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

Your D1 Survival Guide: Part 1--Note Taking and Adjusting to Dental School

Posted by Abby Halpern on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 @ 12:16 PM

Meet AbbyStarting dental school can be challenging for some first-year students, as you are faced with new terminology and a wealth information right out of the gate. You have to get acclimated to having endless hours of lectures each day, you don’t yet know how to succeed in the sim lab, and clinic is off in the distance. Well, I’m here to help.

As a D2 at the Dental College of Georgia, I’ve had some of those same questions. But with a little perseverance and helpful hints from more experienced students, I was able to get my footing. In this series, I’m going to tackle a few important issues and share some insight to help YOU through the process, too.

Q: What is the most effective way to take notes?

A: Dental students have various methods for studying and retaining information, and the key is to determine what regimen works best for you. As a second-year student, I’ve tried a whole bunch of methods and I tend to have particular methods for particular classes. For example, in my anatomy courses, I like to condense PowerPoint presentations by handwriting (in the tiniest of print) and drawing pictures that fill up a single page of computer paper per lecture. In these types of courses, understanding the relationship between things and visualizing the constituent parts is what I needed to focus on.

Recently, I started using an iPad to take notes during lectures using the Notability app. I’ve loved the organization this allows me, and I honestly think I’m more focused in class because of it. I’m more apt to flip through slides when the interface is so convenient. Other apps beneficial to my classmates include Evernote and GoogleDocs, and I’d encourage you to experiment with one or two others to see how they handle images, revisions, and your particular learning style.

Additionally, my classmates and I will often re-listen to lectures through software that our school provides. This method allows us to solidify information or ensure that we haven’t missed any key points during a fast-paced lecture. It’s also well suited for auditory learners.

Speaking of speed, you can also fast forward these lectures and get through material in half of the time if you need a refresher session. Do not get bogged down in wondering you if you are taking notes and studying the “right” way because there is no single correct way to accomplish this. My suggestion would be to attempt a method you think will be advantageous and to stick with what provides you with the greatest success.

Q: “How does dental school compare to undergrad?”

A: This is a great question because we, as dental students, are the type of people that want to know exactly what we are getting ourselves into. It’s a lot like that forever comparison, or lack thereof, between apples and oranges: for sure, they are both fruits and they have seeds, but beyond those aspects, they are totally different entities.
To be honest, and this may disappoint some of you, I do not think that your undergraduate degree is the most important factor in preparing you for dental school. The experiences you have inside the dental office and outside its confines give you a better understanding of the practitioner you want to be and thus the dedication and motivation you will adhere to during dental school in order to achieve these goals…but I could probably write a whole separate article on that topic.

I will say that your peers in dental school are so much more than just classmates. The bonds you make, the conversations you enjoy, and the realizations you have that these will be your future colleagues are all amazing experiences.

In opposition, the workload is no pleasant surprise. The hours of studying, preparing, and lab work are as rough as you’ve heard. So many people told me of the long hours; I reasoned with myself that I wouldn’t have the same exhaustive days. I’ve never been so quick to eat my words before. Most school days begin at 8am and end at 5pm. It can be difficult to stay focused for so many hours of lectures, especially at the beginning when your brain is used to maybe 3 to 4 hours of PowerPoint presentations per day as an undergrad. This rigor takes some getting used to, but your passion for this profession, along with those new relationships, help you push through. Dental school is incredibly different from your undergraduate education, and while this may seem daunting and scary at times, these differences are what make dental school such an impactful experience—the experience that will prepare you for the rest of you professional life.

I hope this helped give you an idea of what dental school really is like. In Part 2 of the series, we will cover how to keep your motivation and stamina over the four years of dental school as well as what to expect in your first patient experience. Stay tuned, and I welcome any questions you have!


Need more help acclimating to your first year in dental school? THE NEXTDDS has a host of instructional resources and step-by-step technique guides available to support you. Enroll today--it's FREE!

