Why dental leadership is necessary for today’s practice
Dental leadership is the set of practices, attitudes and abilities that allow a person to define the direction of a practice or team, and then motivate and influence others to move in that direction toward shared goals.
As emerging dental professionals, you might wonder if this kind of dental leadership is really needed to start and grow a practice. After all, aren’t there many more little details that need to be decided first? Doesn’t the practice need to grow to a certain size before worrying about leadership?
That might have been the case 20 years ago, but today, it’s an attitude that will hinder your practice. Consider all the forces that are shaping oral health professions today:
A dental practice today might seem similar to one that our parents’ generation visited, but the underlying industry dynamics and business models are more complicated.
How are these forces to be navigated? How are decisions made? Who will define what the practice of the future looks like? How do you get your staff and your patients on board with change?
The first step is to ask yourself, “What can I do better today to be a better leader tomorrow?” The next step is to create a self-help plan for improving your leadership skills. It doesn’t need to be complicated; it simply needs to be a guide that will help you hold yourself accountable for your dental leadership development.
For example, you should plan for:
Want more ideas about dental leadership? Check out our webinar with ASDA’s Career Compass to hear what Heartland Dental-supported doctors had to say.
This blog post was sponsored by Heartland Dental.Via Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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September 18, 2019 at 01:01AM
Train like a gamer: How video games could benefit the future of dentistry
The Entertainment Software Association estimated in 2018 that over 166 million adults in the United States play video games. The popularity of gaming is so vast that eSports, competitive, organized video gaming, reached $906 million in revenue worldwide in 2018, according to a global market report by Newzoo.
How is this relevant to dentistry? Because video games could help prime dentists to become better clinicians. Some dental schools such as the University of Pennsylvania already incorporate a form of virtual reality as a teaching tool for students to prepare them for operative dentistry. This allows students to work with dental tools in a virtual space that simulates working on physical objects. Virtual reality isn’t the only type of video game relevant to dentistry. Video game puzzles are often visual tests based on perceptual ability, like the PAT portion of the DAT.
The research connecting general video game experience and skills in clinical dentistry is lacking. However, a July 2014 literature review in the American Journal of Surgery noted a positive correlation between video game experience and improved performance on laparoscopic surgery. A December 2018 study in Anaesthesia Critical Care and Pain Medicine found that previous video game experience helped anesthesiology residents intubate their first patient faster than residents who did not play video games. Previous video game experience might help dentists improve their manual dexterity.
Finish reading this article in the September 2019 issue of Contour magazine.
Did you know that you could sign up to receive an email whenever the digital issue of Contour is available? Log in to your profile, select “My ASDA” and update your publications preferences.Via Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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September 17, 2019 at 12:17AM
What to expect while expecting in dental school
On the afternoon of Nov. 8, 2018, I was in fixed prosthodontics class with an almost-debilitating anxious feeling. This was not exactly unfamiliar in this setting, but this time, I had just gotten a call from my doctor saying my hCG levels were through the roof, and we all know what that means.
I was pregnant!
So many questions flew through my head: What was it going to be like being pregnant in dental school? How much time will I have to take off? Will it affect my grades? What the heck is a ferrule?
I felt so overwhelmed by the challenges that would accompany this news but also overcome with happiness at the thought of my little miracle — the size of a pomegranate seed.
The first trimester brought more than its fair share of inconveniences. I struggled with morning sickness and fatigue through the last month of the semester. (And let me tell you — a pregnant woman’s heightened sense of smell and cadaver lab do not pair well.) Also, I thought “dental school tired” was bad, but “pregnant in dental school tired” is a completely different beast.
During the second trimester, most symptoms disappeared, and I began to feel like a “normal” dental student again with a few added excitements. Feeling kicks, even those in the ribs, were welcome during class because they kept me awake. As I moved into my third trimester, the hardest part was accepting the necessity to slow down. My morning runs were half the speed and distance, my biking commute became a thing of the past, and I felt like a full-blown ASA IV when taking the stairs to clinic. Yet when things got unbearably hard, I reminded myself that I am not the first woman to experience pregnancy during dental school, and I will not be the last.
Initially, I feared that being in dental school would take away from the experience I always hoped for when having a child, but it actually enhanced it. I was surrounded by a community of fully supportive classmates and faculty, who shared my excitement every day. My patients were eager to hear baby updates and share parenting advice. Despite being exhausted, I felt a new sense of motivation and commitment to the dental profession. Carrying my daughter from class to clinic made me feel empowered to learn more and provide better care for my patients.
