Are dentists doing enough to help stem the tide of fatal opioid overdoses?

Dentists have long been at the forefront of the discussion.

In its summer 2014 issue, Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine published “Bitter Pills,” an examination of the burgeoning epidemic of dentists’ over-prescription of opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. In the more than two years since, public awareness of the problem has exploded. In the magazine’s fall 2016 edition, writer Anna Merlan revisits her earlier story and takes stock of the current situation for patients and doctors alike.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) notes that in 2014, for the first time, drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with an estimated 47,055 people succumbing to lethal overdoses — more than 125 a day on average.

According to Merlan:

“The dental industry at large takes seriously its role in preventing opioid abuse and dependence, and was doing so even before today’s alarm bells began to sound: In 2011, the American Dental Association began publishing position papers on dentists’ role in reducing harm from opioids and offering free classes on prescribing them. In May 2015, it debuted a new publication, The Practical Guide to Substance Use Disorders and Safe Prescribing.”

Learn about the pledge taken by more than 60 medical schools, and hear from Dr. Stephen Matthews, who sits on the board of the Missouri Dental Well Being Foundation:

Review the CDC  newest clinical practice guide­lines that lay out how best to prescribe opioids for patients 18 and older: 

To read Merlan’s original piece, go to:

What Tuesday news will have you jumping for joy?

You can still nominate your game-changing dental innovation!

Edison Awards 2017 #EA17 extends its nomination deadline: Final chance to enter is December 2, 2016 at midnight PST.

Edison Awards 2017 Nominee Gallery

Browse the gallery of outstanding nominees for the 2017 Edison Awards, among them CS 3600 Intraoral Scanner by Carestream Dental and Maxcem Elite™ Chroma by Kerr™ Corporation, shown.

Now in its 30th year, The Edison Awards is an annual competition honoring excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design, and innovation.

How can winning an Edison Award help your brand?

An Edison Award can set your innovation apart from the competition and accelerate your promotional efforts to distinguish your new product in the marketplace.

Nominating for an Edison Award can also help:

  • Gain broad international recognition and significant market visibility
  • Distinguish your team, your practice, and your innovation
  • Receive feedback from a mix of industry experts, business executives and the media

    To learn more or to submit your nomination,  visit

Why Treatment Coordinators are Most Valuable Players at your practice

By Lisa Philp, RDH, President of Transitions Group North America

The responsibilities of treatment coordinators are vast. So is the value they add to your practice.

There is an increasing prevalence — and importance —of Treatment Coordinators; skilled colleagues who can help a practice increase its case acceptance by up to 20 percent. That’s a laudable figure, but what should a treatment coordinator ultimately be responsible for to help make it happen? Choosing the right one can make all the difference between a practice that’s moderately successful and one that’s extravagantly so.

Opinions vary, but in my experience the core characteristics of a good treatment coordinator are self-confidence, strong relationship and communication skills, an optimistic attitude and a genuine curiosity about people.

High emotional intelligence and empathy (not sympathy — an important distinction) are imperative, as is a strong motivation to solve problems and work toward financial solutions for patients who need persuasion to make dentistry a regular feature of their lives.

That’s an awful lot of responsibility. How might it play out day to day?

NEW-PATIENT ORGANIZATION. Treatment coordinators are the first point of contact for new patients, often via telephone. This first call can take up to 15 minutes, which in multiples can be a little difficult to fit into a practice’s daily operations. (Add “good time management” to that list of core characteristics above.) Your T.C. will also serve as an orientation committee for new patients, providing them with a welcome package, ensuring they’ll show up for that crucial first visit, giving them a tour of the practice and then sitting down with them to assuage anxieties and determine their goals for their dental health.

FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS ON THE FLY. Patients coming from their hygiene visit with previously diagnosed needs or (especially) new diagnoses will need a more in-depth look at their financials: overall affordability and available options to help defray costs.

PREDETERMINATION MANAGEMENT. Although predetermination doesn’t really fall under the case-acceptance rubric, it might very well be necessary if the patient is serious about dental treatment. Foreknowledge of coverage particulars benefits both your practice and your patients. Then, once predetermination is returned, your T.C. will need to follow up at once with patients to keep them moving along the treatment track.

CONSULT PREPARATION. When a patient is invited back for a separate consultation, the treatment coordinator handles the logistics, preparing the plan, letters, documents, visuals and room setup for the patient and any of his or her family who might attend.

TRACKING CASE ACCEPTANCE. Here, the job comes full circle, as the treatment coordinator tracks diagnosed and planned treatment for patients, calculating acceptance rates and, often, assembling a monthly summary for the entire dental team.

Crucial variables all, for sure — and a skilled treatment coordinator is one who can handle each of them with aplomb. That’s what leads to increased case acceptance, and tangible value added for your practice that far exceeds the cost of an additional staff member.

Lisa Philp RDH, is the Chief Visionary Officer of Transitions Group North America, a full-service coaching company for dentistry. Her career began with clinical hygiene in the United States and Canada that led to the creation of a periodontal disease management program in which she coached thousands of dental professionals.  She is currently a leader, author, and coach and highly sought after North American speaker.

Two opportunities you don’t want to miss at #GNYDM.

Weren’t there for the first moon landing. How about the iPhone debut?

Don’t miss this FIRST.

If you’re headed to the Greater New York Dental Meeting @GNYDM, prepare to see the world’s first mobile intraoral scanner that operates solely on a tablet.

Visit @BencoDental booth 1617 to reach out and touch the 3M Oral CareMobile True Definition Scanner.

Want to gain insight on financial decisions you must get right at your practice?

Cain Watters & Associates’ Charles Loretto will lecture at the Greater New York Dental Meeting November 27-28 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, NY.

Sign up for his courses today:

* Sunday, Nov. 27, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. “OWNING YOUR PRACTICE”


* Monday, Nov. 28, 9 a.m. -12 p.m. “SUCCESSFUL DENTAL PARTNERSHIPS”

Register today:

How did Dr. Kerry White Brown turn flooded disaster to opportunity?

The reception are of White Brown Smiles in Columbia, South Carolina, today bears no trace of the catastrophe visited upon it less than a year earlier – a condition that’s testament to the steely determination of Dr. Kerry White Brown (above, center) and her husband Gregory Brown, to rebuild and improve the dental practice.

Last October heavy  rains caused great swaths of the Palmetto State to flood. Nineteen people died: damage was estimated at $12 billion. Into that last category fell Dr. White Brown’s practice, which flooded with up to five feet of water. “We had just added a 2.200-square-foot addition,” she says. “New chairs were still in their boxes. The new equipment was all destroyed.”

Just five months after the flood, Dr. White Brown and her team, who had been seeing patients at a second office across town, walked into their gleaming new 5,400-square-foot practice. She takes a philosophical view of the experience. “No one was hurt,” she says.
“We made out pretty easy compared to some, who lost loved ones. I was grateful that all we lost were things. Things can be replaced.”

Dr. Kerry White Brown shared three dental practice disaster survival tips with Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine. Learn from her experience, and  be inspired by Dr. White Brown and her dental and home teams: