Is your guard down? Don’t wait to protect yourself and your patients.

Aside from your own dental knowledge, your patients’ personal data might be the most valuable commodity in your practice. And it has never been more at risk from criminals who’d like nothing better than to bust through your (often meager) security measures and make off  with all that  information.

In the Spring edition of Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine, journalist Jennifer Alsever offers a look at the dangers — and how to harden your defenses.

Vacationing in France in 2015, Cathrine Steinborn read a news article about a local dental office that had been burglarized: Thieves broke in and stole the practice’s computer server, which was loaded with patient data. Steinborn’s ears pricked up – she, too, was a DDS, having run a practice in Santa Clara, California, for three decades, and she wasn’t about to let that happen to her. Once she returned from France, she vowed, she’d address any outstanding security concerns for her own office before it was too late. It was too late.

The day before she got back to California, burglars broke into her practice through its basement door, making off with her server. She lost troves of her patients’ most personal data: birthdates. Addresses. Health information. Social Security numbers. It was seemingly a carbon copy of the incident in France. Says Dr. Steinborn: ‘It was horrible.’

Dr. Steinborn’s breach cost her thousands of dollars in legal expenses; she spent a year and a half dealing with public relations, insurance, forensics and police. Although she was able to recover her paperless records because of remote server backup, she had to report the incident to federal authorities and alert patients that their information had been stolen. You can imagine how your own patients might react to this news.  “Some were really mad,” Dr. Steinborn says. Her case still hasn’t been closed by the government.

Think it can’t happen to you?

According to Alsever, although physical server theft might seem a high-risk, low-reward way to procure such information, it’s not an uncommon tactic, when:

  •  a staff IT specialist leaves a laptop unattended in a car parked outside a practice.
  •  a rogue member of a dentist’s team downloads the precious data to a flash drive.

“‘It’s becoming more and more of an issue,” says Kenny Schwing, CEO of Liptak Dental Services, the dental IT firm behind DDS Rescue, a cloud-based data-security and restoration service available through BencoNET.

Screenshot 2017-04-24 11.57.16(Services like Schwing’s can often de-encrypt a corrupted server to restore the data. ‘Another ransomware attack today!’ DDS Rescue posted to Facebook after one recent service call (shown, left) . ‘We were able to … work with an IT specialist to clean the server. No ransom was paid.’)

Read the full story and protect yourself with a three-step checklist of initial steps to firm up your cyberdefenses:



Friday To Do list: #1. Schedule afternoon with an inspirational mentor.


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Robyn Benincasa

On a regular basis, Robyn Benincasa inspires people to live beyond expectations. In some instances, this leads to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or creating an adventure racing team, in others, starting an independent business.

Next Friday, April 28, Benincasa, a CNN Hero, three-time Guinness World Record Distance Paddler and Founder of Project Athena Foundation (Survivors to Athletes!) will share her energy as keynote speaker at a reunion of 31 pioneers of their profession and a celebration for several hundred women in dentistry.

Benco Dental will host The Lucy Hobbs Project 5th Annual Celebration on April 27 and 28, 2017 at Loews Hotel, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  During the gathering, The Project will honor six women selected as award recipients for setting new benchmarks in the dental profession.

Register by today’s deadline at:

“I find it really inspiring. Everyone in the room [at events where I speak] is lucky enough to have been born at a time when there is, in essence, equal opportunity if you have the drive and the desire, and work hard. But the endurance it took [for Lucy Hobbs] to bust the system, to be that breakthrough–she saw what she wanted to do and wasn’t willing to accept anything else. That’s a great example for all of us,” said Benincasa, referencing the Project’s namesake and the first woman to earn a degree in dentistry.

“We should honor these people who, against all odds, said ‘I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna break this barrier.’ It is neat to be in a business environment where it doesn’t matter what your gender is; it matters what your skills are and what your drive is.”

