2013 General Dentistry Symposium Offers Something for Everyone

Whether you work with patients who have TMJ, older edentulous patients, or want to learn the latest in treatment for esthetics, tooth wear, and occlusion, the 2013 General Dentistry Symposium is for you.

2013 meeting

Held on January 25-26, 2013 at the Marriott Century Center in Atlanta, a key highlight this year is the two-day course on “Treatment Planning for Esthetics, Tooth Wear and Occlusion.”

This course will be taught by Terry Tanaka, DDS, clinical professor at the University of Southern California, School of Dentistry, Department of Graduate Prosthodontics; private practice dentist; and the founder and director of the “TMD and Restorative Dentistry Study Groups” held at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, since 1982.

Dr. Tanaka is widely recognized as a research anatomist and well known for his superior presentations and clinical skill. GAGD is excited for him share his expertise with our members.

In addition, other “hot” topics will be addressed such as “Chronic Periodontitis and Coronary Artery Disease Risk” and how to “Set Your Practice on Fire! New Strategies for Increasing Production and Creating a Superior Practice.”

Christopher Cutler, DDS, PhD will discuss the links between periodontal disease and coronary artery disease, which can appear confusing and contradictory to patients. Focusing on recent media and academic reports, Dr. Cutler will clarify and review how chronic periodontitis (CP) contributes to coronary artery disease (CAD) risk. Dr. Cutler is professor and chairman of the Department of Periodontics, College of Dental Medicine at Georgia Health Sciences University.

Roger Levin, DMD, chairman and chief executive officer of Levin Group, Inc., will share his practice management’s “Total Practice Success™” program, which has proven to increase production for dentists around the world. Dr. Levin is a third generation dentist and his practice management group has been working with dentists for more than 25 years. For those looking to hone specific treatment skills, there is plenty to choose from as well.

Robert Ritter, DDS will present “Predict-able Posterior Restorations – Melding Glass Ionomers and Composites,” where he will feature the latest in glass ionomer for posterior restorations. Dr. Ritter will offer hands-on examples and materials. Dr. Ritter currently has a dental practice that focuses on adhesive esthetic dentistry in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

George Priest, DMD will offer a course on “Contemporary Solutions for Edentulous Patients,” focusing on innovative treatment options with proven longevity. He will feature clinical examples, video segments, computer-guided surgery, and CAD/CAM designed and manufactured frameworks to show the advancements in clinical practice and how they impact clinical outcomes. A former Emory professor, Dr. Priest has maintained a 25-year-private prosthodontic practice in Atlanta, GA and then Hilton Head Island, SC and lectures around the world.

And for those who treat Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) and orofacial pain, Scott McKinney, DDS, will discuss the role that occlusion plays in the etiology of TMD, including literature and clinical studies in “Cells to Centric: Growth, Development, & Stabilization of the TMJ.” Dr. McKinney will provide an understanding of the relationship of biological science and a healthy, natural, and sustainable stomatognathic system. Dr. McKinney was a clinical instructor at Georgetown University School of Dentistry and had a private dental practice in McLean, Virginia. Currently, he is employed by the US Navy, where he provides care to United States Marines.

So, no matter what type of clinical practice or research interest you have in the dental profession, the 2013 General Dentistry Symposium has something for you.

Find out more about the agenda, speakers and topics, and register now at http://www.gagd.org.

Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News

aftco ad

Aside | Posted on by

A Time To Be Thankful

By Tina (Heil) Herington, DMD, FAGD

It is easy to complain. We all have flat tires, sick children, and other challenges through-out our everyday lives that can make us grumble, but how often do we stop to consider how fortunate we really are?

Thanksgiving is a holiday full of traditions — turkey and dressing, parades and football. But most meaningful is the custom to pause for a moment and take the measure of our many blessings. Showing gratitude can be as simple as holding a door open or greeting someone on the street with a smile, and as significant as the volunteer work many of us do. These simple acts of gratitude remind us how much we have to be thankful for, and may mean more than we ever know to the people we meet.

I wish all of you a healthy and happy holiday season!


Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News

Carol A. Wooden, DDS, MAGD Takes National Leadership Position

As newly elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy of General Dentistry, Carol A. Wooden, DDS, MAGD, has jumped right into her new role.

Carol A. Wooden, DDS, MAGD

Carol A. Wooden, DDS, MAGD

This past June, Dr. Wooden, a former GAGD president and the creator of the GAGD MasterTrack program, became the Region 19 Board of Trustees representative at AGD. A dedicated private-practice dentist and AGD member for over 25 years, Dr. Wooden has already hit the ground running.

