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Helping You Succeed as a Dentist

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.

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.

Win a free registration for an ADA Executive Program in Dental Practice Management class

Want a chance to win a free class in the ADA Executive Program in Dental Practice Management? If you are an ADA member, click here to enter.

Clinical and Business

In an effort to provide the best in ongoing education for dentists, the American Dental Association’s Center for Professional Success  recruited dental management experts to introduce applications specific to running a dental practice, which are complemented by ADA-selected foundational business skills delivered by Notre Dame’s graduate-level faculty. The end result is a six course, dental practice management certificate program offered 100% online. The ADA Executive Program in Dental Practice Management 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.

To enter the giveaway, click here.

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

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.

Remodeling your practice

Grand Rapids, Mich. — When Dr. Andrea Toth bought an existing practice in October, she knew she needed to remodel.

Dr. Toth

Dr. Toth

Soiled carpets. Furniture from the ’70s. Wallpaper falling apart. White walls no longer white. Bathroom floors appeared moldy.

“The equipment needed updating,” Dr. Toth said. “The dental X-rays and countertops were green. The chairs and upholstery were ripped. It all needed to be cleaned up and modernized.”

Three months later, she got her wish. New equipment. New dark wooden floors. Modern furniture. Clean new granite countertops.

“It’s given me a completely different feeling when I come in to work,” Dr. Toth said. “The best part is that my staff and my patients love it.”

Dr. Toth spoke with ADA New Dentist Now blog to share some advice and suggestions, based on her experience, for making a remodeling experience as smooth as possible.

With financing, be patient

The biggest obstacle Dr. Toth said she faced in the process was the issue of finance.

“I was trying to get a loan from a bank, but it was taking so long,” she said, adding that when she finally heard back regarding the loan, the bank wanted to hold the practice as collateral.

“My husband and I just decided to pay for it,” she said. Even then, with the holidays and the search for contractors, the construction and remodeling couldn’t start until Jan. 10 — finishing a week later.

For those who can’t afford it and need a loan, be patient.

“I would advise that you have a realistic idea of how long this this will take,” she said. “Give yourself enough time and plan ahead. Realize that you can’t have it all in an instant.”

Lobby (Before)

Lobby (Before)

Lobby (After)

Lobby (After)

Find the right people

Another process that took time was the search for a contractor to be tasked with the construction — replacing the floors, painting the walls, removing the wall paper, etc.

The dentist that Dr. Toth had bought the practice from had been in the space for over 30 years. When she came to acquire it, she didn’t have the layout of the of the facility.

“I didn’t know what were in the walls,” she said. Contractors asked where and how the plumbing was set up; where the electrical wires were.

“My guess was just as good as theirs,” she said. “So some contractors didn’t want to work with me.”

In addition, some companies would send someone to visit the practice, then never submit a bid as promised. Then there were contractors who would submit bids that excluded costs on certain work — which made their bids appear low.

In the end, Dr. Toth found a local contractor, Copper Rock Construction from Grand Rapids.

“They were very upfront with me on the costs,” she said, adding that they were more affordable compared to the other bids. “They said that if they go over budget, it won’t be over 15 percent. They were sincere, with good prices and did good work.”

Dr. Toth also went with Dental Equipment and Repair, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, to remove and reinstall all dental-related items such as cabinets, dental chairs and dental equipment.

“I was very happy with the results,” she said.

Utilize the Internet and friends

When it came to decorating the space, Dr. Toth said, Dental Equipment offered to furnish the space.

However, after conducting simple Google searches, she found pieces that were much more affordable, including artwork, mirrors and furniture.

It was through looking at photos online of other dental practices that she was inspired and decided to get dark wooden floors.

“The rest sort of fell into place,” she said. “I met with neighbors and friends to give me some input on what they thought. And I considered what they said in my decisions.”

Operatory (Before)

Operatory (Before)

Operatory (After)

Operatory (After)

Oversee the operation

Once you’ve hired the right people, don’t disappear.

Dr. Toth said she made sure she was available to coordinate schedules. For example, Copper Rock Construction couldn’t paint until Dental Equipment finished installing a certain equipment or cabinet.

“I would come over and make sure everything was going as planned,” she said.

In addition, her front desk staff worked during remodeling week to answer phone calls from patients.

“If anything needed my attention,” she said. “I instructed them to call me.”

For more information or tips on remodeling your practice, visit the ADA Center for Professional Success website here.

Are you interested in learning about the different types of group practices?

Learn more about the different types of group practices in videos posted on the ADA Center for Professional Success website.

Center for Professional SuccessDentists from three different practice group models spoke at ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting in San Antonio about their organization’s structure, management, patient care and more. In 2014, the ADA Health Policy Institute proposed a classification system for group practices and a nomenclature that would more specifically describe them.

The videos include presentations on group practices that are dentist-owned and operated; affiliated with a dental management organization affiliated; insurer-provider; not-for-profit; and government agencies.

The presentations are available here.

