Connecting Dental Health Professionals

The Dental Hygienist and the Continuation of Education

April 29th, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

dental-hygienist-continued-education

The Dental Hygienist and the Continuation of Education

The dental field is one of the fastest -growing industries in America, and just like with most practices in healthcare, major changes happen every day. To keep up with the constantly evolving demands of the profession and new technologies that surface, it is important for you, as a Dental Professional, to continue your education. Not only will taking up continued education for Dental Hygienists offer you better career opportunities (because non-stop learning is always a plus), it helps you stay on top of the game.

Studying gives you access to the latest in treatment and diagnostic methods, which in turn will benefit
your patients.

1. Continued Education for Dental Hygienists: Is it Required?

While requirements vary from state to state, finishing courses that provide continued education for dental hygienists is mandatory in most states except Wyoming and Colorado. Completing a specific amount of continuing education courses (CE) is a must for a dental license to be renewed. The required hours of continuing education range from 14 hours every couple of years to a max of 75 hours every three years. Check with your state to find out how many hours you need for license renewal.

2. Forms of Learning

Continued education courses come in many forms. The structure depends on the provider that you choose to go with. There are training workshops, conferences, certification courses, web-based lectures, and more. You can avail of these programs through community colleges, dental associations, and universities. Even for the busiest professional, there are many opportunities and ways to grow in the field. Online courses provide a way to study for those with non-flexible work schedules.

Though most courses require a fee, there are plenty of free CE credits that you can get through such things as professional publications or live dental webinars. An excellent source of free credits is this list of live webinars provided by Colgate Professional.

I am deeply passionate about the Dental Profession, and having made lots of mistakes, my experiences provide a great deal of information on what to do, vs what not to do! I recently presented a live webinar on Documentation and Risk Management and I provide in-office workshops on this topic, training the Team how to document to avoid risk and Clinical Systems Management for Increased Productivity and Stress Reduction.

One great way to find out the scope of learning available to you is to attend a major dental conference at least once a year. These gatherings usually yield tons of resources and CE credits to increase your knowledge of information on new technology and treatment procedures from professionals just like yourself.

3. Continued Education for the Dental Professional

Here are some examples of upcoming classes for you to attend, either in person or online. In light of the current pandemic, we listed down programs which are either online or hands-on but scheduled months ahead.

Local Anesthesia for Today’s Hygienist: Certification Course

A certification by an ADA CERP Recognized Provider, this course by the University of Florida Health will run from September 25-27, 2020. Accreditation for the hands-on course is 60 contact hours. All aspects of local anesthesia will be explored in this class, ranging from pharmacology to anatomy, as well as mechanics for providing competent pain and anxiety management.

Spring Mandatory & Core Training for the Entire Dental Team, Fall Mandatory & Core Training for the Entire Dental Team-Live Session

Offered by the University of Minnesota, this live session on May 8, 2020 tackles three essential topics for 6 hours of course credits. The three core subjects are: management of medical emergencies, infection control, and workplace ethics.

Nitrous Oxide for Dental Hygienists (Administering) and Dental Assistants (Monitoring)
The University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College with the approval of the Ohio State Dental Board offers eight hours of credit for the program.

The proper administration of nitrous oxide (monitoring for dental assistants) will be discussed on December 5, 2020.

 

ADA CE Online Courses

The American Dental Association offers a ton of online continuing education courses and recorded webinars for credits.

Some of the popular courses available for continued education for dental hygienists include ADA Infection Control and OSHA 2016, Pharmacology of Analgesics, and the latest, which is COVID-19 Infection Control Protocols & Procedures (a free recorded webinar).

 

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“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin

How To Celebrate Belated National Dental Hygienist Week For Your Staff

April 22nd, 2020 | By Dental Staffing | Blog

national-dental-hygiene-week

National Dental Hygiene Week…Belated!

It’s April, and an important month for dental offices here in the U.S. From April 7-14, we celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week to remind us all how we couldn’t be as effective a team without them. It’s the month where we conduct a week-long celebration in honor of the professionals for their valuable contribution to our dental practices. This year is a little bit different for all of us due to the COVID-19 closures throughout the United States. We didn’t have the chance to throw the usual Dental Hygienist appreciation lunches and events.

Many of us are struggling through office closures, creating loss of revenue, and staff. Perhaps now, more than ever, is a great time to let our Dental Hygienists know how much they are appreciated. During regular business, our Dental Hygienists perform essential functions in the office, from providing patient education, creating dental health awareness in the community, periodontal treatment and radiographs. Dental Hygienists are our partners in promoting dental well-being and because we appreciate the hard work they do, let’s not forget to show how much we value them.

Below are some ways you can celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week all month long!

Celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week With Your Staff:

1. Make It Visible

Make your appreciation as visible as possible. If your clinic is closed, you can set up a banner outside your office celebrating your Hygienists, showing them how much you appreciate them especially in this time of uncertainty. You can send them personalized emails or cards, making it as personal as possible. These are the team members who invest in your Dental Office and your patients as much as you do.

2. Make It Personal

Take the time to create a special thank you on social media for everyone to see, Team members and patients as well. You can set up an individual phone meeting with each Hygienist, to express your gratitude. Or you can send a special email to each of them, thanking them for the work they do. It doesn’t have to be a long email, just a short but heartfelt note from you will be much appreciated.

A special communication from their boss not only shows that you care about your staff individually, but it can provide some much-needed encouragement in a time of difficulty for so many.

3. Make It A Celebration

In former times, a great way of celebrating National Dental Hygienist Week was to take everyone in the dental team out for lunch. It’s a great way for everyone to bond together and at the same time show your Dental Hygienists how grateful you are for their work. During current social distancing measures, this isn’t possible, but you can still make it a party!

Schedule a zoom meeting, and encourage your Team to find some fun games you can all play over the computer. Buy some balloons to liven up your background! Keep the mood celebratory for boosting morale, and give your Team a fun event to look forward to during social isolation.

4. Make It Special

While a heartfelt thank-you is an excellent idea, it’s always better if you can back it up with a small token or gift. Gift cards are always welcome, especially if it’s for a favorite store or restaurant! Include it in the card you send.

During this season of social distancing, many florists are offering non-contact deliveries. Try ordering a wrapped bouquet or potted plant for your Dental Hygiene staff, and having it delivered to their door! Nothing boosts the spirits like a fragrant and lush floral arrangement to brighten the homes that we are all spending so much time in.

5. Give Out Bonuses

These are difficult times for all of us. Your business might even be struggling to make ends meet right now. But if your business is secure, and you have a bit of a cushion to fall back on, consider giving out small bonuses to your Dental Hygiene staff.

It can be difficult and scary to be out of work in such an unsure time. A bonus not only tells your staff that you appreciate them, but that you’re looking forward to working with them again in the future.

Celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week with Your Community

1. Host A Giveaway

As we are social distancing, and only dental emergencies are qualifying for treatment right now, it puts a lot of distance between us and our patients. Gather up a few Dental Hygiene themed toys and trinkets: print out stickers or bookmarks for National Dental Hygienist Week, include some healthy snacks and a dental themed mug. Make a cute basket, and host a giveaway on social media!

Hosting a giveaway for National Dental Hygienist Week not only boosts your engagement on social media (which is where most of our patients are hanging out these days!), it can also be a fun way to show your Hygienists that you’re still thinking of them! Including helpful diagrams and educational pamphlets on proper oral hygiene can also make this an educational moment for your social media audience! It’s a win-win.

2. Post Dental Hygiene Awareness Posts

Most of our patients are spending a lot more time in front of a screen lately. It’s a good idea to meet them where they are! Announce that your Dental Office is celebrating National Dental Hygienist Week all month long! Share photos of your Dental Hygiene staff. Write a short post about how much you appreciate them, and ask their patients to post their love and appreciation for them in the comments!

This is a great opportunity to not only show your Team you care, but they can feel the love from some of their favorite patients, too! Plus, posts that offer an interactive call to action will boost your businesses social media presence and engagement! Another win-win.

3. Add A Blurb to Your Newsletter

When emailing your patients, add a blurb about the special season you’re celebrating. It helps if you can make everyone aware of it, so they can join in with you. You can add a photo and a quick highlight on the value of each Dental Hygienist in your office. Tell your audience why you love your staff, and how much you appreciate their hard work. People who feel valued are happier, more loyal, and perform better in their jobs.

Even though National Dental Hygienist Week is technically over, we still have lots of time to show the Dental Hygienists that we care!

Are you a Dental Hygienist that has recently been laid off due to Covid-19 closures? Do you wish you had a fulfilling job, where your boss valued you as a Dental Hygienist? We’ve got you covered! We have job listings from all over the United States, just waiting for you to apply! Upload your resume and search job posts TODAY.