Juggling the busyness of our schedules and expecting my first child was challenging but so rewarding. It put life into a new perspective, and made me realize that life doesn’t stop for dental school. Everyone goes through trials and tribulations that make us step back and look at the bigger picture.
As my due date approached, I was so anxious to meet my daughter and welcome another great change. Nevertheless, I went to school up until my due date, on which I completed a core buildup. Four days later, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl and began my truncated maternity leave. Returning to school and adapting to life with a newborn has been the biggest challenge thus far, but like always, we adapt to change and make it the new normal. This time, my normal just got a whole lot cuter.
~Emily Latteri, Georgia ’21, Chapter Newsletter Co-ChairVia Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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September 12, 2019 at 01:05AM
A gateway to lifelong learning
From vintage class notes to the most recent scientific studies, the ADA Library & Archives is a fount of knowledge for both dental students and seasoned professionals. Although most people may think of a library as a physical place (and there is a physical library in the ADA building in Chicago), the Library & Archives has a wide selection of online collections, including about 10,000 journals and hundreds of textbooks, all available to any ADA member with an internet connection. The resource contains clinical resources, evidence-based clinical summaries, drug information and, according to Heidi Nickisch Duggan, director of the ADA Library & Archives, “an awesome archives collection covering both the history of the ADA and the history of dentistry in general, along with biographical information on famous dentists — and an amazing staff.”
In an upcoming episode of the ADA’s Beyond the Mouth podcast, Nickisch Duggan says, “One of the most important things to us is [making] sure all of our users get the information they need to answer their clinical questions. Scholarly publishing is such a large industry, and there is simply no way we could have direct access to everything. We try to get direct access to the best and most relevant information.”
Via the Library & Archives, ADA members have access to an array of services and resources, from conducting research to document delivery, relevant journal literature and databases to benefit both your dental practice and career. In addition, a growing collection of electronic journals and research databases offers extensive resources on the dental profession.
“We concentrate on developing a robust set of evidence-based, peer-reviewed scholarly resources,” Nickisch Duggan says. “That you don’t have to figure out on your own whether something is published out of somebody’s basement or whether it’s got some peer-review heft behind it.”
Among its variety of resources, the Library & Archives offers an additional benefit to ADA members: free access and use of DynaMed Plus, a clinical summary resource app designed to assist both dentists and physicians with chair-side decision making.
“If you haven’t seen a patient in a while and want to make sure that your knowledge is current, DynaMed Plus is a great resource for patient information, drug interaction information and clinical guidelines,” Nickisch Duggan says. “It also includes about 600 medical and dental calculators, and if you have it installed on a tablet or on your phone, you can bookmark those calculators. The information is often available in more than one language and always from vetted sources. It’s much beloved by our members.”
Heidi Nickish Duggan’s comments were lightly edited and drawn from Beyond the Mouth, a podcast series from the ADA Center for Professional Success. It is available at ADA.org/BeyondtheMouth and through most major podcast distribution channels. This season’s episodes include an interview with new ADA President Dr. Chad P. Gehani and cover topics such as elder care, in-office dental plans and the value of volunteering. The interview with Nickisch Duggan will be released Sept. 17.
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September 11, 2019 at 02:06AM
5 lessons I learned after finishing dental school
My four years of dental school flew by. When I was trying to survive dental school, it seemed long and arduous — unending. However, when I stood on the stage to receive my doctoral hooding earlier this year, I couldn’t believe how fast those years came and went. It seemed like just yesterday I started my dental school journey and looking back on it now as a prosthodontics resident, I realize there are a few things I learned throughout the process.
1. The journey for knowledge and understanding has just begun.
One would think four years of education is enough to start working as a dentist and that school would teach you everything you needed to know. Yet I started to realize in my D3 and D4 years while treating patients that my knowledge-building journey was just beginning. I extracted over 200 teeth including more than 100 root tips, filled over 200 fillings, delivered 13 arches of complete dentures, cemented 48 full and partial coverage crowns including implants, provided nine RPDs and more. I thought it would give me the knowledge to treat most patients, except in my last months of being a D4, I kept realizing my dentistry was not as good as it needed to be.
My understanding, tips and tricks, and approach to treating patients may not be the best compared to some clinicians who have been learning and practicing for decades. I understood dental school gave us the foundation to treat patients without negligence, but it is up to us to become the best dentists we can be by committing to never stop learning.
