New ADA guide offers advice from top dental consultants


Is your schedule balanced, overtaxed or underutilized? Do your internal controls make potential embezzlers think twice? Are your payment systems set up to maximize collections and reduce write-offs?

The new ADA Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies: Advice from Top Dental Consultants (P032) addresses these questions and more by tapping into the knowledge and experience of today’s leading dental experts, including Dr. Charles Blair, Susan Gunn, Cathy Jameson, Dr. Roger Levin, and Sally McKenzie. It is ideal for both dentists and office staff. Read the articles on your own, or use them as topics for staff meetings. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter generate conversation and ideas for improving your practice—from patient care to your bottom line.

Pre-order a copy of the 119-page book now for February delivery. The book (P032) is $49.95 for ADA members and $74.95 retail. It is also available as an e-book (P032D) and print/e-book bundle (P032B).

Save 15 percent on The ADA Practical Guide to Expert Business Strategies Book (P032), e-book (P032D), and print/e-book Bundle (P032B) using promo code 14110 by March 15.

To order and for more information, visit or call 1-800-947-4746.

Four keys to effective dental website design

There are four keys to creating an effective dental website to help grow dental practices, according to PBHS. They are:

• Provide a clear call to action: Possibly the most vital feature to making a website effective is a message or call to action which will clearly engage your visitor. For example, placing a “Call us now!” with your office phone number in the top heading or sidebar of your website is clearly identified by placement and the use of action words. Further engagement would focus on specific advertisements for a new patient special, exclusive promotions, or events that may be occurring within the practice. When you gain their interest, patients will feel inclined to call your practice.

• Quality education information: Visitors on your website would like to know more about procedures or services before placing that call. If you provide appropriate details about services and procedures your practice offers, the patient will become more confident in your abilities. Empty or content-lacking Web pages misuse valuable website real estate.

• Superior dental website design: Dental technology has vastly changed over the last decade. The same holds true for dental website design. If your website is outdated and leaves no lasting impression on its visitors, it will reflect on the image of your practice. If your website was built in the “primitive Internet era,” its design can depreciate the value of your practice brand. Dental websites that carry a modern design, with an easy to read layout, encourage visitors to engage and sift through your content. If you are unsure about the technology your website uses, consult one of our sales associates or account managers about your current dental website design.

• Provide information about the doctors and practice: Web pages that lack personality and clarity will turn patients away. Shed some light on your practice by providing more personal information, such as biographical information on the doctors, practice and staff. Patients want reassurance they are working with real people. By providing photos for an office tour slideshow or your staff, you are inviting patients to get to know you as real people. This portion of your website is also important in that it separates you from your competitors. What makes you different? Most likely it is the people employed at your practice and the skills they bring to the table.

Effective dental website design is about making the experience for your patients easy, fun and inviting. PBHS offers a variety of designs, packages, and services to support the growth of your practice and enable you to make the most of your online presence.

Related: Website design key to dental practice growth

Website design key to dental practice growth


Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about Internet marketing that features interviews with ADA members to describe how PBHS, the website and marketing services provider endorsed by ADA Business Resources, is helping dentists address today’s marketing challenges.

Owning and managing a successful dental practice means more than just providing a quality service, according to PBHS.

Dentists are faced with the challenge of finding time and resources to create an online presence, connect and communicate with existing and new patients and manage their online reputation.

The first step in this process is building an effective website. The questions many dentists ask are, “Whose website stands out?” or “Which website is the most effective?” The keys to unlocking successful dental website design may take effort, but the return is well worth it.

Dr. John Bauer, of Mansfield, Texas, told ADA Business Resources that building a website for his growing dental practice was a no-brainer.

Dr. Bauer has practiced in Mansfield for 34 years, and his relationship with the Internet marketing experts at PBHS began more than 10 years ago. Dr. Bauer said, “At the time, PBHS provided the most professional looking websites for dentists. Over the years we’ve expanded our website and it has evolved with our practice; the staff keeps our site updated, and they recently set up a Facebook account for us. To this day we still receive compliments about our website, primarily how easy it is to navigate and the quality of information it provides.”

