Anne Duffy comes full circle to uplift women in dentistry #InternationalWomensDay

There is nothing like a circle of women. A circle of women is healing and inspiring. A circle of women is powerful. When women join together with intention and purpose, mighty things are at hand. During this short life, some of us are fortunate enough to be welcomed into one of these circles.

We are lifted up. We are encouraged to spread our wings and set out to achieve our wildest dreams by other driven women. One woman in dentistry is creating the ultimate circle and giving women in dentistry a voice, a purpose, and a platform for success.

Anne Duffy, Founder and Owner of DeW (Dental Entrepreneur Woman) Life Magazine

Anne Duffy is the owner of DeW Life Magazine (Dental Entrepreneur Woman), also known as DeW Life.  To be a part of DeW Life is a special way of being.  It is not only a magazine, it is a culture, a lifestyle, and a trusted space for entrepreneurial women in dentistry to join forces in uniting their individual strengths.  After realizing her own strengths and falling in love with what she has to offer, Duffy began falling in love with other women’s gifts. This led her to the idea that we are all here to build on one another’s talents as long as we do it with great love. 

Duffy is a stunning statuesque blonde that can light up any room with her smile and personality. To have a phone conversation or be in the presence of Anne Duffy is inspiring and invigorating. She has a gift of encouragement that leaves you feeling like you can move mountains.  She is no stranger to dentistry and hard work.  As a long-time practicing dental hygienist of 46 years, Duffy presses full steam ahead to get women in dentistry their deserved recognition.  She has a “no scarcity” mentality meaning that she believes that there is room for all of our ideas in dentistry and business.

Duffy began to realize that women, in particular, were not loving and staying in the profession of dentistry.  This caught her attention and she began to wonder how she could get women to love dentistry again and feel fulfilled. 

“At age 42 is when I started to have a vision to dream outside of the operatory. The next 20 years have been a rocket ship.”

Anne Duffy, DeW Life Magazine Founder and Owner

The First Step: Recognizing Achievements

Duffy’s passion for working with women began several years ago when she had the opportunity to take on a leadership role with a large dental-based company. As she acknowledged the slip in passion for dentistry and that women were not being properly recognized for their achievements and efforts, she decided to take a stand and started DeW Life.

The DeW Life is grounded in owning and working from your natural strengths.

“I wish I owned my strengths when I was younger. Now it is time we grab the arm of the person next to us and go together.” 

Anne Duffy, DeW Life Magazine Founder and Owner

As dentistry grows and becomes more female influenced, Anne Duffy will stand proud with her DeW Life community that promotes love, accomplishment, empowerment, and connectedness. 

Become a member of the DeW Life Crew at https://www.dew.life/

DeW Life joins The Lucy Hobbs Project
in celebrating women in dentistry

Dew Life Founder Anne Duffy, left, and Guest Panelist Amanda Butterworth, RDH, pay tribute to Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor, the first female to earn a dental degree in the U.S. at Benco’s 2019 Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration in Chicago.
(Benco Dental/Michael John Gentle)

Last October at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, Anne Duffy supported women in the profession at the 7th annual Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration hosted by Benco Dental.

Nominate an outstanding woman in dentistry for this year’s Lucy Hobbs Project Awards: https://goben.co/2tMwjv3

Powered by Benco Dental and 10,000 members strong, The Lucy Hobbs Project encourages dental professionals to become part of the movement that is changing the face of dentistry through networking, innovation and giving back. Named for Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor, who in 1866 became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry, the project brings women together from all facets of the dental profession — dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, receptionists, sales representatives and others.

Three days of events focused on “Mind+Body+Soul” with panel discussions, C.E. credits and opportunities to give back, while inviting the project’s members — and all women in dentistry — to “Achieve Your Personal Best Balance, at Home and Work.”

