Book Review: ITI Treatment Guide: Digital Workflows in Implant Dentistry

By Dr. Alan E. Friedel

Digital Workflows in Implant Dentistry is a compilation of material presented in 2018 at the ITI Consensus Conference in Amsterdam that was worked into this book.  This book is extremely thorough in detail and is not intended for dentists seeking a simple “cookbook” approach to digital workflow. If you have an academic interest, or if you are heavily invested into digital dentistry, this book will be of interest. There are 14 chapters to the book, and the first 12 examine different aspects of digital approaches to what were formerly analogue procedures. These concepts include: Digital Scans, CAD/CAM, Implants, Computer Guided Surgery, and Digital Articulators to name a few.

Chapter 13 provides multiple case studies some of which by the nature of digital workflow have areas of overlap. For those readers who find most of the book to be too dense, these presentations are more in the nature of a “nuts and bolts” approach to the topics raised in the preceding chapters. The cases start with single implant restorations and become progressively more complex ending with a case requiring multiple implants and the correction of a large bony defect in a patient’s maxilla.

The final chapter is brief but provides a listing of those technologies which one would have to invest in if a doctor decided to immerse into a digital approach to clinical care. Each chapter ends with concluding remarks where the authors lay out challenges being faced in the area of discussion and provide cautionary notes.

The illustrations are up to the high standard the publisher is renowned for and provide visual understanding of the topics being introduced. These images will be familiar to those doctors used to working in this realm, but will be a revelation to those of us who have not yet experienced high resolution STL files or CBCT radiography.

This book is of an Academic Nature and would be of great value in a teaching environment pointing towards how dentistry will be practiced in the coming generations. It should be part of the library of any institution engaging in digital practice. It is not for the average reader.

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

10 Times your Dental Assistant Has Saved the Day

By Megan Donawa, EFDA, CDA, BA

Being a dental assistant is kind of like being a superhero. We use our abilities beyond those of ordinary people and demolish villains like dental fear, anxiety, and the biggest culprit: tooth decay and periodontal disease. Although these moments of strength are stealth-like, these skills never go unnoticed. Here are 10 times your dental assistant has (flawlessly) saved the day:

  1. Using our mind-reading powers, your treatment room is set up for any and every step within your patient’s appointment…including those unexpected times of treatments that have gone rogue.
  2. We use our accelerated healing powers to talk a patient off the ledge of dental anxiety and fears (because when you’re in our chair, everything is going to be okay).
  3. The best heroes have control over patient documents like health history, radiographs, and past dental history to better prepare you for the battle against oral pathology!
  4. Taking advantage of our super speed, we’re able to maneuver our complete set up from a simple filling to a surgical extraction without breaking a sweat.
  5. Magically projecting our knowledge of insurance basics to dominate the quality of communication between the patient and the team. (Because true champions are cross trained!)
  6. Delicately handing off our patient to the front office to schedule their next treatment to ensure teamwork to serve dental justice.
  7. With organization as our ammunition, we create an effortless workflow to communicate with you.
  8. Hitting back self-doubt with a vengeance and trusting the processes that we’ve put into place for patient care.
  9. Using our supernova voice to bring our best input from the doctor-assistant side to the table during meetings and huddles.
  10. Dental crime never sleeps, so we set back up to save the day again… tomorrow.

Making Sure You and Your Team Feel Safe

By Casey Stoutamire

Recently, I’ve seen an uptick in calls from members asking how to deal with disgruntled patients who are making them and members of their team feel unsafe. Unfortunately, due to frustrations from the pandemic, political polarization, economic pressures (and the list could go on and on), dental offices are becoming more susceptible to violence that has been seen in other healthcare settings. The violence in a dental office can be anything from patients (or their family members) verbally berating dentists and their teams to physical threats or even shootings.

You might think this type of violence won’t happen in your office, but don’t let those be “famous last words.” It is time for dentists to make workplace safety — including the safety of your team and patients — a priority. So, what can you do to make sure you and your team are as safe as possible? First, train yourself and your team for how to speak with patients. This seems basic, but it is one of the most important tools with which you can empower your team. Due to the pressures mentioned above, a patient’s fuse could be much shorter and it is important for you and your team to focus on their concerns, listen carefully and respond accordingly. The focus should be on conflict resolution. Often, the patient just needs to vent and feel as though he or she is being heard. You and your staff know your patients and can identify “problem patients” so the entire team can be alerted to when they are on the schedule. You might also want to consider formal conflict resolution training for you and your team. Available for attendance at the 2023 Florida Dental Convention, “Communication Solutions: Attitudes, Breakdowns and Conflict Resolutions” is a course that will illuminate techniques when it comes to keeping an overall positive work environment.

Second, ensure that your office is physically secure. Are there employee-only entry points that are kept locked? Is there only one entry/exit for patients/non-employees? What is the security for front desk staff? Do you have security cameras? How are your treatment rooms laid out and positioned? I encourage you to involve your team in this exercise so they feel engaged in the process. Also, make sure your team remains vigilant and alert of their surroundings. Do they notice a patient in the parking lot long after their appointment or when they are not even on the schedule? You need to be alerted to these issues so you can handle them accordingly.

Finally, if you do have a patient who is threatening you or your team, you should dismiss them from the practice immediately. If they threaten violence or your team does not want them in the practice, you need to take this seriously as you can never be too cautious in these situations. I suggest alerting law enforcement and making a report. This is especially important if the patient has already been verbally or physically abusive to your team.

As always, your Florida Dental Association is here to help. Please do not hesitate to call us to discuss these delicate issues and talk through your specific scenarios.

Casey Stoutamire is director of third party payers for the Florida Dental Association. She can be reached at 850.681.3629.

Connecting with Hispanic Floridians to Reverse Trends in Oral Health

By The Moore Agency

Every September 15 to October 15 is set aside as Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize Hispanic contributions to our culture and celebrate their achievements in our communities.

Hispanic Floridians are a vital part of our communities and culture. It is even more important for dentists to be aware of the needs, beliefs, and motivating factors of the Hispanic community since they make up almost one in four Floridians, many of which are probably patients of FDA dentists. But there is a disparity among Hispanic populations when it comes to oral healthcare. Only 27.8% of Hispanic adults visited a dentist in 2017-2018, compared to 47.4% of non-Hispanic White adults and 38.9% of non-Hispanic Asian adults.

Lack of knowledge presents a major obstacle to better oral health among Hispanic Floridians. One recent study found that 6 in 10 Hispanics believe that more information on oral care habits in Spanish would benefit them. The issue of lack of knowledge available to this community is an even greater problem since Hispanic individuals often experience more oral health issues compared to the general population.

In response, we have developed a bilingual advertising campaign with the Florida Dental Association. The campaign aims to inform Hispanic Floridians about oral health care and how to find a local dentist in both Spanish and English. Through authentic communication that prioritizes visuals and wording relevant to this audience, the FDA hopes to reverse the oral health trends of Hispanic families in Florida.

Another way you can ensure your dental practice is catering to Hispanic members in your community is to promote if your dentist or dental hygienist is bilingual. Bilingual team members improve a person’s dental visit by removing the fear of miscommunication and providing comfort in a potentially stressful situation. By promoting this on social media or promotional materials, you may be able to help someone in your community treat their oral health issues for the first time in their life.

It is our sincere hope that you see more Hispanic patients in the next few months as a result of this campaign. The Florida Dental Association has made it clear that this audience is a priority, and we will continue to work with them to help Hispanic Floridians attain a healthy smile.