Dr. Bauer said that an effective website is critical for the continued growth of the dental practice.

“If you don’t have new patients, you don’t have growth. New patient growth is absolutely critical. Most patients will want to check out your website before calling you for an appointment,” he said. “We see 95 to 100 new patients a month, and our Internet presence is a major part of our growth strategy. My philosophy is to try and have everything that we need to make it easy to communicate with our office, and that means having a website that is simple to navigate. We have peace of mind knowing that new patients are seeing a clear reflection of who we are and what our practice offers.”

Customer service is a critical part of any marketing service.

“I may be old school,” Dr. Bauer jokes, “But I like a human to answer the phone. The folks at PBHS are so easy to get a hold of, and they keep in close touch. They provide metrics on everything so we know where we stand, and if we have an idea on something we’d like to do, they are on top of it.”

“PBHS has done everything for us, and they are not over-priced. If you look at how many new patients I’m seeing, I should probably be paying PBHS more, but don’t tell them that!” he added.

Since 1977, PBHS has provided practice marketing services to the dental community and is now the proven leader in practice branding, website design and online search engine marketing. The company says its custom-designed websites enable dentists to build a beautiful website in only a few minutes of time, at a fraction of the cost of what a dentist would expect. These websites include simple and powerful editing tools as well as highly detailed, educational content making them the fastest, easiest solution for the dental community.

ADA members receive a $500 discount on a website design package. For a complimentary analysis of your current branding and online presence, call PBHS at 1.855.WEB.4ADA or visit

ADA Business Resources, a wholly owned subsidiary of the ADA, is a leading provider of professional products and services for ADA members.

Related: Four keys to effective dental website design

Dental, nursing students collaborate to care for backside track workers

Working together: University of Louisville general practice resident Dr. Lauren Parsons, and nurse practitioner student Kelly Stice take a medical history of patient Eduviges Atempa at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center.

Louisville, Ky.—In an effort to engage students in inter-professional education and collaboration, University of Louisville nurse practitioner and dental students are working together to provide health care services to workers in the thoroughbred racing industry.

“Health care in this country is changing, and this project fosters interprofessional team building that can help reinforce coordination of care across patient conditions, services and sites of care,” said Dr. John Sauk, dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.

In the collaborative program, which began in spring 2013, nurse practitioner and dental students see 2,000 active patients at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center. Of the patient population, about 64 percent have been referred this year for oral care, including preventive and emergent care.

The program is part of an effort to engage nursing and dental students in joint seminars, standardized patient learning and clinical experiences to better identify and manage systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease that are sometimes linked to oral health.

“As research continues to link oral health and general health, we understand the need for this type of education,” Dr. Sauk said.

At the KRHSC, the students see behind-the-scenes workers who follow the horse-racing season across the country. Among them are assistant trainers, hot walkers, grooms, exercise riders, blacksmiths and stable workers—and their families. Many of the backside track workers and their families speak different languages and are underserved when it comes to health care.

KRHSC is a joint initiative between the university and the Kentucky Racing Health and Welfare Fund Inc., a nonprofit foundation. It first saw its first patient in 2005. KRHSC is just one clinic where students collaboratively see patients, but the only clinic that exists solely to serve backside workers and their families. The students in the two professions also work together at the dental school’s clinics, through on-campus health fairs, and through short-term International Service Learning opportunities in other countries, such as Belize.

Each semester at the KRHSC, the school rotates four nurse practitioner students and six students in the general practice residency program. Meanwhile, about 50 nurse practitioner students have the opportunity to rotate through the dental screening clinics and collaborate with the junior and senior dental students on patient medical history reports.

Additionally, dental students and dental faculty members teach nurse practitioner students how to complete an oral exam and oral cancer screening.

“These interactions help us feel more comfortable interacting with other professions; it is helpful to learn how a nurse practitioner makes a diagnosis and treatment plan for a patient with diabetes, for example,” said Dr. Lauren Parsons, general practice resident.