As a high point of the three-day event, the project honored six women selected as award recipients for setting new benchmarks in the dental profession. The recipients:

  • Industry Icon Award — Linda Miles of Estero, Fla., speaker, consultant and author with AskLindaMiles.com.
  • Clinical Expert Award — Deborah V. George, DDS, of Miami, executive vice president and chief dental officer with Jessie Trice Community Health System.
  • Humanitarian Award — Tesa Jolly, DDS, of Jolly Family Dentistry in Pulaski, Tenn.
  • Innovator Award — Cathy J. Grinham, RDH, of Assonet, Mass., public health dental hygienist with Visiting Dental Associates of Massachusetts.
  • Mentor Award — Carole Ann Palmer, Ed.D., RD, LDN, with the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston.
  • Woman to Watch Award — Charmaine Ng, DMD, of Healthright360, San Francisco.
Dew Life Founder Anne Duffy, left, and Benco Dental Director of Coaching, Kay Huff, right, celebrate their friend and colleague Linda Miles, recipient of the 2019 Lucy Hobbs Project Industry Icon Award, at Benco’s Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration in Chicago.
(Benco Dental/Michael John Gentle)

Join The Lucy Hobbs Project today at: TheLucyHobbsProject.com

About the blogger

Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC is a Registered Dental Hygienist and Licensed Professional Counselor. She is a full-time dental hygiene educator in Texas. Kandice is the owner of Inspired Education & Wellness where she is a speaker and writer and combines her clinical dental and mental health experience to help other healthcare professionals have a fulfilling work-life experience.  Contact Kandice at kandice@inspirededucationwellness.com  

At the lowest point in her life Dr. Brianna ‘Crash’ Ganson finds dentistry #IE40Under40

Uncertainty does not stop Dr. Brianna Ganson; in fact, she thrives when faced with obstacles and danger. The 39-year-old adrenaline enthusiast from Missouri has survived parachuting from planes, riding out a storm that inundated a Louisiana city and swimming with sharks off the coast of Hawaii.

The most challenging part of her career: “[The] desire to own my own business.” The determination to become an entrepreneur tested the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree’s perseverance and commitment to her goals.

Dr. Brianna Ganson after her first tandem-skydive.

The first time Dr. Ganson skydived unaccompanied (not in tandem), things did not go as planned. After jumping from a plane at around 13,000 feet, she free-fell for much longer than anticipated, missing the drop zone and earning her an appropriate nickname.

“Once you pull your chute, you are all alone. I was so mesmerized by my surroundings that I wasn’t paying attention to my altimeter (altitude gauge). I was expecting a voice to come over the radio when I needed to start heading towards the drop zone. By the time I realized no one was talking to me, I was too far away from the drop zone to get there in time. I “crashed” into the trees, hence the nickname: ‘Crash.'”

Dr. Brianna Ganson on her harrowing first time, solo skydive.

Ganson landed safely. That jump and crash landing took place near her alma mater, a school where she learned the inner-workings of the human mind at the University of San Diego.

Four years after “Crash” graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, she began her professional career as an underwriter for State Farm in Columbia, Missouri, in 2005. She planned to own a business like her father, who also worked for State Farm.

That same year, Dr. Ganson found a job over 700 miles away — a position that was accompanied by the pungent smell of Old Bay and the sounds of creole dialects. The city was New Orleans, a place where she knew no one. The Crescent City held what the doctor believed was a chance to start her own business.

“I ended up getting and accepting the position. I packed my bags in April and moved to a city I had never been to before. I continued dating the same guy long distance, and it was going well. I felt like I was on this amazing path, both professionally and personally. Then just like that, the switch flipped.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson on her long-awaited career opportunity with State Farm.

Stirring in the Gulf of Mexico was a threat to the livelihood and well-being of not only Dr. Ganson but to every person in New Orleans. One of the most deadly natural disasters in American history — Hurricane Katrina — made landfall in Southeastern Louisiana. Katrina, responsible for 1,833 fatalities, brought sustained winds and rain that pummeled the Bayou State. The hurricane blew away all sense of normalcy and left a city that resembled a dystopia.

Dr. Brianna Ganson saw devastation after Hurricane Katrina.

“My apartment was uninhabitable, so I had to stay with a couple in Baton Rouge and commute to New Orleans for work. Being in the insurance business, my job became a priority and was extremely stressful.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson, describing life after Hurricane Katrina.

After Katrina, insurance agents like Ganson were swamped with work. It did not take long for the two or sometimes three-hour commutes from Baton Rouge and tiresome workdays to grind and wash away Dr. Ganson’s happiness, leaving her in a state of perpetual stress.

She wanted a way out of post-Katrina, Louisiana, life. She found refuge where she began her career with State Farm in Columbia, MO, an agency that had the prospect of leading Ganson to entrepreneurship.

“I was so relieved to be out of New Orleans as well as to have what I thought was my dream job. My boyfriend proposed in December and I said yes. Even though Katrina totally upended my life, I felt like I was getting back on track.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson.
When driving through neighborhoods post-Katrina, Dr. Brianna Ganson saw x-codes. The left identifies the rescue squad; the top represents the date the team arrived; the right represents what hazards are inside; and the bottom lists the number of people found.

While training to become an agent, she worked in different State Farm agencies throughout Missouri. She soon discovered she was not in love with insurance. The five years she spent following the career path of her father, a trail adorned with car and home insurance policies, did not fulfill her. She wanted something else.

In October, 2006, nearly a year after Dr. Ganson was engaged, her fiancé broke off their engagement, bringing the insurance professional to the lowest point in her life. She was in a career she disliked, was separated from her longtime boyfriend and to make matters worse, the puppy she had adopted to bring her joy died due to health issues.

“It was like a country music song: ‘I went through a hurricane, got dumped by my man. Had to put my dog to sleep, got hit by a van.’ OK, the last one didn’t happen, but you get my point. I needed a serious change. As strange as it sounds, the lowest point in my life led me to dentistry. While helping others rebuild their lives in New Orleans, I was also learning the steps I would need to rebuild my own life.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson depicting her low.

Inspired by the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT) that searched through desolate neighborhoods after Katrina, Dr. Ganson found a new career path, a new interest that she then did not yet understand. Using dental forensics, the team of doctors and pathologists helped identify bodies in the days and weeks after the hurricane.

Another X-Code somewhere in the devastated suburbs of New Orleans.

After a breakup and unfulfilling career, the girl from Missouri was driven by a new-found enthusiasm.

“I quit my job, moved back home, and worked for a whole year to get into dental school. In 2008, I started over on a new path, the right path, to become a dentist.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson realizing her new role.

Ganson spent four years at the University of Missouri School of Dentistry and earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2012. Shortly after, she accepted a position as a general dentist at Rhoades Family Dentistry.

She married Troy Ganson while in dental school. In her first year as a dentist, she experienced challenges in her personal life: she had her first child, Knox, and, unexpectedly, her father was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident.

Dr. Ganson juggled the responsibilities of caring for her newborn, helping her parents adjust to her father’s disability and maintaining her new dental role. The vision of owning her own business never left her sight.

When the first opportunity arose to buy her own business, Dr. Ganson turned-down the chance to buy an established dental practice and instead began to work for a non-profit organization called Miles of Smiles.

“This organization is a portable dental clinic that goes into schools to help children who may otherwise not receive dental care. I loved every minute of it and discovered my passion to be a pediatric dentist.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson describing how she discovered her dental specialty.

She discovered her dental niche and her devotion to help children, but the final ingredient of her career continued to elude her. The last element Dr. Ganson needed was her own practice. A colleague of hers knew just the place, but when they presented the doctor with the opportunity of business ownership, fear struck her.

Dr. Brianna Ganson cave diving off the Hawaiian coast.

