Team Clean


By Kristie Ceruti/Shared by Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine

Dental hygienists and assistants are the unsung heroes of any practice. We spoke to the industry’s finest to get their thoughts on dentistry, life, and Lucy Hobbs.

Antoinette Kahan, RDH, BA, RDA, CDA, is the Dental Assisting program director at  Virginia Beach Technical and Career Education Center, shared her thoughts recently with Incisal Edge magazine:

What first drew you to dentistry? In 1976, my boyfriend was in his sophomore year at Rutgers with the hopes of becoming a dentist. Helping him study, I discovered that my capacity to learn the material was at least as good as his, so I decided to enroll in an evening vocational program in dental assisting.

Talk a little bit about the public school/public health aspect of what you do. Both locally and nationally, health-care professions are subjected to increased governmental scrutiny. Many public programs have been cut from city budgets. However, one of my student interns at our public-health facility consistently reported that she was seldom busy. It just seemed like such an easy fix to solve a complex problem.


Antoinette Kahan, RDH, BA, RDA, CDA

I knew that there was a significant need for dental care in our school, if not throughout the entire school system. Now, instead of having public-health dentist working out of a public-health facility once a week, that person can change his or her location and work out of our state-of-the-art clinic.

The transition finally took place in January 2012. Now every week the dentist and i provide direct supervision to the dental-assisting students as they develop their hands-on technical skills, while at the same time serving the needs of our school-based population.

This has significantly increased the numbers of patients and procedures delivered by the health department. It is my goal to make sure that every eligible child will graduate from out school without decay, with healthy gums, and if needed,  a referral for third-molar extraction and an orthodontic consult.

Describe what your program entails. It’s a two-year curriculum comprising 1,080 hours of rigorous lessons and clinical instruction that transcend standard high-school instruction. Students must quickly make the transition from the classroom to the clinic.

Chemistry, biology, algebra, and geometry come to life in the routine daily practice of dentistry. Students who have taken anatomy and physiology grasp the intricacies of the human body; physics students have an advantage when learning radiography. And the humanities. History is where we begin: Since there was man, there was dental disease. Understanding where we came from helps guide where we go.

Aside from oral health care, what are your primary passions? Teaching. Lucy Hobbs started as a teacher and went into dentistry, while I began in dentistry and am now teaching. Living in the classroom is a process of discovery, not arrival. Every day I am met with wonderment. Sometimes there are days when my students ask me to stop teaching for the day because their brains hurt. I consider that a compliment.

Kathleen J. Gazzola, CDA, RDH, EMT, BS, MA. Kathleen Gazzola, 62, is the chair of the Dental Health Department and director of the Dental Hygiene program at Community College of Rhode Island. She lives in Lincoln, Rhode Island and also spent a few moments sharing her thought on the profession with Incisal Edge:


Kathleen J. Gazzola, CDA, RDH, EMT, BS, MA , shown, shares her passion “Giving back one smile at a time,” at a recent Lucy Hobbs Celebration hosted in Baltimore, Maryland.

What initially drew you to dentistry? When I was 13, the guidance counselor in junior high gave us the topic, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” My uncle was a dentist, and I loved going to the dentist. He hired me when I was 15; I started as an on-the-job-trained dental assistant for him, and it went from there.

How did you end up in the position you currently hold? I taught part-time at CCRI for seven years, then went to school at night and got my master’s in 1986. I was hired in 1987 as an assistant professor. I fell in love with teaching. I’m also in charge of Community Dental Health, where I place my students in externships in the community for nine weeks. They get real-world experience — it’s a wonderful finishing point for their education.

How long as your dental-hygiene program been in place? Both programs, hygiene and assisting, went through accreditation in 2011. After being char for nine years, I could see that the culture in our department has changed. Our facility utilizes our remodeled space magnificently; we’re very proud of it. It’s fantastic. If the president of the U.S. landed his place in Providence today and wanted to see a state-of-the-art dental-health learning laboratory, I would say, “Just bring him up to the Lincoln campus.”

You’ve also been active with the Mission of Mercy. Five years ago a group of my faculty and staff went to Connecticut Mission of Mercy. The second day was Palm Sunday, so we decided to go to Mass. The priest said, ” I know you’re not from here; what brings you here?” We said, “We’re at the free dental clinic.” He said, ” Your hour has not come- you have more to do.” This year, in collaboration with the Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation, we’re having our fourth Mission of Mercy here at CCRI. Last year we treated almost 800 patients, who were given almost $500,000 in free dentistry. It fills me with such pride- and my students see what it’s like to give back.

What are your outside interest? My passion is my family, especially my grandchildren: Eliana, 3, and Dominic, 1. I’m “GiGi” to them- Grandma Gazzola.

Interested in hearing from three other groundbreakers in the dental profession? Visit:

Benco Dental helps “Raise Spirits”

benco basket

By Kelsi Matylewicz/Benco Dental Social Media Intern

This past Saturday, July 18, the “Let’s Raise Spirits” fundraiser was hosted at Dooley’s Pub and Eatery in Old Forge, Pennsylvania.

This event was held in order to help raise money for the “Prescription Assistance Fund,” in association with the Medical Oncology Associates of Kingston, which “has been providing medical oncology and hematology care and services to residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania since 1977.” All proceeds from this event benefit local cancer patients to aid them with paying for their prescriptions and medical needs.

The mission of the Medical Oncology Associates:

Provide exceptional, innovative, and compassionate hematologic and oncologic care to residents of northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond; to offer cutting-edge clinical trials locally to our patients; to support and encourage our patients and their families in navigating diagnosis, treatment, and recovery; to provide psychosocial support to our patients and their families; to foster a sense of community among cancer patients; and to provide educational opportunities and materials, and wellness programs for our patients and their families.

