Lewis Berk and Leah Berk stand facing and smiling at the camera at a trade show. Behind them is a graphic representing an ion with the words Pulpdent right above it.

Pulpdent's Family Lineage Remains at Company Core

As a young boy, Pulpdent Corporation founder Dr. Harold Berk quickly discovered his calling to help the less fortunate restore their smiles. He later pursued a dental degree, studying at the Forsyth Dental Infirmary in Boston, which focused primarily on the oral health needs of Boston’s disadvantaged children and provided advanced clinical training for graduate dentists. There, he developed a paste that would support the natural healing process for patients in the Bay State and around the world.  

That product was Pulpdent, a premixed calcium hydroxide paste used for treatments like pulp and root canal therapy. Dr. Berk began selling the product in 1947. Today, Pulpdent Corporation’s third generation, Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager, and cousin Lewis Berk, Pulpdent Strategic Operations Manager, work with their family to continue a legacy that began over 70 years ago.

“Dr. Harold Berk was my grandfather, and company founder. Dr. Berk and Benjamin Rower started a company to manufacture and market the product known as Pulpdent Paste. The company name was eventually changed to the Pulpdent Corporation in honor of Dr. Berk’s original product.”

Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager.

Today, the multi-million dollar company is a world leader in esthetic bioactive restorative dental materials. Leah, with the company four years, plays a significant role marketing the company’s wide array of award-winning products and its mission.

“My role is to create, package and distribute content for print and digital media channels. I help tell the story of Pulpdent, our products and the people who use them. One of the highlights of my job has been the opportunity to collaborate with practitioners and industry thought leaders to develop content pieces that educate and inspire clinicians.”  

Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager.

She is not alone in her quest. Five family members also work to grow and manage the dental business in Watertown, Massachusetts as part of Pulpdent’s leadership team.

They include Dr. Harold Berk’s sons — the second generation — Ken, Fred and Don, and his grandchildren — the third generation — Lewis Berk, Strategic Operations Manager and Leah.

The Pulpdent family team thrives together; it’s no wonder why the company has continued to grow and provide dental products for industry professionals for nearly eight decades.

“We have two generations working together with complementary skill sets and are continuously learning from one another. The older generation has over 130 years of combined dental industry knowledge, while the younger generation has experience with newer technologies and social media. Having grown up together, we know what makes each of us “tick” and how to communicate effectively with one another.”

Leah Berk, Pulpdent Media and Communications Manager.

Family collaboration and company growth has enabled Pulpdent Corporation to add new and innovative products to its dental catalog. Most recently, the company has introduced the first light cure composite designed to mimic the properties of natural teeth: ACTIVA Presto.

ACTIVA BioACTIVE products help stimulate the formation of apatite (the building blocks of teeth), chemically bonds to teeth and help protect against decay. The products in this line are the first dental resins with a bioactive ionic resin matrix, shock-absorbing rubberized resin and reactive ionomer glass fillers. The material actively participates in cycles of ionic exchange, which helps tooth maintenance and oral health.

Learn more about the product line here.

How can a family business partnership thrive?

Leah shares advice for aspiring family partnership:

“Capitalize on each family member’s unique skills and experience. Have everyone play to their strengths and find ways to compensate for their weaknesses. Understand that what may be obvious to one family member may not make sense to someone else. Take the time to explain and re-explain your ideas and realize that it takes time for everyone, even family members, to assimilate new information.”

Leah Berk, Pulpdent’s Media and Communications Manager.

It also helps to spend time outside the office together.
Leah says she and her family have fun outside the dental industry. They often spend their summers together on the sandy shores of Cape Cod, swimming, boating, playing tennis and grilling.

“We all love to cook and often have potluck dinners together,” added Leah.

Want to learn more about ACTIVA BioACTIVE?

Contact your Friendly Benco Rep or visit Benco.com

Instagram Influencer Dr. Joyce Kahng shares why you need digital media at your practice #IE40Under40

Virtual Smile Consults. Practice insight. Answers to burning questions (“Is dental school worth it? Do you need to use mouthrinse? How often should crowns be replaced?”) Even daily skin care routines.

Dr. Joyce Kahng @joycethedentist, one of Incisal Edge‘s 2019 40 Under 40 honorees, offers all of these and more via the Instagram platform to share her dental philosophy and propel her career into the digisphere.

As a digital platform, Instagram launched on Oct. 6. 2010, and garners over 100 million photos a day. Two-hundred million users visit at least one business profile daily, making the app a wise marketing strategy for businesses in all industries.

