Safety in the Dental Office

This week, Beyond the Bite is featuring not one but TWO speakers for the 2022 Florida Dental Convention (FDC)! There’s a similar thread between the two — both blogs refer to safety, but in different ways. Ms. Keri Higby addresses personal safety, while Dr. Larry Williams discusses safety in a medical emergency.

Make plans to attend FDC2022, “Dentistry & Systemic Health: Mouth, Mind & Body Connection,” June 23-25 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando. For more information, or to search by speaker or course, visit floridadentalconvention.com.


S.T.A.R. (Safety Tactics and Awareness Response) in the Dental Office
By Kerry Higby, certified self-defense instructor

In 2012, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office created a Women’s Self-defense Program, now called S.T.A.R. (Safety Tactics and Awareness Response). This program has been tremendously successful in the community, as we try to educate women on how to maximize their personal safety.

We’ve built strong partnerships in the community through this program and have worked with a wide variety of organizations, including Publix, Hospice of the Comforter and Seminole State College, among others.

Our mission is to reduce the opportunity of violent crimes through teaching women how to increase their situational awareness, reducing the risk of becoming a victim and how to avoid confrontations. It’s important to realize that self-defense is 90% mental preparedness and 10% physical. The techniques and knowledge we share with participants gives them a sense of empowerment to help them become their own best defense.

It’s important for everyone, especially those professionals who have close contact with the public to remember these three concepts:

  1. Create a plan of action.
  2. Remove the risks of becoming a victim/target.
  3. Increase your situational awareness

Practicing and thinking about “what if” situations allow workers to have a plan in case they need to defend themselves. It is similar to the Run, Fight, Hide concept that is used with armed attackers and mass shootings. Designing your environment for optimal safety and security, when possible, helps to significantly lower the risk of becoming a victim or target. This can be done through crime prevention through environmental design. Securing/limiting office access, cameras and lighting are all examples that can help create safer business settings. Overall, the most significant defense one has is to increase their situational awareness skills everywhere.

Two self-defense techniques you can use to help in a situation is your voice by yelling. Attackers don’t want attention. By using your voice, you not only draw attention and may get potential help from bystanders, but you stay breathing instead of freezing or panicking. Another basic technique is to maintain your distance, if possible, from a potential attacker. Quickly scan the area that you find yourself in and be ready to run/escape.

Remember, if you think about what you would do in a dangerous situation, you will be more likely to react and survive, instead of being caught off-guard and panicking.

Ms. Higby is an FDC2022 speaker and will be presenting, “S.T.A.R. Women’s Self-defense Deep Dive” on Thursday, June 23 at 9 a.m.


Stop the Bleed: Safety in the Dental Office
By Dr. Larry Williams

Imagine coming out of your favorite downtown store and the security guard at the door is looking up. You notice other people around the entrance looking up. You look up and realize that a crane across the street has become unstable and is likely to fall. Before you and others can move to safety, the crane falls and sends debris everywhere. A piece strikes the security guard in the leg, and he immediately falls to the ground bleeding severely. The crash is over but everyone, except you and the guard, flees to safety and you are left standing and staring at the fast-expanding pool of blood next to the security guard.

What are your options?

  • Run away to safety like everyone else.
  • Call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
  • Call 911, realize you are the help until help arrives, make sure it is safe, and then work to stop/slow the bleeding.

Blood delivers oxygen to the organs, and a sudden significant loss of blood can lead to shock and eventually death. Experts agree that severe bleeding can lead to death in as little as 5 minutes. You need to figure out how to keep the blood in the body.

Techniques can include using pressure at the site of bleeding, pack the wound and apply pressure, using a tourniquet on the heart-side of the wound, and arterial pressure if possible. The “Stop the Bleed” course was created to address the above scenario, and to date, more than 1.5 million people have been trained to address bleeding. Do you want to learn more? Take my course at FDC2022, where I’ll be speaking on this topic and more!

Dr. Williams is an FDC2022 speaker and will be presenting several courses. “You Are the Help Until Help Arrives Deep Dive: Hands-on First Aid and STOP THE BLEED® Training” will be on Thursday, Jun. 23 at 9 a.m., and later that day, “Pharmacology and Your Dental Patient: An Update!” will be at 2 p.m. On Friday, June 24, “Geriatric Dentistry: Treatment Planning, Treatment Concerns and Communications” will be at 9 a.m. and “Tobacco, Vaping and Cannabis — What do you know?” will be at 2 p.m. 

Book Review: Protocols for Mobile Dental Photography with Auxiliary Lighting

Reviewed by Dr. John Paul

Generally, I am not a fan of an infomercial and a great deal of this book revolves around how to use a proprietary device, the Smile Light MDP, with your own cell phone to make dental photographs.

That knee-jerk reaction out of the way, it is possible there is no device similar to the Smile Light MDP available and the book does a fair-handed job of comparing dental photography using a conventional digital camera and all of its attendant gear to making those photographs with your cell phone, the MDP device and a few other pieces of kit, the mirrors and retractors needed for either type means of capturing the images.

Visit floridadental.org/member-center/publications/book-reviews to read the full review.

How Can Dental Practices Take Advantage of a Section 179 Tax Deduction?

By The Dentists Supply Company

If you own a dental practice, the Section 179 tax deduction may help you lower your taxable income and help you save on your business taxes for 2021. Learning more about this valuable tax incentive can help you reduce owed business equipment taxes and help you plan for your practice’s future.

What is the Section 179 tax deduction?

The Section 179 deduction applies to tangible personal property such as machinery and equipment purchased or leased for use in a trade or business.

How does the Section 179 tax deduction work?

Any dental practice filing a U.S. Business Income Tax Return for 2021 is eligible to take the Section 179 deduction. The equipment must be acquired in 2021 and installed or placed in service by Dec. 31, 2021.

I recently bought new equipment. What more do I need to know about qualifying for Section 179?

Coordinate with your equipment provider to ensure there’s enough lead time to install your equipment before the end-of-year deadline. If your new equipment requires employee training, you will need to schedule the training as soon as possible to meet the deadline. Keep in mind that if you pay for equipment in advance but fail to install it by Dec. 31, 2021, the Section 179 deduction will not apply for 2021. You also may need to meet other eligibility requirements under Section 179.

What kinds of equipment purchases qualify for the deduction?

Most of the equipment you’ll purchase, finance or lease for your practice will qualify for the deduction, provided that it is used more than 50% of the time for business purposes. A few examples of qualifying purchases include:

  • Business vehicles.
  • Certain improvements to an existing non-residential building, which may include fire alarms, HVAC, security systems, and roofing.
  • Computers.
  • Computer “off-the-shelf” software.
  • Equipment (machines, etc.) purchased for business use. (Your deduction is based on the percentage of time you use the equipment for business purposes).
  • Office equipment (X-ray imaging instruments, handpieces, air purifiers, etc.).
  • Office and operatory furniture (dental patient chairs, dental cabinets).

A routine part of an IRS audit is to review freight bills and bills of lading, and to verify when the equipment was delivered and installed. Make sure you retain these documents in case of an audit.

Is there a limit on how much money I can deduct in 2021?

The Section 179 deduction limit for 2021 is $1,050,000. This means your dental practice can deduct the full cost of qualifying equipment (new or used, leased or owned), up to $1,050,000, from your taxable income in 2021.

The tax deduction applies until you reach a spending cap of $2,590,000 for the year. The spending cap was put into place to ensure that the deduction remains an incentive for small businesses.

Who should I contact to claim the tax deduction for dental practices?

If you have questions about Section 179, contact your CPA or tax professional. They can help you determine if taking the Section 179 deduction is the right choice for you and your practice. In addition, your tax professional may be familiar with other tax provisions that may provide additional tax savings.

Explore TDSC.com equipment and handpieces.


Reprinted with permission. This blog was originally posted by The Dentists Company on Nov. 8, 2021.

LEAD Wrap-up

By Larry Darnell, FDA Director of Information Systems and Leadership Development Committee staff support

The Florida Dental Association (FDA) Leadership Development Committee is responsible for providing leadership training opportunities for members. We strive to provide ideas and tools to help member dentists succeed in their leadership pursuits. We currently have two events per year as part of the Leaders Emerging Among Dentistry (LEAD) program, usually one in person and one virtual. Last week, we held our second virtual LEAD event this year on Friday, Oct. 29. We had nearly 50 attendees from Florida as well as American Dental Association member dentists from other states who participated in the free, live event. The focus was “Future Trends in Dentistry,” which featured two dynamic speakers and a panel of young dentist leaders who discussed dental service/support organizations (DSOs).

Dr. David Rice from IgniteDDS provided his insight and wisdom into where the profession is currently heading. Dr. Rice encouraged dentists to see other dentists from a different perspective than they do now. Age gaps and practice models serve to be more divisive than necessary. His positive message about the future of the dental profession was well received.

Dr. Chelsea Fosse of the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute followed his presentation with some hard data to back up the trends we are seeing related to practice models. Dr. Fosse also provided an analysis into the changing landscape of dentistry from both the ethnic and gender distribution of new dentists. Once again, the data confirms that the growth of the dental profession continues to be strong.

Both speakers looked at how the current trends in dentistry will affect the future of the profession and organized dentistry, and what today’s leaders need to know to be effective in their practices and in leading their associations.

The LEAD program wrapped up with an energetic panel of young dentists who practice in DSOs. Their answers provided an inside look at the daily life of a dentist in a DSO. They discussed breaking some of the stereotypes around practice models and the importance of involvement with organized dentistry to continue to make the voice of dentistry heard at local, state and national levels. Drs. Bethany Douglas, Ashley Wagler and ArNelle Wright gave their perspectives on the practice of dentistry in a DSO, while Dr. Kristie Johnson moderated the discussion. 

All three segments of this LEAD event provided valuable insight into organized dentistry and provided a picture of where the profession is heading. If you missed this free event, the videos are available to view at any time at floridadental.org/leadtheway.

Our next LEAD event will be in person on Jan. 31, 2022, in Tallahassee and will include topics such as public speaking, the third-party payer process, personal image and leading a team in the dental office. Visit floridadental.org/lead for more information and to register.