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Bang for Your Buck! Prioritizing CE opportunities as a new dentist

We knew all along. We knew there were things we were not learning while we were in school. Now, we’ve made it out. We are practicing dentists. We’ve climbed the mountain, celebrated, taken a deep breath, and turned around to find ourselves at the bottom of another mountain. We know there are things we don’t know. Now what? How do I decide where to start? How do I prioritize what CE warrants my time, effort and money?

Dr. Moon

Dr. Moon

Before elaborating on choosing CE, let me say this: First of all, give yourself a break. You don’t have to save the world your first year as a practicing dentist (even though it kind of feels like you can once you’re treating more than 2-3 patients per day). Use your training to approach cases and treatment conservatively as you build up your confidence and skill level. Don’t get in over your head early. Personally, I believe I spent about six months focusing on my job prior to taking any CE after school.

Once you’re ready to get back at it, make CE choices that benefit you and your patients. After some time practicing, you should have a feeling in your “gut” that if you just knew how to __________ or ________ your patients would benefit and you would feel like a more proficient dentist. Once you have that feeling you are more than halfway there.

I have found that asking myself the question: “Is this good Bang for My Buck?” has consistently helped me make good decisions about how I prioritize my CE. I consider three areas when answering this question to myself:

1. Will learning ____________ benefit the majority of my patients, or a few?

2. Is this topic something very limited or specific, or something I can build upon in the future?

3. Is there a hands-on component to this course, or will I potentially leave this course without the confidence I need to implement what I was suppose to learn?

Answers to these questions usually guide my decisions. I prefer to attend CE that offers benefit to the largest number of patients possible, on a topic or area that can consistently be built upon or integrated into multiple procedures, and especially those that include a hands-on component.

Early on in my career, I found myself focusing on CAD-CAM dentistry and bone grafting procedures. I had come to the realization that the majority of my patients would benefit if I increased my skills in these areas. Also, a basic foundation in these topics is beneficial, but you can learn an extensive amount with either, and continue to build your skills and expand the number of billable procedures you provide. Again, once you know what you want to learn, incorporating a hands-on component will make you that much more confident as you implement your knowledge and new techniques in clinical practice.

For new dentists looking to pick up some valuable CE, I suggest that these two areas are not a bad place to start. Incorporating CAD-CAM dentistry into your practice opens up a lot of treatment options and office scheduling benefits that are not available without it. Also, implant dentistry continues to develop and become a more commonly selected treatment option. Bone grafting and socket preservation procedures help patients obtain optimal treatment results, can often be performed quite easily, and will in many cases be the difference between success and failure concerning fixed prosthodontic and/or implant treatment options. Go get that Bang for Your Buck!

For more information on online and in-person continuing education opportunities, click here.

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

OSHA updates workplace poster

Are you an employee dentist? Do you know your rights?

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration unveiled a new version of the employee-rights poster OSHA-covered dentists and other employers must display in a conspicuous place where employees can see it but said employers need not replace previous versions of the posted notice.

OSHAThe new version of the poster “Job Safety and Health – It’s The Law!” is available without charge and in English and other languages at osha.gov or by phone at OSHA’s toll-free number 1-800-321-6742 or the OSHA publications office (202) 693-1888.

The poster is available in Chinese, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. The Polish and Portuguese versions are available online only. OSHA regulations do not specify or require employers to display the OSHA poster in a foreign language. However, OSHA encourages employers with Spanish-speaking employees to also display the Spanish language version.

For employers in a state with an OSHA-approved state plan, there may be a state version of the OSHA poster. Federal government agencies must use the Federal Agency Poster.

The poster informs workers of their rights and employers of their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The poster was updated to include new reporting obligations for employers, who must now report every fatality and every hospitalization, amputation and loss of an eye. It also informs employers of their responsibilities to train all employees in a language and vocabulary they can understand, comply with OSHA standards and post citations at or near the place of an alleged violation.

The last poster update was published in 2007.

A question of ethics

Some issues that a new dentist might face may include:

It is my first time doing a procedure that I want to incorporate into my practice: how can I do that ethically on my first cases?

When should I refer? Are there ethical considerations if I don’t refer?

At what point should I send the patient to a specialist? When and how do I tell a patient their treatment should continue with a specialist without losing the patient’s confi dence or trust? As an ADA member, what is my ethical obligation to my patients?

Dr. Ishkanian

Dr. Ishkanian

We invited Dr. Emily Ishkanian to share perspectives relevant to clinical experience. is the ADA New Dentist 14th District representative and representative on ADA’s Council Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs. The ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct (the ADA Code) can offer guidance to help new dentists answer ethical questions, Dr. Ishkanian said.

“My reputation, my name and my license are too valuable to risk,” Dr. Ishkanian said in describing several real world practice situations she encountered. Dentists are faced with challenging ethical dilemmas in day-to-day practice. However, new dentists are placed in especially precarious positions when faced with what seem to be a choice between acting as defined by the ADA Principles Professional Responsibility and possibly losing their job.

Some ethical situations include the following:

Advanced procedures
When you are asked to complete procedures and your gut tells you this isn’t a treatment you feel comfortable performing, you have the option to refer to another practitioner who is more skilled in the procedure. Not only should this be an option, but it may actually be an ethical obligation. Ultimately, as the dentist, you make that call, because only you know your capabilities and you are responsible for making sure you do no harm to your patients. Recognize that referrals don’t make you a weak clinician, but rather show that you value the patient’s best interests. No one should expect you to do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing.

Ratios
Crown-to-filling ratios may sound absurd, but some new dentists have actually been faced with this expectation. If a dentist hasn’t met the adequate ratio, he or she may have been reprimanded or in some instances his or her employment may actually have been at risk. At the end of the day, as a dentist you have gone to school to gain the clinical knowledge to diagnose, educate and treat your patients. Yes, dentistry is a business, but you and your patients determine the best treatment, not the offi ce manager.

Continuing your education
Upon graduation from dental school, you quickly learn that you are a beginner. Is there a treatment you are looking to incorporate into your practice but you feel you don’t have quite enough experience? Take the proper steps to fulfi ll your ethical obligation to do no harm to your patients. Participate in continuing education, specifi cally hands-on CE; engage in a mentorship with a seasoned dentist by shadowing him or her while he or she is doing the procedure; reference online tutorials, textbooks, dental blogs, message boards; and most importantly know your limitations and when to refer to maintain the standard of care and to do what is best for your patient.

“After the physical, emotional and financial sacrifices I’ve made to reach this point in my career, I’ve realized that my dentistry and my work reflect the person I am and how I choose to care for my patients,” said Dr. Ishkanian.

Dr. Ishkanian suggests that if you are faced with an ethical dilemma, address it with the owner or owners of the practice. If you don’t see change on the horizon or there are too many ethical challenges that appear unlikely to be resolved, then it might be time to move on, maintain your ethics and standards and fi nd a practice that shares your philosophy. Always put your patients first, and remember this is your license and your reputation. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re defending it.

Available ADA resources to help new dentists facing ethical situations include the ADA Code of Ethics, the Ethics Hotline and the archive of ethical scenarios that can be found at ADA.org.

When professional conduct is the question, the ADA Code may have answers.

The ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct amplifies Dr. Ishkanian’s advice. “The American Dental Association calls upon dentists to follow high ethical standards which have the benefi t of the patient as their primary goal,” says the preamble to the Code.

“The ethical dentist strives to do that which is right and good. The ADA Code is an instrument to help the dentist in this quest.”

Getting scientific at the ADA

GPR

Dental residents performed a depth-of-cure test to check the ability of the curing unit to properly cure a dental polymer during their visit to the ADA.It was stressed that proper curing requires a sufficient amount of light energy deposited on the dental polymer at the correct wavelength.

Eight residents from the GPR program at the Advocate Illinois Masonic participated in an interactive session Thursday at the ADA Headquarters.

Dr Spiro Megremis, director of Research & Evaluation at the Science Institute, presented on dental curing lights, dental radiometers, dental hand pieces, and what clinicians need to know to optimize the use of these instruments. In addition, Dr. Sharon Tracy, Center for Evidence Based Dentistry assistant director, talked about the importance of evidence-based dentistry and resources available for dentists on ebd.ada.org.  Following the scientific  presentation, the residents toured the building and learned about ADA resources and benefits for new dentists. See photos below.

What has been your favorite field trip as a student or dentist? Contact us at newdentist@ada.org or post a comment here.

GPR3

Dr. Anthony Okoli participates in a hands-on lesson about factors influencing the effective use of dental curing units at the ADA headquarters. Proper positioning of the curing unit over the restoration and looking at the restoration while curing, with the use of protective “blue blocking” eye wear, were also stressed during the gathering.

GRP2

Drs. Rachel Zurek, left, and Ashley Ginsberg listen to ADA laboratory staff.

GPR4

Drs. Noelle Rose and Nadir Elias listen to ADA staff talk about the Professional Product Review resources available from ADA.

 

 

Student ethics video contest deadline July 31

The ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs is accepting entries for the 2015 Student Ethics Video Contest. The deadline to submit entries is July 31.

Since 2010, CEBJA has annually sponsored the contest to draw student attention to the ethical dilemmas that dental students and professional dentists may encounter and to provide an exercise focusing on appropriate responses based on the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. This year, the contest will include a second competitive category, created for videos that promote patient safety through ethical treatment. A grand prize and an honorable mention award will be available for each category.

The new category is the result of the participation and support of CNA in this year’s Student Ethics Video Contest.

The contest is open to degree-seeking students at, or new graduates of, any ADA-accredited dental school who are 18 or older and U.S. citizens.  Entrants must also be ADA student members or members in good standing of the American Student Dental Association.

To qualify, videos should be no more than four and a half minutes and must portray the application of one or more principle, code or advisory opinion contained in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. To be eligible in the new category, the video should focus on ethical treatment promoting or enhancing patient safety and treatment outcomes.

CEBJA will announce the winners at the ADA 2015 — America’s Dental Meeting in Washington, D.C. For more information, contest rules and entry forms, contact Earl Sewell at sewelle@ada.org.

To view previous years’ winning videos, click here.

Data aids new dentists in deciding where to practice

Wouldn’t it be nice if simply putting a wet fi nger in the wind were enough to fi gure out where to open a new dental practice — or where to fi nd work at an existing one?

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Knowing which direction to take when making such important career decisions takes more data than that, of course. Thankfully, brave souls have paved the well-worn path to opening a new practice or deciding where to seek a position. Some have left a trail in the form of advice for new dentists.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, for instance, has a few trail tips to share on figuring out where to open a practice. He graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2001 and from the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston in 2002, where he completed a one-year postgraduate general practice residency in hospital dentistry focusing on the treatment of medically and physically compromised patients. Then he went to work as an associate.

“After practicing 11 years as an associate in private and corporate settings, I felt confident that I could do dentistry on my own,” he said. “Still, I wasn’t too confident on the business aspects of dentistry. In hindsight, I probably should’ve established my own office sooner. But, hindsight is 20/20.”

Foresight, with data, can also be 20/20. Before deciding where to hang a shingle and open for business, Dr. Mukherji consulted professionals. One of the first things he did was call on a reputable dental practice real estate agency. He made his choice of business location largely based on their assessment of the area. They helped Dr. Mukherji review such variables as demographics and the saturation of dentists in the area.

But Dr. Mukherji also calculated his decision based on certain personal preferences. “I lived in the area, was active in the area and wanted to practice in that area,” he said. He also asked friends, colleagues, specialists and dental vendors for their input. “I found that to be valuable, too,” he said.

Dr. Mukherji advises tapping ADA resources, such as statistical reports. The ADA also refers member dentists to data sources to explore when assessing where to practice. A few suggested resources:

US Census Bureau — Factfinder: Provides population information on household income, education, and many other demographics. Start by entering a city or zip code under the “Community Facts” heading in the left column.

2013 Color-coded zip codes, median household income: Provides a color-coded overview of zip codes ranked by income and education level. Clicking on the map will bring up additional details about the zip code’s income and education level. To locate the map, search the newspaper website for “super zips.”

Wells Fargo Practice Finance: Provides statistical information, including population variables for both residential and employed populations; socio-economic indicators including economics, education and housing; and number of existing practices in designated area.