Dr. Kahng’s profile, which to date features an impressive following of over 18,700, with a mere 177 posts, presents the 33-year-old as a modern, progressive dental professional. See one recent post below:

View this post on Instagram

Let's talk about one of the most unpopular topics in Dentistry… XRAYS. I practice in Southern California…land of Avocado Toast and Acai Bowls. My patients care tremendously about their overall health and wellness and I love that about them. But the one area of contention is always their check up xrays. And i've noticed, there is an increasing amount of fear surrounding dental X-ray exposure. Just for the record: A set of check up xrays is about 0.005 mSv, the same amount of radiation you would get from a 1-2 hr airplane flight or 1 day of background radiation. We are always exposed to radiation. Just by living. Just by breathing. And thanks to technology, our digital dental X-rays are very low impact. However, given the facts, I find many patients still unconvinced… they threaten to leave the practice and find a dentist who doesn’t take xrays. Although that #sucks, it is the patient's prerogative to choose a dentist they align with. If that is one who does not practice at the standard of care, then we are not aligned because: I run an ethically based practice. I don't over-treatment plan or upsell. I follow ADA guidelines and I practice lawfully. I guard and protect my patient's best interests. I’m not in the business of overexposing anyone to radiation. And deep down inside I feel like my patients know that. Yet for the same reasons they choose me to be their dentist, they are also quick to leave when they don't get what they want. I quickly go from advocate to enemy. As a practice owner, the x-ray battle is one that I lose over and over. And of course I want my patients to be happy and satisfied —I’m a business owner. But sometimes it’s not about business. When business meets medicine, hard decisions need to be made. There are times you have to stand your ground and uphold a standard a patient may not appreciate in the moment. It may not be good business but it's the way I run my business.

A post shared by Dr. Joyce Kahng OC Dentist 🦷 (@joycethedentist) on

Many of Dr. Joyce Kahng’s Instagram posts offer evidence based information in fun, easy to understand ways for the general publicly.

In the post above, Dr. Kahng addresses patient concerns about x-rays and radiation. She writes in a conversational tone that can appeal to both her patients and even dental colleagues.

With clear, high quality photos, she leads an average of 5,000 people to her profile weekly, where she shares her persona, dental insights and love for helping others.

“I love being able to work with my hands. It makes the time just fly by when I get in the zone. It’s also incredibly powerful, being able to help a patient build confidence in their smile. It totally changes the way they present in the world both at work and in their personal lives.” 

Dr. Joyce Kahng, on being a dentist.

Behind the scenes with this ‘OC Dentist’

The “OC Dentist” brings this enthusiasm with her, from her office Orange + Magnolia Dental Studio in Costa Mesa, California, and presents it with professional portraits, narrative captions and stories on her Instagram profile.

The stories she features in her highlight reel, those little bubbles at the top of an Instagram feed, include daily updates about herself, her studio and dentistry.

A recent story shows a video of her brown puppy curled up on the floor sleeping; the pup naps as Dr. Kahng sweats it out on a Peloton. Text in the story: “with my favorite pupperooooo” and “Just finished a holiday ride!”

Another story shows her father outside cooking on a grill. She admired her father as she filmed. Text in the video: “My dad has fully committed to a whole head of white hair. This is my destiny,” Dr. Kahng whispers behind the camera, “Looks good dad, looks good.”

Dr. Joyce Kahng’s Instagram page. It’s colorful. It’s sleek. It helps the doctor spread awareness.

The stories mentioned above are consistent across most Instagram accounts; random snippets of the account holder’s daily life. But this doctor also takes planned, strategic approaches to her stories that spread brand awareness and inform patients about her profession.

A feature on her profile, #dentaltalk, is a series of videos where Dr. Kahng discusses topics that patients care about, such as whether a dentist should drill or not drill a tooth where there is a suspected cavity.

“This is a really tricky situation because as dentists, we’re trying to stay conservative and we want to be responsible and definitely not drill everything that we see,” Dr. Kahng said in a post, as arrows fly and attach to her photo and dissolve leaving behind red kisses; it’s one of many face filters found on the app.

“It’s a hard conversation to have with patients because patients want to know 100 percent there’s a cavity inside there. At a certain point, we’re basically saying you have to put your trust in us,” she explained.

‘Change the way patients see the dentist’

She admits that social media is an essential marketing tool for dentists.

“My whole presence on social media is built around being able to change the way patients see the dentist. If there are that many people on social media, especially young people, we as dentists have to go where the people are!”  

Dr. Joyce Kahng explains social media as a necessity.

Depending on the business type, some organizations will use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or all platforms to market themselves and their product or service. For Dr. Kahng, a rising social influencer, Instagram is the most useful platform for her purposes.

“I love Instagram because it is a perfect medium to build relationships. There are just so many fun ways to use it and I love how the stories keep me connected to patients as well! They can see some of the behind-the-scenes of what my life as a dentist really is like.” 

Dr. Joyce Kahng.
Dr. Joyce Kahng is a leading dental social influencer.

How does Dr. Kahng attract 70% of her new patient base?

The doctor says that social media is essential for her practice’s growth, “It drives patients to my practice.” She estimates that 70 percent of her new patient base is because of her social media presence.

“This also includes the new word of mouth, where many of my patients will share my Instagram with a friend of theirs. It’s the modern Business card!”  

