Eradicating childhood caries: How one pediatric dentist is championing healthy eating habits to her patients

Step inside the colorful world of Newton Dentistry for Kids in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and you will find there is a lot more happening than just dental treatments.

DrLandesDr. Christine Landes, a pediatric dentist who has been in practice for 20 years, includes complimentary salivary diagnostic testing and nutrition counselling for all of her patients. Here, nutrition is a focus every day – and not just certain times of year like National Nutrition Month in March.

“It’s an added value to our practice. If you can help your patients control the bacteria in their mouth [through healthy eating], you help to control the disease.”

Dr. Landes has found that making two visits is key to treatment. Each patient begins with a chairside exam where salivary tests are conducted. If the activity levels are on the low end, Dr. Landes and the patient talk about the great job the patient is doing taking care of his or her teeth. If results are at the moderate to high level, a separate appointment is made with the in-house nutritionist. Part of the treatment includes parents keeping a food diary on their child’s eating habits so they can determine why they have higher levels. Salivary diagnostics are taken at every visit in order to gauge how well the patients are doing.

Dr. Landes has found that by separating the two appointments, there are less distractions and parents are able to get information and advice they can use in their everyday lives by working one-on-one with a specialist. The results have been very positive for both patients and parents. They have noticed a decrease in cavities when the levels are down.

“The thing with nutrition is that a lot of parents are not aware of what can be bad for their child’s teeth. I’ve had people tell me they make their own apple juice, but we have to educate them that this is still filled with lots of sugar.”

Her advice to new dentists when it comes to treating patients is to look at more than just a patient’s teeth. “When you can connect with your patient as whole, the dentistry just comes easy.”


Systems for Success

Beautifully designed systems enable a well-trained team to deliver excellent dental care and superb customer service. Everything a team member does needs to be documented, rehearsed and mastered to ensure excellent results. Systems or standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be maintained in the practice’s operations manual and used for training new employees, continuing education, measuring

Innovation on a budget: Three ways to boost your dental practice’s performance without breaking the bank

As in any fast-paced industry, innovation plays a critical role in dentistry. Today’s dental practice owner is both entrepreneur and health practitioner, and adaptability in both roles is crucial to success. While it’s true that innovation can mean playing an endless game of “keeping up with the Joneses,” it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several ways that dental practices can adapt to changing times and improve performance while sticking to a budget.

Innovations in treatment: Educate your staff and patients

When you think of innovative treatments, technology may take center stage in your mind. While it’s true that clinical technology is an important investment for any dental practice, there are ways to improve your quality of care without spending much.

Acknowledging the mouth–body connection is one way to provide better service, and all it takes is some training and a plan. By educating yourself and your staff, you’ll equip your office to provide more comprehensive care. So choose a topic and study up. A few examples:

  • The TARGET Center says that dentists can help with early recognition of HIV infection. They can also provide better care to HIV-infected patients by being aware of how their medications affect oral health and what side effects their medical treatments may have.1
  • The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that “a thorough, systemic examination of the mouth and neck need only take a few minutes and can detect [cancer] at an early and curable stage.”2
  • Nutrition can play a big part in oral health, especially in children. Taking the time to discuss nutrition while counseling patients shows your commitment to personalized care and can help improve their overall health.

Consider training your dentists and hygienists to assist patients in recognizing early warning signs and dealing with health issues. This can be as simple as reading authoritative websites and articles, or you can invest in outside training.

Innovations in customer service: Show your patients you care

Although most dental practice owners go into dentistry for its clinical aspects, customer service is a huge part of growing a healthy business. Younger generations are gaining spending power and making their own health decisions. That means dental practices must adapt if they want to keep a strong customer base.

A no-cost way to retain patients and gain new ones is to provide outstanding, personalized service. It may not sound so innovative, but too many practices neglect this vital area. Making a few notes in a patient’s chart about his or her family, job, or hobbies will help you engage in friendly conversation at each appointment.

Also, consider whether your staffing situation is appropriate. Do you need more staff, fewer staff, or a change of staff to better suit your needs? Patients don’t like to wait, and they love friendly, personal service. If you need to add staff on a temporary or permanent basis, consider using a modern, cloud-based job-matching platform instead of a temp agency. Platforms like Cloud Dentistry might seem like a traditional staffing agency, but are different than the usual dental temp agency.  Save time and money compared to traditional staffing firms. They also make it easier to choose the right person for the job.3

Staffing should be considered when it comes to specialty services, too. Today’s dental patients value seamless experiences. They have a limited amount of time. They’d rather not spend it tracking down specialists and going back and forth between offices. Large corporate practices may offer special procedures in house. Smaller practices may insource specialists, bringing them into the practice when they are needed. This keeps revenue in house and makes life easier for patients. Today’s advanced job matching platforms can help practices hire specialists on an as-needed basis.

Innovations in marketing: Meet your potential customers where they are

Any discussion of innovation in the twenty-first century must address the internet. There’s room for innovation in both online marketing and the way practices manage their internal data.

Pew Research reports that nine-tenths of American adults are online.4 Many of them use the internet for health research. According to a report in the Journal of the American Dental Association, “patients are directly accessing information on new dental care technologies and treatment methods, then coming to their dental appointments with questions on these new therapies.”5

For dental practices, this means more than just having a website. Innovation in online marketing is multi-faceted:

  • An informative, user-friendly website is critical. Patients want to check out a practice online before they visit in person. It’s a great idea to include a blog that shows off your knowledge, highlights your customer service, and boosts your search engine ranking. Hire a web guru or research the process and do it yourself.
  • Ranking high in search results can bring you business, but only if you’re targeting the right audience. A professional can ensure that your site uses the right keywords, has an optimal meta description, and targets a local audience. If money is tight, you or one of your tech-savvy employees can do this.
  • Reviews can go a long way in growing (or damaging) your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews on your business’ Facebook page, Google, and review sites like Yelp. You can even respond to reviews. It’s a great way to mitigate bad reviews, resolve issues for unhappy patients, and demonstrate to the public that you care.
  • Content marketing is taking off. Building an online presence through blogging and social media can boost your business, but only if it’s done thoughtfully. Innovation is useful here. As with website creation and search engine optimization, you can hire an expert. Alternatively, you can do some research and optimize your corner of the web on your own.

Internally, your dental practice can take advantage of cloud technology. Transitioning from local servers to cloud-based services may save you money in the long run. If you’re still storing your data in your office, consider switching to a cloud-based service that takes care of maintenance. This change can also make accessing your files more convenient.

Consider your investment

Each practice is unique, of course. Before you take on any change, it’s prudent to analyze the costs and benefits. Innovation can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you decide to take on loads of new technology or focus on wowing your patients with personal service, your practice can benefit from innovation at any level.


  1. Integrating HIV Innovative Practices. Module 1: Treating the Whole Patient — The Importance of Oral Health in Total Patient Care of PLWHA. TARGET Center website. November 2013. Accessed February 11, 2017.
  2. The Oral Cancer Foundation. Cancer Screening Protocols. The Oral Cancer Foundation website. Accessed February 11, 2017.
  3. Cloud Dentistry. Why Cloud Dentistry? Cloud Dentistry website. Accessed February 12, 2017.
  4. Pew Research Center. Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet. Pew Research Center website. January 12, 2017. Accessed February 11, 2017.
  5. Douglass CW, Sheets CG. Patients’ Expectations For Oral Health Care In The 21st Century. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 2000;131:3S-7S. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2000.0397.

ADA, others urge Congress to support student loan reform

Washington — The American Dental Association and two other dental groups March 24 urged Congress to revisit student debt when it considers reauthorizing federal student loan programs later this year, according to ADA News.