CPS offers resources to help dentists navigate Medicare decision

The deadline for opting in or out of Medicare is looming for dentists, and the ADA Center for Professional Success has a number of online resources that can help them make sense of the regulation and what to do, according to ADA News.

Center for Professional SuccessAny dentist who prescribes Part D covered drugs to Medicare beneficiaries has three choices. They must enroll in the program either as a provider of Medicare services or as an ordering/referring provider or opt out in order for prescriptions they write to be reimbursed by Medicare, according to the federal government. Dentists who fit this requirement must take action by Dec. 1.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has several options for enrolling that apply to dentists. Opting out of the program, by signing an affidavit and entering into private contracts with patients as appropriate, means dentists are out of Medicare for two years and cannot receive any direct or indirect Medicare payment for services provided to Medicare patients. Regardless of the choice, a full explanation and links to the appropriate form, as well as sample affidavits, are available through the Center for Professional success.

The Center for Professional Success has a number of other resources that can help with this sometimes complicated and confusing process:

  • Medicare tutorial video
  • Frequently asked questions about the Part D regulation
  • Resources for enrolling as a Medicare provider
  • Resources to opt-in as a Medicare ordering/referring provider
  • Resources to opt out

The Medicare tutorial video, along with the FAQs, is designed to help dentists make a decision on which option is right for them.  To access these resources and more, visit Success.ADA.org.

Nominations due end of May for ADA Foundation’s Whiston leadership awards

Know any promising dentists with leadership potential for improving public health? Nominations are due May 31 for the ADA Foundation’s Dr. David Whiston Leadership Program Awards.

ADA FoundationThe Whiston Awards are designed to support dentists who show leadership potential for improving the oral health of the public. As part of the program, the ADA Foundation provides two $5,000 awards each year — The Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award and the Henry Schein Cares Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award — to cover costs associated with attending an American Management Association leadership training program.

Nominees must be early career dentists or students who have demonstrated the ability to create a vision and motivate others to achieve that vision. They must also demonstrate ability to use those traits for the greater good through activities that help advance the oral health of the public and/or the underserved.  The ADA Foundation’s website lists more eligibility requirements.

To nominate a candidate, submit the nomination form, found on ADAFoundation.org by the deadline.

The ADA Foundation created the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Program in 2014 to honor Dr. David Whiston, who has served the oral health profession through many important leadership roles, including as 1997-98 ADA president and 2010-14 president of the ADA Foundation Board of Directors.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the ADA Foundation, visit ADAFoundation.org or call 1-312-440-2547.

New Dentist Conference Joins ADA 2015 – America’s Dental Meeting

The ADA is pleased to announce that for the first time, the New Dentist Conference will be held at the ADA annual meeting from November 5-10 in Washington, D.C.

New Dentist Conference 2015Features of the New Dentist Conference include:

  • Shark Tank co-star Daymond John as keynote speaker.
  • Exclusive, interactive educational offerings.
  • High-level networking opportunities with leadership and peers.
  • New Dentist reception and lounge.
  • Significantly reduced hotel rates.
  • A chance to give back at the ADA Mission of Mercy.
  • We encourage you to share this information with any dentists who have been out of school for ten years or less as this is an experience they won’t want to miss.

Registration for the New Dentist Conference at ADA 2015 opens May 13 — a full week earlier than general registration! For more information, visit ADA.org/NDC.

Addiction webinar set for April 22

An upcoming webinar aims to educate dentists on how to prescribe medication for patients with a history of addiction.

prescription drugsSafe Prescribing for Patients With a History of Substance Abuse Disorders is scheduled for April 22 from 2-3 p.m. Central time. Michael O’Neil, professor of pharmacy practice at South College in Knoxville, Tennessee, will discuss how dentists can implement treatment strategies that guide safe practices while performing procedures on patients with a history of substance abuse disorder. Dentists will also learn how to develop a safe and effective plan for acute pain management for patients receiving opioid maintenance treatment for addiction.

Those who participate in the webinar are eligible to earn one hour of continuing education credit. To register, contact Alison Siwek, manager of dentist health and wellness for the Council on Dental Practice, at siweka@ada.org or 1-312-440-2622.

Last day of registration is April 20.