Dr. Joyce Kahng

With such a large Instagram following, at 18.7K, many of her colleagues and friends ask how she built her social media presence. So many, that she decided to write it all down, a decision that would later lead her to becoming a published author.

Creating a step-by-step guide to Instagram marketing

Repetitive inquisition led Dr. Kahng to write Instagram Marketing for the Modern Dentist (2019), a step-by-step guide to cultivate and grow Instagram accounts.

“The more we can be on Instagram, the more we can change the face of dentistry together. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback about it from dentists who have said I really helped give them guidance and motivation to put themselves out there. Putting yourself out there is one of the scariest things as a Doctor and there is a lot of fear around it.”

Dr. Joyce Kahng.

An impressive repertoire of education and experience

A graduate of the University of the Pacific, Dr. Kahng has a bachelor of science degree in biology. She earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. She completed her general practice residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jacobi Medical Center, in 2011.

Shortly after opening Orange + Magnolia Dental Studio in 2014, Dr. Kahng became a licensed real estate agent serving the Orange County area in California.

At the University of Southern California, she dedicates her efforts as an assistant clinical professor for the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry’s restorative sciences department, where she works with aspiring dental professionals to develop their hand skills on mannequins.

‘Control your own narrative’

Most recently, Dr. Kahng has focused her efforts in the digital realm on Instagram. She suggests that all dental professionals adopt a social media marketing plan and take advantage of this dynamic marketing tool.

“It is absolutely essential for dentists to build a brand and market themselves on social media. Social proof is one of the most impactful ways of marketing and doctors need to realize that they cannot let others control their narrative. Take back control of your own narrative.” 

Dr. Joyce Kahng

To learn more about Dr. Kahng, visit her website.

Want to nominate yourself or a colleague for #IE40Under40?

For the 10th year, Incisal Edge will honor America’s best young #dentists. Nominate yourself or a colleague in a General Dentist or Specialist category before the 02.03.19 deadline: https://goben.co/2Nn77ls 

Through United Way Nurse's Pantry, Benco Family Foundation provides dental supplies to PA students

The Benco Family Foundation, the charitable division of the nation’s largest independently owned dental distributor Benco Dental, collaborated this school year with the United Way of Wyoming Valley to support its Nurse’s Pantry Program in Northeast Pennsylvania. Nurses in the Wilkes-Barre and Pittston area school districts received oral health kits to help support students’ dental hygiene.

“The nurse’s pantry is a simple concept but it is immediately impactful. Children will miss less school and they will do better.”

Bill Jones, president and CEO of the United Way of Wyoming Valley discussing the Nurse’s Pantry Program in a 2018 The Citizens’ Voice report.

In 2018, the United Way of Wyoming Valley was named the winner of a $25,000 grant from the Luzerne Foundation’s Millennium Circle Fund to expand a nurse’s pantry into more area schools, according to a report in The Citizens’ Voice. At that time the pantry expanded from five elementary schools in the Wilkes-Barre to 13 elementary schools in four other school districts: Hanover Area, Nanticoke, Pittston Area and Wyoming Valley West.

In the same article, Jones shared a few heartbreaking instances that demonstrated the need for the nurse’s pantry.

“Last year, a young boy missed four days of school because he split his pants. It was the only pair of pants he owned. Another child and his sibling had a more serious issue: head lice …. The kids ( who missed 10 consecutive days of school) still had lice because the family could not afford the medicated shampoo the school nurse instructed them to get. Think about the lives of those children for those two weeks and all the schooling that was missed all over $18.” 

Bill Jones, president and CEO of the United Way of Wyoming Valley said in 2018 report in The Citizens’ Voice.

In 2019, the Benco Family Foundation donated 300 toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss to each of the five Wilkes-Barre elementary school nurse’s pantries and 300 kits to one elementary school in Pittston, according to Rebecca Binder, the Foundation’s Executive Director.

Supplies are given out at the nurses discretion to children and families in need of dental supplies. 

Altogether, the donation will benefit over 5,000 students, according to the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

A screenshot from the United Way’s annual Nurse’s Pantry campaign video shows the care that nurses provide young students. Local schools will have dental supplies for students who need them most, courtesy of Benco Dental and the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

“Access to dental items is important because poor dental hygiene in a child can lead to tooth decay, which can progress into other medical issues. If a young child is in pain due to a dental issue, it’s difficult for them to focus and learn in school, which can lead them to fall behind in class and becoming discouraged because they aren’t doing well.”

Kathy Bozinski, Director of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Wyoming Valley

If not reminded about the importance of oral health, children can neglect healthy habits like brushing after every meal and flossing once per day. Donated kits provide an essential benefit to Luzerne County’s 34,679 low-income families whose children may not have consistent access to dental hygiene.

The donation aims to curb the effects of tooth decay, a disease that on a national level affects 20 percent of children aged 5 to 11 years old, and 13 percent of children aged 12 to 19 years of age, according to the Center for Disease Control.

