Escaping the daily routine drives creativity

Escaping boundaries, figuratively and literally, ranked high on the Thursday agenda for the Benco Dental MarComm Department.

Among an itinerary outlined by Manager @RachelAPugh at the nation’s largest privately owned dental distributor from its home office in Pittston, Pennsylvania:
* 10 – 11:30 a.m.: Team brainstorming session at the home office.
* 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Everhart Museum, Scranton, Pa. – Featured exhibits: Wolves, Magic Mirrors and Spinning Wheels: The Anatomy of Fairy Tales and Some Enchanted Land; The Paintings of John Willard Raught
      * 3- 4 p.m.: Electric City Escape,  507 Linden Street, first floor, in the Marywood University Entrepreneurial Launch Pad.  The breakdown: a physical adventure game where players are locked in a room and have to find clues, break codes, and open locks in a series of puzzles within 60 minutes in order to win.  These puzzles will challenge wit, patience, and problem-solving skills to beat the clock.

Our challenge: Escape the Art Gallery, included the following instructions for our team: “According to our observations, you have one hour until the next security sweep. We need you to steal back a famous Pollock painting from within a private gallery at the Electric City Building. You and the team must find the painting and escape the gallery before security returns.”

Venturing outside the realm of our daily assignments to brainstorm on new projects and physically escaping the walls of a 12 x 12 ft. room required constant teamwork. For a group of eight marketers, graphic designers, videographers, database publishers and copywriters who frequently spend entire workdays focused on solitary pursuits, the process offered a chance to combine efforts and unite in victory.

Success occurred on many levels – our team created a list of out-of-the-box ideas and solutions at the office and escaped the Electric City challenge with the painting in a timely fashion. (Apologies to @LoriahVanStone, our resident Escape Room expert, for failing to capture team T-shirts in a record-breaking fashion. But, there’s always next time.)

We were inspired on many levels: by the entrepreneurial vision of our Electric City Escape creators, new business c0-owners and recent Marywood grads Ryan and Amy Hnat, by the unique artistic visions presented at the Everhart, and by each other’s contributions throughout the day’s adventures.















Meet Dr. Ellie


Ellie Phillips, DDS, shown above during The Lucy Hobbs Project 4th annual Celebration hosted June 2-3  in Dallas, Texas, makes it her personal mission to improve people’s oral health through expert advice, personal empowerment, preventative dentistry and education about xylitol’s many benefits.

On her blog, Ultimate Oral Health Guide, she recently shared the following, along with a mesmerizing video created by  researchers from the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Mass. put together showing these bacterial communities in your mouth.

“Your mouth is full of bacteria — both good, protective, beneficial bacteria and harmful, disease-promoting bacteria. Just like with the bacteria in your gut, the goal for a healthy mouth is to promote the good, protective bacteria and keep the bad bacteria at bay. And guess what…xylitol does just that!”


Learn more about the 35-year dental professional with a special interest in caring for geriatric patients and special needs children and adults at her website:

There she offers insight from a unique perspective (Dr. Ellie is a member of the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists with qualifications in pediatric and general dentistry, and an honorary member of the Eastman Academy, University of London, England) as well as a discussion of  her creation, Zellies, which are xylitol mints and xylitol gum made the naturally occurring substance that tastes like sugar, but has 40% less calories. There she details studies that show xylitol that it can safely protect and strengthen teeth, prevent decay, and help heal early cavities.


Drill-dodging options: A recap.

For pediatric patients — and others who would prefer to avoid the dental drill in the treatment of caries –a few options have gained popularity and FDA-approval in the past year.

  • Solea, by Convergent Dental, is the first CO2 laser system ever cleared by the FDA for hard and soft tissue ablation.

In a 2015 interview, Convergent Dental noted that Solea dentists report that they perform over 95% of their Solea procedures without anesthesia, and over 98% of those patients report no pain, with 100% preferring Solea to a drill.

Learn more at:

As mentioned in the reports, pros and cons exist to this treatment, and should not be overlooked.

Per the ADA update:

“Likely a result of its fluoride content, when applied to a carious lesion, SDF has also been shown to lower caries risk of the adjacent tooth surface.4  While the Times article focused on the use of SDF in young children, it has also been shown to be effective in management of root caries in the elderly.5, 6  It likely has additional applicability as an interim approach for managing problematic caries in individuals currently unable to tolerate more involved dental treatment.

SDF is not a complete solution to caries risk.  Single application has been reported to be insufficient for sustained benefit.7  Its downsides include a reportedly unpleasant metallic taste, potential to irritate gingival and mucosal surfaces, and the characteristic black staining of the tooth surfaces to which it is applied.3″

Read the reports in detail:

American Dental Association:


The New York Times:

Spreading smiles through song.


This week, the American Dental Association shared 7 Songs to Keep You Smiling This Summer,  and because research has proven smiles to be contagious, decided to keep the grins going.
According to the
“We tend to mimic the smiles or frowns of others because it helps us better understand what other people are feeling, allowing us to respond appropriately.”

Be sure to check out the ADA’s Summer Smiles Playlist:

But not before you see what we have in store, below:

The Jayhawks- Smile 


Weezer- Smile 


Van Morrison- Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) – Talent for miles.


Randy Newman “I Love to See You Smile” – How can you not be happy when you hear the opening notes?


Daryl Hall and John Oates – Sara Smile  (Thanks to Eric and Kelly from Benco Dental’s MarComm Department for remembering this one from the Philly favorites.)


Ryan Adams- La Cienega Just Smiled  Nothing upbeat about this one, but who says a song can’t earn a smile for sincerity alone.


Science + History = A Dose of Fun

As dental professionals in a science-based field, sharing knowledge with patients is serious business.

Shared laughter – a dose of humor – can be equally important, in the right setting. One educator – Steven Austad, Chair of the Biology Department at the University of Alabama, did just that in a recent column for

Austad, whose bio describes him as  enjoying “enjoys nothing more than communicating how science works to the general public” recently created a point system to help you calculate the “Snake Oil Score” for your favorite “natural” supplement.


World exhibition building in Chicago – United States 1893 / vintage illustration from Brockhaus Konversations-Lexikon 1908

In his public service message, the former newspaper reporter, Hollywood wild animal trainer and New York City cab driver, who now spends his days as a research scientist, invoked some history: the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment, and the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.

Find out how he put it all together in his column and take his quiz: