Pancake Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday better known as pancake Tuesday falls this year on February 28th, and it is usually celebrated with stacks of pancakes or crepes, drizzled in delicious sauces and toppings.
Pancakes are traditionally eaten today because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent. Pancakes don’t have to be topped full of sugar they can be filled with healthy savoury goodies like cheese ham spinach tomatoes and mushrooms or fruit & yogurt.

Pancake Tuesday 2


Identifying and dealing with depression

In the 2015 ADA Dentist Health and Wellness Survey, a total of 11 percent were diagnosed with depression, 6 percent were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and 4 percent were identified as suffering from panic attacks, according to the ADA Center for Professional Success.

Center for Professional SuccessOf those surveyed, 28 percent of dentists sought help for their mental health disorder, 44 percent believed that they could solve their own problems and did not seek professional help.

The best way to support a colleague suffering from depression is to encourage them to seek help. The ADA has prepared a resource guide that identifies signs and symptoms a person battling with depression may present.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.
  • Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical or moody.
  • Has lost interest in work, hobbies and other pleasurable activities.
  • Talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”
  • Expresses a negative outlook on life.
  • Frequently complains of aches and pains, such as headaches, stomach problems and back pain.
  • Complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
  • Has withdrawn from friends, family and other social activities.
  • Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps.
  • Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
  • Has become indecisive, forgetful or disorganized.
  • Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription medications.

You will also find some tips to encourage a colleague to seek help.

The ADA’s Health and Wellness Program is here to help. Please contact Alison Bramhall at or 312.440.2622

Separation anxiety: 5 tips for balancing work life and personal life

work life balanceSep-a-rate.

Just separate your work and your personal life. We say this to others and others say it to us as if we can push a button to turn it on or turn it off. To a certain extent separating is a necessity in the day-to-day life of any dentist or dental professional. We cannot think about the death of a loved one or a relationship that is ending during a crown prep or midextraction. It’s dangerous to have our thoughts elsewhere, and it’s not fair to our patients to lose focus on their needs.

So, yes, we do have to separate. But, there are down times — even if it is only during a brief hand washing between patients. There is space. There is space to think about last night’s argument or yesterday’s missed softball game. There is time to think about a newborn’s needs or a loved one’s suffering. We can separate, but it’s not easy, and to think we can do it 100 percent of the time is ludicrous.

As a matter of fact, it’s stressful to separate all of the time.

What can we do?

After practicing for 18 years and working with others in practice, I offer my top five tips to help you deal with separation dilemmas.

As a dentist, it is difficult to find a substitute, especially if we are in a solo practice. In our minds, “the show must go on” or a lot of rescheduling has to occur. Here are ways to keep the show going without releasing too much cortisol:

