Opioid use: Reframing how we think about pain management

Imagine it is 2 a.m., and you are cramming for your pharmacology exam. You flip through the hundreds of flashcards you created to memorize the properties of the medications and corresponding treatment protocol. You come across analgesics, specifically opioids, and remember they are used to alleviate pain. In school, we learn about the properties and proper dosages of the drugs we will one day prescribe, as well as how to address potential concerns of usage with our patients, but in order to enhance our own patient care mentality, we should reframe how we think about pain management overall.

What to expect from this year’s National Outreach Initiative

Outreach has always been a pillar of organized dentistry. Because of this, in 2017, the Council on Professional Issues spearheaded the launch of ASDA’s National Outreach Initiative (NOI). This year, the council plans to maintain the momentum generated by NOI’s inaugural year, while continuing to promote various events and opportunities for involvement throughout 2018 and 2019.

What you should know about the ADAT in 2018

The ADA launched the Advanced Dental Admission Test (ADAT) in April 2016 targeting third- and fourth-year dental students as well as practicing dentists who are interested in postgraduate training. The exam provides advanced dental education programs with a means to assess applicants’ potential for success in a postgraduate program. With the third year of the ADAT test cycle approaching, let’s take a look at the 2017 ADAT results and some changes that are taking place for 2018.

Practicing corporate social responsibility as a dentist

After 45 years in private practice, Dr. Daniel Braun can still say, “HealthLink is better than any place I’ve seen in private practice. Period. And it’s free. If you can beat that, you show me where.” Dr. Braun has volunteered at the HealthLink Dental Clinic in Southampton, Pennsylvania, ever since retiring in 2004. After 14 years with the clinic, the 1968 graduate from Baltimore College of Dental Surgery still ranks it supreme in care.

The dentist’s role in fighting the opioid epidemic

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.

Why we need more dentists treating special needs patients

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.

Defining your vision for the future

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.