation adhesive is a one-step, self-etch, bonding agent, and several options are available as HEMA-free formulations and with improved bond strengths. Here, adhesive dentistry has come to a single-bottle approach. By combining the acidic primer with the adhesive in one bottle, the 7th generation is a single-application system that allows it to be an effective and popular choice for dentists. Despite this, 7th generation bonding can still use a separate-etch technique.

As adhesive systems in dentistry continue to evolve, bond strengths become stronger and postoperative sensitivities are minimized for patients. Still, the name of the game is a better-quality product that is more efficient for use. While earlier systems have had acceptable bond strengths but were technique sensitive, today’s adhesive systems are less complex to use. The continuing balance between strength and efficiency is such an important aspect to being a dentist working chairside. As quality increases, adhesive dentistry becomes easier for the healthcare professional and more effective for the patient. It will be interesting to see how even more simplified and effective dental adhesives become as generations continue to advance.

 Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS


[1] Perdigao J, Breschi L. Current perspectives on dental adhesion. In: Aesthetic Restorative Dentistry. 1st ed. Mahwah, NJ: Montage Media Corporation; 2008:319.

[2] Terry DA. Adhesion: A micro-mechanical bonding. In: Natural Aesthetics With Composite Resin. 1st ed. Mahwah, NJ: Montage Media Corporation; 2004:86.

[3] Latta M. Recent advances in dental adhesives: An overview. THE NEXTDDS. Accessed November 22, 2016.

Tags: dental adhesion, adhesives, dental adhesives, composite restoration, dental restoration, teeth restoration, total-etch adhesives, self-etch adhesives

Five Recommendations You Don't Want to Miss from THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassadors

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

sa-blogs.jpgWe are close to three months into 2017, and THE NEXTDDS has shared a variety of new resources with its dental student user community. From successful webinar series that captivated dental students from across the country, to live learning events in Baltimore, Michigan, and Chicago. THE NEXTDDS has presented learning opportunities in multiple formats. It's part of our commitment to providing sound instructional tools and resources for dental students in the topics and formats they value most.

THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassadors participate in this mission as well, sharing these resources with their peers across the country and posting their own learnings from the classroom and clinic. Student Ambassador contributions on THE NEXTDDS have touched on topics related to patient care to personal stories about outreach programs and how to prepare for key milestones in the journey toward graduation. Want to learn more about THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Program? Click the button at the bottom of this list to get started.

In the meantime, here are the top five most popular Student Ambassador blogs of 2017 thus far:

  1. Preparing for the NBDE I

Back in December, University of Washington School of Dentistry Student Ambassador Nicole Antol took the NBDE Part 1, a challenge every student certainly recognizes! In her contribution, Nicole goes over several ways in which her school prepares students for this daunting time of year, as well as ways that she herself prepared for the exam.

  1. My First Extraction

The first time a dental student performs an extraction can certainly be a nerve-wracking experience. Luckily, University of Connecticut School of Dentistry Ambassador Paul Dyrkacz stayed focused, and outlined step-by-step how he approached his patient in the clinic. What did he learn from the procedure? Click the link to read more.

  1. sa-blogs-2.jpgHow Dental School Curricula is Misunderstood in the Health Profession

When you talk with friends and peers outside of the dental profession about what you learn in school, do they ever ask, “Why do dentists even need to know that?” University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston Student Ambassador Raven Deneice Grant encountered this question one too many times, and wrote this inspired piece about how misunderstood the dental curriculum is compared to other areas of healthcare. The next time you get that question, show them Raven’s blog!

  1. Board Studying Strategies

Continuing on the topic of the NBDE Part 1, Andrew Bertagna, THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador at the University of Chicago at Illinois College of Dentistry, runs down several of his key study tools to ensure that you ace the exam. From taking practice exams, to assessing your strengths and weaknesses, Andrew covers solid ground and implores readers to question their study habits and methods to better prepare for these major exams.

  1. Learning a Skill as a Dental Student

The most-read Student Ambassador blog of the year so far was submitted by Matthew Mannella, THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador at Rutgers University School of Dental Medicine. Matthew explains how, despite the massive time-consuming toll that dental school takes on students, there is still time in the day to take up a new hobby, study a new language, or, indeed, learn a new skill. For Matthew, this challenge came in the form of picking up the bass guitar upon starting dental school. He soon found that working with your hands—plucking at the strings and hitting those notes—allowing his hand skills and dexterity to improve over time. What new talent have you picked up during dental school? Click the link and comment below to let us know!


Want to get in on the action and join THE NEXTDDS user community? Register today, or learn more about our Student Ambassador program and register to become one for your school by clicking the link below.

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

Tags: Student Ambassadors

The Keys to the Dental Student CV

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Resume-Writing.jpgAfter graduating from dental school, creating a successful CV will grow your confidence as you apply for an associateship or a residency program. Whichever route you decide to take in your professional career, you’ll want to present yourself as a knowledgeable and professional candidate who would be an ideal fit. The CV is the first thing that crosses the interviewer's desk or computer screen, and within five minutes of reviewing your qualifications, a first impression will be made. Therefore, it’s important to make those five minutes count, and create an effective and concise CV that drives the point home of why you should be in that next position.

With so many do’s and don’ts surrounding resume writing and your CV, deciding where and how to make changes might cause a bit of hesitancy. Put your doubts to the side and take a look at these recommendations for creating your perfect CV:

Primary Objective

As previously mentioned, the primary objective of the CV is to highlight your achievements and skills in the field, while complementing them with relevant details that provide additional context or further address the big accomplishments in your career. The CV should be easy to read and flow from section to section. If you’re having trouble thinking of what to include and not include in your CV, think about what milestones you have achieved that would stand out if you were to describe them to someone. What makes you different? What is your main selling point that the owner dentist or program director should be aware of?

When you get that major interview, the interviewer will base many of his talking points on what is shown on your CV. Therefore, while it’s crucial to create a CV that highlights your relevant experience, qualifications, activities, awards, and interests, you can’t get by on achievement alone. It can be beneficial to form anecdotes from the content on your CV, should they arise when brought up during the interview. This way, you can be less worried about memorizing the key facts and stats of your dental school career, and more focused on telling stories and experiences in a conversational manner. When you’re comfortable during the interview, you can steer it organically into mentioning these key credentials and specific figures. Keep in mind: Your tone, body language, and pleasant attitude is just as important as how qualified you are for the position.

The Specifics

The key is to keep your CV consistent and easy to read. Use a simple font and white space to break up large blocks of text. Don’t be too concerned with graphics or fancy templates. Keep your most important information first in bullet point format, and don’t include any unnecessary information (outdated work experience, hobbies, jargon, etc.). You’ll want to keep your CV short, with a two- to three-page maximum limit.

Some things you may want to include:

  • Shadowing experience
  • Publications (blogs, news, etc.)
  • Professional organizations, associations, or other positions you’ve held
  • Awards and recognitions, being as specific as possible to add perspective to your experience
  • Outreach and volunteer work
  • Speaking credits or posters presented

Things to Keep in Mind

As each position is unique, adjust your CV to the specific role you’re applying for (a recruiter will only spend so much time reviewing it). You’ll want to wow the practice owner or program director with as much relevant information as you can fit in those compact two pages. After reviewing the requirements of the job at hand, ask yourself some personal questions: What do they need? What can I do for them? How does my experience best work for what they’re looking for? How can I best represent myself for them?

You’ll want to include each of the following details:

  • Personal details
  • Education and/or qualifications
  • Work experience and previous employment
  • Skills
  • Interests

If you go over the two- to three-page limit, remove some of the less important sections (such as skills and interests). Ask a peer or faculty advisor for recommendations on potential adjustments to ensure you have an outside perspective as well.

The Don’ts

At this point, you’ve probably got more than enough information to help you in your quest to create the perfect CV. However, what are some major things to avoid when collecting and crafting your history?

You’ll want to be honest and accurate, so be sure not to skew any details to your advantage, and fact check every item to make sure each is up to date. Don’t include too many personal details. Besides your basic contact information, things like your age, race, gender, etc. do not need to be included; awards and memberships are far more important. Don’t try to be fancy with design elements, shading, or waste any space because of it. As discussed, being concise and neat is the name of the game, and anything to distract the reader will certainly cause them to pass over on you.

If you can afford it, resume writing services (which can also tackle LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, etc.) can be a worst-case scenario option if you feel your resume is lacking that “kick” to get you hired. Otherwise, try finding a good template online and working from there (the CV templates on Google Docs, for example, could be a good place to start).

Don’t be lazy in your writing and the way you present yourself. Use action “punch” words to really make the initiation (e.g., you led the team, you managed that organization). Keep your projects, your actions, and the results you achieved in mind. Where possible, add statistics (percentages, numbers) to quantify the impact you made.

The main purpose of a CV is to demonstrate your key skills and achievements and how they can best be utilized for the job at hand. However, no matter how great you make your CV, it won’t do everything to get that ideal job. Try your hand at our numerous resources on interviewing that’ll help you ace your next interview!

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

Further reading and examples:

How to Build a Strong CV

Curriculum Vitae vs Resume

Tufts University Dental Career Services Resume Writing

ASDA: Tips for Writing Your CV/Resume

The Young Dentist: Tips On How To Write A Good CV

Tags: curriculum vitae, curriculum vitae writing, resume writing, resume

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