“The items provided by Benco Dental to United Way of Wyoming Valley’s Nurse’s Pantry will have a great impact on the dental health of students and hopefully, keep them on track for learning success.”

Kathy Bozinski, Director of Marketing and Communications at the United Way of Wyoming Valley

Bozinski confirmed the Luzerne County schools that received oral health kit donations from the Benco Family Foundation:

Wilkes-Barre Area School District ⁠— Kistler Elementary; Dan Flood Elementary; Leo E. Solomon-Plains Elementary; Heights M.L. Murray Elementary.

Pittston Area School District ⁠— Martin F. Quinn Primary Center; Pittston Area Intermediate Center; Pittston Area Middle School.

The Benco Family Foundation, in partnership with the United Way of Wyoming Valley, is dedicated to improving the dental health and quality of life in its local communities, regionally, and around the world.

How is the Benco Family Foundation helping regionally?

Learn more about how the Benco Family Foundation supports changing lives with its Buy One, Give One Program here.

Need new gadgets for your dental practice? Here are #6NeatThings from Benco

The holidays are here! Treat yourself and your staff to new equipment and supplies for 2020. Where to begin? With #6NeatThings from Benco Dental, of course.

From Hu-Friedy’s AIRFLOW®, Benco Brands’ Gibson Healthcare Needle Recapping Device, Amann Girrbach’s Ceramill Matik, and Onpharma’s Onset, to Opti-Probe Tips and V-Posil Heavy Soft Fast.

Benco Dental is driving dentistry forward with these six neat products that are designed to improve safety, sanitation and also save time in the dental practice.

Get with the flow

AIRFLOW® One (pictured right); AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master (pictured left).

Hu-Friedy’s AIRFLOW® One (pictured, above right) is the latest EMS (Electro Medical Systems) innovation for the “Guided Biofilm Therapy” for biofilm management and stain removal during prophylaxis procedures. The device is characterized by unique ergonomics, high precision, easy maintenance and compliance with the highest hygiene standards. Order today.

Hu-Friedy’s AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master (pictured, above left) is the latest EMS (Electro Medical Systems) innovation for the “Guided Biofilm Therapy”: a unique solution for caries, perio prevention and maintenance. Created for intensive professional use, the device is characterized by unique ergonomics, high precision, easy maintenance and compliance with the highest hygiene standards. Order today.

The only recap you’ll need

Gibson Healthcare Needle Recapping Device.

Benco Brands’ portable Gibson Healthcare Recapping Device allows offices to meet the CDC and OSHA requirements for one-handed needle containment. The easy-to-use device helps protect against needle sticks by covering the front and back of the needle, and allows protection against accidental needle sticks during recapping and disposal of the needle in a Sharps container. 

The pre-loaded, spring-activated system automatically advances to the next capsule, once one is removed, allowing for 100 needles of varying lengths and gauges to be recapped. Portable and lightweight with a non-skid bottom to ensure stability, this device is sure to offer your team and patients the protection they need. Order today.

The black box of innovation

Ceramill Matik

Ceramill Matik by Amann Girrbach opens up a still-unique segment within the digital dentistry world. As the first full-service unit, it combines three machines in one. Apart from the actual processing station, the system also performs the functions of a fully automated stock management system, as well as a machine-cleaning device.

The support in loading, cleaning and in material management allows massive time savings in every day laboratory routines. Furthermore, additional software tools help to make optimum use of the materials and the tools.

Ceramill Matik offers innovative processing methods, such as the patented carving mode (60 percent time savings), thrilling (production of one-piece abutments) and speed milling of acrylic materials, as well as the maximum material range from hard and brittle block materials to zirconium and PMMA materials and metal materials. Click here to learn more.

Onset is as easy as 1-2-3

Onpharma’s Onset.

Onset by Onpharma helps administer local anesthetic consistently. The buffering system raises the pH of local anesthetic outside the body closer to physiological. The device can be used with Articaine, Lidocaine, Prilocaine and mepivicaine. Onset raises the pH of the anesthetic instantly, taking wait time and the patient’s physiology out of the buffering process.

Benco offers “Introductory Order Buy & Try”. You wouldn’t buy a new Tesla without taking it for a test drive. Why should a buffering system be any different? That’s right. Test drive Onset and if you don’t like it we’ll refund your One Box Kit. No questions asked. Order today.

Tips on tips

Opti-Probe.

Opti-Probe Tips from PacDent offer the thinnest available double-side vented, luer lock irrigation needle, with close rounded tip. The double side vented openings create a “swirl-effect” for efficient irrigation. The closed rounded tip protects apex. Order today.

Get a better bond in less time

V-Posil Heavy Soft Fast 50 ml Cartridge Pack of 2 from VoCo

V-Posil Heavy Soft Fast from VoCo is to be used as heavy body tray material for: one-step impression technique (simultaneous technique) using dual viscosities, two-step impression technique using dual viscosities, and functional impressions.

