Starting a new dental practice checklist

checklistStarting a new dental practice? If you’re opening a new dental practice, there are many things to consider, including licenses, local requirements, supplies, insurance, infection control and OSHA, just to name a few.

This checklist and related resources can be used as a starting point to address many of the issues dentists encounter when opening new practices. For more information, contact your state dental society.

To download the checklist, available to ADA members for free, click here.


Specialty pathway Q&A: Oral pathology

Dr. Emily Lanzel likes solving puzzles. It’s a simple enough hobby and a simple enough reason why she pursued oral pathology.

Dr. Lanzel

Dr. Lanzel

“Each case is a new puzzle,” said Dr. Lanzel, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry.

Dr. Lanzel holds a master’s degree and a certificiate in oral and maxillofacial pathology from the University of Iowa, where she also received her dental degree. In addition, she has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The ADA New Dentist News asked Dr. Lanzel about the details that went into her decision to pursue a specialty.

Here is a summary of the conversation:

Q. How and when did you choose to pursue oral pathology?

A. Dentistry is a wonderful profession, but from day one, I was not cut out for general dentistry. I loved the basic science courses, had a passion for studying and a dislike of using my hands. I would much rather take a test than cut a crown prep. I fell in love with oral pathology my second year of dental school during our oral pathology course.

Luckily, the course was taught by one of the greatest educators and nicest people I have ever met, Dr. Mike Finkelstein, and he fostered my interest. There was no going back from there.

When it came time to apply for residency, I weighed the positive and negatives — professionally and personally — and decided to follow my passion for pathology and academics.

Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have made, and I have no regrets.

Q. How would you describe some of the benefits or challenges of pursuing a

A. By far, the benefit of pursing something I was truly passionate about far outweighed the challenges. But, the job market for oral pathology is a definite challenge. The jobs are not plentiful and, unlike general dentistry, you can’t go just anywhere to practice.

Q. What factors did you consider and what resources did you use to help you make this decision?

A. The best resource was talking to current residents and practicing pathologists to get information about residency cost, job outlook, day-today life during residency, etc. I probably should have done more investigating of the pros/cons than I did, but nothing was going to keep me away from studying oral pathology at that point. I also spent three weeks between my third and fourth year of dental school in the oral pathology department experiencing what the residency was like.

Q. What else should dentists know when considering pursuing a specialty?

A. If there is a specialty you are interested in, see if you can do an externship or job shadow within the department to get a better feel of what you would be getting into. Also, choose a specialty/ job that you can see yourself doing every day and still love it.

Can Children Develop Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is not a disease that many people associate with children. Though it is not prevalent in children, gum disease can rear its ugly head if your child has poor dental habits and doesn’t receive regular pediatric dental care.

Because teenagers have increasingly high levels of hormones, they tend to be more at risk for gingivitis and early periodontal disease than younger children. Their gums are more susceptible to irritants.

There are three different childhood periodontal diseases that pediatric dentists use to categorize symptoms and severities.

Chronic gingivitis causes gums to swell and occasionally bleed, usually during brushing, flossing, or eating. Though serious, chronic gingivitis is treatable and preventable with a regular healthy dental routine. If your child has consistently bad breath, this might also be a sign of chronic gingivitis.

It is a common misconception that “just a little blood” during brushing and flossing is harmless. Bleeding gums is your mouth’s way of signaling that a bigger problem lies ahead if action is not taken now.

Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. The reason it is categorized as aggressive is because it progresses rapidly. Aggressive periodontitis is most commonly found in teenagers and young adults, and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. A common symptom of aggressive periodontitis is severe loss of alveolar bone. An excess of plaque and calculus does not have to be present in order to develop this gum disease.

Generalized aggressive periodontitis typically occurs during early stages of puberty. Symptoms include inflammation of the gums and excessive plaque and calculus buildup. Sometimes teeth can become loose if the disease has progressed.

There is good news – all of the above can be treated!

Pay attention to your child’s brushing habits and watch for the signs of gingivitis, such as bleeding, swollen, or receding gums. With little ones, be sure to assist them with brushing. When they start independently brushing and flossing, be sure to pay attention to their technique and timing.

Enforce good dental hygiene habits at a young age in order to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and early periodontal issues. The earlier oral health becomes part of your child’s routine, the healthier they will be.

Schedule regular pediatric dental visits for checkups and evaluations. If any of the above symptoms are affecting your child, your pediatric dentist will be able to determine the best course of action.

If your child is experiencing any of the above, or their dental habits are a concern to you, contact us to schedule an appointment. We will happily give your little one an examination and discuss the best short-term and long-term treatment plans.

Learn how to navigate the regulatory environment

The regulatory environment is full of ever-changing regulations that can make it difficult for dentists to ensure they’re up-to-date on, and in compliance with, the many regulations that need to be followed in the practice.

To make it easier for dentists to become more knowledgeable about certain key federal regulations, the ADA Council on Dental Practice is sponsoring a webinar — Regulatory Compliance Got You Down? Turn Your Practice Around — scheduled for Sept. 28, from noon-1 p.m. Central Daylight Time. Register for the webinar here.

The webinar is a companion to the council’s latest practice management resource, the ADA Guidelines for Practice Success module on Managing the Regulatory Environment, which is available free online to members at

This webinar will feature many need-to-know requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act plus the latest guidelines on infection prevention and control.

The presenter is Olivia Wann, managing member-owner of Modern Practice Solutions, which provides professional compliance training and consulting services for dental practices. Ms. Wann was one of the content authorities who participated in the development of the content for the Guidelines for Practice Success module. In addition to being an attorney, Ms. Wann has worked as a registered dental assistant and dental office manager.

Additional online resources available through the Guidelines for Practice Success series include modules on Managing Marketing, Managing the Dental Team, Managing Patients and Managing Finances. Each resource is available free online to members by searching, and print editions may be ordered through the ADA Catalog.

Participants will earn one hour of continuing education credit for the program.

Webinar: Marketing your dental office with video

Creating videos can help differentiate your dental practice from your competitors and increase awareness in your local community. They can also drive traffic to your website or generate interest in a particular service. Videos help build the trust that is important to establish in any patient relationship. A successful video is one that meets your dental practice’s business objectives. Taking the time to map out a strategy will help you develop a quality product to achieve your goals.

Join us Sept. 27, 2-3 p.m. CST, as we walk you through the process of creating a great video, from generating the idea, filming the video yourself or collaborating with a film team, and where you can post the video after it’s produced.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about different types of videos for different audiences
  • Determine budget and production value
  • Considerations before filming in your office
  • Using your video to market your practice

To register for the webinar, click here.

Our Presenter

Christopher Fraze is the Vice President of PBHS and leads the Product Development team. Mr. Fraze has spent the last 17 years at PBHS designing and implementing new Internet technologies for the dental community. By demonstrating how to pre-educate patients, increase case acceptance, facilitate workflow in the office and improve office productivity, PBHS became nationally known as the leading innovator in building an online presence. Mr. Fraze helped bring to market the process of secured patient communication, referral collaboration, in-office patient education tools, and waiting room pre-education and marketing.

New Dentist Conference offers opportunity to network, share experiences

When North Carolina dentist Dr. Kristin Kaelke Miller says that one of the highlights of the New Dentist Conference is the networking, she means it.

Drs. Kristin Kaelke Miller and Scott Driver, best friends from dental school, reunite in Denver while attending the 2016 New Dentist Conference.

Drs. Kristin Kaelke Miller and Scott Driver, best friends from dental school, reunite in Denver while attending the 2016 New Dentist Conference.

“Well, at the meeting last year in Denver, I met someone at my 16th District lunch table that led me to get my awesome new job out of it,” Dr. Miller said. “An associate was there from a practice that was two minutes from where I live. The practice was somewhat new, but I don’t know if I would have found out about them as quickly if we hadn’t sat down and started talking that day. They were looking for someone with my background and experience, and the timing was perfect. Networking doesn’t get much better than that for me.”

Dr. Miller, a member of the class of 2011 of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, has been going to the New Dentist Conference since 2014, with plans to attend this year’s event in Atlanta in October, concurrent with ADA 2017 – America’s Dental Meeting.

The New Dentist Committee chair at the North Carolina Dental Society, Dr. Miller said there are many reasons why she makes it a point to be a part of each year’s New Dentist Conference. “I love going to see old friends and faces and network with other like-minded dentists, new and old,” she said. “I catch up with old classmates from my dental school in Kansas City, but I get to see a lot of new dentist friends that live all across North Carolina, too. Even though we’re in the same state and all fairly involved in organized dentistry, I don’t regularly see them, so it’s fun to be able to hang out and relax together. I get a lot of opportunity to do continuing education near me, so the continuing education, social events and food are a bonus.”

Dr. Jarvis

Dr. Jarvis

Louisiana-based Dr. Raymond Jarvis, who graduated from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in 2010, is one of two national New Dentist Committee members that work with the ADA to organize and plan the New Dentist Conference.

Dr. Jarvis first attended the conference last year, and said he is a strong advocate for new dentists to come to Atlanta.

“One tough part about being a dentist is that we work in our practices by ourselves or with a small group of other dentists day in and day out,” Dr. Jarvis said. “The New Dentist Conference gives us a chance to interact with other new dentists from around the country to share and learn about our successes and failures. It can be very freeing to learn that we all share similar experiences of learning to manage the daily goings on of a dental practice, supporting our student debt, juggling work and family life, etcetera. On top of that, we have an amazing lineup of inspirational speakers and CE courses as part of the New Dentist Conference.”

He added: “We really have put in a lot of work in to make this an amazing conference. I am looking forward to seeing many new dentists at the conference. I hope that everyone takes full advantage of everything the New Dentist Conference and the ADA Meeting has to offer.”

The New Dentist Conference is Oct. 19-21 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, concurrent with ADA 2017 – America’s Dental Meeting. Register at