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Take action on dental student debt

2014 Dental Student Loan DebtDid you know the average dental school graduate in 2014 carries $247,227 in student loan debt, up from $221,000 in 2013? While this debt may not be the sole factor in determining whether a new dentist will choose a career of private practice over public service, 61 percent of graduating seniors say it does influence their decision.

The infographic uses data gathered by the American Dental Education Association.  Please take action now and contact your representative about this important issue, please visit ADA.org/Engage.

Observe Oral Cancer Awareness Month through screenings

When caught early, oral cancers are highly treatable and often have a better prognosis. Oral health experts believe April’s designation as Oral Cancer Awareness Month is a useful time to raise patient and provider awareness about the disease, according to ADA News.

The National Cancer Institute estimates there were 42,440 new cases of oral cancer  — and pharynx cancer — in 2014, and 8,390 deaths. Death rates among white males have not changed significantly between 2007 and 2011, according to NCI.

Still, most oral cancer diagnoses are “caught late,” said Dr. John Hellstein, president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology at the University of Iowa and former chair of the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs. “That’s why we want dentists at every appointment to look for any kind of abnormality.”

Dentists should look for signs of oral cancer during any routine visit, according to Dr. Hellstein. “Attentiveness is the key,” he said.

The ADA encourages its members to promote early oral cancer detection through periodic extraoral and intraoral examinations and, with constituent societies, it promotes prevention and early detection of oral cancer through public education activities. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs encourages clinicians to provide adult patients with thorough hard-tissue and soft-tissue exams, including lymph node examination, following completion of the patient’s health history and risk assessment.

To read the full story, click here.

Information is available at ADA.org here and at MouthHealthy.org.

Win a Fitbit Flex office package through the Center for Professional Success

Looking to improve your fitness and the health of your staff? Member dentists have a chance to win a Fitbit Flex office package (six devices) by logging into the Center for Professional Success website and entering the monthly contest.

Center for Professional SuccessTo enter, simply log in with your user ID and password at Success.ADA.org, click the Fitbit image and register by April 30.

Last month, Brett Nelson, a dental student at the University of Colorado, won an Apple iPad Air.

The ADA Center for Professional Success is an ADA member-only interactive Web resource where dentists and dental students can find practice management information and decision support tools and applications, along with online and in-person executive management certificate and life mastery programs. Through the Center, dentists can discover relevant and impactful solutions to the business challenges they face every day in the office. Visit Success.ADA.org to learn more.

Medicaid challenges and rewards: One new dentist’s experience

Dr. Chris Hasty, vice chair of ADA’s New Dentist Committee, weighs the challenges and “rewarding” experiences with accepting Medicaid in his practice and says, “As new dentists, we should want to see the Medicaid system fixed and functional.”

Dr. Hasty

Dr. Hasty

We asked Dr. Hasty for his thoughts on accepting Medicaid patients.

He offered a litany of “frustrations” with the system, which includes low reimbursement rates, bureaucratic hoops, closed networks, burdensome filing requirements, limited covered procedures, down coding, endless paperwork and RAC audits, “which is not only aggravating for the provider but very stressful and time consuming.”

“A truly functional and fair Medicaid system is not a bad thing,” said Dr. Hasty. “In addition, as long as the system is fixed and functional, dentistry will be able to decide its fate and role. Sure it is not glamorous, but you do learn valuable lessons from accepting Medicaid.”

“Medicaid provides a consistent influx of patients into your practice. This is the real world. You have a steady stream of patients to help you build your speed, work out of multiple chairs and check hygiene at the same time.

“I used my experiences with my Medicaid patients to determine what I truly like in dentistry, and maybe more importantly what I truly did not like. In addition, when the Medicaid system is functional you can depend on your reimbursement to be in the bank in a timely pattern.

However, one must be very careful to limit the amount of Medicaid in his/her practice. A practice too dependent on Medicaid is very vulnerable to outside influences affecting the growth and sustainability of the practice. One significant fee decrease can cause a practice to close its doors if it becomes too dependent on Medicaid.