The program is supported through a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration grant.

Early childhood programs emphasize team effort


In an effort to combat the most common chronic disease affecting children, North Carolina policymakers launched a program in 2000 to help reduce caries rates of very young low-income children.

The Into the Mouths of Babes program allows dentists and pediatricians and family physicians in their communities collaborate to build an interdisciplinary approach to better oral and overall health for their patients.

To overcome barriers that might prevent parents/caregivers from bringing their young child for dental visits, the program encourages primary care providers to incorporate preventive oral health services for children enrolled in Medicaid during well-child visits. Pediatricians assess children for dental caries and risk status, apply topical fluoride, counsel parents on the hows and whys of good oral health and refer children to a dentist who can provide a dental home. The physicians receive reimbursement for up to six oral health visits in children between 6 months and 3-½ years of age.

Within the first six years, about 3,000 pediatricians in almost 600 practices were trained to participate in the program and results showed dramatic increases in oral health services for children in this age group.

Dr. Clements 

Dr. Rozier 

“Pediatricians and family medicine doctors in North Carolina have embraced this program with enthusiasm,” said Dennis Clements, M.D., chief, primary care pediatrics at Duke Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “We are working together to keep children healthy. In some areas there are few pediatric dentists so a pediatrician providing fluoride varnish has been a huge help in trying to reduce dental caries in children under the age of 3. Dentists work collaboratively with pediatricians to educate them about healthy eating habits and caries identification. Their training helps us to triage and refer children that need to see a dentist.”

The IMB program continues to expand and involve new partners, said Dr. R. Gary Rozier, professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

“Evaluation studies conducted since the initiation of the program in 2000 have found it to substantially increase access to preventive dental services for young, high-risk children who otherwise would be unlikely to use these services in dental offices, reduce caries-related treatments and costs, avert hospitalizations and improve oral health status,” Dr. Rozier said. “Parents express a high level of satisfaction with receiving oral health services in primary medical care settings. And the number of preventive dental visits in medical settings in North Carolina reached more than 130,000 for children younger than 3-½ years of age statewide last year.”

Dr. Rozier says efforts to strengthen medical and dental collaboration to address disparities in oral health still continue in North Carolina. And both physicians and dentists have access to a wealth of resources that address incorporating oral health services into well-child visits, applying fluoride, referral guidelines and other tips.

“We recommend that dentists become familiar with risk assessment protocols developed for and being used by physicians so that they can appreciate the role that physicians play in oral health, what they expect dentists to do and how they expect dentists to relate to them,” Dr. Rozier said. “General dentists also can check with their state pediatric or pediatric dental societies, state dental public health program or Medicaid programs to see if formal education opportunities or ongoing medical-dental collaborations exist in their state. Many online educational resources are available to support infant and toddler oral health care, some of which provide continuing education credits.”

The problem of early childhood caries, and the philosophy behind using the IMB program to address it, is not unique to North Carolina.

The ADA and the American Academy of Pediatrics have been working together to help strengthen collaboration nationwide in a variety of ways, and pediatricians and dentists are collaborating nationwide to improve the oral health of underserved children.

The goals of the AAP’s Oral Health Initiative, launched in 2002, are to promote oral health care in primary pediatric settings by offering guidance to families about oral hygiene, diet, fluoride and the importance of the first dental visit at 1 year of age; to educate and advocate for primary pediatric care professionals to apply fluoride varnish; and to educate policymakers and payers about the importance of reimbursement for pediatric oral health care. The ADA is one of more than 30 partner organizations for the initiative.

With funding from the ADA Foundation, the AAP has trained pediatricians in most states to be Chapter Oral Health Advocates. These advocates provide at least four training sessions per year on incorporating oral health into the medical home, advocate for children’s oral health issues at the state and local level, serve as an access point for others in their community working to improve children’s oral health and build relationships with dental colleagues and societies in their community to improve access to oral health care.

