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NERB is now the CDCA

In an effort to more aptly reflect all of its member states, the North East Regional Board introduced in January its new name: The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments.

CDCAThe CDCA’s name better recognizes the geographical diversity of its current member dental boards, according to its website cdcaexams.org.

The nonprofit announced the name change at its 45th annual meeting, held Jan. 9.

According to CDCA, NERB was founded in 1969 to facilitate the licensure examination process for candidates and eliminate the need for repetition of state board clinical examinations. It expanded from its original eight member states/jurisdictions to 24, including states across five time zones — from Maine and Florida to Hawaii.

In addition, CDCA officials said in an announcement letter, the new name also reflects the fact that CDCA administer many different assessments in the dental profession for state dental boards.

Today, CDCA administered clinical examinations are accepted in 46 different states and Jamaica.

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.

Harvard fellow shadows ADA executive director

Dr. Christina Rosenthal (center) poses with Dr. Kathleen O'Loughlin (left) and Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays (right) for a photo at the ADA Headquarters boardroom. Dr. Rosenthal, the 2014-15 Joseph L. Henry Health Fellow in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University, shadowed Dr. O'Loughlin for about three days, including attending the President-Elect's Conference hosted by Dr. Summerhays at ADA Headquarters.

Dr. Christina Rosenthal (center) poses with Dr. Kathleen O’Loughlin (left) and Dr. Carol Gomez Summerhays (right) for a photo at the ADA Headquarters boardroom. Dr. Rosenthal, the 2014-15 Joseph L. Henry Health Fellow in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University, shadowed Dr. O’Loughlin for about three days, including attending the President-Elect’s Conference hosted by Dr. Summerhays at ADA Headquarters.

A story in the Feb. 2 issue of ADA News highlighted the importance of mentorship.

Dr. Christina Rosenthal, a 2005 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, shadowed ADA Executive Director Kathleen O’Loughlin for about three days at ADA Headquarters. It was part of a special program activity that pairs the 2014-15 Joseph L. Henry Oral Health Fellow in Minority Health Policy with a public health leader.

“Sponsoring our young professionals and mentoring them is what all professionals should be doing in order to protect our collective future,” Dr. O’Loughlin said.

In addition, Dr. Rosenthal mentioned other mentors she’s had throughout her journey in dentistry.

Dr. Christina Rosenthal listens to a presentation during this year's President-Elect's Conference held Jan. 11-13 at ADA Headquarters.

Dr. Christina Rosenthal listens to a presentation during this year’s President-Elect’s Conference held Jan. 11-13 at ADA Headquarters.

There’s Dr. Waletha Wasson, a dental instructor at UT dental school who Dr. Rosenthal says continues to be a “shoulder to cry on”; Dr. Wisdom Coleman, a UT dean of admissions who was instrumental in Dr. Rosenthal’s decision to go to dental school; Dr. Rederick Miller who allowed her to get work experience after graduating from UT; Dr. Joan Reede who gave her the opportunity to become a Harvard fellow; Dr. Raymond Gist, a former ADA president who wrote her recommendation letter to Harvard; and Dr. Delois Roberson, a dentist in Memphis.

“When I expressed an interest in dentistry, I wrote a letter to every dentist in Memphis,” Dr. Rosenthal said in the article. “(Dr. Roberson) was the only to respond and allowed me to shadow her. She even took me to my first Tennessee Dental Association conference.”

Dr. Rosenthal also said how important it is for younger dentists to not be afraid or intimated of reaching out to someone with more experience.

“Realize there are so many experienced dentists who want to help,” she said. “However, they won’t know you need the mentorship and help until you reach out to them.”

To read the full ADA News story, click here.

Who are some of your mentors?

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.

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.

Know any students who qualify? ADA Foundation Volpe Research Center seeks young investigators for Summer Scholars Fellowship Program

Gaithersburg, Md. — The ADA Foundation Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center is seeking young investigators for its 2015 Summer Scholars Fellowship Program.

ADA FoundationThe application deadline is Feb. 13.

Since its inception in 1940, the Summer Scholars program has been a way for students to apply classroom and lab experience to real world scenarios. The program has given talented students, both undergraduates and dental school students, the chance to participate in basic research at the VRC as well as gain hands-on experience in the clinical theater. Students work side-by-side with mentors while becoming part of the research process.

The ADA Foundation operates the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center laboratory facility on the grounds of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a federal government research campus. Its origins date back to 1928. The ADA initially operated the laboratory facility, formerly known as the Paffenbarger Research Center, and later jointly operated it with the ADA Foundation. The lab conducts unique research in cutting-edge fields of biomaterial and tissue engineering technologies.

For more information, contact program coordinator Gretchen Duppins at gretchen.duppins@nist.gov. Visit adafoundation.org to learn more about the VRC.

APHA seeks 2015 abstracts on oral health issues

The American Public Health Association is accepting abstracts on oral health for the APHA 143rd Annual Meeting Oct. 11-Nov. 4 in Chicago.

The deadline for oral health abstract submissions is Feb. 11.

Participants may submit abstracts on the conference theme, Health in All Policies, or on issues pertinent to oral health.

Oral health abstracts may be in one of two formats:

  • Oral sessions — formal presentations to larger groups, including Q&A sessions with the audience.
  • Poster sessions — visual representation of research and findings where presenters can interact one-on-one with attendees.

APHA membership is not required to submit an abstract, but if an abstract is accepted for presentation, the presenting author must become an APHA individual member and must register for the annual meeting by the pre-registration deadline.

For more information on the conference and abstract submission guidelines, visit apha.org.

Are you practicing in public health?

Federal grant helps dental school grads provide care for underserved in Alabama

A federal grant is helping recent dental school graduates pay down their loans in exchange for treating Medicaid patients in some of the most underserved parts of Alabama, according to Action for Dental Health.

Action for Dental HealthThe program is a collaborative effort between the Alabama Dental Association and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, which received the three-year federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in 2013, according to Dr. Allen Conan Davis, who serves as a principal in managing the grant and is the assistant dean for community collaborations and public health at the dental school.

“The school of dentistry and the association have had a great relationship, because we’ve had a mutual interest in addressing access to care issues,” said Dr. Davis. “I think that relationship helped us secure the HRSA grant.”

A total of nine dental graduates – three each year – receive $100,000 apiece to pay down loans if they devote 30 percent of their practices to Medicaid patients and agree to stay in their communities for at least four years.

Six graduates were placed in dentally underserved areas in Alabama by the end of 2014, said Dr. Davis. Three more are expected to take part in the program this year.

To read the full story, click here.

Action for Dental Health, launched by the ADA, is a nationwide, community-based movement aimed at ending dental health crisis facing America today. To learn more, click here.