In a letter to House Committee on Education and Workforce Chair Virginia Fox, R-N.C., and Ranking Member Robert C. Scott, D-Va., the ADA, along with the American Student Dental Association and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, urged the legislators to include several proposals when reauthorizing the Higher Education Act of 1965. That legislation provides the statutory authority for most federal student loan programs to operate, including those that dental students use most.

“We are extremely concerned about the alarming levels of educational debt that dental students face at graduation,” the organizations wrote. “One way to help mitigate the extraordinary levels of educational debt is to lower the interest rates and other borrowing terms for federal student loans.”

The three dental groups urged Congress to consider:

  • Lowering the interest rates on federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
  • Reinstating eligibility for graduate and professional degree students to use federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loans to finance their graduate education.
  • Permitting federal graduate student loans to be refinanced more than once so that new dentists can take advantage of lower interest rates under more favorable economic conditions, as provided in H.R. 1614, the Student Loan Refinancing Act.
  • Halting the accrual of interest while a student is completing an internship or residency and cap total amount of interest that can accrue overall.
  • Extending the deferment period to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Simplifying and adding more transparency to the federal graduate student loan application process.
  • Removing the barriers that prohibit those with private graduate student loans from taking advantage of federal student loan forgiveness/service payback programs.

In 2016, the average educational debt per graduating dental school senior was $219,463, according to an annual survey from the American Dental Education Association.

To read the full story, click here.

A Day in the Life at Archer Dental

Ever wondered what goes on at Archer Dental outside of your appointment? Here are some highlights from our Archer Dental instagram account (where we aim to give you a firsthand look at what life is really like in our dental offices).

This is our Runnymede location:

And this is our Rosedale clinic. No matter where you live in the city, we want to make sure our offices are accessible to you.

No matter where you live in the city, we want to make sure our offices are accessible to you.

We treat patients of all ages and backgrounds:

We do our absolute best to make sure our practice is completely accessible:

And we’re constantly thinking about how we can improve things to help serve you better.

So from our team to you at home:

Thank you and be sure to check us out on instagram!

Extending our ‘Best Before’ Dates

Among the many things I have enjoyed in my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to appear on stage as a stand-up comedian. Personally, I find a lot of comedy routines today to be filled with objectionable language or focused on insulting certain groups or too topical and, thus, not enduringly funny. Me? I just wonder about things, such as:

If you leave sheep out in the rain, will they shrink?

ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day kicks off in D.C.

Dental students: Spencer Tepe, fourth-year dental student at the Ohio State University, and (left) Larisa Flores, second year dental student from Temple University, were among the dental students to ask questions during the How to Meet with Your Member of Congress session.

Dental students: Spencer Tepe, fourth-year dental student at the Ohio State University, and (left) Larisa Flores, second year dental student from Temple University, were among the dental students to ask questions during the How to Meet with Your Member of Congress session.

Washington — Assign roles. Develop your talking points. Share personal stories.

In an effort to educate members of Congress on the importance of three dental and health care-related proposals, hundreds gathered for a March 27 morning session to kick off the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day.

This is the first year the ADA is holding its annual advocacy conference in conjunction with the American Student Dental Association’s lobbying event. Formerly known as the ADA Washington Leadership Conference, the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day is hosting some 1,000 dentists, dental students, state association staff and other dental leaders in the nation’s capital.

Practice makes perfect: During a role-playing event during the March 27 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, panelists pretend to be constituents. Dr. Charlie McGinty, left, a former chair of the American Dental Political Action Committee; Sara Golkari, of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Justin Norbo, of the New Dentist Committee play constituents as Michael Graham, right, ADA senior vice president, Government and Public Affairs, fills in as a congressional representative.

Practice makes perfect: During a role-playing event during the March 27 ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day, panelists pretend to be constituents. Dr. Charlie McGinty, left, a former chair of the American Dental Political Action Committee; Sara Golkari, of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine; and Dr. Justin Norbo, of the New Dentist Committee play constituents as Michael Graham, right, ADA senior vice president, Government and Public Affairs, fills in as a congressional representative.

The March 26-28 event is expected to be the largest and most successful advocacy event for any health care association in 2017, organizers said.

“We always have to realize that the younger dentists, particularly the dental students, are the future of our profession. By including them into this venture, we’re able to put them in front of the legislators so they can explain to them what’s on their mind,” said Dr. Richard Andolina, American Dental Political Action Committee chair. “We need to be at the table. We need to have the ears of our legislators. That’s why we do this.”

During their visits to Capitol Hill, attendees will meet with members of Congress and their staffs and speak out on three issues important to the oral health profession and patients: repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption, student loan and debt issues and health care reform.

But first, attendees gathered for the How to Meet with Your Member of Congress session on March 27. Those attending, seated to look like a national political party convention, received some tips and advice from Dr. Charlie McGinty, former ADPAC chair; Dr. Justin Norbo, New Dentist Committee member; and Sara Golkari, of the ASDA Council on Advocacy. The three role-played as constituents meeting with their representative to advocate for several issues.

Before meeting with their representative or senator, groups whose members are from specific states and districts were encouraged to assign roles, such as who will do the introductions, which member will speak for each issue and who will do the closing.

They were advised to focus on the top three points they want the member of Congress to remember about the legislation being discussed. This included sharing stories on how a particular law or bill has personally affected the student or member dentist.

Question: Dr. Cathy Cook, of Georgia, asks a question March 27 during the How to Meet with Your Member of Congress session of the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day event in Washington, D.C.

Question: Dr. Cathy Cook, of Georgia, asks a question March 27 during the How to Meet with Your Member of Congress session of the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day event in Washington, D.C.

Organizers said telling a story about the effects that legislation or an issue has on a constituent or district has a greater impact than facts and figures on the position of a member of Congress.

“In 2016, the average educational debt per graduating dental school senior was over $262,000. I myself am carrying $400,000,” said Ms. Golkari, during the role play.

“Now, I know $400,000 may not seem a lot,” Ms. Golkari said, prompting laughter from the audience. However, with interest rates, that amount can only grow, she added.

Most dental students rely on federal student loans to finance their dental education. While the interest rates and repayment terms for federal student loans are generally more favorable than private sector loans, the borrowing terms can still be daunting, according to the ADA.

In addition, the dental students and ADA dentist members plan on urging their members of Congress to:

  • Ensure people have access to oral health services when considering reforms to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Continue their support of H.R. 372, The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, which would amend the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s antitrust exemption and which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives on March 22.

“[Lobby Day] is an amazing opportunity to step away from the purely academic studies and get involved,” said Brittany Tate, first-year dental student at the University of California Los Angeles. “I’m just starting out, but student debt is a reality for all of us.”

Belen Diaz, first-year student at the University of Texas School of Dentistry, is also advocating for Congress to address the issue of student loans. 

Ms. Diaz is scheduled to meet with the staff of Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

“We’re looking to lower those student loan interest rates,” said Ms. Diaz, who attended the How to Meet with Your Member of Congress session. “I’m a little nervous about meeting the legislators. I know they want to meet their constituents and hear from us, but they’re also mini-celebrities, so we just want to do well.”

Along with reminding attendees how to interact with their members of Congress during their meetings, the morning session also advised them on another important matter: what not to say. These include avoiding conversations on topics not related to the legislative issue under discussion, partisan politics and political activities or fundraisers.

The goal of the session legislators and their staff hear on point messages from both dental students and ADA members.

“The ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day is this fantastic event. We’ve joined forces where we have dentists and student counterparts fly in and come to Capitol Hill,” said Abby Halpern, chair for the ASDA Council on Advocacy. “They’re able to talk to their representatives and staffers, and really speak about the issues affecting our profession and our patients.”

Follow all of the Lobby Day activities on social media using the conference’s official hashtag #ToothParty.

Stay tuned to ADA News for continuing coverage of Lobby Day.

Opioid primer: How to safely prescribe to patients

The abuse and misuse of opioid pain relievers has become an epidemic the government and medical professionals are paying close attention to.

OpioidsSince 1999, opioid prescriptions have quadrupled, and over 183,000 people have died from prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The federal government, organized dentistry and state agencies are trying to educate on the dangers of opioid abuse and what the prescribers of these medications can do to minimize the harm of the drugs.

Dentistry plays a big role in the education, since many people’s first experiences with an opioid is after an extraction or having their third molars removed, said Regina LaBelle, former chief of staff at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

“The ADA has done a great job at talking to dentists about the important role they play,” Ms. LaBelle said. “When the opioid issue really came to the forefront, it was really stressed that dentists and medical practitioners had to be really careful how much they prescribe, to whom they prescribe and when they prescribe.”

The ADA House of Delegates passed, in October 2016, Resolution 64H-2016 Statement on the Use of Opioids in the Treatment of Dental Pain, which includes recommendations for dentists. Some highlights include:

• Conduct a medical and dental history to determine current medications, potential drug interactions and history of substance abuse.
• Register with and use the state prescription drug monitoring program.
• Consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management.
• Consider coordinating with other treating doctors, including pain specialists, when prescribing opioids for pain management.

For more information, visit To attend a webinar titled “How to Discuss Safe Use, Storage and Disposal of Medicines, Including Opioids With Your Dental Patients” on March 29 from 2-3 p.m. Central time, register at

Meet Dr. Kim Blanding

Credentials, experience, and associations are extremely important aspects to look for in a pediatric dentist. What makes one stand out from the other? WHO they are. Our Doctor Spotlight series allows our tiny patients and parents to get a glimpse into the doctor’s lives. In this article we are featuring Dr. Kim Blanding. Come get to know us!

Dr. Blanding graduated from the University of Detroit in Michigan with a BA in Chemistry before going on to earn a dental degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. She received her Certificate of Pediatric Dentistry from New York’s Columbia University School of Dental Surgery. She knew she wanted to be a pioneering woman in the field of pediatric dentistry and continues to help children receive great dental care through organizations like Give Kids a Smile and NC Missions of Mercy.

Meet Dr. Kim Blanding of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry

Why did you decide to focus on pediatric dentistry rather than general dentistry?
I had a great example from my dental school professor about how cool it could be to treat children. It all started with an outreach program on Saturday mornings in Chicago!
Meet Dr. Kim Blanding of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry
Do you have kids?
My family includes Kai, Malia, Ryan, and Noah – 2 girls and 2 boys all ranging from ages 23 through 14.

Meet Dr. Kim Blanding of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry
What are some of your “tricks” to help ease kids’ fears about their dental visits?
Talk about something they LOVE!
Meet Dr. Kim Blanding of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry
What’s the best part of your day?
Heading to my bed at the end of the day and sleeping.

What’s your favorite kids’ show?
Scooby Doo!
Meet Dr. Kim Blanding of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry
What’s your favorite color?

Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, what’s your favorite sweet?
I tend to stay away from sweets as much as possible, but I do like Key Lime pie and dark chocolate covered almonds.

Have you always wanted to be a dentist? If not, what did you want to be as a kid?
I knew I wanted to be a dentist as soon as I looked in a career book and noticed only 2% of women were in the field of dentistry at that time. I could have a family and still work, too!
Meet Dr. Kim Blanding of Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry
Do you have a role model or a mentor? Why do you look up to them?
I don’t have a mentor or role model, however, the values and the demonstration of unconditional love and respect for one another that my parents share give me the motivation to be like them. They are going on 54 years of marriage.

What is your favorite sports team?
I don’t have a favorite sports team, but I do cheer for the local teams!

Finish this sentence: When I was a kid…
My twin brother and I would wake up, pack our lunches, and go exploring in the woods together!

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