“I believe that we, as new dentists, should support the ADA’s effort for Medicaid reform. With the number of graduates entering the workforce today, there will always be providers able to continue dental care to these patients even as others drop off the system. In addition there is a sense of satisfaction providing care to a child whose only hope for dental care came with the Medicaid card he or she brought in. It is very rewarding seeing a child that did not have a chance at good oral health grow into a young adult with good oral health because of a system that was fair to the participant and the provider.”

For more information on increasing provider participation in Medicaid, click here.

Conducting research? ADA Library & Archives is your go-to source

ADA Library & ArchivesWhether it’s historical information on the dental profession or the latest scientific studies on dentistry, the ADA Library & Archives is the place to go for any dental researcher — in person or online.

With the help of a team of experienced library professionals, the ADA Library & Archives offers access to a unique collection of electronic, print and archival material.

And since the launch of the ADA Library & Archives eResources in August 2013, more ADA members are accessing and downloading more journal articles.

These early 20th century handpieces are among historical items displayed at the ADA Library & Archives, which maintain the Association's historical records and publications.

These early 20th century handpieces are among historical items displayed at the ADA Library & Archives, which maintain the Association’s historical records and publications.

In 2014, 5,252 visitors conducted 8,177 searches, and ultimately downloaded 5,452 articles, according to data provided by the ADA Library & Archives. In comparison, 95 members requested 614 articles for the entire year of 2012.

This gavel, displayed at the ADA Library & Archives at ADA Headquarters, was made from a wood salvaged from Grant Hall, the site of the Aug. 4, 1859, organizational meeting of the American Dental Association.

This gavel, displayed at the ADA Library & Archives at ADA Headquarters, was made from a wood salvaged from Grant Hall, the site of the Aug. 4, 1859, organizational meeting of the American Dental Association.

“Members who want to continue their education, put together presentations, are curious and want to learn more about a topic or find needed information for their patients now have a one-stop library to find literature or the information they need,” said Dr. Hal Fair, chair of the ADA Library & Archives advisory board.

ADA members can access full-text articles online with instant access to about 290 journals through the ADA Library & Archives website. About 95 percent are strictly dental journals. The other 5 percent have medical-dental crossover, including in-house access to the New England Journal of Medicine articles going all the way back to 1812. Thirteen new journal titles, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, and 14 new book titles will be added this year.

Other ADA Library services include:

  • Recommendations or referrals to sources of dental information.
  • Assistance with PubMed and Internet searches.
  • Access to ADA Archives and historical information.
  • Customized lists of current articles and abstracts on dental topics.
  • Space for quiet study or meetings at the ADA Library, located at ADA Headquarters in Chicago.

In addition, the ADA Archives, located within the ADA Library, maintain the Association’s historical records and publications, which include answers to questions concerning the history of the organization, the dental profession and the people involved in its development and history.

For more information on the ADA Library & Archives, visit ADA.org/library.

Volunteers sought for dental mission to Jamaica

Organizers of a dental mission to St. Thomas, Jamaica, need dental volunteers for the Aug. 2-8 event.

Zion Care International’s charitable work projects promote and help preserve the health, welfare and physical well-being of people in need. The organization, which assists and empowers poor people throughout Jamaica and the world, seeks dentists, assistants and technicians for the summer mission.

A group airfare rate will be arranged. Volunteers will be responsible for their own hotel accommodations at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston as well as their own ground transportation.

For more information and volunteer forms, visit zioncareinternational.org or contact Bishop Craig Brown via email at Bishopatzion@aol.com.

To find other international volunteer opportunities, visit the ADA Foundation’s International Volunteer Website at
internationalvolunteer.ada.org.

If you’re a new dentist, consider these ADA resources

With about 1,000 new dentists graduating from dental school in Virginia alone over the past 10 years, the future of dentistry looks very bright. The hopes of the Virginia Dental Association’s new dentist committee is to keep all of our recent graduates abreast of what is happening nationally as well as in our state and local ADA components.

