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Helping You Be a Better Dentist

I’m a new associate dentist…what does the ADA do for me?

From supplying life insurance, advice on which board to take, and resources to make your CV shine; the ADA has many benefits to offer. In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on what the ADA can do for the recent graduate as well as a dentist entering an associate or partnership position. This was myself a few years ago. Unfortunately I was unaware of these items below that the ADA offered; however, I would have utilized almost all of them. Hopefully the resources that I go over in this issue will be useful to you — the new dentist!

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

Classifieds

Finding a job after graduation was much harder than I originally anticipated. During dental school I consistently heard about the rapid retiring rate of general dentists and the lack of new dentists entering the job scene creating a huge demand.

Well if you add in a recession and a few more dental schools opening up in the US, let’s just say jobs weren’t as plentiful as I initially believed.  Besides even if there were jobs out there, where was I supposed to look?  I had never seen a job posting for a dentist on the pages of monster.com or Craigslist.

Did you know that many state dental associations have their own classified section for dental jobs? While writing this article, I paused to take a moment to check out the listings. With the help of the Virginia Dental Association, I was able to view over 25 postings for general dentist jobs in almost every part of the state. This consolidated area of postings is a great way to see what positions are available as well as a fantastic resource for posting that CV you worked so hard on. Visit the VDA classifieds here. The ADA classifieds can be found here.

Contract resources

Congratulations! You’ve been offered a job, or maybe two or three. Well how do you know this contract agreement you are getting ready to sign is fair? Do you have a 5, 10, 20 mile non-compete, and do you know what that entails?

Just imagine if there was a non-compete clause in your contract that made and job locations in a 20-mile radius around your current employment location off limits. If this was the case, you could find yourself having a 30-45 minute commute for any future employment opportunities. How will you be paid on production, collections or salary? Are you going to be an employee or an independent contractor?  Are you or your employer responsible for paying lab fees? These are just some of the questions I had to answer looking over my initial contracts, and I was unfamiliar with almost all of these terms. Each one of these choices listed above has its own pros and cons, and that is where the ADA comes in.

The ADA has a free resource for members, “Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions.” This document explains many of the terms and provisions common to dental employment agreements. The material is presented in a manner to help you consider and review a contract employment. You can also contact the ADA legal department for help understanding the language in your contract. However, remember this is not a substitute for legal advice or a lawyer’s review of your contract. That scenario above about a 20-mile non-compete creating a long commute happened to a fellow dentist.  I think that makes this one service by itself worth every penny of your ADA membership — at least from all the gas money you would save.

Ethics Hotline

Chances are after you have signed your employment contract you will end up working with at least one other dentist.  Many of these dentists have gone through very similar, if not the exact, training that you went through. What happens though if you start seeing shared patients, and you disagree with the recommended treatment plan? The first step would be to discuss the plan with the other dentist(s), but afterwards if you still feel as is if it excessive or unnecessary treatment where do you turn? The ADA created their Ethics Hotline (1.800.621.8099) for instances like this. The ethics hotline is place to discuss questionable issues that may arise in the day to day happening of a dental office in an anonymous environment. Personally I have never needed this, but I find it very comforting that the ADA offers this resource to its members.

Reduced Dues

One of the most common talked about items as a new dentist is the amount of debt that has been incurred. I, like many of you, had to take out student loans to cover the cost of my education as well as my living expenses. I read just the other day where the average dental student debt upon graduating is around $240,000. The ADA and its components understand this as well.  As a new dentist, the memberships rates are drastically reduced the first 5 years of practice and are even free the first year of practice. For more information, click here.

Being an associate can be very challenging and rewarding at the same time.  It will give you the opportunity to develop your speed and skills as a dentist while in many cases working with a mentor. Associateship will introduce you to the fellowship of dentistry that the ADA embodies.  I had the privilege of working alongside several great dentists in varying office environments during my associateships and call many of those dentists’ great friends today.

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.

Learn how to help law enforcement through dental coding workshop

Registration is open for FBI-sponsored National Crime Information Center Dental Coding workshop in Sacramento, California, March 28-29.

The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division organizes these weekend workshops across the country. The training sessions are designed to provide NCIC dental coding and National Dental Image Repository instruction to forensic odontologists and licensed dentists who wish to provide assistance to law enforcement in identifying missing and unidentified persons cases.

The workshop is set for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront Promenade. Participants will receive a certification for 16 hours of training at the end of the course, but they should also check the continuing education unit requirements for their organization or association to determine whether the credit is accepted.

The FBI will conduct a criminal history background check on everyone who registers, and a felony conviction will disqualify a person from participating. The FBI also asks that those who have attended a workshop before not register to allow others to participate.