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“You can’t always get what you want.
But if you try some time, you’ll find,
you get what you need.”

– Rolling Stones

7 Reasons You Should Join the American Student Dental Association

April 1st, 2020 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

The American Student Dental Association

The American Student Dental Association was founded in the year 1970. The Student American Medical Association (SAMA) had just received a million-dollar grant from the federal government to facilitate student participation and collaboration in the American Indian Health Program and Appalachia Project. The only healthcare industry without a national student organization at that time was dentistry. To receive the grant, the association needed the dental students to organize.

Students from different dental schools came together to form the Student American Dental Association, which later gave birth to the formation of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA). Today, this dental organization is the largest in the U.S. and working as a channel to address concerns by students in the dental industry. Aside from being the voice of its members and lobbying for issues concerning dental students, the ASDA is also responsible for publishing policy statements
on different issues and is a leading proponent of removing barriers to care in dentistry.

As a member of the American Student Dental Association, you become part of a well-respected organization that strives hard to uphold the dental profession. Benefits of membership include the following:

1. Life and Disability Insurance

Student members of the ADA (American Dental Association) can avail of the disability and no-cost term life insurance plans by Great West Financial; all you need to do is request them. After completing your dental education, you can continue to receive both at no cost until the 31st of December in the year you graduated. After that date, you can keep your insurance plans by simply paying the premiums. The disability insurance coverage provides $2000 for every month of disability up to a period of seven years to cover living expenses. $2,000 per month for a total of $150,000 is also provided to help you repay student loans in case you are disabled and can no longer perform any of your dental student duties. A term life insurance of $50,000 and accidental death insurance of $50,000 is covered by the no-cost term life insurance plan.

2. Dental School Loans

American Student Dental Association members are provided dental school loans via CommonBond’s Dental Loan. These loans provide a better rate than a federal loan. Members who avail will get a $100 bonus with flexible payment and protection terms in place.

3. Access To Resources

Student members can have unlimited access to the health and wellness resources offered by the ADA. This includes support and information on prescription abuse prevention, ergonomics in the dental practice, mental health, and more. The ADA also provides referral information on specialized treatment facilities and wellbeing committees run by the state.

4. Travel Benefits

Being a member of ASDA means that you get significant savings on accommodation and luggage shipping whenever you travel to the ADA office in Chicago. Just consult with your ADA meeting coordinator for details on these benefits.

5. Children’s Oral Health Promotion through ADA’s Dental Initiatives

You can make a difference in your community by volunteering for ADA’s programs such as the Give Kids a Smile. Help underserved children receive oral health services for free and teach kids how to properly care for their teeth and oral cavity.

6. Access to the ADA Center for Professional Services

The ADA Center for Professional Services offers several resources and information on career, practice management, dental benefits, wellness, and legal facts. Information is plentiful and covers topics such as how to start or close a practice, dental health financing, HIPAA and Medicare facts, continuing education, and work-life balance.

7. Discounts on Insurance and Office Supplies

ASDA students receive considerable discounts on GEICO’s automobile insurance and MedProGroup’s malpractice insurance for externships and board exams; there are significant savings on office supplies at Office Depot as well.

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“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”

-Robert Collier

Fast-Track Your Dental Career: 5 Great Tips To Get You Noticed!

March 9th, 2020 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

fast-track-your-dental-career

January and February have ended, and along with them many of the resolutions we made for 2020. But one resolution you shouldn’t give up is your desire to grow your Dental Career!

We’ve put together our favorite strategies for successful motivation to help fuel positive growth for your dental profession this year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for Dental Hygienists is projected to grow at an amazing 37.7% in 2020. It’s expected to grow much faster than the average of many occupations in the coming decade.

Salaries are also on the rise, not just for Dental Hygienists but for Dentists and Dental Assistants as
well. So, if you haven’t made much progress with your Dental Career, now is the time to actively pursue your goals and dreams.

1. Learn, Learn and Learn Some More

Technology can aid Dental Professionals in making a diagnosis, but it can never replace your role as a
caregiver. Being the most knowledgeable and the most passionate Dental Professional in your field is a sure way of gaining an employer’s attention. Gain an edge over any competition by never becoming complacent in your Dental Education.