With this in mind, Sharon Matylewicz, organizer and leader of the event, knew she wanted to help patients and families in medical need make this process a little easier.

The “Let’s Raise Spirits” fundraiser took place in the upstairs and downstairs of Dooley’s. The event featured a Chinese raffle, free giveaways, appetizers and desserts, and live entertainment by the Streetlife Serenaders, a Billy Joel tribute band.

The Chinese raffle consisted of 20 baskets, including one from Benco Dental, the nation’s largest privately owned dental distribution company. Benco Dental generously donated an Oral-B PRO 5000 electric toothbrush, a travel mug, a T-shirt, 12 PRO-SYS toothbrushes, an Incisal Edge magazine and more!

With baskets donated from family and friends and the public’s kind donations, the fundraiser was a success, according to Matylewicz.

Over $3,000 was raised and, with that donation, families in the local community will be assisted with their medical needs.

Attendee Krista Jackson, of Effort, Pennsylvania, was the excited winner of the Benco Dental basket.

“I’ve heard about Oral-B Pro’s Bluetooth features and can’t believe I won the basket! I’m even more thrilled to help the very necessary organization and support cancer patients through this event.”


Red wine staining your teeth? Bring on the cheese fries.


This might be the best news I’ve heard all week: among the helpful tips shared by InStyle magazine to protect red wine drinkers from stained teeth is pairing wine with hard cheeses and high fiber foods, such as potatoes.

I doubt they meant melted cheese and french fries, but a girl can dream.

Brussels sprouts and broccoli are probably more effective.

On another note, according to, switching to white wine is not the answer, either:

Skip the white wine. While red wine might stain your teeth, white is actually more damaging. “Wine contains tannins that bind to the surface of teeth and acid which reduces the mineral content of teeth leading to erosion of the enamel,” Dr. Alokh Persha says. “Different wines are acidic to different degrees and white wine generally causes more tooth erosion than red wine.”

InStyle also mentioned an intriguing product known as the  Wine Wipes Compact ($8).

I’ll investigate and report back.

In the meantime, remember to brush your teeth before you head out for cocktails. (And after you nosh on that high fiber broccoli. You don’t want green bits accessorizing your smile.)

Seriously, though, Dr. Persha told InStyle that advance brushing helps prevent stains, because plaque and tartar on teeth are magnets for red wine, and tend to worsen the stain.

And view more tips at:

Where can you find tooth wisdom? Ask the OHA.


By Kelsi Matylewicz/Benco Dental Social Media Intern

The Retirement Research Foundation has donated funding in order to help the  Oral Health America’s Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth,  education workshop for  older adults in the community. According to the OHA press release, “The $60,076 foundation grant is the first for OHA’s Wisdom Tooth Project® outside of the dental community.”

Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth features a curriculum designed to empower older adults with knowledge and a sense of self-efficacy to care for their oral health.

Trained dental hygienists will lead the workshops in places such as: senior centers, libraries, and places of worship. The Retirement Research Foundation grant will in part fund the expansion of the workshops to four additional markets in 2015.

OHA President and CEO Beth Truett said,

“We are honored to receive this funding from The Retirement Research Foundation; we appreciate their recognition that oral health is essential to healthy aging.”

“The Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth workshops are designed to reach the 92 percent of older adults who are aging in their communities, and we look forward to expanding the pilot in 2015.”

Interested in Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth visit:

50,000 toothbrushes on their way to mouths in need

Ron Lamb, DMD, President of World Dental Relief and the 2012 ADA Humanitarian of the Year is shown with a Benco Dental donation of toothbrushes.

Ron Lamb, DMD, President of World Dental Relief and the 2012 ADA Humanitarian of the Year (shown) welcomes four pallets July 15 at the World Dental Relief headquarters in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  

Inside these packages: 50,000 Benco Brands toothbrushes on behalf of the PRO-SYS® BuyOne, Give One effort. 

Among the benefiting organizations from this donation is KinderSmile Foundation, one of the groups that World Dental Relief supports. KinderSmile, founded by a dentist, Dr. Nicole McGrath, helps children in need; it provides free dental care to underprivileged children in New Jersey and abroad, and advocates for the increase in oral care access and oral care education for low-income children.

Dr. McGrath runs afterschool programs at the behest of school nurses who have shared with her that the students don’t have toothbrushes. Because of Benco Brand and PRO-SYS, these students will now have a toothbrush in the goodie bags KinderSmile prepares for each child they help.

Benco Dental‘s oral care line PRO-SYS subscribes to a unique philosophy of giving back — for every tapered and antimicrobial PRO-SYS toothbrush sold, a free toothbrush is donated to a person in need.

Benco Brand and PRO-SYS help serve the less fortunate at home and far away by supporting three organizations: Headstart, America’s free preschool for the less fortunate, Health Volunteers Overseas, whose dental team brings toothbrushes to parts of the world where children cannot afford them, and Donate A Toothbrush, which partners with World Dental Relief to provide brushes to 400 dental missions worldwide.

 Now partnered with World Dental Relief, Donate a Toothbrush provides brushes to 400 dental missions worldwide. It all began with teenagers in New Jersey, the Alenick sisters, Paige and Ashley, who dreamed of a world where every child could have a toothbrush.

World Dental Relief, a long-established 501 (c) organization, sponsors 400 -plus dental missions worldwide annually. Though the organization has been offering free dental work to those in need for many years, it never had a source for free toothbrushes to give to patients – until PRO-SYS® and Donate A Toothbrush.

Thanks to national dental distribution company Benco Dental and PRO-SYS, thousands will have a toothbrush!