The training is free, but attendees must pay for their own travel and lodging. Those who choose to stay at the Embassy Suites should reference “dental coding workshop” when booking their reservation.

There are 50 slots available, and registrations will be accepted first-come, first-served. Registrants must be licensed dentists. For a registration form, email Kathleen Oldaker at kathleen.oldaker@leo.gov.

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?

ADA offers resources for new dentists, dental students

Recognizing that dental students and new dentists have different needs, the ADA offers a plethora of services, resources and benefits to help them succeed in their professional and personal lives.

“As dentist, we are professionals, and the ADA is our professional organization,” said Dr. Chris Hasty, vice-chair of the ADA New Dentist Committee. “I see the ADA as the lighthouse of dentistry, guiding our profession to a safe and ethical future, and steering us away from the dangers of outside entities.  As new dentists, we have our whole career ahead of us, and the ADA is here to help and see us prosper.”

Dental students and new dentists receive benefits all other members get, including travel benefits, health and wellness information, continuing education programs and access to care initiatives. However, certain ADA products and services are tailored to their needs.

Financial planning

CalculatorAdjusted for inflation, the average dental school debt for the class of 2000 was $118,515. For the class of 2013, it was $215,145, according to the annual ADEA Survey of Dental School Seniors. Now add in the cost of starting a practice, and it can get overwhelming.

The ADA provides dental students and new dentists with resources to help them stay on track for a bright financial future.

Provided by Wells Fargo Practice Finance, and developed with dentists in mind, the Center for Professional Success provides business planning calculators, including a debt load calculator, which can help new dentists and dental students determine how much they can responsibly afford to borrow for personal and business use. Other calculators available are the loan payment calculator, which estimates monthly loan payment. The loan term calculator helps dentists see how much faster they can pay off an existing loan by adding an additional fixed amount to their monthly payments.

For students seeking financial assistance, the ADA Foundation has a scholarship program for those pursuing careers in dentistry, dental hygiene, dental assisting and dental laboratory technology. The number of ADA Foundation scholarships awarded is dependent upon available annual funds. To learn more about the ADA Foundation scholarships, visit adafoundation.org/en/how-to-apply/education. The ADA also provides information on various federally funded scholarships.

In addition, the ADA provides information on dental student loan repayment programs and resources, including federal and state programs, that offer student loan repayment assistance, often in exchange for services in a health care shortage area. To learn more, visit ADA.org/student or request more information from studentaffairs@ada.org.

Understanding licensure

Understanding LicensureDental licensure marks the transition between dental school and dental practice. The ADA provides a free guide called Understanding Licensure, a resource to help guide dental students through the licensure experience.

The guide takes new dentists through the application process, preparing for the clinical exam, notification and appeals, licensure by credentials, etc.

To view the Understanding Licensure guide, click here.

Finding a job

The ADA CareerCenter is the official online job board of the ADA, a resource for searching dental career opportunities or recruiting dental professionals.

The resource allows professionals to search or post job opportunities for dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists and other qualified professionals who specialize in dentistry. Visit the ADA CareerCenter.

Staying up-to-date

The ADA can also help new dentists and dental students stay current on the latest dentistry news as well as scientific findings and studies.

The Journal of the American Dental Association and the ADA News are free to members. These publications are available on ADA.org/publications, along with the ADA Dental Product Guide, the ADA Catalog and ADA E-Communications, which include the ADA Morning Huddle, a daily bulletin of the latest news complied exclusively for ADA members.

New Dentist NewsIn addition, new dentists and dental students receive the ADA New Dentist News, a quarterly publication distributed as an insert in the ADA News as a member resource. To read the latest ADA New Dentist News, click here.

In 2013, the ADA New Dentist Committee launched New Dentist Now, a blog where new dentists can keep up with their colleagues, stay fresh on issues in dentistry and find out about events.

For scientific findings and studies, new dentist and dental student members can access full-text articles online with instant access to over 280 journals through the ADA Library & Archives website. About 95 percent are strictly dental journals. The other 5 percent have medical-dental crossover. This includes in-house access to the New England Journal of Medicine articles going all the way back to 1812. To access the ADA Library & Archives online, click here.

Leadership and Advocacy

Comprising 17 members representing each of the ADA’s regional districts, the New Dentist Committee is a national committee of the ADA Board of Trustees. Its mission: To serve as the voice of the new dentist within the ADA. The committee advises the Board on member benefits and the member experience from a new dentist perspective, as well as, on policy affecting new dentists, among other things. Committee members also provide insight on the issues and needs of new dentists through their liaison roles on the other 11 ADA agencies.

The New Dentist Network engages new dentists, develops leaders and contributes to and influences resources that add member value. It has over 800 contacts and is comprised of new dentist committees and volunteers, ASDA leaders and society staff at all levels of the ADA.

In addition, the New Dentist Committee oversees and actively participates in the Success Dental Student Programs conducted in dental schools around the country. The Success Dental Student Programs provide the next generation of dentists with ethical and practice management information and valuable ADA resources for the transition from dental school to dental practice.

“As a new dentist it is important to be a member of the ADA because we are the future of Dentistry,” said Dr. Michael LeBlanc, New Dentist Committee chair. “In order to help set policy we must have a voice. No better place than the ADA to help set policy and the success of dentistry now and in the future.”

To get involved or for more information, call your state or local dental society, or contact the ADA New Dentist Committee office at newdentist@ada.org or 1-312-440-2386.

ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership seeks applicants for 2015-16 class

Class of 2014-15: The 16 members of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership 2014-15 class attended their first session Sept. 4-5 at ADA Headquarters. From left to right (front row) Drs. Robin Nguyen, Trinity, Fla.; Carliza Marcos, San Carlos, Calif.; Xochitl Anderton, Lubbock, Texas; Amanda Hemmer, Phoenixville, Pa.; Christina Meiners, San Antonio; and Zellisha Quam, Albuquerque, N.M.; (center row) Drs. Rico Short, Smyrna, Ga.; Mark Limosani, Weston, Fla.; Malieka Johnson, San Diego; and Abe Abdulwaheed, Cambridge, Mass.; (back row) Drs. Inna Piskorska, San Antonio; Kevin Bolden, Waco, Texas; Deryck Pham, Mays Landing, N.J.; Darwin Hayes, Bronx, N.Y.; Paul Hsiao, Fresno, Calif.; and Shane Murphy, Anchorage, Alaska.

Class of 2014-15: The 16 members of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership 2014-15 class attended their first session Sept. 4-5 at ADA Headquarters. From left to right (front row) Drs. Robin Nguyen, Trinity, Fla.; Carliza Marcos, San Carlos, Calif.; Xochitl Anderton, Lubbock, Texas; Amanda Hemmer, Phoenixville, Pa.; Christina Meiners, San Antonio; and Zellisha Quam, Albuquerque, N.M.; (center row) Drs. Rico Short, Smyrna, Ga.; Mark Limosani, Weston, Fla.; Malieka Johnson, San Diego; and Abe Abdulwaheed, Cambridge, Mass.; (back row) Drs. Inna Piskorska, San Antonio; Kevin Bolden, Waco, Texas; Deryck Pham, Mays Landing, N.J.; Darwin Hayes, Bronx, N.Y.; Paul Hsiao, Fresno, Calif.; and Shane Murphy, Anchorage, Alaska.

The American Dental Association Institute for Diversity in Leadership is accepting applications through April 30 for its 2015-16 class.

Dr. Amanda Hemmer, 2014-15 class member of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership

Dr. Amanda Hemmer

The Institute is designed to provide education and leadership skills to dentists who are members of racial, ethnic and/or gender groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles within the profession and their communities.

Sixteen applicants will be selected for the program which includes attendance at three leadership training sessions conducted by faculty from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management at ADA Headquarters in Chicago on Sept. 10-11, Dec. 7-8, and Sept. 8-9, 2016. Participants will be reimbursed for their hotel and travel expenses.

(From left) Drs. MarkLimosani, DeryckPham and Abe Abdulwaheed

(From left) Drs. MarkLimosani, DeryckPham and Abe Abdulwaheed

The Institute for Diversity in Leadership is made possible by generous support from Henry Schein Dental and Procter & Gamble.

To learn more about the Institute and how to apply, visit ADA.org/diversityinstitute or contact Leadership Team Services at IDL@ada.org or call the ADA toll-free number at ext. 2600.

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.

10 steps to Medical-Dental collaboration

Looking to work and collaborate with local physicians? Seeking to encourage members in the medical field in your community are the importance of oral health as part of the overall health?

NegotiationHere are 10 steps to help you with your outreach effort, courtesy of the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, a nationwide, community-based movement aimed at ending the dental health crisis facing America today.