Dr. Braun 

Dr. Crystal

“Caries is the most common problem I see in my young patients,” said Patricia Braun, M.D., a pediatrician in Denver and an Oral Health Chapter Advocate. “Physicians are slowly becoming aware of the burden of dental disease in their young pediatric populations and that the disease is largely preventable. Programs like the AAP COHA program are instrumental at raising awareness in the medical world of the importance of oral health to overall health.”

Dr. Braun said patients get high quality oral and overall health care when dentists and pediatricians can work collaboratively.

“The best model for me is when I can partner with a dentist to meet the dental needs of my patients,” said Dr. Braun. “I can teach the family of the importance of oral health and provide them with early preventive care but ultimately, my patients need a dentist who will see them at a young age and if they have Medicaid.”

“Good oral health is a gateway to overall health. And healthy children are the strength of our communities in the future,” said. Dr. Yasmi O. Crystal, clinical associate professor of pediatric dentistry at New York University College of Dentistry and member of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations. “It is important that everyone understands that the same risk factors that result in dental caries are the ones that are causing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We can and should work as a team with other health care specialists and primary health care providers to make our population healthier. It’s time to come to terms with the fact that we are all on the same team.”

Dr. Crystal stresses that dental intervention at the earliest stages of a child’s life not only benefits the child and the family, but also reduces the need for extensive and expensive restorative and surgical treatments that require general anesthesia.

“Nobody I know enjoys treating these cases,” Dr. Crystal added. “Operating rooms across the country have long waiting lists of six months or longer. The benefit of getting more early referrals would help the dentist and the patient have a more pleasant experience and it emphasizes preventive strategies which help increase patient and family compliance and result in better health outcomes.”

There are a variety of opportunities for dentists to collaborate with pediatricians in their own communities, added Dr. Crystal, and collaborations tie in to the ADA’s Action for Dental Health campaign, launched last year.

The ADH campaign is designed to:

• provide care now to people who are suffering, including the uninsured who are more likely to visit an emergency room for relief from dental pain, the elderly in nursing homes, and children from low-income families;

• strengthen the dental safety net with more private practice dentists working with health centers and participating in Medicaid;

• emphasize prevention and education through community water fluoridation, Community Dental Health Coordinators and stronger collaboration between dentistry and medicine.

“ADA members have a call to action to take advantage of programs and resources that help dentists work collaboratively with pediatricians and help reach children in dire need,” said Dr. Crystal.

AAP’s section on oral health—a group of pediatric dentists, pediatricians and other allied health professionals—is interested in learning about and improving children’s oral health through collaborative efforts. The section focuses on educating pediatricians through multiple forums, advocacy for children’s oral health and improving relationships and communication between the dental and medical homes.

AAP offers affiliate membership opportunities for dental professionals and associate memberships for pediatric dentists who are members of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

For more details, visit and search for Children’s Oral Health.

Visit the ADA’s Action for Dental Health campaign page for more information.

Resources focusing on dental home, Head Start available


For resources that focus on the dental home and Head Start, visit the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center website.

Resource Highlights: Focus on the Dental Home and Resource Highlights: Focus on Head Start, offer selected materials in the OHRC library and selected websites.

A new resource, Oral Health Resource Bulletin: Volume 30, is also available on the website. This volume highlights materials in the OHRC library in the categories of data and surveillance, MCHB-funded project final reports, policy, professional-client tools, professional education and practice, program development, public awareness and education and quality assurance. Using the guide online makes it easy to browse and click the links to see most materials in full text.

Just the Facts-Feb. 3

American Dental Association

FDA youth tobacco prevention campaign


Washington—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will launch a national public education campaign targeting 12-17 year-olds with “real cost” messages about cosmetic, oral and other health consequences of tobacco use.

“Educating teens about the harms of tobacco use in a way that is personally relevant to them can be difficult, especially since many teens believe they won’t get addicted and that the long-term health consequences of smoking don’t apply to them,” the FDA said in announcing The Real Cost campaign at the National Press Club.

“But there are some ‘costs’ of tobacco use that do resonate with teens, such as cosmetic health effects like tooth loss and skin damage. Highlighting consequences that teens are concerned about is an effective approach to reducing youth tobacco use.”

The campaign will start with cigarettes and expand to smokeless and other tobacco products, the first TV ads airing Feb. 11 and extending across online, offline, print, radio, social and other media platforms for at least a year. Among the messages:

  • See what your smile could look like if you smoke.
  • Smoking could cost your teeth
  • Smoking cigarettes can cause yellow teeth, bad breath and gum disease.
  • If you’re playing with cigarettes, you’re harming your teeth.
  • Don’t smile, smoking may stain your teeth.
  • Smoking causes gum disease, which could cost you your teeth.
  • Smoking causes bad breath, may stain teeth and causes gum disease that can lead to tooth loss.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s 50th anniversary review of tobacco science since Dr. Luther Terry’s 1964 report on smoking and health updates evidence on the implications for oral health from tobacco use and the “expanding use of multiple products or the replacement of conventional combustible cigarettes with other nicotine delivery systems.”

ADA policy supports FDA regulation of all tobacco products as authorized by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, including those with risk reduction or exposure reduction claims, explicit or implicit, and any other products offered to the public to promote reduction in or cessation of tobacco use. ADA’s National Action Plan for Tobacco Cessation supports the “launch [of] an ongoing, extensive paid media campaign to help Americans quit using tobacco.”

Visit and the tobacco control site for more information on Association tobacco policy and resources.

FDA’s ad campaign will target an estimated 10 million at-risk teens about the harmful effects of tobacco use. “We know that early intervention is critical, with almost nine out of every 10 regular adult smokers picking up their first cigarette by age 17,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “This campaign will allow teens to rethink their relationship with tobacco,” FDA’s Kathy Crosby added.

“We view this campaign as a major investment in the power of prevention,” said Howard Koh, M.D., assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, FDA’s parent agency. The $115 million campaign, including research, creative development and media placement in more than 200 markets, is financed by industry user fees, the FDA said. The Tobacco Control Act authorized the FDA to collect tobacco user fees from manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to implement the law.

Chicago-area dentist honored for service to the homeless

Dr. Angelo 

Every Tuesday and Friday, Dr. Patrick Angelo drives from his home in the northwest side of Chicago to a near downtown McDonald’s to buy some 80 hamburgers and 47 coffees.

The periodontist loads up the purchases in his black Cadillac then heads east in search of the homeless living on a 3-mile stretch of Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive to hand out the food, drinks, along with hand warmers and blankets.

The goodwill trip takes about two hours to complete but it’s pretty much routine. Dr. Angelo has made that twice-a-week trip for the past 13 years.

“After work, I have a decision to make,” he said. “Am I going home to watch TV? Go out to dinner? Or can I take out $200 from my own pocket and feed people? The decision is pretty easy.”

Dr. Angelo’s trips to Lower Wacker have largely remained a secret, with only a few people knowing what he was up to. Many of his relatives, he said, didn’t know about his work until the Chicago Tribune published a feature in November 2013 that referred to him as the “Angel of Lower Wacker Drive.”

“To me it was like going to the gym after work,” he said. “It wasn’t anything that I would brag about.”

Following the article, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council adopted a resolution Dec. 11, 2013, in recognition of Dr. Angelo’s “many years of quiet service to the homeless men and women living on Lower Wacker Drive.”

The resolution commended him for “his tender heart, wisdom and compassion, and for devoting his time and energy to helping the homeless, not just during the Christmas season, but throughout the year.”

A graduate of Loyola University School of Dentistry, Dr. Angelo said his work with the homeless stems from being a dentist. He has had his own practice in River Forest, Ill., since 1982.

“It all goes back to dentistry. This profession offers us unique opportunities to enjoy our life much more than other professionals. It gives us the latitude to do more,” he said. “I don’t know another profession that offers their skills and services for free to those who are in need. I feel blessed to be a dentist. And because I feel blessed, I feel the need to do more to help others.”

