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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.

Registration opens today for the New Dentist Conference

Registraton for the New Dentist Conference opens today – a full week earlier than general registration for ADA 2015 – America’s Dental Meeting. Watch the video to hear why your colleagues from around the country are excited about this year’s New Dentist Conference.

The ADA is pleased to announce that for the first time, the New Dentist Conference will be held at the ADA annual meeting from November 5-10 in Washington, D.C.

Features of the New Dentist Conference include:

  • Shark Tank co-star Daymond John as keynote speaker.
  • Exclusive, interactive educational offerings.
  • High-level networking opportunities with leadership and peers.
  • New Dentist reception and lounge.
  • Significantly reduced hotel rates.
  • A chance to give back at the ADA Mission of Mercy.
  • We encourage you to share this information with any dentists who have been out of school for ten years or less as this is an experience they won’t want to miss.

Space is limited, so make sure to register early to secure your spot. For more information, visit ADA.org/NDC.

Data aids new dentists in deciding where to practice

Wouldn’t it be nice if simply putting a wet fi nger in the wind were enough to fi gure out where to open a new dental practice — or where to fi nd work at an existing one?

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Forth Worth, Texas (middle), launched a private practice in 2012. Here he participates in a table breakout session at the 2012 ADA Evidence-Based Dentistry Champions Conference in Chicago.

Knowing which direction to take when making such important career decisions takes more data than that, of course. Thankfully, brave souls have paved the well-worn path to opening a new practice or deciding where to seek a position. Some have left a trail in the form of advice for new dentists.

Dr. Partha Mukherji of Fort Worth, Texas, for instance, has a few trail tips to share on figuring out where to open a practice. He graduated from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2001 and from the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston in 2002, where he completed a one-year postgraduate general practice residency in hospital dentistry focusing on the treatment of medically and physically compromised patients. Then he went to work as an associate.

“After practicing 11 years as an associate in private and corporate settings, I felt confident that I could do dentistry on my own,” he said. “Still, I wasn’t too confident on the business aspects of dentistry. In hindsight, I probably should’ve established my own office sooner. But, hindsight is 20/20.”

Foresight, with data, can also be 20/20. Before deciding where to hang a shingle and open for business, Dr. Mukherji consulted professionals. One of the first things he did was call on a reputable dental practice real estate agency. He made his choice of business location largely based on their assessment of the area. They helped Dr. Mukherji review such variables as demographics and the saturation of dentists in the area.

But Dr. Mukherji also calculated his decision based on certain personal preferences. “I lived in the area, was active in the area and wanted to practice in that area,” he said. He also asked friends, colleagues, specialists and dental vendors for their input. “I found that to be valuable, too,” he said.

Dr. Mukherji advises tapping ADA resources, such as statistical reports. The ADA also refers member dentists to data sources to explore when assessing where to practice. A few suggested resources:

US Census Bureau — Factfinder: Provides population information on household income, education, and many other demographics. Start by entering a city or zip code under the “Community Facts” heading in the left column.

2013 Color-coded zip codes, median household income: Provides a color-coded overview of zip codes ranked by income and education level. Clicking on the map will bring up additional details about the zip code’s income and education level. To locate the map, search the newspaper website for “super zips.”

Wells Fargo Practice Finance: Provides statistical information, including population variables for both residential and employed populations; socio-economic indicators including economics, education and housing; and number of existing practices in designated area.

NY Times: Student loan facts they wish they had known

2014 Dental Student Loan DebtThe New York Times’ Your Money columnist Ron Lieber asked his readers to share their own stories and offer the most important thing they wish they had known before they taking out and paying for student loans.

From taking counseling for borrowing money from private lenders to keeping track of your running loan total, Mr. Lieber shares some of the most prevailing answers he received.

To read the full column, click here.

As a new dentist, what do you wish you had known when you decided to apply and acquire student loans to study dentistry?

Reminder: Redeem ADA Visa points

ADA members with the ADA Visa from U.S. Bank, the card endorsed by ADA Business Resources, are advised to review their statements and redeem any expiring points.

cardReward points expire five years after they are awarded. Because the ADA Visa rewards program began five years ago, some points may be expiring soon. Points are redeemed or expire in the order they were earned and awarded to the account.

There is a wide variety of reward options. These include cash back through a statement credit to your account; merchandise, including electronics, sporting equipment, home décor and more; and gift certificates from leading retailers.

Earning 25,000 points equals up to a $450 airline ticket on more than 150 airlines with no blackout dates or online redemption fees; 100,000 points equals up to $1,800 in airline tickets.

Cardholders earn one reward point for every net $1 in purchases (purchases minus credits and returns). They earn five reward points for every ADA purchase including continuing education and registration at ADA 2015. Accounts must be open and in good standing to earn and redeem points.

For more information, call 1-888-229-8864 or login at usbank.com; under My Account, click on My Rewards.