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Part 3: Taking the leap to practice ownership? These ADA resources can help

Let me start off by saying that opening my own practice from scratch was one of the scariest moments in my life thus far. I knew I had a good portion of dental knowledge amassed over the last few years, but what did I know about running a business? I could sit down and talk to patients about decay and occlusal wear; however, could I sit down and talk to a team about the goals of the practice and how to achieve them? What about how much my fees would be for my services, and what insurances I should take? How would I go about preparing my office for HIPAA and OSHA protocols?

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

Many of these questions I later found out could be answered through various departments and locations through the ADA’s resources. In this article, I will be discussing several of those resources that can be huge assets when you decide to make the leap into practice ownership.

The ADA Catalog

Another benefit from the ADA I would like to discuss is pretty self-explanatory. What if I told you that before the practice doors even opened you had to make sure all HIPAA and OSHA guidelines were being followed, and if not, you could be subject to fines which could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars? A few months before I opened my doors, I would have had a blank stare on my face.  Once again the ADA came to my rescue by having both HIPAA and OSHA compliance manuals readily available. The manuals gave me implementation protocols and procedures to make sure my office was up to date and compliant before anyone even stepped foot inside the door. The ADA Store is an excellent resource where you can find almost any must have item for your practice. Some examples include brochures for patient education, CDT code books updating the latest dental codes, and information regarding creating an internal marketing program. Many of the items are also customizable.

RELATED: Part 1 & Part 2

Starting out I mentioned that opening my practice was one of the scariest moments in my life, but I can also say that it has been one of the most rewarding. With the help of the ADA, I have created an environment that I, as well as my team members and patients, look forward to every day. I know that I will still have plenty of successes and failures along the road, but I look forward to sharing and celebrating these moments with all of you, my fellow colleagues.

This blog post, reprinted with minimal edits and 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.

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.

Job hunting? Searching for employees? Visit the ADA CareerCenter

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

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.37.32 AMAt careercenter.ADA.org, users can search or post job opportunities for dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists and other dentistry related career opportunities.

Both job seekers and employers can benefi t from this resource. Those looking for a job can sign up for free on ADA CareerCenter to find dental profession jobs listed by location, company and job type; upload resumes; receive new job alerts via email; save and track jobs and apply online. Even more job opportunities can be found offl ine in the Journal of the American Dental Association’s classified pages.

Meanwhile, dental employers and recruiters can use ADA CareerCenter to choose from a wide array of online options to showcase open positions, including basic and featured job postings or Featured Employer upgraded accounts.

For more information, visit careercenter.ADA.org.

CDC: Tooth decay, tooth loss on decline, but disparities remain

According to ADA News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that tooth decay and complete tooth loss have declined in the U.S. since the 1960s, but disparities remain between some age groups and races.

Here are some findings by the CDC:

  • Among adults aged 20-64, 91 percent had dental caries and 27 percent had untreated tooth decay.
  • Untreated tooth decay was higher for Hispanic (36 percent) and non-Hispanic black (42 percent) adults compared with non-Hispanic white (22 percent) and non-Hispanic Asian (17 percent) adults aged 20-64.
  • Adults aged 20-39 were twice as likely to have all their teeth (67 percent) compared with those aged 40-64 (34 percent).
  • About one in five adults aged 65 and older had untreated tooth decay.
  • Among adults aged 65 and over, complete tooth loss was lower for older Hispanic (15 percent) and non-Hispanic white (17 percent) adults compared with older non-Hispanic black adults (29 percent).

To read the full story, click here.

Part 2: Taking the leap to practice ownership? These ADA resources can help

Let me start off by saying that opening my own practice from scratch was one of the scariest moments in my life thus far. I knew I had a good portion of dental knowledge amassed over the last few years, but what did I know about running a business? I could sit down and talk to patients about decay and occlusal wear; however, could I sit down and talk to a team about the goals of the practice and how to achieve them? What about how much my fees would be for my services, and what insurances I should take? How would I go about preparing my office for HIPAA and OSHA protocols?

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

Many of these questions I later found out could be answered through various departments and locations through the ADA’s resources. In this article, I will be discussing several of those resources that can be huge assets when you decide to make the leap into practice ownership.

The Center for Professional Success

There are very few places where one may find legitimate answers to questions that arise when opening a practice. One of the best resources I have found is the ADA’s Center for Professional Success (CPS). Here you can find several must-know items such as: how to design your office if you are building a new building or remodeling an older space; how to adhere to government regulations regarding human resources issues and employees; and how to navigate the world of filing dental benefits for patients.

Personally, I used this resource to help with the initial design of my office as well as coming up with an employee manual. Furthermore, the CPS also includes articles that discuss items outside of work that are still just as equally important.