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

I am a fairly new dentist; I graduated from VCU in 2009 and can hardly believe that I just had my 5-year reunion a few months ago. It was great to visit with my fellow classmates and see just how many different paths had been taken; however, many of us were thriving in general dentistry.

Once you leave the doors of dental school, you quickly realize how career paths are available. You can specialize, attend a residency, become an associate, enter public service or the military and even start your own practice. I have experienced several of those areas myself starting with public health, working as an associate, and finally starting my own practice a few years ago.

Did you know that the ADA can help in almost all of these areas? If we just take a look at my recent journey from student to practice owner, the ADA has been a great resource for me in almost every segment. In the next few issues, I will highlight some of these areas that the ADA has helped out along the way and show a few of the various ways the ADA may be able to help you, the new dentist.

ADA Sponsored Insurance Policies

Did you ever think what would happen if you had some life altering issue while you were in school? How would you pay your loans? What would happen if you injured your hand disabling you from practicing dentistry? I was a young dental student and none of these ideas ever crossed my mind; however, I didn’t need to worry about it!

The ADA had taken care if it for me as they currently do for all dental student members.  When you are student member in the ADA, you are covered in an ADA sponsored policy that not only includes a $500,000 life insurance policy, but also a $2,000 a month disability plan with $150,000 coverage in student loan protection.  There is even a chance to continue on with the policies as your career advances and your need for coverage increases. For more information, click here.

Licensure Maps

Where do you want to practice? One of the main hurdles for many dental students is deciding what regional board is going to be the best one to take. The ADA has a great informational website that lists all of the regional board exams and the states that accept that exam for licensure. There are also links to contact the state’s individual boards as well as state dental components if there are any further questions. For more information, click here.

CV Development

How do you distinguish yourself among your peers for that perfect job?  Not everyone graduating dental schools wants to do the same thing, but how do you get that first interview for your first associateship. As an ADA member, you have access to the group at the Career Transitions Center of Chicago (CTC).  The team at CTC can provide you with general tips for having a successful resume all the way to co-writing that perfect CV to help you land your dream job. For more information, click here.

 

This blog post, reprinted with permission, originally appeared in the Virginia Dental Association journal. Dr. Cappy Sinclair is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a 2009 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Sinclair currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, as member of 3M’s Council for Innovative Dentistry, and as an ambassador for the Dawson Academy. He started his own practice Coastal Cosmetic Dentistry 3 years ago from the ground up and is more than happy to share his success and failures with fellow new dentists. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the Virginia Dental Association. To contact Dr. Sinclair, email him csinclair@smilevabeach.com.

UIC dental student receives MLK scholarship

Mr. Dante Brown

Mr. Dante Brown

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry announced it awarded third-year UIC dental student Dante Brown a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship program was established at UIC in 1985 to recognize outstanding minority UIC students, such as African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, who have demonstrated high academic achievement in fields in which they are underrepresented and who have shown strong commitment to community and campus service.

Mr. Brown, who noted he was mentored by his own dentist, Dr. Edward Ruiz, a 1987 graduate of the dental school, applied for the scholarship in 2014.

To qualify for the scholarship an undergraduate must have a minimum 4.0 GPA. Graduate and professional students must also show a record of high academic achievement. Brown was awarded the professional level scholarship of $5,000.

When not in class, Mr. Brown provides free dental services at Community Health-West Town, Goldie’s Place and to homeless individuals in the community. In addition to his community service, Mr. Brown serves as treasurer of the UIC chapter of the Student National Dental Association, and is an active member of the UIC chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.  He also works to help others in his spare time.

“I tutor on campus and am one of the teachers for the post-baccalaureate Dental Anatomy course,” he noted.
After his graduation in May of 2016, Mr. Brown has well defined goals.

“I plan to practice general dentistry for a few years, complete my Masters’ in Public Health, and then consider residency programs in dental public health,” he said.

Austin, Texas, dentist shares his approach to continuing education

Austin, Texas — Dr. Vincent Ip left his role in a cosmetic dentistry practice to return to his native state of Texas to pursue his passion to provide oral health care for families.