Absorb as much knowledge as you can. Keep up to date on the latest tools, equipment, and best practices of your job. Attend workshops and conferences, study in your spare time, brush up on skills that you feel need further development. Learn as much as you can about your trade, so you can bring an impressive amount of expertise and knowledge to the table.

Dental Staffing is a great resource for staying up to date on the dental industry: with informative blog posts and articles that include professional tips, continued education courses and conferences, and industry news. The more experienced and passionate you are about oral healthcare, the easier it will be to leverage your skills to find the position you want most.

2. Love Technology

Getting up to speed with current technology in the dental industry will give you an advantage. Technology is here to make your life easier, and it’s the way of the future. Dentistry is constantly changing and evolving; keep up with new technology to grow your dental career.

If you have the knowledge to implement new technology, you will be an asset to any Dental Team. Utilize your dental reps for the latest and greatest information on advanced technology.

3. Know Your Worth

Do you feel that your salary is not up to par with the work you do? Maybe it’s time to ask for a raise or seek a promotion. Research the salary range in your area for the job you do; this will help you in your negotiations later. Ask your boss for feedback and suggestions on how you can improve in your current position and what you need to do to be recommended for a higher one.

If you truly want to grow your dental career, it’s important to follow the recommendations. Don’t be
afraid to take on more responsibility and show them what you can do: be proactive in your work, and
start innovating and problem solving for your team. When it comes time to negotiate your raise, list all your responsibilities and daily tasks.

Highlight the value that you uniquely bring to your position. Write out changes you’ve implemented that have helped with workflow and efficiency. Talk about your continued education. Show how you utilized feedback and have been working towards improvement. Most importantly, show your passion! Most employers will respect the motivation, diligence, and care you put into your position in the Dental Office, and will reward the hard work.

4. Network

If you’re looking for local positions, your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in the dental industry are usually good sources of information regarding job openings. Make sure you are kept in the loop by catching up with former co-workers and employers.

You can also widen your circle by attending dental conferences. Not only can you expand your network, but you can also pick up a lot of new information and knowledge. Some conferences include practice tracks, certification classes, and free demos.

5. Post Your Resume on Dental Staffing

A dental staffing agency like Dental Staffing will help you connect with employers easily. Don’t be afraid to include the important reasons you make a great Dental Professional: your drive, education, diligence, and compassion are what make you unique and desirable as an employee. Then easily upload your resume (for FREE!) to DentalStaffing.org and browse our selection of Dental Job openings!

Dental Staffing is connected with dental offices across the U.S., and your profile will be easily accessible to hundreds of employers looking to hire. Make 2020 the Best Year for Your Dental Career. Take that first step to a better salary and a better career. We’re here to help you on your way!

Create your profile here and get hired for Dental Position of your dreams!

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A person succeeds or fails according to the multitude of decisions that are made day after day. The right decisions lead to rewards; incorrect decisions lead to disappointment and delay.”

-S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Critical Front to Back Communication

May 1st, 2017 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I’ve said it before, I love to develop systems and there are numerous systems that need to be in place in a successful Dental practice. Systems are simply a method of communication regarding how the office operates

As I’ve worked in various offices, there are many systems that I have been asked to improve. There’s collection systems, patient flow, recall systems (I prefer recare to recall), informed consent, documentation and inventory systems to name a few. But, the system that I’ve seen that needs the most improvement is the communication (or lack thereof) between the front and the back.

So, I will apologize in advance if I ruffle some feathers, but there are some simple truths regarding this system that need to be said.

1. Paperwork is an administrative in nature; paperwork is to be done at the front desk. Patients in need of new medical histories, informed consent, updating insurance information, etc. can arrive early and do their paperwork before their treatment time ensues.

2. Changes in the schedule need to be effectively communicated to the Clinical Team. It doesn’t matter how this is done, whether it’s on paper or in a computer. It shouldn’t be a secret that gets revealed once the patient shows up for the appointment.

3. Additions to the schedule need to be communicated. If the clinical staff is already navigating a full schedule, most patients presenting with a toothache will need to do a “sit and wait”. Please don’t come and ask us when we’re going to get that TA back; we will get to the toothache when there’s a break in the action.

4. Proper Scheduling of the planned procedure is critical; the Clinical Team will not know how to set up for treatment unless they know what treatment has been planned. For example, if the schedule says “fills”, do they set up for alloys or composites? Do they prepare for upper right and lower left or the opposite?

On the flip side…

5. Clinical verbiage is established in the back. Treatment plans can’t be appropriately presented unless the Administrative Team knows exactly what’s being planned. For example: what kind of a crown, implant, partial, cleaning, etc., is being planned.

6. No matter who is responsible for establishing the treatment that has been performed or how it’s communicated, the Administrative Team cannot collect the appropriate fees without knowing exactly what has been done.

In consulting, you’ll see Administrative staff coming back asking questions and Clinical staff running up to get paperwork that isn’t complete. This is a complete waste of time and loss of revenue. If you are amongst a Team that receives bonuses based on productivity, you’re essentially flushing your bonus down the toilet!

How’s the communication in your office? What part in the function of your day do you play.

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

– George Bernard Shaw

This Isn’t Rocket Science

December 15th, 2016 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

The Problem

After practicing dentistry for over 30 years now, I’ve concluded the dental profession has failed to properly educate the public on the problems associated with dental disease. While asking a dental patient why brushing and flossing is recommended, they most common response is “to get the stuff out.” When I ask them what “stuff”? The most common respond is “food”. Why is it, the average patient doesn’t understand the simple process of bacterial removal? Why doesn’t the average dental patient understand that the two most common diseases in the entire world are so simply preventable?

Case in point:

1) I was invited to a gathering under the guise of a social event for highly educated women. Once at the gathering it was made clear that the “gathering” was about selling vitamins manufactured in the “purest of pure processes.” These vitamins had super powers and would immeasurably improve your health. Further, you could also sell them to your friend and family.

So here I was, in this conversation with about eight other women on the topic of health and wellness and I tossed out the question: “when was the last time anyone here went to the dentist?” Laughter and joking ensued. Then I asked: “how often do you brush your teeth?” It got a little quieter, so I asked: “how often do you floss?” It got even quieter and the presenter of the vitamin pyramid made a sarcastic joke and said, “who flosses?”. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: you can’t fix stupid.

2) The next patient I recall begging the need to be educated presented to his New Patient Exam with severe respiratory difficulty and a diagnosis of asthma that caused him to experience pneumonia yearly when the weather turned cold; he was 26 years of age. This health issue was discussed thoroughly while reviewing his medical history and we then moved on to his clinical exam.

In my 30+ years of practicing as a General Dentist, I have never seen such a filthy mouth…ever! You seasoned professionals have seen this: red, swollen soft tissue with a complete loss of contour. It moves when you dry it and you can see large, black chunks of calculus under the soft tissue and it hemorrhages out of control on the slightest provocation. We know that respiratory disease can be exacerbated by oral anaerobes and yet we produce television commercials that state “your gums matter”. How about being clear:

  • “Mouth bacteria can interfere with medical conditions unless we keep it controlled by daily removal with a toothbrush, floss, waterpik and or other aids available at any drugstore.”

Or

  • “Teeth and gums are important because digestion begins in the mouth and when teeth are lost, it decreases our ability to properly chew our food.”

3) Another of my patients reported he had stomach problems. These problems caused him to eliminate all processed food; he grows all of his own vegetables, has his own grass fed beef, sheep and butchers his own chickens. He even manufactures his own soap as he wants no chemicals on his body. As I listened to him explaining the amount of work that’s involved in his endeavor for the greatest degree of health he can achieve, the conversation turned to oral health.

Unfortunately this patient occasionally brushes his teeth and doesn’t floss at all. He feels that he eats so well, there’s no need to brush or floss regularly. That’s when it really hit me: We Have Failed. How can an adult who has been to many dental appointments in his lifetime have completely missed any amount of education?

My Attempt to Educate: DentalHealthToday.com

In the time I’ve spent practicing Dental Hygiene and then becoming a Doctor of Dentistry, I’ve been passionate about educating patients. I’ve been so involved in patient education, I’d often hear my patients telling me I should write a book. I really couldn’t believe anyone would buy and read a book on Dental Health, so I did the next best thing. I developed a website to help educate the patient. We all get busy in our daily practice of Dentistry and too often we don’t take the time to fully educate our patients.

Go to dentalhealthtoday.com to see the site I’ve developed to help educate patients written on a level they can easily understand.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World.”

– Nelson Mandela

Essential To A Full Career Experience: Volunteerism And Mentoring

November 14th, 2016 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

Have you ever volunteered your professional services? I mean really taken time to give back to your community by volunteering your skills? I recently had the opportunity to volunteer my services at a Children’s Health Fair screening for oral, visual and hearing health. Initially, all I could think about was how busy I was and how I really didn’t have time to give. When I walked away from the Fair, I was surprised that I felt a surge of happiness and fulfillment I hadn’t expected.

When I drove up to the facility I got a little nervous when I saw families lined up all the way around the building and down the sidewalk. When I stepped into the building, the buzz was deafening, so much so that I wondered how they were going to perform the screenings for hearing. Families were registering and being directed to line up at the various doors entering the gymnasium. The kids were rowdy, the parents were attempting to control them and the providers were streaming in.

We didn’t have dental chairs and I used a flashlight (I cannot wear those headlights…they give me a headache) to do a visual exam of the kids, followed by an application of fluoride varnish. There were balloons and face paint and before I knew it, my replacement was there and I was told “thank you and goodbye”. As I walked to my car, I decided that I’m going to do a lot more of that…I really enjoyed it and if you’ve never volunteered, I highly recommend it.

Later that day I was thinking about all of the Dental Assistants who’d thanked me for all I had taught them over the years in practice. In a way, I had volunteered my time and experience to increase their knowledge about the realities of the everyday grind of Dentistry. These weren’t just the Intern Students who’d been assigned to work for a period of time in my practice, but the many assistants I’d worked with in the various venues of Dentistry I’d experienced.

Perhaps a better description for this type of service to the profession would be called mentoring. My belief is that all of us who are experienced Dental Health Professionals should be volunteering our services to the community and mentoring our younger, newer Dental Professionals. Stop and think about the abundance of knowledge you have gained in the years you have been practicing Dentistry in whatever position you have chosen.

So the next time you hear about a program looking for a volunteer, do yourself a favor and step up. I promise you won’t regret your decision. And the next time you encounter a newbie, take them under your wing and volunteer to mentor them; they’ll remember you cared for a long time and they may even pay it forward someday.

“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”

– Ethel Percy Andrus

Stop Whining: Fluoride Works

November 7th, 2016 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I’m going to start this by apologizing to anyone I might offend on the topic of fluoride. Although, I can’t imagine a Dental Professional believing anti-fluoride is the way to go, I have heard there are a few. There’s a lot of controversy amongst the general population and this article isn’t written to recite a bunch of research. It’s designed to provoke thought and make a few comparisons of three different states and what I’ve observed around the topic of fluoridation.

I went to Dental School at the University of Minnesota. We endured numerous (and I do mean numerous) lectures on fluoride, and how it works to reduce tooth decay. In the systemic application of fluoride, it is incorporated into the hydroxyapatite of the tooth as the tooth forms. In the topical application, it is taken up by the tooth to further reduce caries and treat sensitivity.

Let’s start in the State of Minnesota. Minnesota’s public water supply has been fluoridated about four years after I was born. When I practiced in urban Minnesota, I noticed the children in my practice rarely had any tooth decay. There were a few kids who lived in rural areas, whose water came from a well. In these instances, I noticed a marked increase in tooth decay. We even had a consultant who recommended we refer all of our child patients to Pedodontists, citing there was no work to be done on these patients. While practicing in Minnesota, we never (not even once in 20 years) had an objection to fluoride and we even gave topical fluoride treatments to all adults.

The next State in which I had the privilege of practicing was Wisconsin; southwest Wisconsin to be exact, a rural area. This area was a little tricky, because several kids were living between two households. Some towns had fluoridated water and some water supplies were not fluoridated. Suffice it to say, once you had the system down, knowing when to write the fluoride prescription and when not to, was easy. But again, there were no objections to giving fluoride to these children; it was expected.

Now I practice in the beautiful state of Oregon. I’m not sure where the message was dropped, but I’ve never heard so many outright objections to fluoride. I’ve also never seen so much devastation; the amount and degree of tooth decay is astonishing! The only patients I see who haven’t lost teeth to decay are either from California (fluoridated water supplies just before Minnesota did) or their parents gave them fluoridated vitamins as a child.

The primary objection to fluoride of any kind is that it’s a poison. My answer to that argument is, yes it is, if you drink it in its pure state. So is the chlorine they put in the water and so is water if you drink too much. I actually had a parent sitting in an exam with his child and he vehemently argued his opposition to “that poison” while his cigarettes were sticking out of his shirt pocket!