No need to stock fast-set and regular-set material; V-Posil has thermo-activated set. It begins to set up when placed in the mouth (up to two minutes). It also features two-minute working time and two-minute setting time. The rapid snap set reduces the time in the critical zone by up to 50 percent, minimizing potential distortion due to human error resulting in fewer re-takes. Less product needed = money saved! Order today.

Three people holding Throat Scopes and smiling (Jennifer Holland, inventor, stands in the middle), with Edison Award Graphics surrounding them.

Perform dental exams clearly with Edison Award-winning Throat Scope®

The days of traditional oral examinations are over.
Throat Scope®, an innovative probing device manufactured by Holland Healthcare Inc., enables doctors to easily perform intraoral examinations of patients’ mouths.

The unpleasant experience of restraining a toddler, while a doctor used a tongue depressor and flashlight to pry open the young patient’s mouth, gave inventor Jennifer Holland (above, center) her lightbulb moment.

The 2017 Silver Edison Award-winning product provides a light source located inside the mouth to allow medical professionals one free hand to conduct a fast, accurate and pleasant oral examination experience.

The device is completely sterile. Plastic depressors attach to the handle and are disposed after use. The depressors are clear, which allow for light to easily penetrate through the transparent material.

The strong luminescence can help professionals spot abnormalities that may have been missed when using wooden depressors and a dental flashlight during examinations. Light emitted from flashlights do not fully illuminate the mouth like Throat Scope® does.

Don’t just read about it, take a look at Throat Scope® in this video.

Video by Holland Healthcare Inc.

These Throat Scope® features save time and add ease to examinations:

* a handle with three powerful LED lights with an estimated five-year shelf life.
* a handle that can be used under any circumstance to illuminate dark or hard-to-see areas, for instance, during difficult dental procedures.
* less frequently charging than a cell phone, because the environmentally-friendly tool works continuously for 20 hours.

Throat Scope® offers convenience and numerous unique benefits at an affordable cost – driving dentistry forward through innovation. A starter pack is priced under $35 at Benco.com and includes the Throat Scope®, two blades and 50 single-use depressors.

Speaking of the Edison Awards — Nomination deadline ends today

The deadline to nominate an innovation for the Edison Awards is today. The annual competition, created in 1987, honors excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design, and innovation. Past winners have included Fortune 500s, small startups, and everything in between — including dental products and services. To nominate a new product that deserves recognition, learn details and submit an entry here.

Need a nudge? Be inspired by dentistry’s past honorees.

Now is the time to submit an innovation, rank among the dental industry’s most esteemed inventors and make a difference. Enter your nomination today.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie performing dental procedures on a young patient.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie takes dentistry to the '212th degree' #IE40Under40

When fresh out of high school or college, some people know which career paths to follow. After settling in, some discover a calling to positively impact people in the community that pulls them off course.

That describes the path of Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie, who shifted careers to become a board-certified pediatric dentist. Today he offers oral health care at his new practice, Lavoie Pediatric Dentistry, in Swansea, Massachusetts.

He started his health care journey in the nursing profession.

My experiences as a nurse opened my eyes to the extent to which early childhood caries, the most common chronic disease in children, exists, and how severely it can impact overall health and emotional well-being. My heart was broken for these kids and I wanted to be able to address oral disease more directly, but my influence as a nurse was limited to referrals and preventive education. I decided to go back to school to become a dentist.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie describes his career transition from nurse to pediatric dentist.

Helping children overcome and prevent cavities, a disease that affects 1 out of 5 children aged 5 to 11 years old, is a calling that the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree has dedicated his life to achieving. And so, he left nursing to help children who may not know about the consequences of dental neglect.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie, makes the most of his NYC experience as an Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree.

He believes in his mission so much that he built a new office that opened in August to better help and educate about the importance of oral health. Dr. Lavoie and his team are committed to providing an experience beyond the typical dental experience.

Our office culture places a significant emphasis on the fact that every patient is a VIP and an extended member of our dental family. We enjoy connecting on a personal level with each child who walks through the door, as well as their siblings, parents, or whoever else may accompany them. While most offices do make efforts in these areas, we attempt to reach the ‘212th degree.’

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie explains his team’s work ethic and the extent to which they provide individualized, high-quality care.
Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie’s new practice in Swansea, Massachusetts uses advanced dental equipment to treat patients.

The new office features five operatories with room to expand to 10 as his dentistry grows. It’s designed to enhance patient comfort using the latest technology and old fashion hospitality.

Dr. Lavoie uses electronic record-keeping, an environmentally sustainable alternative to paper, as well as the latest digital radiology equipment. While patients wait in the lounge, he provides them with tablets, HDTVs and coffee. It’s a welcoming atmosphere, especially for his patients’ parents.

During the construction process, especially as the opening deadline approached, he experienced sleepless nights, but also the euphoria of building a new practice and helping children.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie and his wife Katy at the grand opening of his practice.