Dr. Vincent Ip

Dr. Vincent Ip

This native son of Stephenville, Texas, founded Smile 360 in Austin to realize that dream, and continuing education has helped him do just that.

“I’m always looking to expand my dental knowledge and stay current in my craft,” he said. “I pride myself and my office on the fact that we are state-of-the-art and always try to use the latest and greatest equipment and ideas to benefit our patients.”

He completed two courses at ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting that covered lasers in managing periodontal patients: Manage Your Periodontal Patients with Techno Power and Utilizing Dental Lasers in a Periodontal Environment (both with Dr. Samuel Low).

“I signed up to juxtapose the traditional way with the new way — lasers — so that I have the knowledge of both,” he said.

He also took Concepts and Procedures for Predictable Crown Lengthening (Dr. Jim Grisdale). Dr. Ip shared practical and tactical advice for other new dentists when planning their CE options.

Managing expectations

“I take classes to broaden my knowledge. I need to have the ability to explain procedures and treatments to my patients in a way they understand so they know what lies ahead,”

Dr. Ip said “Patients are looking at me as the expert.

“I want all of my patients to leave my office wanting to commit to their health and their teeth. The only way for them to do this is if I keep learning new tools to help them commit.”

Taking it chairside

Dr. Ip appreciates CE that allows participants to work hands-on, citing chairside benefits in periodontics classes.

“More than half of my patients have periodontal disease,” Dr. Ip said. “So obviously this is something that I need to stay very current on. I also need my patients to feel confident that I can help them treat their disease. There is not a day on my schedule that I don’t have a perio patient .”

He said classes like the ones he took at the ADA annual meeting provided him with the information needed to give his patients the options to decide what is best for them and their health.

Getting the full experience

Aside from options at the ADA annual meeting, other opportunities for CE exploration are available on ADA CE Online — adaceonline.org. A 50 percent discount is available using promo code 482153.

Dr. Ip mentioned enjoying the comradeship with his coworkers and other peers during CE courses and workshops.

Coming in November, check out the New Dentist Conference in Washington, D.C., scheduled for the first time in conjunction with ADA 2015 — America’s Dental Meeting. Exclusive benefits will include a VIP lounge, access to significantly reduced hotel rates, high-level networking opportunities and a customized CE track featuring live interactive technology. For more information about the New Dentist Conference and all that the Nov. 5-10 annual meeting has to offer, visit ADA. org/meeting.

University of Florida dental student earns 2015 Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award

Andres Jorge Alvarez, a first-year dental student at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, is the 2015 Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award recipient. The ADA Foundation bestowed the award Feb. 27 in cooperation with the Academy of Operative Dentistry, according to ADA News.

From left, Andres Alvarez, 2015 winner of the Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award, shares a moment March 12 with ADA Foundation Executive Director Gene Wurth and Mr. Alvarez’s mentor, Dr. Marcelle Nascimento, during the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Boston.

From left, Andres Alvarez, 2015 winner of the Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award, shares a moment March 12 with ADA Foundation Executive Director Gene Wurth and Mr. Alvarez’s mentor, Dr. Marcelle Nascimento, during the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Boston.

Mr. Alvarez received the award for his proposed research project “A New Arginine-based Bonding Agent with Long-lasting Anti-caries Activity.”

“I am thrilled to have received this prestigious award. It is a true honor,” said Mr. Alvarez in an ADA Foundation press release. “I look forward to the opportunity to further my research interests and to represent the University of Florida College of Dentistry on this national landscape.”

The ADA Foundation awards the Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award every two years. Dental students at all levels are eligible to apply, including residents and Master of Science degree candidates, who wish to undertake research relevant to contemporary operative dentistry. The award provides $6,000 to the awardee to perform the proposed research and an additional $1,000 to help defray the cost of presenting a table clinic based on the research proposal at the Academy of Operative Dentistry’s scientific session. The student must have a research mentor at his/her institution who is also a member of the Academy of Operative Dentistry to provide guidance and act as a co-investigator.

To read the full story, click here.