THE NEXTDDS Blog

[Webinar] Inflammation and the Oral Health Relationship

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

Periodontal-Probe.jpgThe connection between periodontal disease and other diseases in the body has been explored throughout the dental literature over the last several decades. Bacteria present in periodontal disease were once thought to play a cause-and-effect role in systemic disease, yet emerging research has instead attributed this link to inflammation.

As a consequence, dental professionals aim to control inflammation in order to help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke). This will be traced in subsequent events in our upcoming virtual training event series that focuses on periodontal disease and its systemic conditions and relationship to other severe diseases.

Other key topics that will be explored in this webinar include:

  • Etiology and prevalence of periodontal disease
  • The role of biofilms, bacteria, and bacterial byproducts
  • Understanding the body’s inflammatory process
  • Potential pathways (e.g., bacteremia, provocation of an autoimmune response, and aspiration/ingestion of oral contents) affecting oral-systemic health
  • Overview of impact on heart health, respiratory disease, diabetes, stroke, and similar.
  • Clinical management and the importance of oral health instruction (OHI) for the at-risk patient

Save your seat now for our September 26th webinar happening at 9pm Eastern!

 

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Tags: periodontal disease, webinar, oral health, inflammation, oral inflammation

[Webinar] The Dental Handpiece and Its Role in Daily Practice

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 @ 02:00 PM

Create It.jpg

Today’s dental practice could not exist without the dental handpiece. The evolution of the handpiece has fundamentally changed the way clinicians care for their patients, providing an efficient and effective means of tooth preparation. Handpieces exist in both air-driven and electric options, and each has specific features and considerations for use. Air-driven and electric handpieces are slightly different in design, and future practitioners should understand their differences and advantages. This first virtual training event will discuss their characteristics and cutting potential.

Practitioners have both air-driven and electric handpieces and, though each is slightly different from the other, certain “best practices” for their maintenance apply to both handpiece options. Since the dental handpiece is vital to daily practice, its care and maintenance is important for preserving long-term function.

Additional discussion topics include:

  • Major developments in handpiece technology
  • Design of air-driven handpieces
  • Accessibility to intraoral locations
  • Ergonomics of air turbines
  • Cutting operation of air-driven and electric handpieces
  • Introduction to maintenance considerations

Save your seat now for our September 19th webinar happening at 9pm Eastern!

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Tags: webinar, dental handpiece, handpiece maintenance, air-driven handpiece, electric handpiece

3 Important Oral Health Questions to Ask Your Patients

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 @ 01:00 PM


One important aspect of your experience as a new practitioner is the patient - dentist relationship. Honesty and sensitivity both aid in developing this bond.  As a new dentist, it’s crucial to gain an understanding of the patients’ oral health habits  and provide proper instruction when any deficiencies are noted. Certainly, poor oral hygiene and lack of proper care can lead to plaque buildup  as well as periodontal disease. According to the World Health Organization, 60% to 90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults worldwide have dental caries (1). These data may seem daunting  but, as you know, these issues can be overcome. Ask a patient these three questions to learn about his or her oral care maintenance and determine how you can provide guidance toward optimal oral health.


Do You Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily?

bigstock-Brushing-Teeth-241344.jpgAccording to an article on the Dimensions of Dental Hygiene website, less than half of children brush their teeth twice a day. (2) The most common step towards improving oral health is brushing regularly. However, there are a few particulars your patients should keep in mind. Be sure to stress the importance of brushing twice each day, and spending about two minutes doing so. Advocate the use of a timer if necessary. Patients should also be reminded to replace their toothbrush every three to four months. Here are a few proper brushing techniques to advocate with your patients:

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gingiva
  2. Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes
  3. Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces

 

Are You Flossing After Every Meal?

As you know, brushing  and flossing go hand-in-hand. According to the ADA, only 40% of Americans floss daily and 20% of Americans do not floss at all. (3) Many people brush twice daily but forget to remove debris interproximally. Inform the patient that  once the outer surfaces of the teeth are clean, it’s pertinent to clean between them as bacteria still linger between teeth where the bristles can’t reach. Share these flossing technique with every patient. (4) bigstock-woman-smile-with-tooth-floss-178781266.jpg

  1. Hold the floss tightly between the index fingers and thumbs, slide it gently up-and-down between the teeth
  2. Curve the floss gently around the base of each tooth, making sure to go subgingivally
  3. Make sure to use the clean sections of floss while moving from tooth to tooth
  4. To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

 

What Does Your Daily Diet Consist Of?

