THE NEXTDDS Blog

University of Utah Graduate Alex Piedra Discusses His Dental School Experience & Post-Graduation Plans

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 @ 09:07 AM

24058800_1378101282300794_8764131376291630063_nAt this time of the year, dental school graduates are prepping themselves for the professional dental world. One of those students is Alex Piedra, who recently completed his 4th year at the University of Utah School of Dentistry. In this interview with THE NEXTDDS, he discusses his dental school experience, his post graduation plans, and what he plans to contribute to the profession.

THE NEXTDDS: What does the field of dentistry mean to you?

AP: Dentistry is a field where you can really change a life in many ways. One way is helping a patient smile. Also, proper dentistry is a way to fight one of the biggest infections that we have in the mouth, which is dental caries. It’s incredibly important for dentists to combat that infection.

THE NEXTDDS: Explain the difference between “fixing” and “prevention.”

AP: Prevention is key. Upon graduating from dental school, I will be going to a pediatric dental residency. As a pediatric dentist, I want to help kids have a positive dental experience and show them the proper ways to brush their teeth and take care of their mouth so they do not develop caries later in life.

THE NEXTDDS: What did you enjoy the most about dental school?

AP: I simply loved working toward a profession that has the ability to change the lives of others. I also greatly enjoyed developing relationships with my fellow students, as well as with patients and faculty. I realized the world is smaller than we think and that we can really make a change in our patient’s lives.

THE NEXTDDS: Very understandable! What role did social media or educational sites play in your dental education?

AP: I feel that a lot of us were able to visit certain social media platforms to watch procedures, just to see how they were exactly executed. I’ve read online articles and listened to audiobooks to find out about the business aspect of dentistry. The digital aspect of dentistry has helped students in several ways.

THE NEXTDDS: Absolutely! How do you see yourself improving the patient experience?

AP: I would focus on creating an amazing environment for them. If I were to own a private practice, I would make sure my hygienists, assistants, and front desk manager are all motivated to create an environment that’s inviting and friendly. I want my patients to look forward to follow-up visits. I want to make it a special experience for every patient who walks in to my office.

THE NEXTDDS: Great idea! During your tenure as a student, did you take advantage of dental outreach opportunities? 

AP: Of course! I grew up in an environment in Washington where we had a core community and I remember not seeing a dentist or doctor as a child growing up. Our community helped me and my family a great deal during this time. Dental outreach became very important to me and I feel inclined to give back to the community through education or clinical work to those who cannot afford treatment. I plan to continue giving back once I complete my residency.

THE NEXTDDS: That’s very honorable of you. What key challenges did you face as a dental student?

AP: During my first and second years of school, I felt there was a lot of material to learn in a short amount of time, which was very overwhelming. Managing my time adequately and balancing my personal and school life was very challenging. I was in school from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and would study from 6:00 PM until midnight, then wake up at 4:00 AM. It took a while for me to acclimate myself to that routine.

THE NEXTDDS: That’s definitely a challenge! What is your philosophy on how oral health relates to overall health?

AP: Oral health is the gateway to understanding your body’s overall health. There are a lot of research studies that link xerostomia, dental caries, and even cancer to poor oral health. Activity in the mouth in terms of poor oral health may be an early precursor or indicator of what is going on in the rest of the body.

THE NEXTDDS: What are your post-graduation plans?

AP: I plan to do a pediatric dental residency for 2 years. I hope to see a lot of children and give them the proper treatment they need, because they are our future. I’ll be speaking with them and figuring out how I may best serve them and give them the best oral health experience. I want to create an environment in which the kids look forward to returning for appointments and hopefully, they share their experience with others. Watching kids return one by one, over the years until they become adults with no cavities would be awesome!

THE NEXTDDS: It surely would be! What do you think you will contribute to the dentistry profession?

AP: I want to change the way we think about dentistry. Sometimes, I feel that we only focus on the teeth and oral cavity, but we need to remember that there is a person attached to those teeth. My goal is to constantly create a good experience for my patients. Also, I want other dentists to understand that every person in that chair has a life, goals, and aspirations as well, so we need to uplift them. I want every one of my patients, adult or child, to feel inspired when they leave that dental chair. We need to create that positive environment for them so they walk out with a smile.

THE NEXTDDS: What a great way to end this interview! Alex, thank you taking the time to speak with us and a special CONGRATULATIONS from all of us at THE NEXTDDS for completing dental school! We wish you much success in your future endeavors!