  1. Leave space in your schedule for medical and health appointments (or your kids’ appointments if you are the one in charge of family members’ schedules). Many people wonder why dentists take a day off during the week. This is why. If the time is not spent working on the business side of our practices, it can be spent working on our health. By working 8-5 Monday-Friday, there is little time left to make it to appointments. Perhaps YOU have no appointments or health issues to worry about, but many of your team members are working moms, and they have appointments to get to or get their kids to as well. This space allows for the much needed flexibility so many of our team members need and want. Furthermore, nothing causes more stress than an unanticipated leave of absence from one of our teammates. When there is no flexibility in the schedule, team members often have to take whatever appointments are available or feel pressured to wait to go to a physician. We know what happens when we delay health care: bigger and more costly problems occur. This preventive approach to health care should be modeled in our practices to help everyone separate as needed. It’s easier to focus on our work when we know we have a day to catch up on appointments, errands or wellness routines.
  2. Plan ahead for absolute schedule conflicts. It is always easier to add more time back in the schedule than it is to retract a schedule full of patients. For a return from elective surgeries, maternity/paternity leaves, and family care needs, lighten the schedule as much as possible the first few weeks. Come back in after these absences on a part-time basis. Ease your way back in. As I said, it’s easier to add more time than to reschedule many patients. Consider working shorter hours at first, too. Our necks and backs are typically out of shape after an extended time away.
  3. Practice some type of mental stillness at least weekly, if not daily. I am a big fan of mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, but tai chi or simple meditation are other options when trying to separate work from a stressful home life. These types of practices help us learn to stay in the moment and keep focused on what is occurring each minute rather than what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow. When we train our brains to focus on things we can control in the present moment, it is easier to separate from the chaos going on in our personal lives.
  4. Find and maintain healthy, supportive relationships. Our work can be stressful and demanding. We need partners and friends who understand our work environments and support our passions. In one of my practices, a hygienist had what we perceived to be unsupportive spouse. She constantly managed everything and everyone in her household. She had little energy left to give at work and had little patience left to share with our team. Small conflicts seemed like unmanageable conflicts to her. Once we talked about these concerns, she actually realized she could be more successful in both areas if she delegated more tasks and engaged her family members in the duties that she always completed. She actually had a supportive spouse and children. They simply did not know exactly how to help. Because we are health care professionals, our strength of caring for others can become our Achilles’ heel if left unchecked. We have to express our issues, recognize our inabilities to manage and care for everything and everyone, and ask for help when needed. If we have unsupportive family members who do not help us when asked or when needed, that can also lead to problems at our work places. Our busy home lifestyles often require additional support from children, spouses, care providers, housekeepers, nannies and other kinds of supportive helpers.
  5. Allow some time to talk during work hours. This goes against every vigilant work ethic I learned about as I grew up. “When you are at work, you work,” my dad would say. And, looking back, I still think this is a decent piece of advice to tell your kids as they start out in the working world. But, there is also a need for teams to get to know one another. It doesn’t mean everyone stands in the break room for a half hour, but it might mean there are scheduled times to talk — like during team meetings or holiday lunches or birthday celebrations. These moments allow home and work lives to merge a bit more than when we try to completely separate the two.

Separation is difficult, and there are painful times in our lives that make it nearly impossible. Our home lives bleed into our work lives and vice versa. Being conscious of these balancing acts is one way to ensure the priorities remain in the right places and at the right times. I accept that life is never in complete balance. And, instead of fighting the imbalance with self-defeating thoughts, or spending sleepless nights trying to make one area more even with the other side, I accept that this desire to have complete work-life balance is never going to be perfect. Sometimes both places are in need, and during those times, it’s important to reach out for help and delegate as many tasks as possible. Being a professional at home and at work requires planning, a willingness to let go of the desire to personally complete each task and an ability to surround yourself with an amazing support team. With these tips in mind, I hope you find more ways to manage the challenges and stressors that will surely arise while striving to be the best at home and be the best at work.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Dental Practice Success. It was written by Dr. Lisa Knowles, a practicing dentist, dental educator, consultant and speaker in Michigan. Sign up for her weekly email, Thirsty Thursdays, at or learn more her speaking options for your association, team or study club.

Four Ways to Boost Your Internal Marketing Efforts

No matter where we run our business, we have to remain relevant in our communities. I believe in branding — creating some type of image or logo that represents you and your office. Once you have established your brand, you can really start to create an image to share with the public, which will communicate what your mission is and what it is that your office has to offer. If your brand expression

Webinar: Advocacy and third party issues

Dental benefits and third party issues are typically rated as one of the most critical concerns confronting dentists. ADA staff often receive questions as to what the ADA is doing to help dentists when it comes to working with dental benefit plans. The ADA has been and continues to be extremely active in advocating for dentistry.

In this webinar you will learn what ADA is doing at both the federal and state levels regarding proposed legislation. You will learn how to receive individual assistance and receive information on the many valuable resources the ADA has to assist and educate dental offices on dental benefits issues. In addition, a question and answer period will follow.

ADA leadership has heard your feedback on these issues and this webinar is among the many tactics we are employing as part of our coordinated communications plan on these issues. We look forward to your participation.

To view the webinar, click here.