On a cold February night 13 years ago, Dr. Angelo said, he was enjoying a warm bath when it hit him.

“There are cold, hungry people downtown and I’m here in my warm home,” he said. “I just put some clothes on, went to Walgreens and bought hand warmers.”

He then went to the Rock N Roll McDonalds in the River North neighborhood and bought burgers and decaf coffee. From there, he headed south on Clark Street, made a left on Lake Street and then entered an opening that led him to Lower Wacker Drive (immortalized for non-Chicagoans in the movie “The Blues Brothers”).

“It was as if God was in my car because I’m terrible with directions,” he said. “I’ve never been on Lower Wacker but that’s where I ended up.”

That evening at Lower Wacker Drive, he met about 70 of the city’s homeless population. Thirteen years later, he hasn’t stopped returning. He estimates he spends about $30,000 of his own money to purchase food, drinks, blankets, hand warmers and other necessities. During the hot summer months, he brings fruit punch instead of coffee.

At first, he encouraged the people he met to seek shelter or treatment, but most simply didn’t want to hear it. Today, he focuses on providing the basic needs of food and warmth.

The work remained largely anonymous until a chance meeting between his family and one of his patients at a comedy club in New York City where the topic of Dr. Angelo’s goodwill work came up. The patient knew a Chicago Tribune reporter who then reached out to Dr. Angelo for the story. Soon, other news organizations and television stations followed suit. Talk show host Steve Harvey featured Dr. Angelo in his show during a “Harvey’s Hero” segment.

Although Dr. Angelo had been hesitant to share his story at first, he said, the response has been tremendous and inspiring. Various organizations have since donated blankets and knitted hand warmers, scarves and hats.

“I’ve received beautiful emails of support,” Dr. Angelo added. “A girl emailed me saying that because of the story, she was going to do more to help as well. Best message I ever received.”

Today is Give Kids A Smile day


Today is the American Dental Association’s 12th national Give Kids A Smile day and dental professionals from coast to coast are mobilizing to provide free oral health services to 350,000 children and adolescents from underserved families.

The national kickoff event will take place today at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Watch ADA News on and the Feb. 17 print edition of ADA News for coverage.

Give Kids A Smile has become the world’s largest oral health charitable program and an ADA access-to-care endeavor designed to encourage parents, health professionals and policymakers to address the year-round need for oral health care for all children. Since 2003, GKAS has provided dental services for nearly five million children.

“With the recent implementation of the Affordable Care Act, health care is on everyone’s mind,” said ADA President Charles H. Norman. “There is more to be done to help alleviate the silent epidemic of tooth decay.”


The ADA’s Health Policy Resources Center estimates that about 8.7 million children are expected to gain some form of dental benefit from the Affordable Care Act, which will reduce by approximately 55 percent the number of children without dental benefits.

“There are barriers beyond finances that need to be addressed, including education and transportation,” said Dr. Norman. “Give Kids A Smile is designed to help the underserved, but also deliver a message to elected officials that more needs to be done.”

Give Kids A Smile is a component of the ADA’s national community-based access movement Action for Dental Health: Dentists Making a Difference. Action for Dental Health aims to reduce the numbers of adults and children with untreated dental disease through oral health education, prevention and providing treatment now to people in need of care.

The ADA began the Give Kids A Smile program in 2003 as a way for dentists to join with others in the community to provide dental services to underserved children. The program initially began as a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round. Dentists and other team members volunteer their time, and services, to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States. Each year, approximately 450,000 children benefit from more than 1500 events, all because of the efforts of 40,000 or more annual volunteers.

The ADA’s national Give Kids A Smile program would not be possible without volunteers and continued generous support of sponsors Henry Schein Dental, Colgate and DEXIS.

For more information about Give Kids A Smile, visit the GKAS page and for the latest news, visit the GKAS Facebook page.

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