So with my experience, and coming from a fluoridated State, to fluoridate or not to fluoridate is not a question. It helps prevent tooth decay and premature loss of teeth. With our teeth we can chew and enjoy delicious food, begin the digestion of that food, nourish our bodies and share our beautiful smiles with the World!

– Maxine

Are Your Systems Spot On?

November 2nd, 2016 | By Dr. Marynak | Blog

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

I recall my years in private practice as very hard work. It wasn’t the Dentistry that exhausted me; it was the daily running of the office. Inventory, payroll, quarterly taxes, and Staffing issues were constants in my professional life. I felt there weren’t enough hours in a day to deal with the issues that were my responsibilities. I went through periods that were awesome; production was up, the Team was spot on in their work ethic and our office environment was light-hearted and fun. But the days where nothing seemed to go well, I just couldn’t put my finger on the problem and how to keep the good days happening on a consistent level.

In looking back, I recall a Temporary Hygienist asking for a moment in my office. She wanted to talk to me about the systems (or absence of them) that were lacking in my Dental Practice. I really wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about because it was nothing I’d recalled studying in Dental School. I’m not sure when or where along the way I learned that I, Dr. Marynak, didn’t, or better yet couldn’t function well in chaos.

It’s very clear to me now: when I start to feel uncomfortable at work, I know I’m working in a chaotic environment. Chaos can come in many forms. Perhaps the necessary paperwork isn’t where it should be, the Receptionist isn’t getting the new patients to complete the necessary forms, the Dental Assistant keeps forgetting to bring the lab prescription to the operatory, there’s a lab case that wasn’t sent out and it was prepped three days ago and I can go on and on!

Now many of you are saying “isn’t it the Team that’s causing these issues?” I’d answer “yes” and let’s face it, we all forget things from time to time. I know that I’ve worked in offices where systems are all but completely absent and in offices where systems were crisp and clear, concise and repeatable. I much prefer working in the later. I go home feeling accomplished, content and peaceful. When I spend eight hours in the former, I go home exhausted, depressed and my brain in a fog.

What’s the point in my discussing all of this with you today? Part of hiring a new member to your Team is trying to get at what makes them tick. Discovering their work ethic is paramount. Do they cut corners? Are they timely people? Can they work as a Team member? Do they leave their personal problems at home? My personal feeling is that when a Team member is being payed, they should be all in for the eight to ten hours they are working in your Dental Office.

Let me tell you about MM. MM is a phenomenal chairside assistant. She worked with me for several months as my primary chairside Assistant in a Corporate Practice. Occasionally MM wasn’t at work, was late, left early, went home at lunch (40 minutes away…one way).

One day in her absence, I looked into our restorative bin and it looked as though someone had turned it upside down and shook it. Everyday items were literally thrown into the bin: wedges in four places, matrix bands in all four corners, composite shades all dumped together, etc., etc. When I picked her up for a C.E. class one day and stepped into her home, it clicked. The house looked like a bomb had gone off. You could have gotten the same information by looking into her car.

At the recent ADA Convention, I met a Dentist who told me he was having trouble with his Receptionist. He sat down one day to investigate why his deposits had been light and he was concerned that he may find embezzlement. What he discovered was that the Receptionist was writing off account balances. I reminded him that that doesn’t mean there isn’t any embezzlement taking place and an owner Dentist should be watching his accounts receivable. I also told him that I learned from personal experience that you never hire an individual to handle money who has money problems of their own. Now I know why some companies do background checks; all Dental Offices should start with a ninety-day probationary period and consider background checks.

If you add a problem employee to poor systems, you will have chaos, lose money, waste time and go home with a foggy brain, unable to make complete sentences. And this doesn’t just affect the Dentist; your “A” Team will suffer as well. So, in finding that new employee, do what the United States Army does: ask for three personal references and three professional references. And don’t just think you can tell…call all six references. Find out what their job description entailed, find out how long they were employed and ask them if there were another opening in their office, would they rehire them.

The rare situation is the office that has had the same Team for several years. I met a Hygienist at the ADA Convention and she told me they had a stack of resumes in their office from people wanting to work in their office. Fortunately, they hadn’t had an opening in years; that speaks volumes about the Dentist, the Dental Team, their successful systems, their communication skills and the treatment delivery to their patients. High Five to that Dental Practice!

“I think as a company, if you can get those two things right — having a clear direction on what you are trying to do and bringing in great people who can execute on the stuff — then you can do pretty well.”

– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Resources For Dental Professionals and Practices

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