For the second year in a row, the U.S. life expectancy has declined, and the ongoing opioid epidemic is at least partly to blame, according to a report published in December 2017 by the National Center for Health Statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death rates tied to drug overdoses climbed 18 percent each year between 2014 and 2016. Over 63,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, with adults between 25–54 years old being the most likely victims.
In April 2012, I emptied my class locker, turned in my required department signatures and stood in line with half a dozen classmates to terminate clinic privileges as a graduating dental student. Maybe I was expecting confetti or balloons. A parade for all of us seemed appropriate. But instead, there was just some paperwork to be completed and the return of my student ID and ASDA office key.
Next week, hundreds of dental students and dentists will be participating in my favorite day: lobby day. This year will be exciting, as we have two pieces of legislation that have passed the House with overwhelming support, and it’s also the second year that ADA and ASDA have lobbied together on Capitol Hill. The beauty of this day is that regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or political persuasion, we unite as one “tooth party” to advocate for legislation that promotes oral health.
Risk management is our best defense to ensure a healthy and prosperous dental practice. Ranging from malpractice claims to employee claims, becoming familiar with common lawsuits in dentistry is critical. It is also vital to practice risk management in your dental practice. Risk management is significant in combating and defending yourself against claims and lawsuits. Outlined are essential details to recognize when considering risk management in your dental practice.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) defines a patient with special health care needs (SHCN) as an individual with “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs.” Historically, children and even adults with SHCN have been treated by pediatric dentists because of the behavioral management necessary for many of these patients.
If you’re like us, you’ve always wanted to be a health care provider because of the desire to care for others. While that may be the answer to why you chose to practice dentistry, you also have to decide how and where you will practice. Once you’ve made these decisions, you will have the roadmap to your future — or your vision. But making these choices might be difficult. To start, think about where your passion, as well as your ability to sustain yourself and contribute to society merge. Herein lies your vision.
This April will mark the 10th annual Philadelphia Oral Cancer Walk & 5K hosted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Through this event, dental students, with the help of faculty, alumni and local businesses, work with the Philadelphia community to raise awareness for oral cancer by performing screenings and fundraising for the Oral Cancer Foundation in its work to provide access to care. Last year, the event raised $18,000 for the organization, with more than 500 runners, volunteers and patients who participated.