Integrating checklists into your practice is key to get things right

Time outs are performed minutes before a procedure begins. In dentistry, this is commonly done before an extraction or a root canal. Do I have the right patient? Is the correct radiograph displayed? Is the necessary equipment present? Do I know which tooth? How often do we breeze through this checklist or not read it at all?

Dr. Carolyn Norton

Dr. Carolyn Norton

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande shows how checklists which identify critical steps or points of failure can make up for our own human inadequacies. Checklists don’t stop at the example above. As the volume of dental procedures I preform increases every day, I have developed my own mental checklists to make sure I’m working efficiently and producing quality dentistry. Even your morning huddle is a checklist.

In 2001, a central line placement checklist was implemented at Johns Hopkins Hospital by critical care specialist Peter Pronovost. Nurses were allowed to intervene if they saw a doctor not following the checklist. After two years of data collection, the central line infection rate went from 11 percent to zero. Dr. Pronovost found that checklists, “establish a higher standard of baseline performance, help with memory recall, and set the minimum necessary steps in a process.”

When the World Health Organization (WHO) contacted Gawande in 2006 to help create a solution to prevent death and/or harm in surgery throughout the world with no funding, Gawande went to visit a master of checklists, Daniel Boorman from the Boeing Company. Aviation heavily relies on checklists. “Only 1 in 500,000 flights ever suffers an accident of any kind.” Was your last flight delayed for 45 minutes due to maintenance? Someone was using a checklist.

Mr. Boorman says checklists must be “precise and to the point. They do not try to spell out everything — a checklist cannot fly a plane.” He suggests keeping the list between five and nine items. It should take no more than 60 to 90 seconds to run the list. “You must define a clear pause point at which the checklist is supposed to be used.” My favorite part of this book: a checklist for making checklists is provided in the appendix.

Dr. Gawande’s WHO safe surgery checklist included seven checks before anesthesia, seven checks before the first incision, and five checks before removing the patient from the operatory. The effect of their safe surgery checklist was studied in eight hospitals around the world. In every hospital, complication rates fell 36 percent and deaths fell 47 percent. Seventy eight percent of hospital staff “actually observed the checklist to have prevented an error in the operating room.” When asked if they wanted the checklist used if they were to have surgery, 93 percent of hospital staff said “yes.”

After reading Dr. Gawande’s book I see checklists all around me, and I believe they work. No one is perfect, and checklists are great tools to help even doctors to get things right. “The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.”

How do you use checklists in your dental practice? Share your best ideas and checklists with us below.

 

Dr. Carolyn Norton is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a 2014 graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry. She is half way through 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.

 

IHS dental externship applications due Feb. 28

For dental students wondering whether a career with the Indian Health Service Division of Oral Health or a position at a specific IHS or Tribal site is right for you, an IHS externship can give you the experience to help make your decision.

IHSThe IHS Division of Oral Health (DOH) is currently accepting applications for 2015 Dental Externships. If you are seeking a life-changing cultural and pre-professional experience, we encourage you to apply. The application cycle is open from Jan. 2 to Feb. 28.

According to IHS.gov, externs will have the opportunities to work in the state-of-the-art facilities, in a career position with excellent pay and benefits, Loan Repayment Program, job stability, potential for advancement and mentoring by experienced staff, and the opportunity to provide much-needed care to appreciative patients.

For more information on IHS dental externships and how to apply, click here.

10 steps to starting a Head Start program in your office

Head Start began as a summer program in 1965 and serves the nation’s most vulnerable children. It focuses on school readiness with inclusion of medical, dental, nutrition and mental health.

Action for Dental HealthAction for Dental Health has created a basic 10-step process to launching your own Head Start program in your dental office.

In essence, the 10 steps are:

  • Step 1: Call the local Community Action Agency and speak with the director about oral exam federal compliance opportunities.
  • Step 2: Discuss with local officials (county commissioners) what percentage of their Head Start children have received dental exams and what more can be done.
  • Step 3: Arrange appropriate follow-up care for those children identified with dental needs.
  • Step 4: Present in-services on early childhood decay to local pediatricians/family medicine staff and promote the need for caries risk assessment, anticipatory guidance and referrals to establish a dental home.
  • Step 5: Become a registered state dental Medicaid provider.
  • Step 6: Meet with community leaders from United Way, local foundations or faith-based communities to discuss health needs/support for young children to access dental exams.
  • Step 7: Discuss opportunities to partner with local business community in holding events aimed at Head Start children receiving dental screening services and oral health education.
  • Step 8: Utilize local dental society meetings to coordinate Head Start screenings and follow-up care.
  • Step 9: Evaluate the success of the program.
  • Step 10: Visit the Women, Infant, Children Department (WIC) in the local health department or county offices and determine need for children under age 5 to have dental exams.

To read more on the 10 steps to starting a Head Start program in your office, click here. For more information, contact Dr. Jane Gover, director of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations at groverj@ada.org. For more information on Action for Dental Health, visit ADA.org/action.