Express the importance of healthy dietary options. Your patient may not know how the food he or she consumes can largely affect their oral health. (5) Advise the patient to reduce the number of snacks eaten during the day. However, if an individual chooses to eat between meals, it’s wise to make healthier snack choices like fruits and vegetables rather bigstock-Food-4708340.jpgthan sugar-based options that can contribute to caries. Tell your patients to keep these tips in mind when choosing meals and snacks:

  • Drink six to eight glasses of water daily.
  • Eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups, including:
  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Unsweetened grains
  4. Low-fat and fat-free dairy foods
  5. Lean sources of protein such as dry beans, peas, lean beef, fish, and skinless poultry

 

 These three considerations should be embedded in the minds of all patients looking to improve their oral health. Building rapport with your patients begins with congeniality and honesty. Let each know how to properly care for their teeth. A few extra minutes out of the day and smarter food choices, along with proper professional intervention, can ensure that the oral cavity is preserved and protected. This will surely establish to a cohesive bond with your patients as they achieve that fresh, healthy, and clean smile.

 

  1. World Health Organization. “Oral Health.” http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs318/en/. Published April 2012. Accessed August 25, 2017.
  2. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene, 1ADAD, www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/ddhright.aspx?id=18172. Accessed 23 Aug. 2017
  3. ADA News. “Survey finds shortcomings in oral health habits” http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2014-archive/october/survey-finds-shortcomings-in-oral-health-habitsPublished October 20, 2014. Accessed August 22, 2017
  4. Brushing Your Teeth. Mouth Healthy TM. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed August 22, 2017
  5. Desiree, Yazdan, DDS, MS http://www.dentistrytoday.com/news/todays-dental-news/item/1591-how-diet-affects-your-patients-teeth. Published January 2017. Accessed August 24, 2017


 

Tags: dental health, brushing, flossing, oral health, eating healthy

Associateships: What Important Traits Should You Look to Improve?

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

dentist-and-practitioners.jpgAre you still looking for an associateship, searching to align your practice philosophy with an employer dentist who fits your approach perfectly? Or have you instead finally been able to lock in that associateship position and are awaiting your starting date? Wherever you land on the spectrum, there are many ways in which you can improve your personal skills to be a better associate once you join the dental practice.

If you’re apprehensive about this first phase of your career in dentistry, don’t fret! Courtesy of Dr. Bianca Velayo, this recent THE NEXTDDS live training event entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship” highlights several ways that a new associate or future associate can improve their preparedness.

Communicate Effectively

Take a look at your interpersonal skills. Communication is a huge part of any job, and becoming an associate or eventual practice owner means even more connections between your staff and the patients you’re treating. When staff members look to you for leadership, and patients begin to put their trust in you, how are you choosing to best deliver your message? Think about the three basics of communication: body language, tone of voice, and your choice of words. If your communication needs work, focus on each of these fundamentals to build better social skills. In addition, establishing a good rapport with your employer dentist will be key to forming a lasting mentor relationship that will constantly be guiding you to your next steps both personally and professionally.

Build Patient Rapport and Trust

Establishing effective communication skills will translate into your conversations with patients. Make eye contact, have a firm handshake, and keep the patient comfortable. It’s also of importance to listen to their concerns and complaints. Lean in and get the patient to relay as much information to you as possible in order to determine an accurate diagnosis, and further continue the necessary steps into treatment and case acceptance. On your end, make sure to educate the patient on his or her treatment options, rather than advocating one over the other. Each patient is an individual with distinct needs, concerns, and comfort levels. Once you build a patient-centric approach, delivering treatment in an ethical way will become second nature. This will lead to long-term patients, referrals, and consistent production.

dentalcareforelderlyjpg.jpgWhile it might be easy to treat patients like family members, there may be patients that are tougher to manage. It’s important to relay treatment options to them in a relatable way, and believe in your diagnosis so that patients can truly witness your expertise as a dentist. If they reject treatment, be assertive in your approach, and they’ll soon trust that you hold the keys to their health. If a patient has a broken tooth that needs a crown, and the patient instead asks you why he or she can’t opt-in for a filling instead, stand your ground. Patients who try to self-diagnosis may think they can take advantage of your youth or excitable nature to change the treatment plan. If you succumb to their wishes every time, they may lose trust in you. Be an assertive new dentist that stands behind their diagnosis.

Time Management

You might be used to the three-hour block exams and treatment plans in dental school, but those days will soon be over. Patients typically don’t have that kind of time, so you should respect the time they take to come in for an appointment. As an associate, building speed and compliance comes with practice, practice, and more practice! Ask for help when you need it, be open to feedback, and try to become more focused with less breaks to help build this new skillset. Instead of relying on your smartphone, wear a watch to be aware and keep track of your time, and set reasonable goals to try to slowly trim the time it’ll take you to perform a clinical task.

 

An associateship comes with a substantial amount of responsibility, and a learning curve to overcome. Whether it’s becoming familiar with your duties, working alongside your team members, or coming face-to-face with patients that are in need of treatment right away, there’s a lot of different circumstances coming your way. If you make a solid effort to improve upon your personal tools, you’ll have an easier transition as you begin coming into contact with your peers and patients every day. Good luck and success in your associateship!

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Tags: associateship, communicating with patients, communication, patient communication, personality traits, leadership traits, patient rapport, patient trust

Establishing Patient Comfort and Making a Solid First Impression

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Aug 17, 2017 @ 10:49 AM

doctor-patient-communicatio.jpgDental treatment makes many patients anxious. If a dentist is friendly, communicative, and ultimately makes the patient comfortable in the chair, he or she might be a retained patient for years to come. Therefore, it is imperative to make a solid first impression with each new patient. Patients who are happy with a dentist’s services and how they are provided care can influence referrals and drive the productivity and growth of the practice.

Making patients comfortable is an important skill for a new dentist to master. Draft a script for new patient phone calls, i.e., to set expectations for his or her office visit, and then implement this system for each potential patient in your practice. It may be advantageous to tailor your message according to the type of patient on which you’re calling. Different types of patients walk into your office every day. He or she may be a new patient, a referred patient seeking the right practice, or an existing patient who is experienced with the practice staff and culture. Gaining the trust of these different types of dental consumers is the difference between a potential patient being retained, or leaving for another practice.

Courtesy of Dr. Cody Mugleston, practice owner in Henderson, NV, and UNLV School of Dentistry, ’11, a recent THE NEXTDDS virtual training event discusses topics such as the importance of mentorship, how to develop leadership skills, and building relationships with your patients. Below are several key points outlined in the presentation.

Focus on Patients, Strive for Personal Connections

A patient-centric practice is all about building confidence and developing the diagnostic and chairside skills to do what’s best for each patient. Know patients’ names and dress the part. Introduce yourself to new patients and welcome them into the practice personally. Ask questions and actively listen. Sometimes, patients just need to vent their frustrations, and a dentist’s shoulder is there to cry on. Giving patients extra time to share their thoughts could translate into more referrals. Patients will become more aware of your emotional intelligence and capacity for understanding.

Get to know patients on a personal level. In his patient charts, Dr. Cody Mugleston makes personal notes about each patient: how many children they have, what they do for a living, where they live, how they heard about the practice, and what their hobbies are. As other members of his team interact with the patient, more notes are added, and conversations become more natural and friendly. Engaging in this way and being more attentive towards the patient can improve his or her trust with the dentist and staff and establish deeper relationships.

Establishing Clear Communication

Male-dentist-shaking-hands-with-patient-resize.jpgA patient-centered practice differentiates between wants and needs, encourages patient questions about the diagnosis, and works to address patient fears, concerns, cost, and follow-through. Patients can become apprehensive upon first arriving at a practice. They may be anxious about treatment and not open up about their deeper oral health issues, instead merely sharing what they think needs to be said. Some dentists work at this level, and never get past this basic connection.

