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One technique to address five features in dentistry

It is mechanized isolation and suction. We have all heard about it, seen advertisements, read about it, and many dentists are now using it. I won’t mention specific brand names or expound on the different systems but I do want to go over the topic of mechanized isolation systems.

Dr. Moon

Dr. Moon

Developments in isolation and procedure techniques are changing dentistry — FAST. For centuries, dentists have been trained and coached in treatment delivery techniques that employ a four-handed approach requiring an assistant to be consistently present chairside. However, things change. Whether it is automobile manufacturing processes or heart bypass surgery techniques, things change over time. I believe dentistry is in the first 10 years of what will probably be at least a 20-30 year process of transitioning to consistently employing and teaching mechanized suction and isolation techniques.

Though human assistants are vitally important to the delivery of dentistry and will probably always be needed for certain aspects of care, consistent use of mechanized isolation systems quickly addresses at least five crucial areas in an ever-changing field:

1. Consistency: Use of mechanized isolation systems does not eliminate human factors but it does decrease their impact. Consistently being able to “work in” an emergency patient although your assistant is busy can help in an environment where it seems many patients are less loyal to their long time provider and ready to see the first dentist that will get them in for treatment.

2. CAD/CAM: Mechanized isolation systems are not only good for the dentists. Anyone, including assistants, working with modern CAD/CAM dentistry or digital impression techniques can benefit.

3. Overhead Expenses: Costs of supplies and providing treatment consistently go one direction—up. Save on overhead by using mechanized isolation systems, or put that savings toward paying that really great assistant or hygienist to help you in multiple rooms instead of sitting chairside throughout entire procedures.

4. Resin Restorations: I was consistently taught in school that though most people don’t really want amalgam restorations these days, amalgam restorations are beneficial because they can be stronger to occlusal forces over time, and sometimes-in a wet environment-you just can’t place a good resin restoration. Well, the wet environment situation just doesn’t happen as often when I use mechanized isolation techniques and I have found 90  percent of my patients prefer “tooth colored” restorations.

5. Surgery: Performing surgical procedures for patients in need can not only help a lot of people, but also be a huge practice builder. I have found that I can consistently perform surgical procedures with mechanized isolation and suction that would definitely require sedation and a throat-pack otherwise. The difference for the patient can be thousands of dollars saved, and weeks less of discomfort. People seem to be getting less patient and more “Who can help me NOW?” oriented. When you can produce consistent safe results for patients in emergency situations everyone wins.

Incorporation of mechanized isolation systems and delivery techniques can be very beneficial to patients, dentists and dental team members. Give it some thought.

Dr. Brenden Moon is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and currently serves as Chair of the Illinois State Dental Society New Dentist Committee and sits on the Board of the Illinois Academy of General Dentistry. He began practicing in western Illinois after completing dental school at the University of Mississippi in 2007, and enjoys participating in organized dentistry on the state and national level. Dr. Moon practices in both Public Health and Private Practice settings and is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, International College of Dentists, Academy of Dentistry International, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

Creating positive space: An essential for your office environment

This post is for Tiffani Horton, and for everyone else who is fighting a battle on the inside.

I’m against watching the news. Other people can watch the news all they want to. That’s fine. I just don’t want to watch it myself.

Dr. Vaughn

Dr. Vaughn

I don’t want to watch the news because buried in every news reel is a sad story. A story that reminds me I’m not invincible, I live in an imperfect world, and that sometimes bad things happen that I cannot control.

And unfortunately, regardless of whether or not you watch the news . . . sometimes a sad story still finds you.

In dental school, you rotate through many clinics. You meet a lot of faculty and a lot of patients and a lot of staff. And what’s nice about all this is that the conversations aren’t always about what X-rays you want to take or whether or not you’ve made the right diagnosis. Sometimes you talk about your weekend or what you plan to do once you graduate or how good the new restaurant in town is. You form this unique bond with all these different people, and it eventually creates this special thing with its own label.