She made a list of pros and cons, discussed her options with her husband and family, to no avail. Although, one conversation that she will never forget gave her the nudge she needed to follow her bliss. That advice came from her father, who inspired her entrepreneurial spirit.

When her father began his business working with State Farm, “he worked tirelessly to start his agency from scratch. He was driving home from work one night after a daunting day in the office. He was so frustrated and scared that he wouldn’t succeed,” Dr. Ganson explained. “He needed to vent, so he rolled his window down and screamed as loud as he could at these poor cows. Then he told me, ‘Brianna, if owning your own business was easy, everyone would do it.'”

That conversation with her father was the last bit of advice the doctor needed. She bought the pediatric dental practice and turned it into Happy Teeth Dentistry.

Happy Teeth Dentistry is named in memory of her father. While recovering from his accident he went to therapy three times a week. “I always wanted him to walk again, no matter how impossible that may have seemed. I decided to name the practice Happy Teeth as a spin-off of the movie ‘Happy Feet.’ I wanted him to have happy feet. I wanted him to walk,” she explained.

(Shown, from left) Dental Assistant Dominique Fisher, Office Administrator Lacee Jordan, Office Manager Ann Roehl, Dr. Brianna Ganson, Dental Assistant Lauren Harris, and Dental Assistant Jaclyn York.

Today, the woman who survived hurricane Katrina helps children maintain and restore their smiles at her office in Leawood, Kansas.

“My most favorite part of dentistry is when I get a child out of pain. A child may have been having trouble eating, talking, drinking, embarrassed to smile, and I get the opportunity to make them happy and healthy again. When a parent says they are so relieved because their child is acting like him or herself again, I have done my job. I love that.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson on the joys of dentistry.

Aside from her career, Dr. Ganson is most passionate about her family. She husband raise two children together, son, Knox, 7, and daughter, Brinkley, 5. She and her family love adrenaline activities. Dr. Ganson and her husband swam with sharks on her recent trip to Hawaii for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry annual session.

“I have been scuba diving many times and have seen sharks before, but I wanted to get up close and personal.  I knew this would be my chance. We were in a cage and were so close to the sharks. I could have reached out and touched them. Sharks do not want to eat humans, but I didn’t want to take the chance since I need my hands to work.”

Dr. Brianna Ganson.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Brianna Ganson and her practice, visit https://happyteethbyganson.com/.

Read more about her in Incisal Edge here: Incisal Edge

How the 1st female dentist in the U.S. Army survived the 1906 California ‘Exodus’ #womenshistorymonth

Leonie von Meusebach–Zesch survived the horrors of the 1906 San Franscisco earthquake, set up her dental practice in the Presidio Army base during the aftermath and tended refugees in the makeshift camp. She became the first (and only) female dentist in the U.S. Army until 1951.

To begin March’s celebration of #WomensHistoryMonth, Dr. Leonie von Meusebach–Zesch seems a fitting selection.

A Daughter of Aristocrats

Leonie was born in 1882 in Texas, the daughter of German aristocrats. When she was six, she moved with her mother and sister to California. They finally settled in San Francisco, where Leonie attended the local high school and in 1902 earned a degree from the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, then known as the College of Physicians and Surgeons. She became a practicing dentist in June, 1902 after passing the California State Dental Board examination. At first, she began a the practice of a Swedish immigrant dentist, but the work was long and punishing, so much so that after treating patients from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week for some time, she collapsed from exhaustion.

Earthquake, then fire

By the time of the earthquake on April 18, 1906, Dr. Leonie von Meusebach–Zesch had opened her own dental office with a colleague. Unfortunately, on the second day of the disaster, her office succumbed to the fire that destroyed most of the city. Before the building went up in flames, she managed to get inside and save a few instruments.

