How to Maintain Wellness in the Dental Profession

By Christopher T. Cooper

Dentistry is a tough profession, with long hours punctuated by difficult procedures that require high levels of technical expertise and concentration. It’s not surprising that burnout among dentists is high.

There are other mitigating circumstances, too. Dentists have studied hard for years to gain the level of professional expertise and recognition to practice. And if a dentist goes into solo practice, the environment can be a little isolated at times. Wellness in the dental profession is a hot topic.

Maintaining a healthy state of mind and body when practicing dentistry is of paramount importance. Here are three tips to contribute to positive wellness for dental professionals.

Get Active
For the most part, dentistry is a sedentary profession. Most of the day is spent sitting, and this can lead to various health issues. It’s important to check the ergonomics of your furniture to ensure you are lessening the risks of back and neck problems, which can become commonplace.

However, getting active at work can be a little tricky. A quick solution is to have a treadmill or exercise bike in the office that you can use before your first patient arrives, or even between patients. Having a private room where you can work out and then take a shower would be ideal, but resources may be limited.

Of course, this solution could be bettered by taking the time to get out and about, getting some fresh air while doing that all-important exercise. Look closely at your schedule and see how you can change things to fit in these important “me” sessions, which are vital to your physical and mental health. It may mean that you have to see a couple less patients a week, which although may not reflect well on your bottom line, is small change in comparison to not being able to work due to any health complications that can arise from failing to take adequate care of yourself.

“I always recommend active hobbies, especially if you work in a sedentary job. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme, just some hiking or riding a bike. But the value of these activities is essential to your well-being, and helps create an effective balance in your life that we must all strive for,” recommends Brady Ozinski, a business blogger at BritStudent and WritemyX.

Surround Yourself with People
The social side of work is so important that it might be worth making a few changes in order to satisfy this need for human interaction. Make sure you employ a full support team and encourage interaction between the team. Engage with patients as much as you can and think carefully about sharing the practice with other professionals, ensuring you get to spend time with other individuals who are familiar with the trials and tribulations of this kind of high-skilled work.

“Create a social atmosphere in your practice with plenty of opportunities for interaction. Have social nights together and really build the strength of the team, which is so important for everybody in a workplace. The mental benefits of such steps cannot be underestimated,” warns Carole Franks, a health writer at Australia2write and NextCoursework.

Take Plenty of Time Off
Many solo practitioners are, by nature, workaholics. This will end up having a seriously detrimental effect on your wellness, and at the same time will have a hugely negative impact on your ability to earn in the long term. Think about the bigger picture — in order to sustain your career, it must be handled carefully.

Don’t let others judge the amount of time you take off. Chances are, as your own boss, you have the power to make these decisions, so choose what’s better for you, and then ultimately what will prove better for your patients as well, which is a professional who works at the top of his or her game when you are present. Sharing the practice with other dentists can help unburden the load here, too, as you can pick up each other’s patients at times when others are away, and generally all work toward a more productive practice that isn’t dependent on just one individual.

 

Entrepreneur, writer and editor Christopher T. Cooper is an expert in many facets of modern business practices. He is an editor at PHDKingdom and AcademicBrits, and a regular contributor to OriginWritings.

Funding Donated Dental Services will help Florida’s most vulnerable get life-saving care

By Dr. Cesar Sabates

“The mouth is the window into the health of the body” is a well-known phrase in the health care community.

As a dentist who has practiced for 30 years, I know that this statement is true.

I’ve treated patients who could not undergo transplants until the infections in their mouths were treated, and I’ve treated patients who couldn’t eat or sleep properly because of the pain of gum infection and decayed teeth, which can be associated with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Click here to read the full article in the Miami Herald published on Dec. 26, 2019.