Every child he meets is a meaningful encounter, Dr. Lavoie said, and a way for him “…to guide them through a difficult experience and to be able to get them smiling before they leave, or possibly even excited to come back, is an incredibly good feeling,” .

Like all professions, aspects challenge the ability to work efficiently, and dentistry is no exception.

Navigating the mess of dental insurance is, in my opinion, the largest difficulty. There are so many dental insurance companies that exist, each with their own set of rules in regard to range and frequency of treatments. It makes it incredibly confusing for both patients and dental staff, and phone calls to resolve any confusion can easily run upward of 30 minutes, which impacts the time and resources that can be focused on quality patient care.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie

Outside the Dental Practice

Outside the office, Dr. Lavoie classifies spending time with family as the most important aspect of his life. He’s an animal lover and foodie, who rarely frequents the same restaurants.

He enjoys discovering new, culturally authentic cuisine, especially ones that induce sweat and ignite his taste buds. He enjoys watching football and, of course, as a New Englander, his favorite team is the New England Patriots, a team that has won six Super Bowls since 2002.

Dr. Lavoie, his dental team and new office are ready to help children form healthy dental habits through regular visits and self-care for years to come.

We strive every day to re-define the negative stigma that generally follows dentistry and create a generation of self-empowered individuals when it comes to oral health.

Dr. Nicholas A. Lavoie.

NSK recognized for their handpiece designed with women in mind: Nano 95LS

From Phoenix to Chicago and across the U.S., NSK Dental made an impression on women in dentistry this fall.

On September 28, the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD) recognized the company’s Nano 95LS electric handpiece attachment in the 2019 Best New Product Contest. During the 98th Annual Conference of AAWD at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, in Phoenix, 2019 President Dr. Brittany Bergeron presented the award to NSK representative Katie Capalungan.

NSK Representative Katie Capalungan (left) accepted recognition for 2019’s Best New Product from American Association of Women Dentist President Dr. Brittany Bergeron.

During the event, AAWD conference attendees voted on exhibitors’ products, and the NSK Nano 95LS received the most votes.

A few days later, October 3-5 in Chicago, NSK supported Benco Dental’s 7th annual Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration of women in dentistry as one of the event sponsors.

 “Women are an important and growing demographic in dentistry. We wanted to show our support through a line of handpieces that meet their needs from an ergonomic perspective, which will ultimately impact their outcomes while in practice, and we believe that the Nano handpieces deliver on this.”

Colan Rogers, President/GM at NSK stated in a press release.

Lighten up? The Nano answers that call

The NSK Nano 95LS 1:5 increasing hand-piece attachment offers the quality and durability of the Z-Series of attachments (titanium body, ceramic bearings, Quattro spray, DLC coating, cellular glass optics, clean head system, push-button chuck, microfilter).

However, the award-winning product is 10 percent lighter and shorter than conventional models, making it a perfect fit for smaller hands, such as those of the female dentist.

The size makes it feel as though it is a natural extension of the hand. The NSK Nano 95LS has a maximum speed of 200,000 min-1, for FG burs, and a suggested retail price of $1,629.

“I was delighted to see a new partner of AAWD won our product of the year contest! It’s exciting to see that manufacturers are starting to make more products for women and their individual needs.”

Dr. Britany Bergeron, AAWD president and 2019 conference chair stated in a press release.

The NSK Nano 95LS is available through Benco Dental.

About NSK

NSK America specializes in ultra-high-speed rotary equipment and is passionate about creating innovative products that deliver outstanding value. NSK delivers a growing range of dental equipment, including air-driven and electric handpieces, specialty handpieces (endo, surgical, hygiene), electric motors and maintenance systems. NSK manufactures almost all parts in-house to guarantee precision, reliability and unmatched performance of its products.

About AAWD

In 1921, during the annual meeting of the American Dental Organization, the Federation of Women Dentists was formed. Now known as the American Association of Women Dentists, the organization is committed to advancing, connecting and enriching the lives of women dentists.

The organization’s membership is comprised of a diverse group of women at different stages in their careers and working in all areas of dentistry. AAWD connects women of all generations to improve the overall health and personal lives of the people they serve. For 96 years, the American Association of Women Dentists has been a trusted resource and voice for women in the dental profession.

For more information, visit www.aawd.org.

Dentistry Hack: Save time and money with GantGuard

You have a full schedule, complete with many precautions taken to ensure a sterile environment for your patients. Do you wish for an innovative way to save time?

Some of your equipment, like scalers and burnishers, need to be sanitized following CDC or ADA guidelines to prevent cross contamination, but not all supplies need such extensive care. For example, if to save time and money, one option is a disposable alternative like the American-made GantGuard Self Adhesive Bib.

GantGuard no-clip, non-toxic bib in blue.

Great Coverage and No Clips

The GantGuard Bib is the only one without tabs or bib holders, so there’s no need to attach those costly alligator clips. Unlike cloth, paper or plastic bibs, GantGuard protects the patient’s clothing and shoulders while eliminating cross contamination.

A study performed by Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Forsyth Institute found that procedural sanitation of dental bib clips might not sterilize clips completely. They analyzed 20 clips and found that 40 percent of the clips retained aerobic bacteria, and three of the clips had anaerobic streptococcus, a highly contagious bacteria.

With GantGuard Bibs, there is no risk of cross-contamination. Simply use and dispose.

GantGuard Bibs can be stored in a dispenser just like a roll of paper towels, allowing for convenient, quick use.

Save Time, Space & Money

Save time by eliminating the need to tie a bib. The GantGuard Bib simply attaches with a non-toxic adhesive, so no need to fiddle with knots or clips.

Save space by storing GantGuard in one of two ways:
* in self-feeding portable dispenser box
* in a wall mount paper towel dispenser (talk about convenient!)

Save money by eliminating the need for laundry services. Also, by no longer needed to sterilize alligator clips and chains, you save time and money. Focus on more important tasks, like building relationships with your patients.

Ready to give GantGuard Bibs a try?

The GantGuard Bib, which can save time, money and space at your practice, is available in four styles:

  • GantGuard Signature Dental
  • GantGuard Surgical
  • GantGuard Pediatric
  • GantGuard Classic

Order today or contact your Friendly Benco Rep to learn more at 1.800.GOBENCO.

From East to West: Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad exemplifies determination #IE40Under40

What would you do to protect your family in a country plagued by war, poverty, labor camps and the very real possibility of execution? Would you escape?

That’s what Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad’s parents did to flee post-war Vietnam, although it wasn’t as easy as hopping on a plane. In fact, the government declared leaving the country illegal.

“We were so poor, and living in that state of poverty was no way to live. We didn’t have much food. My parents’ jobs didn’t provide for a hopeful future for our family.”

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad said, recalling the stories her parents told of Vietnam.

The only way many Vietnamese people could escape communist oppression was by boat, a risky attempt some refugees did not survive. Those who were brave enough to flee, an estimated 1.5 million of them from 1975 to 1995, were known as “Boat People.”

This is the same type of boat Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad and her family spent 38 days in as they drifted in the South China Sea. (Photo Courtesy Dr. Tori-Thuy Conrad)

In 1980, when Dr. Conrad was just six weeks old, she and her family boarded her father’s fishing boat, a vessel not designed for the open ocean, and were joined by seven other siblings and cousins.

They sailed into the South China Sea from Hue City, not knowing where, when and if they would make landfall. They sailed for days, weeks, over a month, not knowing where the tides would take them.

“We spent over 38 days at sea without a definitive destination. We arrived at a refugee camp in Hong Kong, where we resided for months until we were brought to a brighter future by the sponsorship of a United States family.”

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad, recalling the stories her parents told of Vietnam.
Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad, held by her mother. Her brother and father to the right. Photo taken shortly after their arrival in the U.S. (Photo Courtesy Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad.)

Dr. Conrad ended up in Denver, Colorado, a stark difference from the tropical climate of central Vietnam, and began to live an American life.

Finding her dentistry destiny

Dr. Conrad attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry, but the atomic mass of atoms was not all she found. She also met her husband there, and a burning desire to help people.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be in the health care field, helping others heal through medicine, especially children.”

After graduation from Coe, she moved to Minneapolis to study dental hygiene at the University of Minnesota, but she wanted more, and continued her education to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

Today, the 2019 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree owns and practices at Tweet Pediatric Dentistry in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and is a mom of three. She juggles the responsibilities of a full-time dentist and a mother, an act that has its challenges.

“I think the most challenging aspects of dentistry is not the dentistry, it’s running a business. I had to learn as I went along and made a lot of mistakes. My mentors have guided me along the way.”

Although it’s difficult to run a business, Dr. Conrad loves her patients. She believes she makes a difference in their lives, and they return the favor to her.

“I am so grateful I get to do this and make such a difference in these children’s lives. The high-fives and hugs that I’m left with when my little patients leave their appointments leave me beaming with happiness.”

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad

When not in her operatory, Dr. Conrad is in the kitchen experimenting. She loves to cook for her family — and with them. Her favorite cuisine is Italian, without the pasta. She likes to stray from her cookbooks and allow her creativity to take over.

“I love using the fresh herbs and flavors, and pairing them with more proteins and vegetables in place of pasta. I try to create dishes without a recipe. I find it most rewarding when I have someone who eats my creation and provides raving remarks on a recipe that does not exist. It’s the best compliment.”

Dr. Conrad’s dreams never end. She wants to improve her culinary skills and one day compete on the Food Network show Chopped, a challenging competition where three chefs battle for supremacy. She also wishes to pilot a plane.

With many years of dentistry behind her, she has advice for those who dream to be who she is—a successful, practicing dentist.