The other night, a good friend sent me a message that told a sad story. Someone from my dental school had just lost her battle with cancer. Her name was Tiffani. A dental assistant that I, along with everyone else in my class, had weekly interactions with.

Ms. Tiffani Horton

Ms. Tiffani Horton

Tiffani was more than a name or a dental assistant. She was a friend, a wife, a mother, a person with thoughts and wants and emotions and ambitions. She talked to some of us like she had known us for years. She helped some of us get patients so we could take our licensing exam and become dentists. She was very much a part of our dental school family.

But the thing about all of this is that I had no idea that Tiffani was fighting this battle. She had liver cancer and was undergoing chemo. All while I was still in school. There were conversations I’m sure that we had, where she was living with this horrible disease . . . and I did not know.

Buried in every news reel is a sad story. But what I’m learning is that buried in every sad story is a truth that I need to know.

Because me and you and everyone we know are all the same. We all have bad days. We get bad news. We go through hard times. We hit rock bottom. And then we have to go out in public and try to be strong and keep it together.

Tiffani teaches us that you never really know what someone is going through.

What does that mean for us as we try and figure out this New Dentist world? It means that we have the vital responsibility of being aware. Of keeping social sensitivity as a priority within our practices. Because our staff will have bad days. Our patients will tell us horrible stories from their pasts. Our business partner might be dealing with chemo treatment or secretly going through a heart-wrenching divorce.

And as people who have dedicated their careers to serving others, we need to create space that allows people to escape the troubles of their daily lives. What does this look like? At its core, it’s being aware and paying attention. Picking up those social cues from your staff. Treating everyone in your office with the care and respect they deserve. Not letting your own troubles affect the way you talk to and interact with the people around you.

From the modern corporate office in Chicago to the paper-chart practice in rural Alabama, you can contribute to making the world a better place just by changing the environment of your dental office. A good dental office is one where honesty, respect, care and love are infused in its fabric.

Because you never really know what another person might be going through.

Dr. Joe Vaughn is a New Dentist Now guest blogger. He grew up in Alabama and recently graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry in 2015. He now lives in Seattle, Washington, where he attends the General Practice Residency at the University of Washington. Two cups of coffee, writing and indie music are everyday occurrences for Joe. Go Seahawks and Roll Tide!

EHR considerations before you buy

Evaluating and comparing electronic health record vendors can be difficult. How do you know what level of EHR your practice needs? Should you involve your staff in the selection process? And how do you compare pricing models?

The ADA Center for Professional SuccessAccording to ADA Center for Professional Success, you should choose the vendor that best complements your practice needs. Conducting a formal request for proposal (RFP) process, as well as participating in vendor demos, can help you reach a decision.

The ADA Professional Product Review (Vol 9, Issue 2) takes on this topic in “Dental Electronic Health Record Systems: General Considerations Before You Buy.”

Top 10 dental treatment presentation mistakes

Dr. Don Deems, a columnist, speaker and author, shared with ADA Center for Professional Success the 10 most common mistakes when presenting treatment.

Center for Professional Success“As a certified professional coach to dentists, I also know too well the myriad of differing philosophies of practices, the plethora of ‘do it my way’ treatment presenting methods and the challenges we dentists have in working with our team members, who are vitally important to our success,” he wrote.

Here are the top 10 mistakes:

  • Mistake 1: Failure to listen to the patient.
  • Mistake 2: Incomplete diagnoses.
  • Mistake 3: Herding patients in — and out — of your practice.
  • Mistake 4: “Explainitis”, better known as explaining, explaining, explaining with little feedback or time for questions from your patient.
  • Mistake 5: Rushing the presentation process.
  • Mistake 6: Delegating the treatment presentation.
  • Mistake 7: Diagnosing based on prejudice.
  • Mistake 8: Not answering patient’s questions directly and truthfully.
  • Mistake 9: Substituting media-based treatment explanations for developing a trusting relationship.
  • Mistake 10: Promising treatment you cannot reliably deliver.

