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Getting scientific at the ADA


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.


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.


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


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.

Research: Clinical evidence unclear on effects of xylitol products preventing dental caries

The ADA News reports that dentists should consider the extent of scientific and clinical evidence before recommending  xylitol products for the purpose of reducing tooth decaythat based on research published in March on the Cochrane Library.

Researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom concluded that while there is some evidence that using a fluoride toothpaste containing xylitol may reduce tooth decay in the permanent teeth of children by 13 percent over a 3 year period when compared to a fluoride-only toothpaste, the evidence is low quality.

Researchers came to the conclusion after examining information from 4,216 school children who took part in two Costa Rican studies. The researchers also found that for other xylitol-containing products, including syrup, lozenges and tablets, there was little or no evidence of any benefit in preventing tooth decay.

Xylitol has been used as a popular sugar substitute in sweets and is already known to cause less damage to teeth than sugar. It has been suggested that the addition of xylitol to products may help prevent tooth decay by stopping the growth of decay-producing bacteria.

But this review showed “there is insufficient high-quality evidence to prove that xylitol prevents tooth decay, ” said the study’s lead author, Philip Riley, M.P.H., of the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom in an email. “More well-conducted, randomized placebo-controlled trials that are large enough (in terms of number of randomized participants) to show a difference, if one exists, are needed.”

To read the full story, click here.

Volunteers needed to continue late dental student’s charitable goals in Turkey

Deah Barakat made the appeal himself.

Looking directly at the camera, earnestness in his plea, the University of North Carolina’s School of Dentistry dental student asked, “Have you ever felt helpless about the situation in Syria, and felt like you can’t do anything about it? Well, this is your opportunity to help.”

In the YouTube video posted last September, Mr. Barakat explained, “This summer I’m embarking on a trip to Turkey with 10 dentists to help Syrian refugee students in need of urgent dental care. We need your help to raise funds for these supplies and equipment — a hundred percent of which will benefit the refugees.”

But before he could see his efforts and dreams come to fruition, Mr. Barakat’s life was cut short. On Feb. 10, he was one of three young Muslims killed in a shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Through his efforts, Project Refugee Smiles successfully raised the funds for the trip. Friends have taken up where Mr. Barakat left off and will see the mission through. They seek volunteer dentists to participate this summer in one of two trips to Turkey to help put Mr. Barakat’s plan in motion.

“The first group is going from July 29 through Aug. 2,” said Ali Heydary, a predental student at North Carolina State University who is coordinating and will volunteer. “And the second trip is going from Aug. 1 through Aug. 5. We will be carrying out this trip annually.”

Participating dentists will work with and supervise volunteer dental students during treatments.

For more information and sign-up forms, contact Mr. Heydary at RefugeeSmiles@gmail.com.

“We’ll be doing extractions, fillings, root canals and oral hygiene instructions to those most in need,” Mr. Barakat said in the video appeal. “We’ll also focus on prevention. We’ll be passing out toothbrushes and toothpaste within refugee camps so that we can eliminate the problem before it begins. These kids don’t have access to the same health care as us, and their prolonged pain can easily be taken care of with the work that we do.”

More information also is available at youcaring.com/syriandentalrelief and on Facebook at facebook.com/Projectrefugeesmiles.

2015 ADA/Kellogg executive management program registration opens

New dentists and office management staff seeking to enhance their business experience and acumen with enhanced management skills and business principles can register by July 1 for the 2015 session of ADA/Kellogg Executive Management Program.

KelloggIn its 11th year, the executive-level program, organized in collaboration by the ADA and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, consists of specially designed curriculum for dentists to learn more about business management from one of the nation’s top-ranked management schools.

“Dental school and my orthodontic residency taught me the clinical skills I needed and I learned the necessities of running a practice over time, but I always felt like I was missing the business fundamentals that would that allow my practice to thrive,” said Dr. Spencer Pope, a 2014 graduate of the program and who has been in practice for 16 years.

“Unfortunately, you don’t know what you don’t know, and dentists tend to lack the business fundamentals that almost all other sectors of the economy utilize on a daily basis,” he added. “This program helps to level the curve and provide you with a knowledge base to go forward.”

Based on the core curriculum of incoming Kellogg Master of Business Administration students, the program addresses business strategy, organizational leadership, marketing, finance, accounting, economics, business analytics and operations. Kellogg professors teach all courses.

The 12.5-day program is held at Northwestern University’s Chicago campus, near the ADA headquarters. The 2015 sessions are set for Sept. 18-21, Oct. 23-26 and Nov. 13-17.

Registration fees are $16,750 for ADA members and $17,750 for nonmembers. Fee includes tuition, course materials and most meals. Tuition does not include travel and lodging. ADA members receive discounts on select Chicago hotels. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, visit ADA.org/Kellogg or contact Connie Paslaski at the ADA toll-free number at ext. 3541, or email ADAKEMP@ada.org.

10 things to look for before signing an employment contract

Understanding an employment contract before you join a dental practice can be intimidating.

signing a documentContracts can be long, the terms can be hard to understand and it may be the fi rst one you’ve ever seen. The ADA publication, “Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions,” outlines a number of aspects to look out for in a contract and some key ideas to keep in mind before signing. This online publication is free to members and available for download at Success.ADA.org by searching for the title.

Here are 10 areas to keep an eye out for to make sure you understand what you’re signing:

Employee duties: Pay attention to what is outlined in the contract as far as your duties as a dentist. This provision establishes the job responsibilities and, if breached, could become grounds for termination or a contractual dispute.

Compensation: Understand how you will be paid, how often and whether you’re eligible for commissions or bonuses.

Benefits: Make sure you’re OK with what’s being offered in terms of vacation time, health and life insurance, retirement plan and other fringe benefits.

Term: Check to see the duration of your employment under the contract. Consider what happens if your term expires.

Termination: Understand whether you can be fired without cause.

Malpractice insurance: Check to see if your employer provides dental professional liability insurance or if you have
to purchase it. If the employer purchases it, understand the amount and type of coverage provided.

Noncompete clause: If you’re terminated, this may prevent you from practicing dentistry in a certain geographic area for a specific time period.

Nonsolicitation of employees and/or patients: This may prevent you from actively soliciting employees and/or patients away from the employer.

Dispute resolution: This establishes the process for resolving disputes between you and the owner dentist, should they arise. It’s important to understand if you would be relinquishing basic and important rights, such as the right to a jury trial, if an issue arises that can’t be resolved.

Liquidated damages: This stipulates how much money you would have to pay if you are found to have breached certain provisions the contract.

The ADA advises all dentists to consult with their personal attorneys before signing any contract.

Getting to know you: Dr. Jordan Cooper

Dr. Cooper

Dr. Cooper

Dr. Jordan Cooper is in general practice from Jacksonville, Ark.

Why dentistry?

It is in my blood.  My mom is a dental hygienist and my dad is a dentist.

Why are you a member?

Because I believe in protecting the interest of my profession.

What has been the best time of your career so far?

Four years ago, I restored my first All-on-4 case. It was extremely rewarding and I have been doing more and more of those cases ever since.

When I’m not practicing, I’m putting the final polish on my motivational book, “Chasing the Blue Marlin: How To Pursue Your Life’s Passion — And Passion For Life.” It will be published this month and is the most rewarding achievement of my life outside of my family.

One fun fact about me:

I hold a spearfishing record in Puerto Rico.

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.