Tags: education, dental education, student, dental, studying, D1

Professor's Perspective: Lisa Harper Mallonee on Student Technology

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Mar 06, 2015 @ 06:39 PM

Advisory Board Mallonee
Lisa F. Mallonee, BSDH, MPH, RD, LD
Texas A & M Baylor College of Dentistry
Associate Professor, Caruth School of Dental Hygiene

Harper Mallonee

What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

I get to combine my two areas of interest (dental hygiene and nutrition) to educate students and practitioners.


What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

I use Blackboard in the classroom.


How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

My students are given several projects that require online research.


What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

As the Surgeon General stated in May of 2000 in his landmark report “The mouth is the window to all diseases of the body”. It is crucial that dental practitioners gain knowledge and expertise in treating the whole patient and not just the mouth.


Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators? 

The current generation of students are very hands-on and technologically savvy. It is important to keep them stimulated and address these learning styles in both the clinic and classroom settings.


What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach?

The application of nutrition in the dental setting is often times a difficult concept to teach. The etiology of caries involves this application because host factors, bacteria, saliva and diet are the four crucial components. Oftentimes students make this application more difficult than it has to be. Diet (forms of foods, frequency of consumption and timing of foods/beverages) should be addressed and discussed with each of our patients who are at risk or present evidence of dental decay.

What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

In our dental hygiene clinic, the only digital adjunct materials we use are digital x-rays. I think a digital camera is an incredible teaching tool for both patient and student. It allows the student to educate on their findings in the mouth while the patient gets a visual image of what is being discussed.

Why did you choose your specialty?

I have a passion for prevention! As both a registered dietitian and a registered dental hygienist, my goal is to educate and encourage the practical application of diet and nutrition in the dental setting. I also strive to foster interprofessional collaboration between dietetics practitioners and oral health care professionals. My enthusiasm for educating patients, students and practitioners about the oral health-nutrition link is what drives me professionally to make strides in this area.

What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

I wish I had known more about public health professional opportunities for the dental professional.

Tags: education, technology, dental, advice, elearning, educator

Professor's Perspective: Dr. Charles Arcoria Talks Digital Resources

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 @ 05:06 PM

Advisory Board Arcoria

Charles J. Arcoria, DDS, MBA
Adjunct Professor, A.T. Still University (ASDOH & MOSDOH)
Webmaster, Anesthesia Education & Safety Foundation (AESF)
Preceptor & Retiree, Texas A&M University, Baylor College of Dentistry

What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

The prospects for educating young students in the process of them becoming a practicing dentist.


What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

I use a variety of tools including Zoom, Blackboard, Powerpoint, Access, SharePoint Designer, Adobe Acrobat, Camtasia and Paint Shop Pro.


How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

At least once during a semester.


What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

Learn as much about the specific areas of interest to them, so that their dental practices can find a true niche.


Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators?

In general, I don’t see as much entrepreneurship in students as I did 25 years ago.  Today, students are more cautious about starting a business, possibly because of their overall indebtedness.


What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach?

Occlusion is difficult—it’s tougher for students to visualize mandibular movement without extensive graphics and videos.


What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

Two things I wish I had spent time learning in school are the economics of dentistry and how to run a business.


Tags: classroom, education, digital, THE NEXTDDS, adjunct

Professor's Perspective: E.R. Schwedhelm

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 @ 04:50 PM

Advisory Board Schwedhelm



E.R. Schwedhelm

Clinical Assistant Professor, Restorative Dentistry

University of Washington School of Dentistry


What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

The interdisciplinary treatment planning


What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

I started using Canvas and PowerPoint Mix, have also used TurningPoint


What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

Get involved in study clubs


What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? Why?

CAD/CAM technology. The faculty are not trained, there are constant upgrades to software, equipment, cost, facilities, staff. Students have the impression that just a mouse click will do all.


Why did you choose your specialty?

