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UIC dental student receives MLK scholarship

Mr. Dante Brown

Mr. Dante Brown

The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry announced it awarded third-year UIC dental student Dante Brown a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship program was established at UIC in 1985 to recognize outstanding minority UIC students, such as African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, who have demonstrated high academic achievement in fields in which they are underrepresented and who have shown strong commitment to community and campus service.

Mr. Brown, who noted he was mentored by his own dentist, Dr. Edward Ruiz, a 1987 graduate of the dental school, applied for the scholarship in 2014.

To qualify for the scholarship an undergraduate must have a minimum 4.0 GPA. Graduate and professional students must also show a record of high academic achievement. Brown was awarded the professional level scholarship of $5,000.

When not in class, Mr. Brown provides free dental services at Community Health-West Town, Goldie’s Place and to homeless individuals in the community. In addition to his community service, Mr. Brown serves as treasurer of the UIC chapter of the Student National Dental Association, and is an active member of the UIC chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.  He also works to help others in his spare time.

“I tutor on campus and am one of the teachers for the post-baccalaureate Dental Anatomy course,” he noted.
After his graduation in May of 2016, Mr. Brown has well defined goals.

“I plan to practice general dentistry for a few years, complete my Masters’ in Public Health, and then consider residency programs in dental public health,” he said.

Austin, Texas, dentist shares his approach to continuing education

Austin, Texas — Dr. Vincent Ip left his role in a cosmetic dentistry practice to return to his native state of Texas to pursue his passion to provide oral health care for families.

Dr. Vincent Ip

Dr. Vincent Ip

This native son of Stephenville, Texas, founded Smile 360 in Austin to realize that dream, and continuing education has helped him do just that.

“I’m always looking to expand my dental knowledge and stay current in my craft,” he said. “I pride myself and my office on the fact that we are state-of-the-art and always try to use the latest and greatest equipment and ideas to benefit our patients.”

He completed two courses at ADA 2014 — America’s Dental Meeting that covered lasers in managing periodontal patients: Manage Your Periodontal Patients with Techno Power and Utilizing Dental Lasers in a Periodontal Environment (both with Dr. Samuel Low).

“I signed up to juxtapose the traditional way with the new way — lasers — so that I have the knowledge of both,” he said.

He also took Concepts and Procedures for Predictable Crown Lengthening (Dr. Jim Grisdale). Dr. Ip shared practical and tactical advice for other new dentists when planning their CE options.

Managing expectations

“I take classes to broaden my knowledge. I need to have the ability to explain procedures and treatments to my patients in a way they understand so they know what lies ahead,”

Dr. Ip said “Patients are looking at me as the expert.

“I want all of my patients to leave my office wanting to commit to their health and their teeth. The only way for them to do this is if I keep learning new tools to help them commit.”

Taking it chairside

Dr. Ip appreciates CE that allows participants to work hands-on, citing chairside benefits in periodontics classes.

“More than half of my patients have periodontal disease,” Dr. Ip said. “So obviously this is something that I need to stay very current on. I also need my patients to feel confident that I can help them treat their disease. There is not a day on my schedule that I don’t have a perio patient .”

He said classes like the ones he took at the ADA annual meeting provided him with the information needed to give his patients the options to decide what is best for them and their health.

Getting the full experience

Aside from options at the ADA annual meeting, other opportunities for CE exploration are available on ADA CE Online — adaceonline.org. A 50 percent discount is available using promo code 482153.

Dr. Ip mentioned enjoying the comradeship with his coworkers and other peers during CE courses and workshops.

Coming in November, check out the New Dentist Conference in Washington, D.C., scheduled for the first time in conjunction with ADA 2015 — America’s Dental Meeting. Exclusive benefits will include a VIP lounge, access to significantly reduced hotel rates, high-level networking opportunities and a customized CE track featuring live interactive technology. For more information about the New Dentist Conference and all that the Nov. 5-10 annual meeting has to offer, visit ADA. org/meeting.

University of Florida dental student earns 2015 Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award

Andres Jorge Alvarez, a first-year dental student at the University of Florida College of Dentistry, is the 2015 Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award recipient. The ADA Foundation bestowed the award Feb. 27 in cooperation with the Academy of Operative Dentistry, according to ADA News.

From left, Andres Alvarez, 2015 winner of the Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award, shares a moment March 12 with ADA Foundation Executive Director Gene Wurth and Mr. Alvarez’s mentor, Dr. Marcelle Nascimento, during the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Boston.

From left, Andres Alvarez, 2015 winner of the Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award, shares a moment March 12 with ADA Foundation Executive Director Gene Wurth and Mr. Alvarez’s mentor, Dr. Marcelle Nascimento, during the International Association for Dental Research meeting in Boston.

Mr. Alvarez received the award for his proposed research project “A New Arginine-based Bonding Agent with Long-lasting Anti-caries Activity.”

“I am thrilled to have received this prestigious award. It is a true honor,” said Mr. Alvarez in an ADA Foundation press release. “I look forward to the opportunity to further my research interests and to represent the University of Florida College of Dentistry on this national landscape.”

The ADA Foundation awards the Dr. Ray Bowen Student Research Award every two years. Dental students at all levels are eligible to apply, including residents and Master of Science degree candidates, who wish to undertake research relevant to contemporary operative dentistry. The award provides $6,000 to the awardee to perform the proposed research and an additional $1,000 to help defray the cost of presenting a table clinic based on the research proposal at the Academy of Operative Dentistry’s scientific session. The student must have a research mentor at his/her institution who is also a member of the Academy of Operative Dentistry to provide guidance and act as a co-investigator.

To read the full story, click here.

Getting to know you

The ADA is made up of dentists. Here’s one of them.

Dr. Rao

Dr. Rao ice fishing in Minnesota.

Dr. Aruna Rao, pediatric dentist from Saint Cloud, Minn.

Why dentistry?

My pedo/orthodontist, Dr. Katherine Kula, had a profoundly positive impact on my outlook of the dental profession, so I researched more to gain a better understanding of what it entailed before determining that it was the right career path for me.

Why are you a member?

Knowing that I’m a part of something bigger than myself gives me a sense of pride and comfort. Additionally, membership has taught me so much about myself and the profession, so continuing that commitment is a lifelong obligation I have for myself to give back to something that has given so much to me.

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

Spending two years on the ADPAC Board as a student representative was such a memorable time meeting national leaders while receiving advocacy and government affairs training. The sheer number of dentists and specialists dedicated to advancing and protecting the profession is inspiring.

When I’m not practicing, I’m likely thinking about my next meal!

One fun fact about me:

I’ve had driver’s licenses in Nebraska, Texas, New York and Minnesota.

With student loans, consider options in repayment strategy

Dr. Timothy Oh

Dr. Timothy Oh

Dr. Timothy Oh, of Ellsworth, Maine, graduated from dental school in 2008 with over $300,000 in student debt — a mixture of federal and private loans from various lenders, along with an education loan acquired prior to dental school.

“I feel student loan debt is one of the most serious burdens facing today’s graduates,” said Dr. Oh, New Dentist Committee District 1 representative.

He received some help from the Finance Authority of Maine, a state-based financial aid program. He received $80,000 in loan assistance for treating patients at a nonprofit clinic in an underserved and rural area for four years.

“The grant enabled me to get started with my loans,” Dr. Oh said. “But I was still left with a six-figure loan.”

The average dental student in the class of 2014 left school with about $247,000 in student loan debt, according to the American Dental Education Association.

For new dentists seeking ways to ease the burden of staggering student loan debt, there are options — such as loan consolidation, refinancing and government base repayment programs — that are worthy of consideration as part of a repayment strategy. But like all major financial decisions, they come with advantages and drawbacks.

Consolidations vs. refinancing

Federal loan consolidation combines multiple government-sponsored loans into just one loan. It takes the weighted average interest rate of the loans being combined.

Refinancing is when a borrower applies for a loan under new terms, and uses that loan to pay off one or more existing student loans. Unlike consolidation, refinancing is only available from private lenders. Interest rates are not based on a weighted average of the existing loans’ rates. Instead, a private lender will typically use a borrower’s credit score and other financial information to provide a new interest rate on the consolidated loan.

Consolidation: Pros, cons

One good reason to consolidate federal loans is convenience: There is only one loan, one loan servicer, one payment and one place to file forms.

Dr. Oh consolidated a “batch” of his student loans to reduce the number of monthly checks he had to write. Consolidating federal loans also allows borrowers to convert former nondirect loans to direct loans. Only direct loans (Stafford, Grad PLUS and Federal Consolidation Loans borrowed through the federal government’s Direct Loan Program) are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Also, repayment terms may be extended to 30 years, which lowers monthly payments but adds to total repayment costs if it takes the full 30 years to repay.

Drawbacks in consolidating federal loans include a lengthy and cumbersome process (may take 60-90 days), potential for a slightly higher interest rate (interest rate on consolidation loans is a “weighted” rate of all loans being consolidated, rounded up an eighth of a percent then fixed for the life of the loan) and loss of grace periods on loans being consolidated if students consolidate too early.

Refinancing: Pros, cons

Even before graduating from dental school, Dr. Adam Shisler, a pediatric dentist in Houston, had decided to refinance his loans, about $241,000, all of which were Federal Stafford Loans.

Dr. Shisler

Dr. Shisler

In spring 2014, he began the application process to refinance his loans through SoFi, a peer-to-peer lender based in San Francisco. Refinancing can help borrowers pay lower interest rates on their student loans, thus saving thousands of dollars throughout the life of the loan, though it comes with some risks as well. Similar to taking out a mortgage, borrowers can choose between a fixed rate loan and a variable rate loan, or both.

Fixed rate loans typically have higher rates than variable rate student loans but will remain the same over the life of the loan. Variable rate student loans generally are lower but may change, including the risk of going up, on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Dr. Shisler said he was approved for a five year, fixed rate loan in an accelerated repayment program, lowering his interest rate from 6.8 percent to 4.3 percent — saving him about $70,000 in interest.

However, there aren’t many lenders that will include federal loans as part of a refinancing plan. Dr. Shisler found only three to four other institutions that would refinance his loans.

As for disadvantages, graduates who refinance federal student loans will lose many of the benefits that come with federal loans, such as loan forgiveness and income-based repayment programs. If there is hardship, a dentist won’t be able to apply to defer monthly payments.

Federal, state loan repayment options

Federal and state programs offer student loan repayment assistance, often in exchange for services in a health care shortage area.

Federal options include programs sponsored by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Veteran Affairs, U.S. Public Health Service, National Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service and more. States have their own programs — such as the FAME program that Dr. Oh participated in — that are independent of the federal programs.

“(FAME) is a competitive program, with an extensive application and interview process,” said Dr. Oh.

In addition, many dental schools and advanced education programs may have financial assistance and loan repayment options. Contact your school’s financial aid office for more information.

Research and resources

Dr. Oh recommends that dentists conduct research before signing up for a repayment program. He is now considering refinancing as a next move.

“I just started talking to companies about refinancing and haven’t made a decision,” he said. “It’s sometimes too depressing to think about, but there are options that can help.”

In addition, Dr. Shisler said the most important thing a soon-to-be dental school graduate or new dentist can do before making any decisions is to go on a fact-finding mission on the status of their loans.

“They need to ask, ‘Where are all my loans from?’ ‘Are they subsidized, unsubsidized?’ ‘What are the interest rates for each of them?’ ‘What is their loan health?’” said Dr. Shisler. “Know your loans before applying because you’ll need that information in your application.”

For more information on consolidation and refinancing, visit the Center for Professional Success here. You can also find information at ADA.org/student. ADEA also

has educational debt management materials at ADEA.org.

Show movies in your practice? Discount on licenses available until March 31

Dentists have until March 31 to purchase a reduced-rate license to legally show movies and other audiovisual programs in their waiting rooms and exam rooms.

Until March 31, the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation will be offering an Umbrella License to ADA members for $250. Dentists who purchase the license have access to a wide array of movies, popular children’s programs, educational documentaries and other audiovisual content to show in a copyright compliant manner.