To read more about each mistake, click here.

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.

Show movies in your practice? Discount on licenses available until March 31

Dentists have until March 31 to purchase a reduced-rate license to legally show movies and other audiovisual programs in their waiting rooms and exam rooms.

Until March 31, the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation will be offering an Umbrella License to ADA members for $250. Dentists who purchase the license have access to a wide array of movies, popular children’s programs, educational documentaries and other audiovisual content to show in a copyright compliant manner.

Movies are available from more than 650 Hollywood studios, independent, special interest, children-related and foreign producers. Once dentists secure a license, they can rent or buy movies to play without any further reporting.

For information on how to purchase the license, click here.

What movies do you have on in your practice?

New dentist wins ADA monthly free management course giveaway

Congratulations to Dr. Radip Uprety, of Bucksport, Maine, for being the February winner of the monthly giveaway for a free ADA Executive Program in Dental Practice Management class.

Clinical and BusinessThe ADA Executive Program in Dental Practice Management is a video-based, e-learning certificate program offered through the ADA Center for Professional Success that takes on the tough practice management challenges today’s dentists must master. This includes reducing costs, enhancing marketing strategies and practicing amid increased regulation.

These six online courses help dentists navigate the business side of dentistry:

  • Legal and ethical issues in dental practice.
  • Negotiation and conflict management.
  • Understanding leadership.
  • Business strategy and systems.
  • Dental team management.
  • Financial management.

For each course completed, verification of potential continuing education credits will be issued. One winner will be named each month this year.

To enter the giveaway, click here.

Visit PMcertificate.Success.ADA.org or call 1.855.598.6559 to learn more about the program.

8 tips for reducing hand pain

Dentists may experience hand pain, which include throbbing, aching and stiffness, in doing dental procedures. Although pain in the hand can originate from problems in the arm, shoulder area or neck, and from systemic diseases, pain that originates in the hand itself is frequently due to either osteoarthritis or tendonitis.

Center for Professional SuccessAs always, consult a physician for any persistent problem, but here are tips for lessening the physical demands on the hand from the ADA Center for Professional Success.

  • Use instruments that perform many of the functions the hand would ordinarily perform and so reduce movements of the hand; such instruments are those that swivel and reduce torque.
  • Use instruments that lessen the time the hand must be used, such as instruments that have variable and rapid speeds.
  • Use instruments that reduce stress on the hand, such as those that are vibration free, lightweight, and have enlarged handles
  • Use instruments that improve access to the work area, such as instruments that provide bright or intense illumination, magnification, multiple spray ports.
  • Reduce the time spent doing the same task.  For example, take a ten minute break at least once every hour from doing tasks requiring grip.
  • Use hand stabilizing techniques when doing precise hand tasks.
  • After completing a task that required intense grip, gently stretch the hand, especially the area between the thumb and first finger.
  • If pain continues to worsen, consider seeing a physician for a medical evaluation and treatment of the condition.  A splint might provide support of the hand.

For more information on reducing hand pain, including examples of hand motions that may aggravate hand pain, click here. The article is only available to ADA members.

Do you have other tips?

When interacting with challenging patients, behavior awareness can help

As my patient pool grows, the dentistry doesn’t change much, but the person in my chair changes every day. I connect with most patients pretty well, but every now and then I am presented with a challenge. What I would call a difficult patient has nothing to do with the dentistry required in their mouth. The difficulty comes from the patient interaction. I know myself, I know the dentistry, but there is something missing in my understanding of the patient.

Dr. Carolyn Norton

Dr. Carolyn Norton

I received some insight from one of my attendings at my GPR program, who is also an L.D. Pankey Institute faculty member. He introduced me to the Social Styles Model, which is taught at the Pankey Institute along with the concept of relationship based dentistry. Our discussion led me to the TRAMCOM Group website. Here they elaborate on the specifics of the Social Styles Model.