“Before eight that morning, I was downtown persuading the Phelan Building agent to open the door to my offices. Water, coming through a huge hose from temporarily repaired and newly laid mains, was already breaking in the great front windows, tearing down curtains and flooding rich carpets. I had only time to get my colleague’s leather bag, pick up several dozen of his most cherished forceps and elevators, and save some instruments of my own. I could not get into the safe, so books and papers were destroyed. The roaring of the fire, the drumming of the water on walls, ceilings and furniture, and the frenzied yelling of men drove all but escape from my mind. In less than an hour after it had started burning, the whole large building was gutted.”

Leonie von Zesch, Leonie :A Women Ahead of Her Time

Afterward, the fire continued and forced Leonie and her mother from their rented rooms. They took what they could carry and started for the Presidio Army base, where many refugees were encamped.

“What I call the ‘Exodus’ fled down Van Ness Avenue to the water front, thence along the Barbary Coast and tough water front by an enormously long detour to the ferries; it was the only way, the town streets being on fire and close by the military.”

– Harry C. Carr, Complete History of the San Francisco Horror

There, her mother offered to assist the U.S. Army and Red Cross document survivors. Dr. Leonie von Meusebach–Zesch offered her skills as a dental surgeon with the Army and attended to the many now-homeless people. The Army paid and housed her and her mother. This arrangement went on until early July when the city tried to replace her in this role with a male dentist. Both the mayor, Eugene Schmitz and Brigadier General Funston, in charge of the Army, had her reinstated.

1906_SanFran_earthquake2

In total, 30,000 refugees were cared for by the government at the Presidio base.

“It should be called the ‘Exodus,’ for it was a Biblical scene. It was the headlong flight of those who were most terror-stricken to get out of the doomed city.”

Harry C. Carr, Complete History of the San Francisco Horror

Starting Again

By 1907, Dr. Leonie von Meusebach–Zesch tried to start a private dental practice of her own. She did not receive many new clients, but she had additional income from appointments as dentist to the Children’s Hospital and to the Maria Kipp Orphanage. In 1908, she received agreements from commanders of both the United States Pacific Fleet and the United States Atlantic Fleet to bring dentists and lab technicians aboard ships and provide dental services to members of the crews. While this kept her busy, it was not particularly profitable.

On the Move

By 1908, she was on the move again, this time moving back to Texas with her mother. She became licensed in the state and afterward declined one offer from a Dallas businessman to front a statewide chain of dental offices that he intended to manage in the background.

After working for several years in Texas, she moved to Arizona, becoming licensed in that state. She started a business as a traveling dentist, driving around in her Model T, treating school children for free; she also treated many from the indigenous Indian tribes in the area. After being in practice there for a few years, she left for on a visit to her sister and brother-in-law in the territory of Alaska.

Time for New Adventures

She eventually moved her practice to Alaska and served several communities there for a number of years, practicing in remote Inuit villages and even a near-death experience.

More to the Story

There is much more to the amazing Leonie von Zesch’s story. She had many more adventures before dying at the age of 61 in 1944. Information can be found on her Wikipedia page here. Also, you can purchase her autobiography here on Amazon.

She was elected posthumously to the Alaskan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

Celebrate women in dentistry with The Lucy Hobbs Project

Every day Benco Dental salutes women in dentistry, both past and present. The nation’s largest independently owned dental distributor created The Lucy Hobbs Project to promote all women in the profession.

For more information on The Lucy Hobbs Project, click here.

About the blogger

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 TheDailyFloss.com readers on a monthly basis.

Reading, Pa. prosthodontist uses science, art, engineering to help patients rediscover themselves #IE40under40

With art there is possibility. Combine it with a caring spirit, and limitations disappear.

The artistic masterpieces created by Dr. Andrea Smith, a maxillofacial prosthodontics at Berks Prosthodontics in Reading, Pennsylvania, transform her patients and enhance their lives.

As a maxillofacial prosthodontist, Dr. Smith helps create and replace underdeveloped and missing aspects of a person’s face or mouth, such as ears, noses, jaw structures, teeth and cleft palates. She replaces these essential body parts with intricately made protheses. 