Movies are available from more than 650 Hollywood studios, independent, special interest, children-related and foreign producers. Once dentists secure a license, they can rent or buy movies to play without any further reporting.

For information on how to purchase the license, click here.

What movies do you have on in your practice?

ISDS hosts annual new dentist education, networking event

The Illinois State Dental Society hosted its annual “The Event: Envision, Entice, Engage” on March 12 in Springfield, Illinois. The Event is designed to bring together new dentist leaders from across Illinois for education and networking.

New dentists also could meet with the ISDS Board of Trustees, which meets in conjunction with the Event.

Here are some photos from the event.

ISDS

Drs. Lauren Hood-Olson, Lindsey Yates (national NDC rep), Samantha Arnold, Kate Buskirk, Kylea Tibbs-Hnizdo take a group selfie during ISDS’ annual “The Event: Envision, Entice, Engage” event held March 23.

Drs. Lauren Hood-Olson, Lindsey Yates (national NDC rep), Samantha Arnold, Kate Buskirk, Kylea Tibbs-Hnizdo take a group selfie during ISDS’ annual “The Event: Envision, Entice, Engage” event held March 23.

Drs. Rebecca Testa, Mark Ryan, Kristin Tussing

Drs. Rebecca Testa, Mark Ryan, Kristin Tussing

(From left) Jessica Moon, her husband Dr. Brenden Moon (Illinois NDC chair), Dr. Hillarie Hudson and Dr. Sharon Molitoris.

(From left) Jessica Moon, her husband Dr. Brenden Moon (Illinois NDC chair), Dr. Hillarie Hudson and Dr. Sharon Molitoris.

Research: Americans have more choices for dental benefits in 2015

dental benefits 2015The ADA News reports that a new research brief from the ADA Health Policy Institute found that the dental benefits market in 2015 provides more choices for Americans, and increased transparency by the federal government makes it easier to navigate the system.

But even with more choices, the cost of purchasing dental insurance may be too high for consumers.

The Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to millions of Americans in 2014. About 6.7 million Americans gained health insurance and 1.1 million gained stand-alone dental benefits through the health insurance marketplaces in 2014. Individuals had until Feb. 15 to meet the law’s individual mandate requirement to enroll in a health plan, facing tax penalties if they failed to do so.

More medical plans in more states include embedded dental benefits and there are more family stand-alone dental plans available than last year, according to “More Dental Benefits Options in 2015 Health Insurance Marketplaces,” by Cassandra Yarbrough, health policy researcher, Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., chief economist and vice president of HPI, and Kamyar Nasseh, Ph.D., HPI economist. In an analysis of 40 states, 35.7 percent of medical plans offered through the marketplaces have embedded pediatric or family dental benefits, an increase over 2014 when 26.8 percent of medical plans had embedded pediatric or family dental benefits.

To read the full story, click here.

I’m a new associate dentist…what does the ADA do for me?

From supplying life insurance, advice on which board to take, and resources to make your CV shine; the ADA has many benefits to offer. In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on what the ADA can do for the recent graduate as well as a dentist entering an associate or partnership position. This was myself a few years ago. Unfortunately I was unaware of these items below that the ADA offered; however, I would have utilized almost all of them. Hopefully the resources that I go over in this issue will be useful to you — the new dentist!

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

Classifieds

Finding a job after graduation was much harder than I originally anticipated. During dental school I consistently heard about the rapid retiring rate of general dentists and the lack of new dentists entering the job scene creating a huge demand.

Well if you add in a recession and a few more dental schools opening up in the US, let’s just say jobs weren’t as plentiful as I initially believed.  Besides even if there were jobs out there, where was I supposed to look?  I had never seen a job posting for a dentist on the pages of monster.com or Craigslist.

Did you know that many state dental associations have their own classified section for dental jobs? While writing this article, I paused to take a moment to check out the listings. With the help of the Virginia Dental Association, I was able to view over 25 postings for general dentist jobs in almost every part of the state. This consolidated area of postings is a great way to see what positions are available as well as a fantastic resource for posting that CV you worked so hard on. Visit the VDA classifieds here. The ADA classifieds can be found here.