  • Step 1: Contact a local physician or county medical society director to attend a meeting of the local medical society. Discuss with the medical society officers the possibility of an opportunity to present dental issues to the membership.
  • Step 2: Contact your local hospital continuing education coordinator to offer a “Grand Rounds” or “Dental 101” CE offering. An alternative is to have an introductory “Dental Issues” CME course for local physicians and chiropractors.
  • Step 3: Invite the president of the local medical society and/or hospital board president to a local dental society meeting for communication/networking opportunities.
  • Step 4: Invite the dental director and executive director of the local community health center to a dental society meeting to meet local dentists and specialists. Discuss the possibility of local dentists serving on health center committees to ensure cross collaboration between medical/dental departments.
  • Step 5: Schedule a dinner meeting with local OB-GYN physicians/staff to share information about the importance of oral health for pregnant women. Offer written materials and support to encourage their patients seek dental care during their pregnancy.
  • Step 6: Visit a local pediatrician’s or family practitioner’s office and schedule a luncheon in-service with office staff. Bring oral hygiene educational materials to reinforce the opportunities for medical staff to encourage the importance of oral health as part of overall health.
  • Step 7: Schedule a luncheon in-service with hospital Radiation/Oncology staff. Discuss the role of oral hygiene with restorative/rehabilitative needs for patients with cancer.
  • Step 8: Schedule a luncheon or dinner in-service with local periodontists and internal medicine specialists. Discuss the role of periodontal disease in maintaining optimal hemoglobin A1C levels for diabetic patients.
  • Step 9: Meet with local physician assistants/nurse practitioners to perform a “Dental 101” type continuing education meeting. Discuss dental emergencies/oral cancer and the role they can play in collaboration with the dentist in facilitating resolution of patient’s dental pain needs.
  • Step 10: Attend a hospital ER department/senior nurses’ meeting to discuss dental issues. Advise them on the role they can play in collaboration with dentists with regard to dental disease management.

To read the full 10-step process, click here. For more information about the ADA’s Action for Dental Health, visit ADA.org/action.

Tips for controlling upper back pain

As a dentist, you do many procedures that require a close visual field and fine, controlled movements of your hands for long periods of time.

Center for Professional SuccessThese procedures also require sustained postures and twisting and bending of your neck and upper back.  These postures and movements can place stress on your upper back and neck, contributing to the development of or aggravation of upper back pain.  This can impacts your well-being and the efficiency and productivity of your office.

As always, consult a physician for any persistent problem, but here are some tips for controlling upper back pain from the ADA Center for Professional Success.

  • Maintain proper posture.
  • Use magnification, such as loupes, and adequate lighting to bring your field of vision closer and decrease the extent to which your neck is held forward and flexed down.
  • Position the patient’s head at a level that gives you access to the oral cavity while being able to hold your shoulders in a relaxed, neutral position (rather than a hunched up position) and you are able to hold your elbows at about a ninety degree or less flexion.
  • When possible, use chair arms to support your upper arm or forearm when doing fine, precision work with your hands.
  • Wear properly fitting gloves.
  • Keep equipment in good working order.  Improperly maintained equipment can cause you to use unnecessary pressure and extra time when performing certain procedures.
  • Position equipment within easy reach and visibility to reduce repeated twisting of your neck or torso.
  • Take a break in between or during long or difficult cases.
  • When possible, set up your schedule to rotate long, difficult cases with short, easier cases.

Seek medical consultation for upper back pain, especially in the following instances:

  • After recent significant trauma, such as a fall, a motor vehicle accident or other such accidents.
  • When sleep is disrupted or pain is worse at night.
  • With a history of prolonged steroid use.
  • With a history of osteoporosis.
  • With a recent history of infection or a temperature over 100 degrees F.
  • Numbness or tingling in arms.
  • Severe, sudden headache.
  • Dizziness.

To read the full CPS article, which includes information on symptoms and causes, click here. The article is only available to ADA members.

Other resources on the topic include the American College of Sports Medicine, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Physical Therapy Association.

It’s flu season: What to know about influenza prevention and control

We’re at the peak of flu season.

Since many symptoms of influenza are non-specific, it’s possible that the patient you are treating may have the flu virus without any noticeable symptoms. The spread of the flu can occur among patients, your dental team and yourself.

Cold Here are five major components that should be part of your infection control program, according to the ADA Center for Professional Success.

  • Education and training: Annual education and training around occupational exposure to potentially infectious agents and infection-control procedures is an important aspect of an infection control program. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a PowerPoint available online called Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings.
  • Immunization: Annual vaccinations are a critical part of limiting exposure and deciphering from other communicable diseases. Consider covering the cost of vaccination for your team, or providing vaccinations in the office during work hours.
  • Sterilization: Proper and consistent sterilization practices of all materials in contact or in close proximity to patients are paramount. Verify that your sterilization methods and equipment meet compliance standards.
  • Exposure prevention and post-exposure management: Make sure your practice is screening symptomatic patients. Develop etiquette regarding respiratory hygiene and coughing. Placing cough etiquette reminders in the waiting area and the staff operatory can be helpful.
  • Policy on work-related illness: Encourage patients to seek preventative and curative care, and to report signs or symptoms of illness. Create a work environment that does not punish employees for illness.