The Lucy Hobbs Project, sponsored by Benco Dental, annually hosts a celebration honoring exemplary women in the dental community. This year’s event, sponsored by Crest + Oral-B, KaVo Kerr Group, Ivoclar Vivadent, 3M, Hu-Friedy, GLO Science, Sunstar, Medicom, Centrix, Dental EZ and Cain Watters and Associates, will also include a Panel Discussion featuring one CE credit. Attendees will gain insight from six perspectives during Emerging Leaders in Dentistry: The Female Influence. Panel Moderator Linda Miles, CSP, CMC of Ultimate Team Mastery will lead the discussion, fueled by Sarah Anders, Chief Operating Officer, Ivoclar-Vivadent®, Maxine Feinberg, DDS, Melanie Martel, DMD Candidate with Clinical Honors, Kady Rawal, BDS, CAGS, and Katti Simpson, RDH.

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Benincasa offers insight on women in business and the leadership styles:  “Women at the top levels of any industry aren’t trying to be men. They’re trying to use their core strengths and talents and competencies to succeed,” she said.

“The road might be different, but the finish line is the same. Be the leader that your team needs in the moment. Women tend to move toward the affiliative leadership style–lead by friendship, lead by coaching. It’s more effective than people who run a pacesetting or coercive style. A lot of leaders fall into those traps.”

Named for Dr. Lucy Hobbs, who, in 1866, became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry, awards are presented to honorees who embody the project goals. Diverse yet similar, six professionals who redefine their field and reinvigorate all those in their orbit will earn accolades at the celebration, including:  Patricia L. Blanton, DDS, MS, PhD, Winifred J. Booker, DDS, Margaret Fickess, RDA, CDA, MEd, Emily Ishkanian, DMD, Irene Marron-Tarrazzi, DMD, MS, and Andrea Joy Smith, DDS.

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The Lucy Hobbs Project, with a network of more than 9,000 members, empowers women in dentistry to drive change and deliver success through networking, innovation and giving back. Named for Dr. Hobbs, the woman who, in 1866, became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry, this project aims to bring women together from all facets of the dental industry – dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, receptionists, sales representatives and others. Free to join, it offers networking opportunities, educational programs and charitable events.

Each year The Lucy Hobbs Project collaborates with a national partner to give back, and for 2017, will help Cradles to Crayons, which provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive. At the 5th annual Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration, Cradles to Crayons will collect back-to-school supplies to be donated to over 30,000 students this summer. In lieu of a fee for the celebration, attendees are asked to donate items, such as new backpacks, new school supplies, notebooks or composition books and construction paper, crayons (24-pack), colored pencils (12-pack), pencils and pencil cases, pencil sharpeners and erasers, blue or black pens, pocket folders, glue sticks, rulers and scissors.

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To learn more about previous winners of The Lucy Hobbs Project® Award, or to sign up for The Lucy Hobbs Project®, visit:

Benco Dental, headquartered in Northeastern Pennsylvania, is the largest privately-owned dental distributor in the United States, offering a full array of supplies, equipment and services to dentists across the nation.  Founded in 1930 by Benjamin Cohen, the company has remained family-owned and focused on its unique mission to “deliver success, smile after smile.”

Within the past 86 years, the company has grown from a single downtown location to a national network of more than 65 regional locations, five distribution centers, and three design showrooms.  Those design showrooms, one at the company’s Pa. headquarters, one in Southern California, and one in Texas, feature North America’s largest selection of dental equipment and technology, as well as a hands-on dental design experience, to assist dentists in the planning and construction of a new office.

Benco, which has been named one of the top 30 Great Places to Work® in Health Care for the past two consecutive years, and Pennsylvania’s Best Places to Work® for 12 of the past 14 years, is proud to feature a highly skilled team of more than 400 professionally trained sales representatives and over 300 factory-trained service technicians. For more information, visit or call 1.800.GO.BENCO.



‘The Woman That Pulled Teeth’ and the Tooth Key

As we prepare to celebrate the fifth annual Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration and Reunion, we reflect on Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor, the first woman in America to graduate with a dental degree and an instrument she most certainly had at her disposal – the tooth key.

At one point in her autobiography, written in the third person, Lucy discusses her rise to prominence, after so many trials and tribulations: “Her reputation widened, until all Iowa knew of the woman that pulled teeth.” The emphasis is her own.


Tooth key on display in dental museum at Benco Dental home office, Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Just what did she use to pull those teeth? Most likely, it was the humble tooth key, such as the one on display in the dental museum at Benco Dental home office in Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Modeled after a door key, the dental key was used by first inserting the instrument horizontally into the mouth, then its “claw” would be tightened over a tooth. The long metal rod, or bolster, was placed against the root. The instrument was rotated to loosen the tooth and pop it out. This did not always go so smoothly, but often resulted in the tooth breaking, causing jaw fractures and soft tissue damage.

The first mention of the tooth key was found in Alexander Monro’s Medical Essays and Observations in 1742. The design of the dental key evolved over the years. The original design featured a straight shaft, which caused it to exert pressure on the tooth next to the one being extracted. This led to a newer design in 1765 by Ferdinand Julius Leber, in which the shaft was slightly bent. In 1796, the claw was fixed via a swivel enabling it to be set in various positions by a spring-catch. Newer designs, such as those manufactured by medical instrument maker Charriere featured interchangeable claws. The handle unscrewed and there was a screwdriver inside it with which to change the claw. By the end of the 19th century, the introduction of forceps made popular notably by Sir John Tomes, rendered the tooth key mostly obsolete. However, a modern version of the dental key, the Dimppel Extractor, briefly revitalized its use later in the 20th century.

Thankfully, dental health has come a long way from the days when Dr. Taylor earned the nickname “The woman that pulled teeth” and the tooth key is now a museum oddity, but women dentists are no longer seen as unconventional.


An illustration of dental keys for tooth extraction from Savigny’s catalog of surgery implements, circa 1798.


Guest blogger Jenn Ochman, Database Publishing Production Specialist in the Branding and Communication Department at Benco Dental, dedicates her time outside work to historical reenactment. She shares knowledge of dental history with readers on a monthly basis.

A world in miniature: Dentistry and art intersect, again.

Dentists — in every instance artists of the oral cavity — focus on the mouth’s architecture (prosthodontist, oral surgeon), civil (periodontist) and structural (orthodontist) engineering, and interior design (general and cosmetic dentist).

Takahiro Iwasaki, an artist in a related medium, constructs original architectural structures (shown, courtesy Colossal) in intricate detail as well.

Using the finest bristles of toothbrushes, he assembles delicate creations in the form of radio towers and power lines.

Talk about perfection in small spaces.

See more from this Japanese artist and his ongoing series, Out of Disorder (Brushes of World) at:


Bringing coffee stains to a grinding halt?

No preservatives, no artificial flavors, no stabilizers, no sugar, no sweeteners.

No coffee-stained teeth.

Touted as the “first colorless coffee drink in the world,” CLR CFF, a clear coffee, involves Arabica coffee beans and pure water, according to the siblings who created it.

Slovakian David Nagy, who founded CLR CFF with his brother Adam told The Evening Standard that inspiration struck when they were living in London:

 “We are heavy coffee drinkers. Like many other people we struggled with the teeth stains caused by it. There was nothing on the market that would suit our needs so we decided to create our own recipe.”

What will this mean to a world that “runs on Dunkin”? Will there still exist a “best part of waking up”?

At 5.99£ or $7.70 for two 6.7628 fluid ounces bottles ($3.85 each), this clear alternative keeps pace with the green goddess of Starbucks.

While this seems to warrant a celebration among the dental community, the ramifications are endless.

Has anyone broken the news to Juan Valdez or the Edison Award™-winning Keurig® Vue® brewer?


Photo courtesy

Or to Pantone, where at least 14 colors have coffee or coffee-related names, according to  (Turkish Coffee (19-0812), Coffee Bean (19-0915), Chicory Coffee (19-1419), Mocha Mousse (17-1230), Coffee Liqueúr (18-0930), and Café au Lait (17-1227) among them)?

To the positive, post-meeting coffee rings on vital documents will fade gracefully, along with newsprint ink-stained fingers from the morning paper.

Just like the aroma from the morning cup of joe.

As long as red wine and cigarettes haven’t left the party, though, teeth whitening inventors can still sleep at night.

Naysayers, let the debates begin.




A relative newcomer to the bitter brew, Kristie Ceruti buzzed her way through the 1990s with Jolt, Red Bull and green tea. This Molar Muse drinks her daily iced coffee through a straw — (online) newspaper in hand — and gets the jitters just thinking about a clear new world.