Contract resources

Congratulations! You’ve been offered a job, or maybe two or three. Well how do you know this contract agreement you are getting ready to sign is fair? Do you have a 5, 10, 20 mile non-compete, and do you know what that entails?

Just imagine if there was a non-compete clause in your contract that made and job locations in a 20-mile radius around your current employment location off limits. If this was the case, you could find yourself having a 30-45 minute commute for any future employment opportunities. How will you be paid on production, collections or salary? Are you going to be an employee or an independent contractor?  Are you or your employer responsible for paying lab fees? These are just some of the questions I had to answer looking over my initial contracts, and I was unfamiliar with almost all of these terms. Each one of these choices listed above has its own pros and cons, and that is where the ADA comes in.

The ADA has a free resource for members, “Dentist Employment Agreements: A Guide to Key Legal Provisions.” This document explains many of the terms and provisions common to dental employment agreements. The material is presented in a manner to help you consider and review a contract employment. You can also contact the ADA legal department for help understanding the language in your contract. However, remember this is not a substitute for legal advice or a lawyer’s review of your contract. That scenario above about a 20-mile non-compete creating a long commute happened to a fellow dentist.  I think that makes this one service by itself worth every penny of your ADA membership — at least from all the gas money you would save.

Ethics Hotline

Chances are after you have signed your employment contract you will end up working with at least one other dentist.  Many of these dentists have gone through very similar, if not the exact, training that you went through. What happens though if you start seeing shared patients, and you disagree with the recommended treatment plan? The first step would be to discuss the plan with the other dentist(s), but afterwards if you still feel as is if it excessive or unnecessary treatment where do you turn? The ADA created their Ethics Hotline (1.800.621.8099) for instances like this. The ethics hotline is place to discuss questionable issues that may arise in the day to day happening of a dental office in an anonymous environment. Personally I have never needed this, but I find it very comforting that the ADA offers this resource to its members.

Reduced Dues

One of the most common talked about items as a new dentist is the amount of debt that has been incurred. I, like many of you, had to take out student loans to cover the cost of my education as well as my living expenses. I read just the other day where the average dental student debt upon graduating is around $240,000. The ADA and its components understand this as well.  As a new dentist, the memberships rates are drastically reduced the first 5 years of practice and are even free the first year of practice. For more information, click here.

Being an associate can be very challenging and rewarding at the same time.  It will give you the opportunity to develop your speed and skills as a dentist while in many cases working with a mentor. Associateship will introduce you to the fellowship of dentistry that the ADA embodies.  I had the privilege of working alongside several great dentists in varying office environments during my associateships and call many of those dentists’ great friends today.

This blog post, reprinted with 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.

Register for 2015 ADEA Dental Student Virtual Fair

Dental students interested in learning about what comes after graduation, and how to juggle residency applications, writing a resume, leadership and different types of dental careers, should register for the 2015 ADEA Student Virtual Fair.

The free, live, online event will be held 4-10 p.m. EST on April 2. To register, click here.

The 2015 ADEA Dental Student Virtual Fair is designed to give dental students free access to information and connect them with professionals from ADEA, dental specialties and dental companies who can answer their questions in real time.

In addition, two ADA New Dentist Committee representatives — Drs. Kendra Zappia and Jon Pascarella — will be participating in a panel presentation from 7-7:30 p.m. The ADA will also have a booth for attendees to visit.

All dental students are welcome to attend the event. Recent graduates interested in learning about different career options are also welcome to attend.

Students will be able to:

  • Log in to the event from any Internet connected device.
  • Speak directly with dental specialty program directors and association professionals, military recruiters and corporate sponsor exhibitors in live text chat rooms.
  • View presentations about financial aid, interviewing for residencies, ADEA PASS and much more.
  • Download and save resources from dental professionals to access after the live event.
  • Learn about the ADEA PASS application process.
  • Listen to a keynote presentation from the ADEA Chair of the Board, Dr. Lily Garcia.

For more information, including the exhibitor list and presentation lineup, click here.