Interdisciplinary treatment

Tags: classroom, education, technology, dental, elearning, educator

Professor's Perspective: Dr. David Dunning on Digital Engagement

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Feb 06, 2015 @ 05:04 PM

Advisory Board Dunning
UNMC Logo      
David G. Dunning, M.A., Ph.D.
Professor, Dept. of Oral Biology

What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

Dental management simulation (


How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

During the management simulation, weekly in that semester. Students also complete on-line courses in motivational interviewing and practice management at


Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators?

In an electronic age, attention spans can be challenging to engage and maintain.


What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? 

Dental insurance and practice valuations are both very complicated and involve many concepts, students are often unfamiliar with these concepts.


What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

--Supplemental videos for the management simulation.

--Posted supplemental materials on THNEXTDDS and Blackboard.

--On-line course modules.

These options allow students to grasp concepts and learn at least to some degree at their own pace.

Tags: classroom, education, digital, dental education, technology, dental, elearning, educator

Professor's Perspective: Dr. Matthew Brock

Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Jan 16, 2015 @ 02:54 PM

Advisory Board Brock
Dr. Matthew Brock
Visiting Professor, Department of Endodontics
University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry

1. What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

A lot of our patients present to us with a tooth that is hurting.  It is rewarding to know that we can diagnose which tooth is the source of the problem, treat it with a root canal and get them almost immediate relief.

2. What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

We use Schick 33 digital radiographs and use this to better educate our patients about a root canal, before and after the procedure.

    3. What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

    I would recommend to shadow other endodontist, have an idea of where you want to live and practice and don’t get into it thinking you are going to make “mega bucks”…

    4. Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators?

    I feel that they are a little more ready for instant gratification and sometimes have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to build a solid practice.  I feel that it is easy to have mentor and assume that you to will be there in a year or two, whereas the reality is that it can take 5-10 years to build a practice.

      5. What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

      I typically use video filmed through my microscope & radiographs in my Powerpoint or Key note presentations.

      6. Why did you choose your specialty?

      My step-father, John McSpadden, limited his practice to endodontics in the 1970s and developed the McSpadden Compactor, and later NiTi rotary files in the early 1990s.  I watched his NiTi rotary file company grow & even worked with the company 2 summers during college and found what he was doing fascinating and decided that I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

      7. What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

      A lot of research is manipulated by the principal investigators to prove or illustrate the point that their sponsor is trying to promote.  This leads us to a lot of articles that are basically paid advertisements that people sometimes read as the latest and greatest.

      Tags: classroom, education, THE NEXTDDS, technology, student, dental, advice, specialty, endodontics, elearning, educator

      Professor's Perspective: Dr. Anthony Eltink's Advice for Dental Grads

      Posted by Christina Ferraro on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 @ 05:39 PM

      This is the second in a series of interviews highlighting THE NEXTDDS Academic Advisory Board members and their views on dental education today. From their choices in digital tools in the classroom to what advice they would give current dental students, these academicians will weigh in on their experiences.


      Advisory Board Eltink

      Anthony P. Eltink, DMD, MS



      What is the most rewarding aspect of your dental specialty?

      Being an orthodontist allows you to form relationships with children and families, and it is a pleasure to watch them grow up.  The positive impacts on a child's self confidence and self esteem that are directly related to the improvements in their smiles are incredible, and it is great to be a part of these changes.


      What digital or online tools do you use in the classroom or clinical setting?

      The biggest advancements in digital technology in orthodontics lie in the realm of digital treatment planning and execution with appliances such as Invisalign.  Taking the patient's teeth to a computer screen, manipulating their occlusion in a virtual world, and then applying that clinically is an amazing advancement in orthodontic technology.


      How often do you assign students material that requires online research?

      Much of the learning for our orthodontic residents comes from finding an understanding of the literature and determining orthodontic treatments that are evidence-based and sound.  The internet is rich with both information and misinformation, and we work hard to create orthodontists who understand the power of online tools.


      What advice can you give current dental students nearing graduation who are interested in your specialty?