Dennis McHugh is the manager of the American Dental Association’s Dental Benefit Information Service and works in the Practice Institute’s Center for Dental Benefits, Coding and Quality (CDBCQ).  CDBCQ is the ADA agency responsible for promoting resources and informaton on dental benefit plans to employers and member dentists. In addition, CDBCQ responds to requests and helps resolve problems from member dentists regarding concerns with third party payers.  He has been with the ADA for 16 years and prior to that spent 7 years working for the American Association of Orthodontists.

Paul O’Connor is the Senior Legislative Liaison in the Department of State Government Affairs (DSGA). DSGA provides advocacy and research support for state and local dental societies and is arranged by assigning subject areas to staff to bolster a level of expertise. Paul focuses primarily on access-to-dental care issues including state-level public policy as it affects public financing for dental coverage and community water fluoridation. He also works with state legislative and regulatory issues as they pertain to third party/commercial dental benefits subject matter. DSGA’s issue coverage responsibilities are established to assist the profession in advocating in support of public policy that is beneficial for dentists and their patients. Prior to joining the ADA in 2000, Paul was employed with the Indiana House of Representatives for eleven years where he focused much of his work on healthcare policy and political campaigns.

Margo Klosterman is a Congressional Lobbyist in the Washington, DC office and she will discuss ADA advocacy efforts at the federal level.

Behind-the-Scenes: A Facebook Live conversation on creating clinical practice guidelines

EBDADA_FBLive22217_640x360Chances are you’ve read ADA Clinical Practice Guidelines before, but have you ever wondered who the authors are or what the process is for creating them?

Join us for ADA’s first Facebook Live event on February 22 at 5:30 p.m. CST as Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, owner and general dentist at Dentologie, chats with Dr. Margherita Fontana, a professor at the University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry.

The pair will engage in a conversation where viewers can learn more about Dr.Fontana and her experience as a contributor to the development of the Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline for the Use of Pit-And-Fissure Sealants along with Dr.Mohiuddin and his life as a new dentist.

This interview is a great way to peak behind the curtain to see how ADA member dentists – like you – form the clinical practice guidelines and recommendations you read about.

To join in on the conversation, set your event reminder!

4 Ways To Keep Your Kid’s Tooth Enamel Strong

Enamel is both a thin covering on teeth and the hardest tissue in the human body. It acts as armor against plaque and cavities. While there are many foods and habits that break down enamel, there are also things to protect it and keep it strong.

Follow these 4 steps to help keep tooth enamel strong for a healthier, happier smile!

1. Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks.
Bacteria forms out of sugars from foods and drinks dissolving the outer surface of tooth enamel. Add candies, cookies, sodas and sweets alike to the special occasion only list. Highly acidic snacks and drinks are also foods to eat in small doses. This doesn’t mean you have to completely restrict these items from kids. Teach them to rinse with tap water after eating sweets to reduce the chance of bacteria forming.

Limit sugary foods and drinks

2. Eat Foods That Protect Enamel

Not all foods and drinks are damaging to enamel. Calcium-rich foods like yogurt or cheese actually protect the enamel and promote healthy teeth. Some other enamel strengtheners include kiwi, snap peas and sugarless chewing gum. Switching to these types of snacks are good for their overall health as well.

Eat foods that protect enamel

3. Avoid Over-Brushing

While it’s very important to brush and floss regularly, be sure to not over-brush the teeth. Follow these steps on how to brush children’s teeth. Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush in a back-and-forth gentle motion with short strokes. Take the time to teach your children to adopt the habit of brushing while also showing them proper technique. There are videos online to help show your kids what proper brushing looks like, as well. It might be a frustrating and lengthy process at first, but the earlier you start teaching your kids how to brush, the more likely they will keep good oral health habits.

Avoid over brushing

4. Rinse after Meals

Rinsing after each meal helps remove leftover food particles. This month, in celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, choose tap water to rinse teeth for a sparkling smile. Plain water is the best option for kids’ beverages.

Rinse after meals

Bonus Tip: Visit Our Office

Want to learn more ways to keep kids’ teeth strong, healthy and bright? Book your child’s dental check up and talk directly with our loving staff and experienced doctors for one-on-one answers! We’ll be happy to answer any of your, or their, questions, explain brushing technique, talk with them about food selection, and encourage them to polish their smiles!

Come smile with us