Probing beyond this initial hesitation means patients can begin to communicate effectively on their concerns and expectations for their care. Beyond this, the doctor-patient relationship goes into a stage of desires and deeper subconscious feelings (e.g., improving way of life, having an aesthetic smile, etc.). The key is to allow patients to open up and be comfortable to reach this level of the relationship, and meet them at their deepest concerns. What are they most worried about, or hope to change during treatment? Is the chief complaint localized to a specific tooth, or does it involve a more comprehensive approach like an occlusal issue? If the end goal of treatment is positively established and met with a warm rapport, the money, time, and effort will be less of a concern for the patient.

The new patient examination and consultation are incredibly important in this area, and allow both dentist and patient to collaborate on a desired outcome. In Dr. Mugleston’s experience, patients are more likely to accept treatment when they are invested in the proposed outcome. It is also valuable to communicate regularly with the patient to ensure treatment is proceeding according to plan and to confirm his or her satisfaction with the services provided by the practice.

 

Planning to lead a patient-centric practice means dentists, associates, lab technicians, and office staff need to communicate together and focus on achieving the utmost service to patients. Keeping a patient’s trust is an extension of this focus. When patients trust their professionals, especially for those that might have a clear dental phobia, they can have a positive overall experience and may even develop a personal loyalty to their practice of choice. As future dentists, dental students should not lose sight of what makes the practice grow and flourish—the patient’s perspective.

 

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Tags: communicating with patients, patient communication, first time visit, first patient experiences

Repaying and Managing Your Loans

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

graduate_debt.jpgPaying off student loan debt is a long and sometimes complicated experience. The strain of managing this debt can put significant pressure on an individual’s finances and overall well-being. Not only can it influence major life decisions, but it can also put healthy credit at risk if you don’t handle delicately. The increasing student loan debt for dental students in particular makes financial education a high priority. With seemingly so much at stake, how can dental students best repay and manage their student loan debt?

Courtesy of Dr. Janki Patel, a recent THE NEXTDDS virtual training event entitled “Maximizing Your Earning Potential & Paying Down Your Student Loan Debt” discusses topics such as credit health, budgeting, types of debt, and much more. Here THE NEXTDDS presents ways in which you can repay your loans, and Patel’s tips for managing your student loan debt.

Repaying Your Loans

Unpaid debts can come back to haunt you. For example, at a 10% interest rate, a $100 debt grows to $400 in 15 years, $672 in 20 years, $1,083 in 25 years, and $1,700 in 30 years. So, for each $100 you spend on non-essentials, you’re costing yourself between $400-$1,700! Think about that extra frappacino with compounding interest in mind—that $4 increases fast! Start chipping away at your debt right away so you don’t fall to this scenario.

Prioritizing your loans and paying them off as soon as possible will set you up for a successful financial future. If you have good credit, see if you’ll benefit from consolidation (combining your federal loans into one lump sum, with an interest rate averaged out from those loans for a single monthly rate) or refinancing your loan at a lower rate from a private lender. There are several different programs available to you:

Standard – 10-year program where you pay less towards your overall loan amount, since you pay less over time

Graduated – 10-year program where your initial payments are lower at first, but gradually increase every two years

Extended – Payment over more than 10 years (usually 25), but will increase the overall cost of your loan because of the time it takes for your loan to mature

Income-based – A good option for residents or new dentists if you have partial financial hardships, such as a lower income than you could pay for a large debt. Your monthly payments will be calculated based on your income, so the payments will be affordable.

Pay As You Go – Similar to the income-based repayment approach, except your monthly payments are lower. Loan forgiveness programs can come faster under this program, but are stricter when qualifying.

Familiarize yourself with the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDA) for more information on paying off school loan debt. Payments, histories, records, alerts, and other documents are available for your viewing. Missing loan payments will affect your credit history, which can have a negative impact on purchases such as your cell phone plan, homeowners insurance, or renting an apartment. If you ultimately default on your loans, the government can withhold money from you in the future (social security benefits or offsetting your income tax refund). Being on top of your loans is a must.

Managing Your Loans

Contact your loan provider to find out how long your grace period is. This is usually six months after you graduate from dental school, but confirm with your loan provider just how long you have before you’re due to start paying your loans.

If you are unable to obtain employment after that timespan, seek deferments or forbearance in order to postpone your loan without having higher interest accrue. Keep accurate records of lenders, balance, and repayment statuses. If possible, pay more than is minimally required each month, in an effort to lower your principal and reduce future interest payments. Make sure to document everything in writing, as it’ll be easier to return to. If you record your correspondence, you won’t lose out on valuable information that you might have overlooked.

 

If you are a student who is on the verge of graduation (or have graduated already), you may need to focus on more than just completing degree requirements. The reality of student loan debt means young dentists should take the necessary precautions for managing their debt, while making a plan of attack to repay them in a responsible and appropriate way. Whether they owe $20,000 or $200,000, students should make sure to play it smart when beginning to repay student loans. Click here to listen to the rest of Dr. Patel’s virtual training event.

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Mastering the Class I Cavity Preparation

Posted by Dr. Patrice Smith on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

Restoring teeth is a basic skill that all dental students must master, not only to matriculate through operative dentistry labs or pass the boards but also in order to become good clinicians. It is the bedrock of our careers. Learning how to properly remove decay and prepare teeth for restorations, all while maintaining tooth anatomy and structure to maximize strength and retention, withstand the potential of fracture, and minimize pulpal exposure is an expertise required by all dentists.

To this end, Greene Vardiman (G.V.) Black was one of many pioneers who paved the way for modern dentistry. He established the proper way to prepare teeth for fillings and, as such, developed a classification system for carious lesions. Originally consisting of five classifications, Black's system ultimately included a sixth classification that was added later. In this article we will discuss the Class I lesion and how to properly prepare it for a restoration.

The Class I Lesion

Based on the Black classification system, a Class I lesion involves the occlusal surface of premolars and molars, the occlusal two thirds of buccal and lingual surfaces of molars, and the palatal pits of anterior teeth. There are two stages in cavity preparation:

Stage 1: Initial Tooth Preparation

  • Obtain outline form
  • Obtain primary resistance form
  • Obtain convenience form

Stage 2: Final Tooth Preparation

  • Removal of remaining carious dentin
  • Pulpal protection (if indicated)
  • Obtain secondary resistance and retention form
  • Finishing of enamel walls and margins
  • Sealing

Premolar Reference

Stage 1: The Initial Tooth Preparation Phase requires the clinician to establish a proper outline form (Figure 1). This is achieved by extending the external walls to sound tooth structure while maintaining a specified, limited depth and by providing retention and resistance forms. The outline form for the Class I occlusal tooth preparation should include only defective occlusal pits and fissures. The primary resistance form is the shape and placement of walls that enable the tooth and restoration to withstand masticatory forces or stresses that are delivered along the long axis of the tooth. The convenience form is the shape that facilitates proper and adequate access and visibility during preparation and restoration of the tooth.

Preparation-01.jpgPreparation-02.jpg

Figure 1. Outline form includes pits and fissures.

Based on current standards,[1] the ideal dimensions of a Class I cavity preparation should be 1.5mm to 2mm deep, and 1.5mm wide faciolingually. This prep should not extend beyond 1.6mm proximally. That is, a width of 1.6mm from the marginal ridge should be maintained for structural support.

The ideal bur(s) to use for this type of prep are a #245 or a #330 carbide. The #245 bur is 3mm in length and 0.8mm diameter, while a #330 bur is a smaller version at 1.5 mm in length.

 Preparation-03.jpg  Preparation-04.jpg  Preparation-05.jpg

Figure 2. Punch cut and extension of the preparation mesiodistally with a #245 bur.

The Class I occlusal preparation is begun by entering the deepest or most carious pit with a punch cut, parallel to the long axis of the tooth using a #245 or #330 carbide bur in a high-speed handpiece (Figure 2). The target depth is 1.5mm to the pulpal floor (i.e., one half the length of a #245 bur or the entire length of a #330 bur). The preparation should be extended from mesial to distal, taking care to leave at least 1.6mm of the marginal ridge on either side (or the diameter of two #245 burs) (Figure 3). The occlusal isthmus should be just a bit larger than the diameter of the bur. Note that a preparation with a narrow occlusal isthmus prevents fracture.

 Preparation-06.jpgPreparation-07.jpgPreparation-08.jpg

Figure 3. A 1.6mm-marginal ridge on either side of the preparation, or the diameter of two #245 burs. 

Stage 2: The Final Tooth Preparation Phase includes the removal of any remaining restorative material or defective enamel or dentin on the pulpal floor (Figure 4). This is best accomplished using a discoid-type spoon excavator or a slow-revolving, round carbide bur until the remaining tooth structure feels hard or firm. Pulpal protection should also be done if indicated (i.e., if the preparation extends close to the pulp).

Preparation-09.jpg  Preparation-10.jpg 
 
Preparation-11.jpg Preparation-12.jpg
Figure 4. Removal of remaining defective enamel/dentin with discoid cleiod. 

In complex preparations where retention needs improvement, secondary resistance and retention form is employed. This is usually done by adding retention grooves and cuts in the walls of the preparation. After this is achieved, then finishing of the enamel walls and margins should be completed to ensure all internal lines and angles have been smoothed. This is followed by the final steps of the procedure--cleaning and sealing the preparation with the clinician's restorative material of choice.

 

Reference

[1] Heymann H, Swift E, Ritter A. Sturdevant's Art and Science of Operative Dentistry, 6th Edition. Mosby, 2013. VitalBook file.

 

Further Reading

A Comparison of Various Adhesive Composite Restorations in the Posterior Regions

New Perspectives on Dentin Adhesion

Dentin Adhesion Bonding Methods

Direct Resin Veneer Restorations (clinical images)

Tags: cavity,, class I cavity, tooth preparation, dental filling

How to Differentiate Yourself as an Associate Candidate

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

Identist-with-associate-and-tech.jpgt’s never too early to plan for your future. Whether you’re a first-year dental student who is just getting used to the dental school experience or a fourth year seeking associateship opportunities, looking ahead is a must to ensure your success. Dental school is the stepping stone launching you into the next chapter of your life and your career. Gaining experience during clinic and taking advantage of opportunities at school (through live events, shadowing faculty, and volunteering for outreach programs) will help you on your journey.

Knowing that your potential employer dentist will look at how well you approached your time in dental school, it’s important to take every advantage you can during those four years. Take time and do research on what your dental school has to offer. Are there extracurricular activities available? Any study clubs or groups that might be worthwhile to join? What about programs or organizations that might give you a leg up on other students who will be competing for residency programs, jobs, and other opportunities after graduation?

In a recent THE NEXTDDS webinar entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship,” Dr. Bianca Velayo, (practice owner in Henderson, NV, and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, ’15) described ways she differentiated herself from classmates by creating a valuable dental school experience.

Be Energetic

Connect with as many people as possible. Between your peers, faculty, and the people you meet at various school events, network and make sure that they remember your name. Keep in mind, your peers will soon become practitioners themselves and may reach out to you or vice versa once you are both in that position. The more you build your reputation while you are in school, the better off you’ll be once you start to seek employment. Every interaction that you have may be the difference between a new job or picking up a valuable hire down the line.

Be Engaged

Get involved in student organizations such as Alpha Omega, the SNDA, HDA, or your local ASDA chapter. You might think it is just student government, but ASDA is a national organization that is affiliated with the ADA. Whether you decide to pursue a position as a vice president, a social chair, or a lunch and learn coordinator, you should make an effort to get involved in your local ASDA chapter. The events presented by these organizations offer more learning and networking opportunities at a national level as you begin to branch out in your career. Attend as many as possible to discover some of your options after school.

Be Authentic

Every case you complete in school will take you one step closer to mastering the clinical skills necessary in dentistry, while also building rapport and learning to communicate with your patients. Therefore, add to your repertoire by going beyond your core curriculum. If you’re a D4 and have completed all these requirements, don’t coast towards graduation. Dr. Velayo recommends that you make sure to do an extra denture or endodontic case, and/or assist more experienced students, such as residents, in other cases when possible. According to Velayo, it builds clinical experience, and provides valuable patient care too. Another way to develop your knowledge is to schedule a shadow day with a local dentist and follow his or her schedule accordingly.

How will you differentiate yourself from the pack? Don’t wait for your final year of dental school in order to make the changes that will open up your future. Your dental school has resources available to further your education and make sure you are on the right path towards being a professional. Leverage these assets and you’ll be better adapted for the post-graduation job search and employment opportunities ahead.