 

Tags: children, dentistry, outreach, graduate, children's health, dental caries, pediatric patients, patient trust, oral health, disease prevention, new dentists

The Top 7 Podcasts of THE NEXTDDS.com

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Jun 04, 2018 @ 03:33 PM

Over the years, THE NEXTDDS has done numerous podcast interviews with students, established dentists, and other dental professionals. Many interviewees have shared thoughts regarding the dental school journey and their mentors. Here are 7 favorite interviews according to readers of THE NEXTDDS.

 Top7Podcasts

 

Dr Mykel Anderson (February 2016)

Dr Mykel Anderson ’17, a graduate of Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, is currently enrolled in an Orthodontics Residency program at Roseman University of Health Sciences. In 2016, as a 3rd-year student, she spoke with THE NEXTDDS about the importance of digital education in dental school, experiences that influenced her to pursue dentistry, and her rewarding outreach trip to South Africa.

 

Gary Kadi (August 2017)

Gary Kadi is the CEO and founder of The Next Level Practice. In 2017, Mr. Kadi sat down with THE NEXTDDS and discussed his 3-fold perspective of the common challenges most dental students experience, his Treatment-Decision Matrix, and the importance of business and teamwork. His interview was broken into 2 parts. Listen to the second here.

 

Dr Emma Guzman (April 2016)

Dr Emma Guzman ’17, a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine,  is now a Dental Resident at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center. In her 2016 interview, Guzman discussed her first patient experience, her meaningful mission trip to the Dominican Republic, and her unique story of how she first became interested in dentistry.  Listen to the second half of her interview here.

 

Dr Mai-Ly Duong (April 2017)

Dr Mai-Ly Duong is a general dentist and Assistant Professor at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. Recently, she was listed on the American Dental Association’s 10 Under 10 List for her excellent work in the field. In an interview with THE NEXTDDS, she shared why she strives to make a change in the dental profession.

 

Dr Nick Letteri (March 2016)

Dr Nick Letteri ’17 is a graduate of LECOM School of Dental Medicine and currently works out of a DSO-supported practice in Tampa Bay, Florida. As a 3rd-year student, he sat down with THE NEXTDDS to express why social media is incredibly important for dental students and professionals alike. He also discussed how attending a mission trip in 8th grade led him to pursue dentistry.

 

Dr Jeri McCombs (May 2016)

Dr Jeri McCombs ’16 is a graduate of the Chicago College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois. She is currently a practicing dentist at Beaver Dam Dental in Chicago. On the cusp of her graduation, she spoke with THE NEXTDDS about her award-winning presentation of her case study at the American Prosthodontists Annual Session.

 

Pamela Ibeto (December 2017)

Pamela Ibeto ’19 is approaching her 4th year at Howard University School of Dentistry. After completing her GPR, she plans to open a private practice with her sister. In her interview, Pamela spoke about the importance of shadowing, maintaining good oral health, and her then-upcoming outreach trip to Nigeria. She also shares how she plans to improve the patient experience in a very interesting way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: digital, dental education, dentistry, continuing education, social media, philanthropy, networking, oral health

[Webinar] Prevention, Professional Treatment & Self-Care

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Nov 21, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

Male-dentist-shaking-hands-with-patient-resize.jpg

Effective chairside communication with your patients is one of the most important elements to building a sustainable, successful relationship. Several methods that can create successful patient communication include telling your patients their oral health problems precisely and in simple terms, informing them of how the problems occurred and providing them the best treatment recommendations, and informing them of the consequences if treatment is delayed or ignored. The use of technology and collaborating with your dental team staff are additional ways that you can help take necessary preventive steps with patients to achieve a positive outlook on a patient’s oral health needs.

This event be a discussion of what communication methods are best to use effectively in-office by the dentist and hygienist. In addition, learn how you can influence the patient in their home care, allowing them to control and help eliminate oral biofilms and improve their systemic health.

The following subjects will be addressed in this virtual training event:

  • The basics of the doctor-patient relationship to improving oral health
  • In-office methods of collaborating between the dentist and dental hygienist
  • Creating a “dental home” and other factors to enhance patient education
  • Establishing a patient-centric approach to dentistry
  • Improving patient communication to foster questions and garner case acceptance
  • Recommendations to provide patients to eliminate oral biofilms and systemic health

Watch Now

Tags: oral health, Tertiary Prevention, self-care

[Webinar] At the Heart of It All - Periodontal Disease & Cardiovascular Disease

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Wed, Nov 01, 2017 @ 02:03 PM

people-jogging-systesmic-health

 

Periodontal disease and heart disease have been linked together in several studies over the years, and investigators continue to debate the exact nature of this relationship. At present, there is consensus among researchers that periodontal disease and cardiovascular (CDV) disease are multifactorial conditions, and such patients share common risk factors that must be monitored and managed by healthcare providers and dental professionals.