The AGD Board of Trustees is comprised of an elected representative of each of the 19 AGD regions along with 8 elected members of the Executive Committee. This year, Dr. Wooden is one of only two new trustees voted into office. The board works closely with the executive director and has two main purposes 1) help set the direction for the organization and 2) help monitor and allocate organizational finances.

Dr. Wooden believes that AGD is the voice of general dentistry and it is the AGD leadership’s responsibility to inform its members of the threats that their practices and their patients face as the profession evolves. Part of Dr. Wooden’s election platform was how she would be “commit-ted to thinking critically, examining all in-formation presented, and reaching out to all stakeholders to make unbiased decisions for AGD’s future.”

Looking Ahead for AGD

Dr. Wooden has jumped right in participating in meetings, calls, and making decisions. On the horizon are two exciting changes. The first is that AGD purchased a new building in downtown Chicago that will serve as its head-quarters beginning in summer of 2013. In addition, there is a search for a new executive director of the organization. The Executive Committee is leading the search with the support of the Board of Trustees.“I get to see the big picture. I have no agenda other than what is good for the organization and the profession,” said Dr. Wooden. “I get to keep the members’ interests at heart and make a decision based on that.”Dr. Wooden enjoys the process of evaluating lots of information to make good decisions on behalf of more than 37,000 members. “I think you have to have good information to make good decisions,” she said. “In addition, through my previous leadership positions with AGD and GAGD, I have worked with the board at various times and find this position to be a natural next step. ”

Getting to Know Dr. Wooden

Dr. Wooden is no stranger to being busy. She has practiced in the Atlanta area since 1982 – originally in Lilburn and now in Smyrna. For four years she ran two practices. A native of Indianapolis and medical technologist by education and training, Dr. Wooden landed in Tampa, FL before making her way to Emory University for dental school. She has been in the area ever since.

In her limited spare time, Dr. Wooden is an avid animal rescue supporter and works to rescue dogs, specifically Cocker Spaniels. She also enjoys working with her hands (“not surprising,” she says, based on her profession) to create art including jewelry and stained glass. She also loves to travel and her most favorite recent visit was to Vancouver Island.

Professionally, Dr. Wooden has been long dedicated to the general dentistry field and its future. She is the creator, organizer, and director of the GAGD MasterTrack pro-gram, a nationally recognized program for its excellence and unique approach to MasterTrack.

Dr. Wooden has been a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) since 1982, AGD Foundation Board member and vice president, an AGD leadership conference speaker many times, AGD national spokes-person, regional director and creator and chair of an AGD patient outreach program called “Nation of Smiles, One Smile at a Time.” Busy to say the least.

Feedback Encouraged and Welcome

The future of AGD is bright and its trustees are working hard to make that the case. If there is one thing Dr. Wooden wants you to know it’s that your opinions, ideas and expertise matter.

“I want members to know that their input and feedback is extremely important as we try to do what’s best for the profession,” said Dr. Wooden. “I openly invite comments and suggestions at any time. Our members are our most important asset and resource, and to continue this growth we must address their needs.”

Dr. Wooden can be reached at cawooden@mindspring.com.


Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News

dentalteamturnaround ad

Aside | Posted on by

Suggestions for Minimizing Patient Concerns About Dental X-rays

By Michael V  Razzano, DDS

A new study released earlier this year brought a topic to light that is giving many dental consumers pause….do dental x-rays cause brain tumors?

Typical round cone; Right: With Tru-Align rectangular collimation

Typical round cone; Right: With Tru-Align rectangular collimation

We can all agree that radiation is not something you want to expose the body to unnecessarily, yet diagnostic x-ray imaging is essential to optimal dental care. A significant question then becomes how we talk to our patients about ALARA and dental X-rays in the face of new studies hitting the news wires (National Academies’ “Report in Brief,” June 2005, “BIER VII: Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation”).

Once the patient has raised a question about radiation, it is important to assuage their fears for the sake of the relationship and being pro-active in your community of customers. Here are three important points I suggest be considered when responding to patients.

1. Make it very clear that as Doctors our number one concern and priority is their general health and safety. We never take an x-ray that isn’t needed and x-rays are al-ways made while adhering to the ALARA principle. Share with your patient that ALARA means we are taking x-rays that emit radiation “As Low As Reasonably Achievable,” a moral imperative we com-ply within our office.

2.  Beyond careful x-ray procedures and complying with ALARA, we can invest in devices that further decrease radiation. A common choice is digital x-ray technology. Other devices such as the Tru-Align (which uses rectangular collimation), can be combined with digital x-ray to lower the amount of scatter radiation the patient is exposed to. In addition to significantly reducing scatter radiation, we find that the x-ray images are diagnostically better, which may allow us to take fewer exposures. A device such as Tru-Align combined with digital x-ray technology is an optimal solution.