“Utilize all resources and mentors out there. There are so many people willing to lend advice, reach out often and be willing to extend the same as you gain experience and knowledge. I give many thanks to my mentors for helping me reach my dreams, but also to alleviate and get me through the challenges I face.”

If anyone doubts their dreams, they need to speak with Dr. Conrad, whose tenacity and motivation is the stuff of inspiration.

Learn more about Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad and the #IE40Under40 experience.
Nominate an inspirational dentist at Incisal Edge today.

Dr. Tori Thuy-Conrad (front left) during the 2019 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 photo session in NYC. (Photo courtesy Incisal Edge/Macrae Marran)

Dr. Melissa Ing teaches STEM through Mini Medical School

Do you remember your middle school anatomy class? The endless evenings spent reading page after page about cells and skeletons was a timeless, yet boring, way to learn about our bodies.

The human muscular and central nervous systems were complex subjects I grappled to understand. I struggled to keep attention in class as my teacher presented slides featuring charts and diagrams of muscle groups and functions I could only abstractly and vaguely comprehend. 

Dr. Melissa Ing, an associate professor in the Dept. of Comprehensive Care at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, employs a unique approach when she teaches. Dr. Ing (shown above, instructed a middle school student) manages, orchestrates and creates real-life scenarios about subjects related to health and dentistry through the Mini Medical School program she organized to teach middle school children at Boston’s Museum of Science.

Dr. Melissa Ing, an associate professor in the Dept. of Comprehensive Care at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine (shown at right), and her team instruct students about STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) topics before delving into interactive medical investigations and procedures. Photos Courtesy Dr. Melissa Ing

“We teach kids the components of a blood vessel and have them build a vessel using different sized red buttons and white marshmallows to represent white blood cells. We teach them about dental forensics and how it can be used to solve a crime.”

Dr. Melissa Ing describes the lessons she teaches on STEM topics.

“Who Stole All the Toothbrushes?” is an activity where students use medical investigation techniques to solve a mystery. Students do more than listen to lectures; they are fully engaged and active participants in the program.

“We made little plots to go with it, and clues, so that the kids can try and learn about forensics. For instance, a fingerprint, a piece of hair, teeth marks, bite marks, saliva, a lip print on a glass…” says Dr. Ing.

She and her team use a problem-based approach and create situations that students must solve using appropriate medical techniques and procedures. 

“Then, for the next module, a Good Samaritan passenger trips over a piece of luggage at the airport breaking his arm. We teach the kids how to cast a broken arm.”

Her students’ favorite lesson: one where they learn how to suture a wound. Of course, they don’t suture a real, live participant, instead they use bananas. 

Dr. Melissa Ing, shown fourth from right, with her Mini Medical School team of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine students and faculty members. Photos Courtesy Dr. Melissa Ing

“The kids are given masks, gowns and gloves, so they have a great time as a doctor for the day. They sometimes can’t stop stitching the bananas and will name their bananas afterward, which is really funny.”

Students of Dr. Melissa Ing learn how to suture a wound using a banana as their patients.

Dr. Ing isn’t alone. She enlists a team of dental students and faculty members who help make the Mini Medical School possible. 

In 2015, she started the program in Boston, but two years ago, she set sail and took the program to Nantucket Island Public Schools, a school district on an isolated island where students have limited resources to learn about STEM fields—which are occupations that encompass Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

The Mini Medical School operates on grant funding and the kindness of volunteers who help make it possible, although when she first visited the school district in 2017, the school didn’t have a grant to pay for the program. Luckily, the town helped the school secure the funds.

The following year, the Nantucket school district received a donation from Innovation Pathways, an award granted by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education, that enabled Dr. Ing and her colleagues to visit a second time.

At Nantucket Island Public School, students use medical instruments and learn how they help industry professionals every day. Photos Courtesy Dr. Melissa Ing

Dr. Ing draws on nearly 30 years of dental experience. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario and a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

After completing her studies, Dr. Ing built and operated her own private practice and taught at the University of Connecticut. Shortly after, she became a full-time employee at UConn, where she held various positions, such as Team Leader and Director of Predoctoral Clinics. After 20 years there, she secured an associate professor position at her alma mater—Tufts University—and began teaching in 2011.

What’s next for Dr. Melissa Ing’s Mini Medical School?

The program will continue at Boston’s Museum of Science. Through grant funding, Dr. Ing and her team hope to return to Nantucket for a third year. She plans to visit Martha’s Vineyard for the first time as well, where students await the opportunity to suture bananas and learn about dental and medical professions.

STEM fields have grown to 17.3 million jobs or 79 percent since 1990, according to the Pew Research Center. Dr. Ing and her Mini Medical School are helping inspire the scientist, physicians and dentists of tomorrow.

Celebrate November, Women and Girls in STEM Month

Find out what the Museum of Science in Boston has in store for Women and Girls in STEM Month: https://www.mos.org/women-and-girls-in-stem-month