Dr. Cesar Sabates is president of Florida Donated Dental Services, a past president of the Florida Dental Association, a Trustee of the American Dental Association and a practicing dentist in Coral Gables.

teeth.jpgFlorida Donated Dental Services program, which gives dental care to patients unable to pay, is seeking full funding from the state. Getty Images

A Guide to Finding Your First Job After Dental School

By Ashley Halsey

So, you graduated from dental school and you need to figure out your next step to get a job. First of all, congratulations! Now, you need to follow these steps to help you get your first dental job.

1. Make a Plan

Think about where you want to be in five, 10 years. Do you want your career to go toward being a partner or owner of a practice? Are you interested in simply getting more experience, or paying back your student loans? Think about where you want to go, and it will help you discover how to get there.

Once you know that, you can start thinking about location, but you shouldn’t be focused on that at the start of your career. The best dental jobs usually are not in the heart of the city, where you’ll find there is more competition for patients. If you must live and work in a saturated or difficult market for whatever reason, consider the income offered in different parts of town. You’ll also want to manage your expectations regarding your income.

2. Develop a CV and Cover Letter

The reality is that most applicants don’t get to the interview stage. Because of that, it’s important that your CV and your cover letter set you apart from the crowd and showcase why you should be selected. This can be difficult when you don’t have any experience, but that’s where you must highlight your strengths.

A suggestion from Nancy Keenan, a dental writer at Writinity and Last Minute Writing, is to “include any electives or awards that you might have won, or if you graduated at the top of your class or in the top percentage. Add any volunteer experience that’s relevant and highlight what you learned from each.”

3. Find Opportunities

Networking is the best way to find open dental positions, but it can be difficult to meet with all the dentists and go to every meeting. Do some research online for local dental schools and associations because they might post job openings. A few online databases have dental job listings posted so that’s also a good place to start.

4. Dress to Impress for Interviews

If you’re not sure what to wear for the interview, go for overdressed instead of underdressed. You want the interview panel to know that you’re serious about your career. Think about if your interview outfit makes you look like a dental professional. It’s important at this stage to make a good first impression and establish your credibility.

5. Manage Phone Interviews

You’ll want to respond to all your emails and phone calls right away to show your interest and motivation. Even if you might not be interested in the opportunity, it’s respectful and you don’t know if down the road you may want a position at that practice. On a telephone interview, try to line up an interview in person. Rhonda Gorman, a medical journalist at Draft Beyond and Research Papers UK says that you should “tell them how interested you are and that you’d like to meet with them and see the practice. There’s no harm in taking the initiative to set that up. Don’t forget to smile, even on the phone, because you can tell when someone on the phone is smiling.”

6. Prepare for Your Interview

When you’re going in for an interview, prepare in advance. Smile and be enthusiastic, because a lot of it comes down to personality, too. Show genuine interest in the hiring dentist’s practice and their needs for a new dentist, because it’s important to know why they’re hiring a new dentist. In the clinic, treat all the staff with respect and friendliness. After your interview, follow up with a thank you email.

7. Review the Contract

Before you accept a position, you’ll want to review the contract with a legal representative, including compensation considerations and requirements. Does it include all the information that you need to decide if the job is right for you? If you’re not satisfied with the offer, don’t be afraid to request more and negotiate something better.

It can be daunting to look for a job, but by following these steps it should be more manageable. Good luck!

Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Lucky Assignments and Gum Essays, and writes about career development and networking. She enjoys helping people connect with their dream careers and improve their professional skills. In her free time, she travels and attends many business seminars.

ADA Sets Record Straight on Status of Petition to Food and Drug Administration Regarding SmileDirectClub

Statement may be attributed to Dr. Chad Gehani, American Dental Association president

The American Dental Association (ADA) believes the public has a right to accurate information concerning the status of its pending  citizen petition submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) about SmileDirectClub, LLC’s direct-to-consumer plastic teeth aligner business. SmileDirectClub’s (SDC’s) inaccurate public statements that the ADA’s petition has been “shut down” or “dismissed” may deter customers who have experienced clinical problems in connection with SDC’s aligner “treatment therapy” from reporting their negative experiences to the US-FDA.

SDC’s public misstatements, including in its Oct. 4 press release, are apparently based on a May 30, 2019 letter from the US-FDA to the ADA. The letter, which can be viewed at the citizen petition landing page, did not reject or dismiss any substantive aspect of the ADA’s citizen petition. The US-FDA’s letter explains:

“We appreciate the information [the ADA] provided. Such information is often helpful for us to identify problems with marketed products and possible violations of the laws and regulations that we enforce. We take complaints seriously and we will evaluate this matter to determine what follow-up action is appropriate.”

The letter further explains that the US-FDA does not initiate enforcement actions on behalf of petitioners. Instead, the US-FDA reviews the submitted evidence and decides for itself what action to take. All substantive issues raised by the ADA’s citizen petition remain fully before the US-FDA at this time. The comment period for the public to address the petition and for the ADA to supplement the petition is open until Oct. 22 at 11:59 pm.

Further proof of the continuing pendency of the ADA citizen petition is SDC’s acknowledgement of it in the “Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters” section of SDC’s Aug. 12, 2019 S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Had the US-FDA dismissed the ADA’s citizen petition, there would have been no reason for SDC to mention the petition in its securities filing, and certainly not to identify the regulatory proceeding as one of SDC’s existing “risks.”

The ADA submitted its citizen petition and a complaint letter to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection out of concern for public safety and customer recourse in the event of negative outcomes from SDC’s orthodontic “treatment therapy.” Plastic teeth aligners are designated by the US-FDA as a Class II medical device requiring a prescription. The ADA believes SDC is placing the public at risk by knowingly evading the US-FDA’s “by prescription only” restriction.

In lieu of having dentists review patient dental records or perform any sort of patient exam (whether using teledentistry or otherwise) before prescribing orthodontic treatment, SDC instead requires customers to self-report their dental condition. As the ADA explains in its citizen petition, customer self-reporting does not meet the applicable standard of care because it does not satisfy a dentist’s requisite professional due diligence. Put simply, SDC and the small number of “SDC-affiliated” dentists have no way of knowing whether a lay consumer’s self-reported dental condition is accurate, informed, or true in any respect.

Moving teeth without knowing all aspects of a patient’s oral condition has the potential to cause bone loss, lost teeth, receding gums, bite problems, jaw pain, and other issues. Despite these potentially serious outcomes, SDC requires its customers to hold the company harmless from any negative consequences, as the ADA points out in its US-FDA citizen petition and FTC complaint letter.

In addition to these public health concerns, the ADA’s letter to the FTC cited various SDC practices the ADA believes to be deceptive under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, including:

  • Informing purchasers they have recourse against SDC via arbitration, when the same document includes a “small print” provision obligating the customer to waive any and all rights the customer “or any third party” may have against SmileDirectClub.
  • Soliciting customers by claiming that SDC aligners will correct their overbite, underbite, and crossbite conditions, or their “extreme” malocclusion. But after customers complain about poor clinical outcomes, SDC invokes other documents stating that its aligners cannot treat bite conditions at all and can only treat mild to moderate teeth misalignment, not “extreme” misalignment.
  • Claiming that SDC customers receive the same level of dental/orthodontic care as actual dental patients, when in fact SDC and its affiliated dentists provide virtually no care and, contrary to its claims, SDC does not use teledentistry.

The ADA considers it our public duty to make the relevant regulatory agencies aware of these facts, so those agencies can be fully informed and consider whatever actions they deem appropriate.

The US-FDA’s MedWatch voluntary reporting form may be used by both consumers and health care professionals to report poor clinical outcomes associated with medical devices, including plastic teeth aligners. The FTC also offers consumers an online form to report complaints about unfair and deceptive business practices on its website.

ADA News Release, originally appeared on Oct. 9, 2019 and can be found here.