As summer really heats up we have a few seminars featuring a hot topic in dentistry – oral cancer screening!
- July 25th Oral Cancer Screening Seminar with Dr. Tucker at Henry Schein Dental, Elmhurst, IL
- August 1st Oral Cancer Screening Seminar with Dr. Abbott at Studio Movie Grill City, Houston TX
- August 29th Oral Cancer Screening Seminar with Dr. Tucker at OKC Center, Oklahoma City, OK
In addition, we’ll also be attending the RDH Under One Roof meeting from August 14-16th in Chicago, IL. How about you, do you have any exciting events planned this summer?
by Guest Blogger Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS
The popularity of the television show Mad Men raised awareness of 1960s themes of sex, drinking and smoking. Women were marketed in the 1960s with their own cigarette brand with the catch-phrase “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Sit-down dentistry also evolved in the 1960s. Is “You’ve come a long way, baby” accurate with dentistry ergonomics? We have come a long way, but maybe not far enough. Many clinicians have been forced into early retirement because of Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) or they continue to try to work through them. Newer research shows sit-down dentistry may not be as healthy for clinicians as once thought. Shaking up the routine might be better for our bodies.
Generations and Variety
The baby boomers are fighting growing older and are moving into a new phase of practice valuing and selling. While Generation X feels poorer, ignored and retirement seems so far off as to almost not be in the picture at all (The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/SUN_-A003.pdf). They are just starting to feel some aches and pains as their bodies begin to break down. The Millennial Generation is still feeling the invincibility of youth and has an opportunity to prevent injuries before they start. Every generation can improve their ergonomics and evaluate what they were taught. It’s time to look at our equipment through new eyes.
Dental education has touted four-handed dentistry as best since Mad Men days of the 1960s. Yet most dental schools, then and now do not have enough assistants trained in four-handed dentistry for students to truly learn the skills. For most of us, we learned it on the job. And besides, our mothers taught us to sit up straight.
Our bodies are made for movement. Recent research shows staying in one position, sitting or standing, for an extended period of time can lead to injuries. Sitting has joined the list of risk factors that can lead to chronic disease, cardiovascular problems, cancer, obesity and premature death. Even with numerous articles and CE courses about ergonomics, MSDs continue to escalate. Maybe our mothers and dental schools weren’t completely right.
Sitting down is not a criterion for four-handed dentistry. (See Box 1) Variety is said to be the spice of life and is true for practicing dentistry much more than previously believed. It is the combination of sitting and standing that can be most beneficial to our bodies. For those that don’t have assistants, as is often the case for dental hygienists, one easy way to gain variety is to sit for the maxilla and stand for mandible. This helps to keep the practitioners moving, yet to be practical, the patient chair needs to accommodate numerous changes.
Ergonomically Designed Patient Chairs
Our patient chair should allow us to get as close as possible to the patient in the proper working environment whether sitting or standing. This makes the purchase of the patient chair one of the most important decisions in a dental practice. Well, not quite, the most important thing in the room is the dental team member, not the equipment. Ergonomics is the science of adjusting the work environment to the worker.
Most dental care providers and team members are care-giving people-oriented personalities. We will tend to care for others before we care for ourselves. Our choice in patient chairs has been more about patient comfort and/or our decorating and design. Manufacturers created cushy, soft chairs comfortable for the patients, but not so great for the practitioners.
Patient chairs today need technology to meet the demands of this current and future market. The patient chair meeting today’s and tomorrow’s needs will make our practices more marketable. A newer, often smaller (due to the increasing number of women) practitioner won’t be interested in purchasing a 15-30 year old chair. The NuSimplicity™ Chair from DentalEZ® meets the needs of this new market. This chair goes lower than any other chair to as low as 15”, yet as high as 35.5” to allow for both sit-down and stand-up dentistry. The thin, tapered back that is a slim 12 3/4” width at the top of the chair back allows the professional’s arms to stay in a proper position sitting or standing.
Professionals spend the most time adjusting the chair the first time we lean the patient back. When we sit them up to take x-rays, for a hygiene check or to accommodate standing, a lot of time can be lost readjusting the chair. Yet what happens more often is we don’t readjust, we bend, stretch, raise our arms and accommodate often hurting ourselves in the process. What makes this chair most flexible to support movement of our bodies are the simple chair controls include auto return, last position, 3 presets and manual settings.
Mad Men vs. Today
The idea of personal healthfulness was basically non-existent in the 1960s world of Mad Men. Everyone drinks, no one exercises, and even characters who suffer from various medical maladies can’t make the connection between their behaviors and outcomes. Today, we know more. Our little everyday choices affect our long-term future and wellness, and ability to sell our practices. Shaking up our routines truly makes a difference.
Box 1: Basic criteria for true four-handed dentistry: Four-Handed Dentistry, Part 1: An Overview Concept
- Equipment must be ergonomically designed
- The team and patient are seated comfortably
- Motion economy is practiced
- Preset cassettes or trays are used
- The dentists allows/assigns all legally delegable duties to the assistant
- Treatment is planned in advance in a logical sequence
Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS is a speaker and co-authored DentalCodeology: Jump Start Diagnostic Coding (www.DentalCodeology.com) released April 1, 2014 with Christine Taxin. It is the second in the series DentalCodeology easy-to-read bite-size books for busy people to help prepare for the transition to electronic health records profitably. Patti holds a publishing license with the American Dental Association for Current Dental Terminology©2014 and is an American Dental Association Evidence Based Champion. She can be reached at email@example.com.
We are pleased to report that our 430 High-Speed Handpieces are featured in Dentistry Today’s Top 100 Products of 2014. Our StarDental 430 Series of High-Speed Handpieces are a mainstay in the industry and we continue to expand the line. From the original 430 SWL LubeFree Fiber Optic High-Speed Handpiece to our reintroduction of the 430 Flex models, our handpieces stand the test of time and save you money!
Most dental offices see treatment recommendations ignored by patients from time to time, but it’s a whole different story when parents ignore repeated recommendations for their child’s dental care that could lead to more serious problems, such as infections. This article from the Morning Call tells the story of Lehigh Township, PA parents who “face criminal charges after they repeatedly neglected to get dental care for their daughter’s 14 abscessed teeth that caused an infection so severe a dentist feared it could kill her, court records state.” What a horrible situation! We’re glad to see the dentist involved took charge and brought this case to the court’s attention before the child’s life was harmed.
On Tuesday, July 15th we are excited to take part in an oral cancer seminar with Dennis Abbott, DDS. The presentation will provide participants with a comprehensive and well-structured experience that covers four main topics:
• The target population
• The complete examination and accurate records
• New detection tools
• Patient discussions: results and referral protocols
Present from DentalEZ® will be Territory Sales Manager, Bill McKeon, who will be on hand to demonstrate the Identafi® Oral Cancer Screening Device from StarDental®. The course will take place at Henry Schein Canada, 221 Jacob Keffer Parkway, Concord, ON. Reserve your spot today by calling Linda Vespera from Henry Schein Canada at 905-832-9101, ext. 4300.
It is ergonomics month here at DentalEZ® – join us in celebrating ways to improve your health! We have an informative free CE Webinar with esteemed hygienist Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS on Wednesday, July 9th. Sign up here for the webinar, Practice Management – Remain Healthy, Productive and Profitable (Who Comes First: Taking a Longer View). Patti is also our guest blogger of the month, check back for her post “Shaking Up the Routine: It’s Better For Our Bodies” later this month.
We also found two great articles to share with you, both from DentistryIQ.com. We’ll share another in the next few weeks, but the first of these informative articles is called, “The economics of ergonomics: 3 steps to maintain longevity throughout your dental career” by Iman Sadri, DDS. The article focuses on back pain and explains how it evolves through the lack of proper posture and exercise. It continues to describe recommended techniques for exercise to combat poor posture. Sadri concludes that “these three essential steps can help you maintain longevity throughout your entire dental career: maintain proper posture, use magnification, and receive physical therapy.”
To avoid poor posture and prevent back pain, musculoskeletal disorders, etc., we recommend using an operator stool from our ergonomic line of stools, and a patient chair that allow you easy access to the oral cavity without reaching or twisting. We offer three chairs that do this with their thin, tapered backs; including our latest chair, the NuSimplicity™, which brings us to the best part of our ergonomics celebration – a free chair! Visit our Facebook page for your chance to win one in our #MyNuSimplicity Sweepstakes.
Bring out the grill, bathing suits and sparklers – it’s time for picnics, fun in the sun and fireworks. Here in the U.S., we are excited to celebrate the independence of our nation every year, but especially when it falls on a Friday! We can all use a long weekend to spend time with friends and family. Here’s to hoping everyone enjoys theirs. Happy 4th of July to all!
We’re pleased to announce a FREE live CE webinar July 9th through DentalEZLearning.com with Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS. She will explain how caring for patients starts with caring for ourselves. It will take the collective knowledge, wisdom and understanding of each cohort to choose a healthier path. This webinar will examine decisions, small and large, to remain healthy, productive and profitable as well as increasing practice value.
Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:
- Describe lifespan vs. healthspan
- Know the latest information on the physical and economic impact of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries
- Identify the impact and value of treatment room equipment
- Reduce injuries and increase practice value by taking a longer term view
Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS is a vision driven-clinician helping people see their future of choice and ways to make it profitable. Patti holds a publishing license with the American Dental Association for Current Dental Terminology©2014 and is an American Dental Association Evidence-Based Champion. She is the author of the DentalCodeology series of easy-
By Guest Blogger Dr. Dennis M. Abbott, DDS
April is Oral and Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, so why am I talking about cancer of the mouth and throat now…in June? The truth is, unfortunately, there are no limitations on when cancer can strike, so similarly there are no limits on the right time to talk about this dreaded disease.
In the United States alone, one person dies each hour of every day from oral cancer. That statistic in itself is enough to make anyone sit up and take notice; but the other side of the coin is the effect that oral cancer has on the lives of those who survive. This is a disease that not only affects physical health, but also psychological health, emotional health and even personal identity. Many times it leaves its victims looking at a new face in the mirror – someone unfamiliar not only to themselves, but to family and friends as well. Oral cancer can render its victim embarrassed to eat in public – denied the pleasures of food and drink with friends because swallowing is a slow, agonizing feat that is best done in private, if done at all.
For so many, oral cancer leaves them asking, “Why me? I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. How did I end up with oral cancer?” to which the only answer is a hollow, “I don’t know.” While the human papilloma virus has been associated with some oropharyngeal cancers – that is, those of the tonsils, throat, base of tongue and larynx – there are some who contract the disease without subjection to any understood cause. Thus, the profile of a person “at risk” for developing oral or head and neck cancer cannot be put into any kind of a box. The key then is to screen everyone for oral abnormalities on a regular basis.
Screening for oral cancer should be part of an annual wellness plan for individuals, much like a mammogram or Pap smear or PSA test. The truth is, when oral cancer is found at an early stage, the survival rate is as high as 80-90%. Unfortunately, most oral cancers are not detected until the disease has progressed to a more advanced stage. The consequence is that almost 45% of individuals newly diagnosed will succumb to their disease within five years.
Early detection is key, and the key to early detection is screening. Screening is looking for abnormalities within the mouth and throat before the patient realizes they are there. When a suspicious area is identified, the doctor or dentist may order a biopsy of the tissue to confirm or repudiate the presence of cancer. When cancer is present in the evaluated tissue, time is of the essence and the wheels of treatment move very quickly. With oral and head and neck cancers, swift treatment saves lives.
At Dental Oncology Professionals, our vigilance against oral cancer doesn’t stop with the closing of the day on April 30. With such organizations as the Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC) and the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), our efforts to fight this disease continue each and every day. Through oral cancer screenings in our offices and at health events across our communities, through specialized individual care for patients battling cancer of the mouth and throat, through efforts to improve the quality of life for survivors of this disease, our fight against oral cancer rages on every day of the year.
Dennis M. Abbott, D.D.S. is the founder and CEO of Dental
Oncology Professionals (DOP), an oral medicine practice dedicated
to care for the unique dental and oral health needs of individuals
battling cancer. Inasmuch as the oral side effects of modern
oncology therapies can cause intraoral sores, pain, and infections
that can signiﬁcantly reduce quality of life, DOP is committed to
helping patients manage and overcome such obstacles so that
cancer treatments can be continued according to schedule, proper
nutrition maintained, and a high quality of life enjoyed before, during,
and after cancer therapy.
We hear so much about what causes oral cancer; what a refreshing change to see an article about something slowing it down! Foodconsumer.org recently posted an article called Vitamin D inhibits oral cancer growth that describes a study conducted by the Journal of Dietary Supplements that “strongly indicates that high concentrations of serum vitamin D can effectively prevent or even treat oral cancer”. It might only be in high concentrations, but it wouldn’t hurt to go out and get some sun; we could all use some vitamin D!