2. The amount of time we spend trying to be a comprehensive and open-minded dentist matters more than the money.
Early in my dental school career, I thought spending $250,000 for school was excessive. Going through clinic, I started to realize this $250,000 opened doors for me to further myself. I learned that no one will spoon-feed me anything in a professional setting. No one is going to grab my hand and walk with me. If I wanted to learn, I had to search for that opportunity. As dental students, we have so much access to free educational videos, seminars, conferences and handouts through ASDA and other sources. Make use of these amazing resources.
3. It’s important to know how to relax and have fun.
Going through dental school, we are constantly informed that we are professionals and leaders in the community. We are put in situations that require us to be professional. Yet I encourage you to have fun, relax and crack a few jokes. Having laughter and smiles can move your relationships with people even further. It also allows you to enjoy your life more. Dentistry is stressful. Patients can sometimes be frustrating. Why not have some fun along the way?
4. Dentistry is a business.
I’m sure everyone knows that dentistry is a business. This is so true when you consider the costs associated with running a dental office with staff, providing continuing education courses to your team, ordering inventory, obtaining licenses and controlled substance permits, and more. As a prosthodontic resident, I’ve had the unique opportunity to understand more about the “hidden” costs of dentistry. I’ve been surprised at the wide range of fees associated with different dental laboratories, and by the fact that based on the philosophy of practice, a dentist can choose to spend a few hundreds of dollars on crowns or almost a thousand dollars per crown. Depending on where the practice is located, patients can either pay the laboratory fees directly to the lab, or the fees could be combined in the crown fee for the practice. Consider the business side of dentistry with the patient in mind.
5. Patients are the No. 1 priority as a dentist.
Without patients, you would not be a dentist. Remember that patients are people first, and sometimes you need to spend extra time and energy with them instead of thinking every minute that you’re losing money by talking with them. Patients will refer (or will not refer) others to you based on their experience.
At the beginning of my residency program, I was surprised that some of my patients were referred to me by some of my former faculty members. I asked why and the common response was that I took care of my patients and cared about the dentistry I did. Treating the patient is most important in dentistry.
Our profession has a lot of offer us in terms of a good, solid career as well as opportunities to help improve the quality of life for our patients, to challenge the level of excellence we can offer our patients, practice a spectrum of procedures and own our own. I encourage everyone to enjoy their career as a patient-centered dentist. The journey has just begun for us.
~Dr. Bright Chang, Alabama ’19, Prosthodontics ResidentVia Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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September 10, 2019 at 02:05AM
Why I Like Guns
Why do I like guns? They are simple mechanical devices and among the few durable items that can be as functional 100 years later as the day they were made. They are powerful. It’s an explosion you can hold in your … Continue reading → Via Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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September 09, 2019 at 02:05PM
A service dog’s dental school journey
For the past 70 years, the Guide Dog Foundation has trained guide dogs for people who are visually impaired. The foundation partners with college students around the country who volunteer their time, raising these dogs until they are a year and a half old, teaching them basic obedience and commands, before they return to the foundation headquarters in New York for further training. In 2019, Daisy was the first dog to be trained at a dental school.
Daisy’s training began when she was 8 weeks old, learning easy commands such as “sit,” “stay” and “down,” as well as how to behave in public places. Georgia law permits service dogs-in-training to have the same public access rights as fully trained service dogs, allowing Daisy to attend class at the dental school and go to places such as malls and restaurants. As she progressed through her training, Daisy began to learn more complicated commands, including “heel” and “come,” as well as how to navigate stores without being distracted. Now, at almost 1-year-old, Daisy is working hard to follow directions without interruption, finishing up her final steps of training before going to New York for further training.
Once in New York, Daisy will work with a professional trainer to learn advanced commands that will allow her to assist someone who is visually impaired. Daisy will learn how to stop at curbs, listen for traffic and prevent her owner from crossing into a busy street. This will allow her to safely guide her owner to and from work or school, around busy stores and through city streets. Once her advanced training is complete, Daisy will be matched with a visually impaired person in need of a guide dog, and their journey together will begin.
Being raised at a dental school has given Daisy a unique experience when compared to other service dogs in training. Each day, Daisy and I head to class where she practices being quiet while professors are lecturing. This training will allow her to settle down for potentially long hours with her future handler at a job. In addition, the common areas of the school provide the chance to work on ignoring loud noises and tasty food, and remaining calm while interacting with large groups of students. One day, Daisy will have to walk down city streets and through restaurants without being distracted in order to get her handler where they need to go.