Dr. Andrea Smith carefully creating a prosthesis.

“I’ve always loved art – sculpture especially – along with math and science. At 14, I started as a dental assistant at my dentist’s office after, during my checkup, he randomly invited me to work for him. So, I was in the dental field already.”

Dr. Andrea Smith, recalling her first job.

The Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree explained that her father wanted her to follow his footsteps and take engineering classes at Penn State University, but she couldn’t decide whether to pursue art or her father’s wishes. She enrolled in engineering but wasn’t ready to forgo her other areas of interest.

“Sometime during my freshman year, I discovered that there was a dental specialty called prosthodontics that was very much a mixture of art and science – and even a hint of engineering – and I knew I’d found my calling.”

Dr. Andrea Smith, describing her early college career.

The 39-year-old graduated as valedictorian from Penn State Eberly College of Science with a degree in pre-medicine and then attended the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in New York City, where she again achieved the honor of valedictorian. Later, she attended the UCLA Advanced Prosthodontics Residency Program for three years, and completed an additional one-year residency training in maxillofacial prosthetics.

She is one of 350 maxillofacial prosthodontists worldwide and selected this specialty because of the significant difference she is able to make in her patients’ lives. One of her patients, a woman who lost her nose to cancer, received the restorative brilliance Dr. Smith creates for her patients.

“She had been covering her face with a satin mask that her hairdresser had very caringly sewn for her. After many failed attempts at surgical reconstruction, her surgeons referred her to me, and I was able to give her a new implant-retained prosthetic nose that attached to an implant-retained bar placed in the floor of the nasal defect.”

Dr. Andrea Smith.

Another patient, a U.S. Veteran who suffers from brain damage caused by a mine explosion in the Vietnam War, experiences short-term memory loss and often loses his dentures, Dr. Smith explained.

Her solution: “I’m currently making him a fixed prosthesis that should put an end to that cycle – even if he may not remember who made it for him.” 

Many of her patients originate outside the realm of dentistry. Lexi, a dental assistant who had worked alongside Dr. Smith at the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic for many years, brought one of these patients to light. Lexi’s younger sister, Keturah, suffered from a craniofacial anomaly.

During a school externship program, Keturah explained that her adult teeth never fully developed, which left her with a small upper jaw and a diverged nasal septum.

“I teamed up with an orthodontist, a plastic surgeon and an oral surgeon to accomplish a complex treatment plan that involved jaw surgery to advance her maxilla (bone that forms the upper jaw), the placement of both zygomatic (cheek or malar bone) and regular dental implants, rhinoplasty, orthodontic treatment, and a fixed complete dental prosthesis.”

Dr. Andrea Smith describes a complex procedure.

Dr. Smith and others like her provide optimum care and use advanced technology to make facial and dental replacements possible. But insufficient insurance coverage can create obstacles between the patients and quality care.

“The most frustrating challenge has been getting sufficient insurance coverage for patients who require major oral reconstruction as a result of congenital anomalies (cleft/syndromes) and cancer. Kids can be born without adult teeth, and with an open palate, and medical insurance can offer them nothing but what is essentially a denture. Patients who have had half of their skull removed due to cancer cannot have the benefit of implant therapy unless they can pay for it out of pocket.”

Dr. Andrea Smith 

Creating awareness about alternative solutions

Dr. Smith’s primary goal at Berks Prosthodontics: To raise public awareness about the options available. She says many people live without treatment or with sub-par remedies for their health problems, while prosthodontists offers alternative solutions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics states that demand for these professionals is expected to rise to 17.2 percent by 2026.

Dr. Smith is honored to be a prosthodontists and to assist as many patients as possible.

“I love making dramatic changes in people’s lives. And I love being the last line of hope and coming through for them after they’ve been told by others that nothing could be done to help them.”

Dr. Andrea Smith, on finding fulfillment as a dental specialist.