 

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Tags: associateship, differentiating yourself, associate dentist

3 Reasons Why Dental Caries are Prevalent in Pediatric Patients

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 @ 01:00 PM

caries-1.jpgAs reported by the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have had dental caries in their primary teeth, with that percentage increasing for multicultural children and those from low income families.1 Many circumstances beyond the child’s control predispose him or her to dental caries. In order to take preventive measures with your adolescent patients, it is important to know what you can do as a practitioner to identify at-risk patients. Just as important, understanding the etiology of dental cases should also be on the mind of every dentist.

With diagnostic technology advancing and preventive measures, such as fluoride, readily available, why do dental caries continue to be prevalent among children? Courtesy of educator and pediatric dentist Dr. Greg Psaltis, here are some reasons why dental caries continue to affect pediatric patients.

The Vulnerable Population

To start, it’s important to focus on how the vulnerable population (e.g., patients of low socioeconomic status) is different from the rest of the population. Children who are at a higher risk for dental caries often have oral health needs that are unmet and untreated.2 Those from minority groups3 or are of special needs4 have an even tougher time obtaining adequate treatment. Without consistent treatment, vulnerable communities have a lack of self-care instructions, have no “dental home,” and no overall oral health education.

Early_Childhood_Caries.jpgWith limited access to care, caries in pediatric patients don’t get properly diagnosed, which continues this trend of neglected treatment. As treatment for dental caries is delayed, the child's condition worsens and becomes more difficult, the cost of treatment increases, and the number of clinicians who can perform the more complicated procedures diminishes.5

Geographic Disparities

There’s a major disparity between the geographic distribution of dentists and where dental care is most needed. While many dental students show interest in practicing in urban and rural areas,6 there is still a lack of dentists presently in these areas. In rural Southern and Midwestern states, for example, patients have to travel far to see a dentist, particularly one that takes Medicaid insurance. The ADA’s Health Policy Institute recently introduced a detailed, interactive map that lays out the geographic access to dental care within each state in the U.S.

To counteract this unfortunate reality, many dental schools, educational grants, and organizations such as dental support organizations look to turn dental students towards the advantages of practicing in these areas, often through loan repayment programs. For many, the idea of being financially supported to work in an underserved community, while also possibly having more production than a more competitive state (e.g. California) is a compelling offer. With more dental schools opening to address these geographical shortages in dentists, students now are more aware of these disparities than ever before.

Federal Insurance Programs

While the number of children under Medicaid and similar insurance coverages has increased over the years, with more children insured now than ever before, it’s not always easy to find providers. Because of the low reimbursements options that are offered to dentists through these coverages, some dentists refuse to see patients that have this insurance. With dental caries rampant amongst pediatric patients and families that are of a low socioeconomic status,2,3 Medicaid is often the only affordable and appropriate coverage for these patients. This stalemate between low-income families and available Medicaid dentists continues to thwart the improvement of children in vulnerable communities.

 

Dental caries affects millions of pediatric patients. The question lies in how this disease can best be managed in young populations, with a heavier lens on those that have direct barriers to access. Without the combined efforts of both the knowledgeable dentist and the continued improvement to healthcare systems, children in these vulnerable communities and areas will continue to be at a high risk. When these parties come together to overcome these barriers to care, children will be better cared for and better educated on the importance of sustaining their oral health.

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References

1. Dental Caries (Tooth Decay) in Children (Age 2 to 11). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/FindDataByTopic/DentalCaries/DentalCariesChildren2to11.htm. Published May 28, 2014. Accessed June 12, 2017.

2. Grant J, Peters A. Children's Dental Health Disparities. The Pew Charitable Trusts. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2016/02/16/childrens-dental-health-disparities. Published February 16, 2016. Accessed June 12, 2017.

3. Swann BJ. Impact of Racial Disparities. Perspectives on the Midlevel Practitioner. http://www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/ddhnoright.aspx?id=23960 Published October 2016. Accessed June 12, 2017.

4. Mitchell JM, Gaskin DJ. Dental Care Use and Access for Special Needs Children. Maternal and Child Health Research Program. https://mchb.hrsa.gov/research/documents/finalreports/mitchellR40mc04296FinalReport.pdf. Published March 2007. Accessed June 12, 2017.