One section I highly recommend everyone check on a regular basis is the link that gives suggestions on achieving a work and personal life balance. As the owner of a business, I have found it very easy to be consumed by dentistry alone and not make time for your personal life. With all of these amazing resources under one roof, the ADA is truly aiding in setting dentists up for both personal and professional success.

To read Part 1, click here.

This blog post, reprinted with minimal edits and 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.

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.

 

 

UCSF dental student receives Zuckerman Fellowship

San Francisco — University of California San Francisco dental student Jean Marie Calvo was selected for the Zuckerman Fellows program, which will financially support her to pursue a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Ms. Calvo

Ms. Calvo

“If I’m going to be a dentist who wants to make a difference, I wanted the (MPH) degree to help me get more people access to care,” Ms. Calvo said. “I want to make a larger impact in improving public health.”

The Zuckerman Fellowship program was established to enable professionals to pursue public service degrees at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard School of Public Health, or Harvard Kennedy School. Its intent is to bring the perspectives of multiple professions and academic disciplines to bear on public sector problems, according to its website.

Ms. Calvo is taking a leave of absence from her studies at the UCSF School of Dentistry to complete the MPH by May 2016.

Although there aren’t any health care professionals in her family, Ms. Calvo said her mother stressed the importance of good oral health, inspiring her to ultimately pursue a career in dentistry.

“I’ve wanted to become a dentist for a very long time,” she said. “And through dental school and volunteering, I realized that there’s a lot of problems when it comes to access to care.”

Ms. Calvo plans to use her MPH and dental degree to work as a dentist in a community clinic, ultimately becoming a community clinic director.

“Being selected as a future dentist, it made me see that the [Zuckerman Fellows program] considers oral health a pertinent issue in the overall public health,” she said.

Part 1: Taking the leap to practice ownership? These ADA resources can help

Let me start off by saying that opening my own practice from scratch was one of the scariest moments in my life thus far. I knew I had a good portion of dental knowledge amassed over the last few years, but what did I know about running a business? I could sit down and talk to patients about decay and occlusal wear; however, could I sit down and talk to a team about the goals of the practice and how to achieve them? What about how much my fees would be for my services, and what insurances I should take? How would I go about preparing my office for HIPAA and OSHA protocols?

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

Many of these questions I later found out could be answered through various departments and locations through the ADA’s resources. In this article, I will be discussing several of those resources that can be huge assets when you decide to make the leap into practice ownership.

ADA Benefit Plan Analyzer 

Shortly after setting up my own practice, I was contacted by one of the local representatives of a dental benefit plan. They wanted to know which carriers I would be in network with and also inquired about participating with them.

Since I was just starting out my own practice without any patients, I knew that participating with insurance plans would provide me with an influx of patients. However, I wondered what it would cost me down the road. Just as a refresher, if I became a contracted provider with this insurance company, I would be held to their fee schedule and would only be allowed to charge a patient what they had deemed an appropriate fee. For example, let’s say if normally I were to charge $1,200 for a crown but the insurance company only allowed a charge of $800 for their patients; then I would be looking at a loss of $400 in profit without even picking up the hand-piece. Looking on the opposite spectrum I also had to consider that by becoming a participating provider I may have an increase in 25 new patients a month as opposed to 5 without participation.

This arises the question of how do you know when it makes sense financially to participate with an insurance company? Well, good news, the ADA has developed a benefit plan analyzer that gives you information to see if participation with a certain insurance company makes sense for your office. The program will actually sync with your current system and give you a rating from one to 100—100 being in the best interest and financially speaking for the dentist to participate with the plan. There is nothing worse than starting a practice participating with 10 or 15 insurance plans only to be busy but not productive. It can be a very tough road to recovery from there, which is why I recommend you take a look at this program to help you make those decisions from both a capacity and financial perspective.

This blog post, reprinted with minimal edits and 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.

Application period open for Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children grants

The Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is accepting applications for its 2016 Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children grants.

Healthy SmilesHSHC is committed to supporting community-based initiatives providing dental homes to children whose families cannot afford dental care through its grants targeting children up to age 18.

HSHC grants are one-year matching grants of up to $20,000 supporting community-based initiatives in the U.S. that provide dental care and ultimately serve as a dental home to underserved/limited access children. Special consideration will be given to programs supporting the Age-One dental visit and providing care to special needs patients.

HSHC funds may be applied to cover costs of dental care, clinic supplies and instruments, salary, education and/or outreach to recruit dentist participation in program activities or other activity with clear, direct impact on child oral care and a direct link to the dental home.

Grants must be expended within 12 months of the award.

Applications are due Aug. 3. For more information and to apply, contact Tracey Schilligo, grant and corporate relations manager at 1-312-337-2169 or via e-mail at tschilligo@aapd.org.

Since 2010, HSHC has awarded more than $3 million in grants to 70 organizations in 26 states that have helped more than 290,000 children in need. HSHC anticipates awarding over $1 million in 2016.