 

Deadline extended for America’s best young dentists to nominate for Incisal Edge 40 Under 40

02.10.20 is final day to enter in 2 categories: Dental Specialists and General Dentists.

Brilliant. Exceptional. Dazzling. Apt descriptions for America’s finest young practitioners, the smiles they create, and their commitment to oral health care. Annually, Incisal Edge, the premier lifestyle magazine for dentists nationwide, applauds this excellence with its signature award – the 40 Under 40 honor.

For the 10th consecutive year, the magazine—published by Benco Dental since 1997—will celebrate the 40 Under 40 in its fall editorial coverage, including a series of informative profiles. Nominations will be accepted in two categories, General Dentists and Dental Specialists, through February 10, 2020 at: IncisalEdgeMagazine.com

Nomination deadline extended to February 10, 2020.

Incisal Edge’s top 40 Under 40 recognizes innovative and passionate young professionals in dentistry across the U.S. Whether renowned for their medical innovations, volunteer work and philanthropy, or simply a commitment to outstanding patient care, these honorees—nominated by industry experts from around the country and vetted by an independent panel—represent the best of dentistry today, and the promise of even better dentistry tomorrow. Visit IncisalEdgeMagazine.com, where previous year’s winners are spotlighted.

Published by Benco Dental, Incisal Edge, the leading lifestyle magazine for dental professionals nationwide, will honor America’s finest young practitioners for the 10th consecutive year. Nominations for this year’s top 40 Under 40 will be accepted through February 10, 2020 at: IncisalEdgeMagazine.com Shown, the opening page of 2019’s editorial coverage.

“Recognizing the achievements of America’s brightest rising stars is at the heart of advancing the art and science of dental medicine. At Benco Dental, we’re proud to provide technology and solutions that help doctors drive dentistry forward, so it’s especially gratifying to watch as the best of the best are first nominated by their peers, and then selected by our panel of judges for displaying the highest levels of excellence among young practitioners.”

Chuck Cohen, co-founder of Incisal Edge

Ready to nominate?

To nominate a dentist, visit: IncisalEdgeMagazine.com. Submissions must be completed on or before 11:59 p.m. EST on February 10, 2020. Dentists are welcome to self-nominate and to nominate a colleague or peer.

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. Kahng OC Cosmetic 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 

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.

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)

Celebrate the art of dental invention with the Edison Awards

Celebrate a savings of $300 if you nominate your dental innovation by the 2019 Edison Awards™ early bird nomination deadline on October 18. Nominate today: https://edisonawards.com/

The Edison Best New Product Awards™ is an annual competition honoring 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.

Companies and dental professionals who’ve recently launched outstanding innovations are invited to apply by November 22, 2019, but can save $300 on the entry fee by nominating next week.

Need some encouragement?

Meet some previous honorees in dentistry. Edison Award-winning dental innovators at the Gold, Silver and Bronze have included:

2015: Vatech, 3M, 3D Systems, Aribex, Convergent Dental, Kerr Endodontics, Olympus Corporation of the Americas, NSK, Molar Media Mount, Benco Dental, and Inventionstring.

2016: Solea ®  by Convergent Dental, Multi-Axis Spiral Suction by Ghost Mfg, Oral B Pro 5000 with Bluetooth by Procter & Gamble, Dr. Kim’s Shadowless Headlamp by DrKimUSA.com

2017: ECO Balance by GLO Science™, Inc., Throat Scope® by Holland Healthcare Inc. and 3M™ Mobile True Definition Scanner by 3M.

2018: Senior Mobile Dental, The Periogen Company, Akervall Technologies Inc., Carestream Dental and St. Renatus, LLC.

2019: Invisalign Treatment with mandibular advancement by Align Technology, Bond Apatite® by Augma Biomaterials®, Airway Armor™ by Zirc Dental Products Inc., Goccles® by Pierrel Pharma S.r.L., CS 9600 cone beam computed tomography system by Carestream Dental.

Ready to nominate

https://edisonawards.com/