Archive for March, 2016

Defining Yourself in the Dental Community

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

In 2015, I, along with my wife Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, was inducted as a Fellow into the International College of Dentists—an honor only about 4 percent of U.S. dentists receive. The ICD is a worldwide dental organization that recognizes professional achievement, advancement and service to dentistry.

My wife and I graduated from dental school less than 10 years ago (7.5 years to be exact). We practice in Texas, but we aren’t from Texas and didn’t go to dental school there either. This isn’t common for ICD inductees, who are typically older than us and have long standing connections and friends in their communities.

So how did we make names for ourselves in our dental community and receive such a prestigious honor in such a short amount of time? I attribute it to three factors: participating in organized dentistry, moving to a city with a great community of dentists, and simply turning some disadvantages into advantages.

It was daunting to move to San Antonio in 2010. We didn’t know a single person. Texas is a welcoming, friendly place, and within a few months, we made friends and connections. By showing up to meetings, participating in committees, and valuing every relationship, we built a network.

When you’ve been part of a community for a long time, it’s only natural to stay in a small comfort zone of friends and associates. When you’re new and have no comfort zone, there’s a lot of freedom and opportunity that comes with that. There’s an opportunity to consciously define who you are. Before and during dental school, I wanted to become a dentist. That was such a big goal I didn’t really think about anything bigger than that!

After being a dentist for a few years, I recognized there was opportunity for so much more. I asked myself questions like, “What do I want to be known for?” and “How can I make things better for people around me?” I wanted to be known as someone who served others; this motivated a lot of my decisions about how I would spend my time. I’m not sure I would have been so introspective if I had stayed in one place. I’m not sure I would have taken advantage of every opportunity to give back if I felt it was always going to be there for me.

We wouldn’t be ICD members if it wasn’t for our sponsor and our generous friends who wrote letters to support us. Six years ago we moved into a community with many of the best dentists in the country. Whether it’s with service to the profession, contributions to advancing dentistry, or clinical excellence, there are so many shining examples in our own city. These are our  mentors and our friends. We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by great people.

Larry DoughertyLarry Doughtery, DDS, is a 2008 graduate of Nova Southeastern University. He has chaired a number of committees on new dentists, has taught at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Dentistry, and now owns Rolling Oaks Dental, a start-up practice in San Antonio, where he practices with his wife who is also a dentist.

Building a Better Practice: Bone Grafting

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Guest post by  Gregory Snevel, DDS

New dentists often ask me how start building an implant program in their practices. They wish to expand the services currently offer in their practice, and ask me where the best place to start is. Successful implant therapy begins and ends with proper management of the pre-existing condition through diagnosis, extraction, and socket preservation (i.e. bone and tissue grafting) of non-restorable teeth. Managing a case in this manner generally leads to favorable and predictable outcomes, allowing for maximum experience gained, and inspiring confidence in the growing implantologist.

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Even if you don’t plan to branch out into implantology, if you currently offer extractions in your practice, bone grafting is: simple, safe, and profitable. In my opinion, it is standard of care. Dystrophic changes in the alveolar architecture following non-grafted extractions can mar esthetic and functional results of both fixed and removable prosthetics, not just implants. Root denouement can occur during the removal of terminal molars, often resulting in attachment loss adjacent to the tooth in question. It’s time we did better.

A review of techniques and materials is beyond the scope of this article, but I will give you 4 steps you need to take to begin building a better practice with bone grafting.

  • Take a course. Bone grafting courses are affordable, informative, and convenient. Learn about what you do.
  • Invest in Time. By far the most common mistake made is not giving yourself enough time to adequately complete the procedure. This compromises results frustrating both dentist and patient. Materials are inexpensive. If you currently extract teeth, you most likely already have all the surgical tools necessary. Book yourself enough time. Consider the temporary loss of production as an investment. It will pay dividends.
  • Fundamentals. No material, suture, device, or forcep, will ever contribute as much to a successful outcome as solid surgical technique.  Know what you are doing, and know why you are doing it.
  • Practice. The key to proficiency in any task is practice. If you have given yourself the time to put into effect what you have learned, your confidence will grow and you will be well on your way.

As a parting piece of advice, find a mentor. It could be a specialist referral, a former classmate, or a person you met at CE. Share your cases with them. Ask for advice. Offer advice. While it is true that all knowledge is earned, wisdom can only be shared.

Advisory Board_GregSnevelGregory Snevel, DDS, 2011 graduate of Ohio State University, is a member of The New Dentist Magazine Advisory Board.

He is a part time clinical instructor at a local Community College and a 3rd generation dentist running a general dentistry practice in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. He took over his father’s existing general dentistry practice after working there as an Associate.

IHS Careers in Dentistry

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

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The Indian Health Service (IHS), a nationwide organization of dedicated health professionals working to meet the health care needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives, is offering a unique opportunity for dentists who seek a variety of dental health specialties in addition to personal and professional fulfillment in their careers.

Our dental opportunities go beyond providing one-on-one patient care. Indian health dental careers offer opportunities to become involved in community prevention programs that can improve disease rates, including water fluoridation, dental screenings, sealants, fluoride varnishes and distribution of Xylitol gum to school-age children.

Key to an Indian health career is eligibility for repayment of health profession education loans through the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP). The LRP provides up to $40,000 to cover qualified health profession education loans in exchange for a two-year service commitment at an approved Indian health facility. After completing the initial two-year contract, participants may request (annually) an extension of their IHS LRP contract in exchange for an additional one-year service commitment until all qualified loans are paid.

IHS offers three distinct career options for dentists — working in the civil service, for a Tribal or Urban Indian Program or as an officer with the US Public Health Service (USPHS).

Join us for the IHS 2016 Virtual Career Fair! Meet one on one with IHS recruiters, learn about Indian health career opportunities for dentists and dental hygienists and chat with Loan Repayment Program (LRP) analysts to learn more about the LRP. In addition to real-time feedback and advice about general recruitment and specific health profession disciplines, you can also learn about IHS LRP eligibility and how to apply.

Register now for our 2-hour live chat from 7:00 p.m. EST to 9:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday March 16, 2016

Professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling — explore a world of opportunities at ihs.gov/dentistry  or contact a recruiter at IHSRecruiters@ihs.gov.                              Applicants must be US citizens, board eligible and board certified.

The policy of IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

INDIAN HEALTH CAREERS — Opportunity. Adventure. Purpose.