5. Çolak H, Dülgergil ÇT, Dalli M, Hamidi MM. Early childhood caries update: A review of causes, diagnoses, and treatments. Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine. 2013;4(1):29-38. doi:10.4103/0976-9668.107257.

6. Sweeney SE, Groves RM. 2016. The changing dental career landscape: The impact of dental school graduates’ pathway into the profession. Mahwah, NJ: Next Media Group. Accessed November 23, 2016. Available at http://thenextmediagroup.com/shop/researches/

Tags: children's health, Early Childhood Caries, caries, dental caries, pediatric patients

7 Simple Strategies for a Successful Associateship

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

7-simple-image.jpgComing out of dental school, many graduates seek advice on how to best approach an associateship and the responsibilities that lie within the position. Despite the confidence that comes from getting your degree, there is still a new world in dentistry to explore: working with a mentor, dealing with more patients, and applying yourself to the everyday hustle of a practice. However, there are many ways that you can either improve or learn new skills that will ensure that your associateship is a success. With time, you’ll be on your way to becoming a leader, and potentially be in a position to manage a practice of your own.

Take every advantage you can to become the best associate dentist possible. Courtesy of Dr. Bianca Velayo, a recent THE NEXTDDS webinar entitled “7 Simple Strategies for Successful Associateship” highlights seven ways one can positively impact the practice.

1. Cover Important Topics During the Interview

We’ve previously covered important qualities that practice owners want to see in potential associates, namely being eager and coachable, while remaining humble and ethical about your practice philosophy. We’ve also presented questions you should prepare for in your interview. During your interview, source some important leading questions that give you a better sense of the practice:

  • What type of patients are seen and how is the treatment being presented?
  • How long do associates usually last?
  • What is the compensation?
  • What type of technology are you exposed to?
  • What does the typical day look like?

2. Recognize and Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Communication is key to many aspects of your associateship: how you interact with patients, how you lead your team, and how you approach mentoring with your supervisors. Communication has several aspects to it: body language, tone, and the choice of words. Better understand how you can approach this important aspect of life. Are you choosing your words wisely and in an appropriate manner?

3. Building Patient Trust & Rapport

Working with your patients on case acceptance and compliance is another ongoing challenge for many less-experienced associates. There are many things one can do to make sure that patients trust you and your diagnosis. Work on educating the patient rather than selling them a treatment, and truly believe in your diagnosis. Respond gracefully to rejection by giving the patient options, your own medical opinion, and leading them to long-term success and production.

4. Be True to Yourself

Keep your priorities in line. What matters the most to you in life and your profession? Know that the associate dentist position has a learning curve. Manage your expectations in accordance to both this position and your own personal career goals. Don’t get too ahead of yourself and take this time to learn. You have to learn how to walk before you can run!

5. Improve Your Time Management

If you feel like you are having difficulty managing your time, go to your employer dentist or another experienced member of the team and ask how he or she manages time. What small changes or workarounds are they doing that you can leverage? Building up your hand speed is also a manner of time management. Track how long it takes you to do a procedure, and continuously chop at that time to set personal bests. As you note this, you’ll be able to easily recognize that you are indeed getting faster over time.

6. Providing Excellent Patient Care

To provide better care for your patients, look into continued education opportunities. Be a sponge that soaks up as much knowledge as you can to translate it into your approach chairside. Sometimes, practices offer such opportunities to staff members who seek continued education. Additionally, begin a mentor relationship with your senior dentists to better shadow their schedule and see how they go about their day. Join associations, study clubs, and other organizations both in and out of school that might help you continue this educational pursuit.

7. Readying for the Transition

As you prepare to leave dental school and find the next chapter awaiting you, grab your future by the reins and take advantage of the last resources available to you as an impending graduate and future alumnus. Network and explore events that allow for recruiting and potential employment opportunities, take a look at your financial profile and how you can best assess your future student loans. As you begin your associateship, continue to build your confidence practicing more dentistry, and you’ll be on the right track.

Overcome the challenges of an associate dentist position by taking a look at these seven steps. What can you improve upon? What have you not considered that may be worthwhile to explore? Build your confidence and skills and you’ll transition perfectly to your next career step. Good luck growing towards career prosperity!

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Tags: associateship, interviewing, interpersonal skills, building trust, building rapport

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