      Interview well, and be different.  Orthodontics as a specialty is very competitive, and you will be competing with other very qualified applicants.  If you interview well and are memorable it will go a long way toward ranking highly for the residency match.


      Does this generation of students present any unique challenges to educators? If so, explain.

      Education in a residency program is driven by self-motivation.  We provide opportunities to learn, but there is no spoon-feeding of information.  Younger generations might not be used to this method of instruction, and might miss opportunities to learn.


      What do you find to be the most difficult dental concept to teach? Why?

      Craniofacial growth and development - the head and neck go through so many changes during periods of growth, and the complex nature of dental development takes place in this very dynamic environment.  These are difficult concepts to teach and to test.


      What digital adjunct materials do you find most useful for students, and for what lessons do you use them?

      Technologies for virtual treatment outcomes and digital treatment planning are crucial to understanding orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning.  We use these routinely in our orthodontic department.


      Why did you choose your specialty?

      I chose orthodontics because of the total package that it offers - low stress, "clean" dentistry, you get to work with kids, no emergencies, generous compensation, physically less demanding than general dentistry.... 


      What do you wish you had known about the dental industry as a whole when you were a student?

      I wish I had known more about running a business.  We spend so many hours learning about diseases, teeth and therapies, and are then thrust out in the world and asked to run a business.   Well-organized, specialty specific business courses should be added to the dental school and residency curricula.




      Tags: classroom, education, technology, student, dental, advice, online, change, industry, grad

      The Tree of Peace Installed at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine

      Posted by Christina Ferraro on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 @ 04:13 PM

      A symbol of the holistic, of the lush and bountiful, of knowledge, of youth and old age—a tree stands and bends and sheds and buds. It represents the steady strength and unwavering nature of a peace that is integrated among and across a culture. And so, on the school’s 150th anniversary, Harvard University erected on June 16, 2014 a bronze tree to represent the partnership of medical and dental education and its enduring dream of peace in the global community.

      describe the image


      Pictured: Mr. Steve Kess, Mr. Gerard Meuchner, and Mr. Stanley Bergman of Henry Schein, Inc., artist Ms. Hedva Ser, and Dr. Adam Stabholtz (Former Dean, Hadassah School of Dental Medicine), Dr. Jack Dillenberg (Dean, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health), Dr. Walter Guralnick, Dr. Bruce Donoff (Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine), Dr. Marc Rothman (Chairman, Alpha Omega Foundation), and assembled dignitaries.


      Created by sculptor Hedva Ser, the Tree of Peace is dedicated to Dr. Bruce Donoff, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Dr. Walter C. Guralnick, Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Emeritus. Dr. Donoff and Dr. Guralnick are commemorated in this meaningful manner for their contributions to dentistry and to Harvard University School of Dental Medicine. 

      The Tree of Peace installment was made possible by the charitable partnership between the Harvard Dental Alumni Association, Harvard Odontological Society, Alpha Omega Boston Alumni and Student Chapters, Alpha Omega Foundation of the United States and Henry Schein Cares. In addition, the Tree of Peace is the symbol of philanthropy for the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity. The Tree of Peace is also currently displayed at the Hebrew University’s Hadassah campus and Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, AT Still University in Mesa, Arizona, and Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

      The partnership between Harvard and Alpha Omega in this initiative to celebrate Dr. Donoff’s and Dr. Guralnick’s dedication and commitment to the dental sciences is just one small part of a greater enterprise of giving. Social responsibility is seen on a larger scale in efforts such as Alpha Omega’s Global Oral Health Initiative (GOHI) and Henry Schein Cares, which advance dental medicine by providing global access to care for at-risk and underserved populations. The installments of the Tree of Peace on these dental campuses should remind their students of the responsibility bestowed upon them as future clinicians and global citizens.

      Tags: education, dental education, Harvard, underserved, fraternity, Henry Schein, Alpha Omega, philanthropy, Tree of Peace, global

      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?

      THE NEXT DDS Mobile

      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.


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

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