While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association. Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions.1

In this virtual training event, the learning objectives will focus on current theories explaining the mechanism by which periodontal disease impacts cardiovascular health and present the following:

  • Outline patient demographics and population affected by periodontal disease and CDV
  • Role of inflammation in CDV and pro-inflammatory mediators
  • The relationship between periodontal ligament attachment loss and risk for myocardial infarction
  • Professional treatment (i.e., periodontal therapy) that may be plausible for preventing the onset or delaying the progression of CDV
  • Importance of OHI and managing the patient’s individual risk factors
  • Interacting with other members of the patient’s healthcare team

Watch Now

References

  1. Gum Disease and Heart Disease | Perio.org. https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-heart-disease. Accessed August 21, 2017.

Tags: webinar, oral health, oral inflammation, oral biofilms, systemic health

Understanding Three Approaches to Disease Prevention

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

Dental-root-tip-infections-increase-risk-for-heart-disease-Study.jpgDisease prevention in dentistry can be categorized based on scientific findings in the literature and on the oral health of the patient. To help mitigate the need for more invasive procedures, preventive measures can be a more conservative alternative that allows the patient and the practitioner to work together to achieve optimal oral health. A THE NEXTDDS webinar presentation from Dr. Kenneth Markowitz entitled, “Clinical Application of Disease Detection and Management for Preventive Dentistry” outlines several factors to consider planning such an approach for your patients.

Primary Prevention

Prevention applies to all stages of the disease process, but in primary prevention, the dentist is looking at the earliest stages of disease, or even before evidence of any disease occurs to begin the necessary protocols. Primary prevention is about developing a healthy “dental career” in individual patients. This is achieved through oral health promotion, enabling individuals to adopt healthy behaviors from birth.1

Instilling a proactive approach (a brush-floss-rinse regimen, education on power and manual toothbrushes, etc.) improves the oral health and quality of life of patients in a way that is not costly and before any serious issues develop. Here, there is also the possibility of detecting other early-stage issues, such as oral cancer, that will lead to immediate treatment planning and intervention.

Secondary Prevention

In secondary prevention, the goal is to limit the complications of an already established disease. Secondary prevention focuses on interfering with the disease process before signs and symptoms appear.2 Using a minimally invasive approach, a practitioner hopes to repair or stop further damage once the disease has already occurred.

Various visualization and detection tools are available to the dentist seeking to apply secondary prevention, including digital radiography, intraoral scanners, and digital cameras. This type of preventive care is harder to implement consistently in the philosophy of a modern practice. For example, despite these efforts in primary and secondary prevention, millions of people are still affected by chronic periodontitis and/or caries disease.3 However, methods such as the CAMBRA look to manage causative factors of disease in at-risk patients.

Tertiary Prevention

In tertiary prevention, the clinical focus is on the progression of disease with complications. Tertiary prevention is the management of patients with chronic periodontitis through nonsurgical and surgical therapy and maintenance to avoid further damage by the disease process.3 A key factor in this type of prevention is managing the disease when it has reached an advanced stage.

Tertiary prevention encompasses methods and measures that should remove existing complications and prevent their further possible progression. Treatments for the dental pulp, periodontium, and dental prosthetics fall into this tertiary category.4 Dentists who treat populations with high levels of dental disease often implement a tertiary prevention approach.1

 

Dentists are granted the opportunity to work together with patients, allowing them to significantly alter oral health for the better by regularly treating and managing. Instead of relying on the operatory and surgical approach to dentistry, an emphasis for patient education and intervention should be the first priority. New dentists should aspire for a minimally invasive type of practice that has its roots in communication and conservative care, leaning on the goals of primary as well as secondary prevention if necessary. Learn more about what specific things you can do during prevention by listening to the full webinar.

Watch & Listen Now

References

1. Richards W. Prevention in practice. British Dental Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18690167. 2008 Aug 9;205(3):111. Accessed September 14, 2017.

2. Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.

3. Kumar S. Exploring prevalence and prevention. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. http://www.dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/2015/05_May/Features/Exploring_Prevalence_And_Prevention.aspx. May 2015;13(5):53–59. Accessed September 14, 2017.

4. Dostálová TCA, ed. Dentistry and Oral Diseases. Prague, Czech Republic: Grada Publishing; 2010.

Tags: oral health, disease prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention, Tertiary Prevention

[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

Watch Now!

 

Watch Now

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

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

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