In the 1960s Roger Reid and John Merrill created the Social Styles Model to help predict human interactions in business relationships. They identified three variables that determine a person’s social style: assertiveness, responsiveness, and versatility. Within these behavioral dimensions four social styles emerged: analytical, amiable, driving, and expressive.

Responsiveness is determined by how much you control or reveal your emotions. Assertiveness is based on where you fall in the spectrum of ask versus tell, or lead versus follow.

No one social style is better than the others, and each style has its own pros and cons. Once you get familiar with each social style, you will begin to pick up on clues that tell you which style your patient uses. Here are four unique behavioral patterns recognized in the Social Style Model, according to The TRACOM Group:

ADA New Dentist guest blogDriving style patients control their emotions and speak assertively. These people want to know the facts about their treatment. Be direct and practical regarding their problems and treatment options. They are focused on the end result and want to know you have a plan.

Amiable style patients show their emotions and prefer to ask questions than give orders. These patients are friendly and ask questions because it makes them feel more comfortable. Take the time to talk with them and get personal. It will definitely pay off.

Analytical style patients control their emotions and prefer to ask questions than give orders. They ask questions because they want to know all of the details. They want to understand each step, the cost, and maybe even the number of appointments. They appreciate precision and accuracy. Take time to develop their treatment plan to show that you care about these things too.

Expressive patients show their emotions and speak assertively. These patients will share their thoughts and feelings regarding their dental problems, but may need your direction. Let them speak, you listen, and then help them focus on their needs.

The next time you have a challenging or difficult patient, look at this social style chart and see where they belong. If you understand why a patient is behaving a certain way, then this may help you alter your social style to make the interaction successful and prevent frustration. This is where versatility comes in. Versatility is primarily the responsibility of the dentist in the patient-doctor relationship. A versatile dentist can alter their social style to make the patient more comfortable. This requires a certain level of awareness and compassion for the patients social needs, not just their dental needs.

I can easily recall patients that fit each social style. Seeing them through this lens makes me like them better as people, and I will definitely change how I interact with them at our next appointment.

 

Dr. Carolyn Norton is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a 2014 graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry. She is in a 12-month general practice residency at the North Shore University Hospital in Evanston, Ill., affiliated with the University of Chicago. Dr. Norton was a contributing editor for the American Student Dental Association from 2012-14.

Customize, share your own 2015 World Oral Health Day poster


Celebrate and promote this year’s FDI World Oral Health Day on March 20 with your own customized poster — which can include your own smiling faces. The poster is available at the event’s website: worldoralhealthday.org/picture.

Then share your customized campaign poster with colleagues and friends worldwide on Facebook or Twitter. The FDI created a kickoff Facebook post to get things started. Or simply print your poster and display it in your dental practice or dental schol.

WOHDMarch 20 is World Oral Health Day, an opportune time to raise awareness for dentistry worldwide.

All the individual posters will be incorporated into a collage to create a giant WOHD logo. A video promoting this app will be displayed on the NASDAQ screen in Times Square.

This year’s rallying global tagline is Smile for Life, urging dentists and patients of all ages to get involved.

Organized by the FDI World Dental Federation, World Oral Health Day encourages FDI member dental associations — including the ADA — schools, companies and other groups to celebrate the day with events organized under a single, unifying and simple message: “It’s time to …,” with the rest being customized to each participant’s campaign.

Interested in promoting good oral health care routines? Then an adapted call to action might be, “It’s time to rinse after brushing your teeth.” Or, “It’s time to chew sugar free gum after every meal.” How about pointing out the importance of visiting the dentist? The campaign could be, “It’s time to visit your local dentist for a checkup.”

According to the FDI, 106 countries participated in 2014’s celebration. Help make sure it’s an even bigger success than last year.