Daisy is not only learning and practicing her commands in a busy environment, but she also serves as a therapy dog for stressed dental students. She helps comfort them after exams, reassure them when classwork is tough and love on them when they have had a tough day. Many of my classmates have shared that Daisy has helped them to feel more comfortable at school and get excited about attending class. While balancing training a dog full-time with the workload of dental school can be difficult, knowing how Daisy is going to change someone’s life one day makes it worth it.
~Lara Way, Georgia ’22Via Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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September 05, 2019 at 12:57AM
7 yoga poses that help your back muscles
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September 03, 2019 at 12:57AM
Being empathetic in practice
Empathy is defined as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.” For dentists, empathizing with patients is not only good practice. According to the September 2014 issue of the New Zealand Dental Journal, dentists who empathize with their patients enjoy higher rates of case acceptance and patient satisfaction.
We can start practicing empathy by putting ourselves in our patients’ shoes. Some come into our offices only when something is wrong. Potentially they have to miss work and hire a babysitter for the appointment. They might have to take public transportation to your location. Most likely, they’ll have to wait, and if they didn’t schedule an appointment in advance, it could be hours. They may have no idea what needs to be done, and they’re concerned that whatever treatment is rendered could cost a lot, could hurt, could inconvenience them further. If any tests are conducted, they may have to keep anxiety at bay for days, and sometimes weeks, while they wait for results. They may suffer through this situation alone, since they don’t want to alarm their family members.
While this scenario may not be the case for everyone, it is for some. How will you treat them? The first step is to validate your patients’ experiences. If they are complaining about pain, be passionate about finding its source. Learn more about how they got there and why they’re in your practice now. Make sure each patient feels cared for — not dismissed.
Also, patients can be anxious. Sometimes, a dental appointment comes with unknown territory, and when patients are nervous, waiting is more than an inconvenience. Imaginations can flourish, and the extra time to focus on the source of the anxiety only exacerbates it. Try to keep to your schedule, and if you need to keep patients waiting, at least let them know personally, so that they are aware that your tardiness is not due to a lack of respect for them.
When possible, familiarize yourself with your patients’ histories before they arrive. Remember that it’s more important for you to know your patient than for your patient to know you. In hospitals, patients are asked their name and birth date before every fleeting conversation with every health care professional, but that doesn’t necessarily instill any confidence. A smile on the practitioner’s face and a soothing word will go far. Your patients need to know you mean more to them than a chart number and a procedure code.
Understand that no matter how simple a procedure may seem to you, your patient might be legitimately terrified, so fully explain their condition and what you plan to do about it in a way that’s easy to grasp. Each patient deserves to be included in the diagnostic and treatment planning process. It might seem overboard to explain a dental prophylaxis to an adult or to have to consider the anxiety level of a patient undergoing such a procedure, but from the patient’s perspective, all new procedures can be fraught with unknown dangers and threats.
Finally, make your patient feel like a valued member of your practice. Your patients entrust you with their problems. They need information, guidance and treatment. You may not be able to identify the source of every single issue, but remember that in choosing to be a health care professional, you committed to caring for people. Practicing empathy will help you achieve this.
~Drs. Ivy Peltz and Eric StudleyVia Dental Tips http://www.rssmix.com/
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August 29, 2019 at 03:01AM
Why you need board and externship malpractice coverage
Contrary to what most dental students believe, you’ll need malpractice insurance before you even graduate dental school. Why? Because every dental student has to take board exams. And if you plan to do an externship, you’ll also need coverage for that risk, too.
Some dental boards may offer pre-arranged coverage, but this could be through a carrier that doesn’t specialize in malpractice insurance. The coverage also might be on a Claims-made basis, which requires the purchase of tail coverage when you cancel.
Any students who plan to complete an externship will need malpractice coverage to protect themselves from claims or other incidents that might occur. If this coverage isn’t already provided by your dental school, you’ll need to purchase your own.
Applying for free coverage
MedPro Group offers free coverage for your board exam and while you’re completing your externship. It is on an Occurrence policy, which means you don’t have to buy tail coverage, and it’s available in all 50 states. Here’s how you can apply:
MedPro Group is the marketing name used to refer to the insurance operations of The Medical Protective Company, Princeton Insurance Company, PLICO, Inc. and MedPro RRG Risk Retention Group. All insurance products are administered by MedPro Group and underwritten by these and other Berkshire Hathaway affiliates. Product availability is based upon business and/or regulatory approval and may differ among companies. Visit medpro.com/affiliates for more information. © 2019 MedPro Group Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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August 28, 2019 at 01:01AM