Healthy Smiles Require Continuing Education

The Gettysburg Smiles team in Hershey, spring 2018, for a meeting of the Pennsylvania Dental Association, a local organization of the American Dental Association

Healthy Smiles By Rita Tempel, DDS – This column was originally published in the Gettysburg Times, May 17, 2018

Recently I have been traveling to attend various dental meetings and continuing education (CE) lectures. In early April, my team and I traveled to Arizona to learn tips to  enhance our patients’ experiences in our office. A couple weeks later, I traveled to Chicago to attend my favorite annual meeting: the Scientific Session of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

This year, I spent six days in Chicago learning the latest advances in implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry,  dental photography, as well as the most exciting news of all—later this year “Cosmetic Dentistry” will be recognized as a dental specialty! Why is this wonderful news? Because up until now, any dentist could say that he/she is a “cosmetic dentist.” However, now, by completing a residency or achieving accreditation through the AACD, a dentist can be a board-certified cosmetic dentist or “specialist” in cosmetic dentistry.

Accreditation requires a demonstrably high level of proficiency in cosmetic dentistry and an unwavering dedication to continuing education and advanced cosmetic dental training to practice “responsible esthetic dentistry.”  By following minimally invasive treatment protocols, consistent long term dental health and long lasting dental restorations are achieved.

I am proud to say, I am more than halfway, in my quest to achieve this credential. There are more than 6,000 AACD members from around the world; around 360 are accredited.  In the state of Pennsylvania, there are only 5 dentists that have achieved accreditation. It is a rigorous credentialing process involving travel, hands-on CE, attending specific courses, passing a written examination, submitting specific series of RAW untouched before and after photos of multiple types of cosmetic dental procedures, and an oral exam. I look forward to completing the credentialing process. For more information, visit aacd.com and click on the “patients” tab or visit “yoursmilebecomesyou.com.”

At the end of April, my team and I attended the Pennsylvania Dental Association (PDA; a local organization of the American Dental Association, ADA) in Hershey. The topics covered at the lectures we attended were clinical record keeping and pain management.

The first lecturer was a dentist who was brave and kind enough to share his story of how he was sent to prison for dental insurance fraud. Dentists are kind and giving people. PLEASE don’t ask your dentist to submit a different code or do something different “so the insurance will cover it!” As a dental professional, we must submit what was performed. Your dental insurance manages money. Your dentist and dental hygienists manage your dental care based on your individualized dental health. I educate my patients that dental insurance is not designed to “take care of your dental health;” the dentist, the dental hygienist and the patient take care of your dental health.

Last topic: pain management and the opioid crisis. If you didn’t know already, in the state of PA, dentists are required to enter your name in a database that tracks the details of opioid prescriptions. Why? Apparently, some individuals are more prone to “addiction” than others. In an attempt to decrease the rising opioid addiction crisis, dental  providers are required to enter patients’ information into the database if an opioid prescription was given.

Luckily, most dental pain is alleviated with NSAIDs such as Motrin (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen sodium).  Sometimes, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is added. Please be aware that if you need more pain relief, we as health care providers will probably not give more than a 3 day prescription and your info will be entered into a national data base.

Lastly, I am looking forward to my next exciting meeting: the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. This cutting-edge conference is in Baltimore this year and is attended by healthcare professionals such as pulmonologists, sleep physicians, dentists, etc. Stay tuned for next month’s Healthy Smiles column to learn the highlights of that meeting!

Dr. Rita Tempel’s cosmetic and family dental practice is located at 2018 York Road (Route 30 East), Gettysburg. She is an Accreditation Candidate of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. For more information, see GettysburgSmiles.com, follow Gettysburg Smiles on Facebook, or call 717-339-0033.

 

 

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