3.  Last but not least, we utilize lead aprons with thyroid collars.

After you have finished the conversation with your patient they may have further questions that could be helped by showing some pictures describing how your office procedures provide radiation reduction. The images above comparing emission patterns from a typical round x-ray cone with that from a rectangular collimator such as Tru-Align may be helpful.

It is important that your discussions with your patient are compassionate and tolerant; patients are becoming very concerned and even fearful about the increasing exposure to radiation. Assure your patient that you are doing everything you reasonably can to minimize their exposure while still being sure their long-term care is optimal.

Michael V. Razzano, DDS is a general practitioner.  Dr  Razzano served as a Navy dentist for 10 years prior to establishing his practice in Woodstock, Georgia.  Dr  Razzano also completed a 2-year oral surgery residency program.


Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News

MasterTrack IV Update

by Tina Herington DMD, FAGD

MasterTrack IV is still going strong as we begin the fifth and final year of the MasterTrack IV Continuum. With most of the presentations completed, participants can see the light at the end of the tunnel! While MasterTrack IV participants are starting to look forward to receiving their Mastership award at Convocation 2014, preparations are already underway for GAGD’s MasterTrack V Continuum!

Georgia’s MasterTrack is an established, nationally recognized program that meets all requirements for participation and lecture courses in every discipline necessary for AGD Mastership. The unique structure of GAGD’s program builds camaraderie by maintaining a small, consistent class size that meets quarterly over a five-year period.

As a current MasterTrack participant, I can assure you that this is the easiest and fastest way to complete the requirements for Mastership while having fun and forming lasting friendships. I have seen MasterTrack described as a “review” of all topics in general dentistry, but GAGD’s MasterTrack is far more than just a review. I have learned new techniques and can now offer more procedures in my office than ever before! I would highly recommend anyone wanting to expand their skills and service offerings to sign up for MasterTrack V, starting in early 2014.

Contact the Executive Office for more information.



Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News

Almost $1 Million Dollars Raised by Dentists

Dr Tina Heil

by Tina Herington DMD, FAGD

A team of forty Gwinnett county dentists are volunteering for Brighter Smiles for Brighter Futures by offering teeth whitening services starting October 1 through the end of January to raise funds for new 3D breast imaging equipment at their local Gwinnett Medical Center.

brighter smilesThe “Brighter Smiles for Brighter Futures” program was founded in 2001 by Lawrenceville dentist Bruce Carter, DMD and in 2002 Duluth dentist Slade Lail, DDS joined him in his efforts. Now, nearly 40 dentists are making the teeth whitening offer. Brighter Smiles donations have been used in the past to purchase much needed and improved digital mammography equipment for the GMC Breast Health Center in Lawrenceville. This equipment has reduced waiting time for breast screenings and improved diagnosis.


“We are set to pass the $1 million mark in total donations this year, and we are only $39,000 shy of that goal,” Dr. Carter said. The campaign has a goal of raising $80,000 this year with the funds to be used toward purchase of a $210,000 Breast Tomosynthesis Machine, a new X-ray technology that makes three-dimensional images much like cone beam CT does for dentistry. “This is a great example of what a group of dentists can do for the community when we work together” he said.

Participating dentists provide their services on a volunteer basis and receive no compensation for the bleaching services. The program is also supported by corporate sponsors and many dental specialists in the area. For more information about becoming a volunteer dentist, becoming a sponsor, or starting a similar program in your area, visit http://www.brightersmiles.org or contact Dr. Bruce Carter at bcarter@gwinnettsmiles.com.

Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News


Image | Posted on by

Where Is Your White Elephant?

By Alexa Chilcutt, PhD and Deborah Druey, MBA of Symphony Dental

We’ve all been there. That uncomfortable tension that takes over when certain topics come up in employer-employee conversations, or that quiet gaze at the floor when you ask tough questions about why patients aren’t scheduling. Your instincts are telling you that a “touchy” subject is holding back your team, but you don’t want to deal with the potential drama that will occur if you tackle the problem head on. Or, you just fear the risk of making things worse altogether.

It may be bigger than you realize – your team’s attitudes and outlook have a huge impact on the day-to-day environment. When new or unresolved issues are left to brew, negativity bubbles to the surface and impacts the team’s output and affects patients’ overall perception of the office. As P. Barry stated in a 2007 issue of Dental Practice Management, “Results in dentistry are built on many small coordinated team activities that when collectively applied begin to have a significant combined impact on your patients, your profits, and on your [the dentist’s] fulfillment.” If left unresolved, team tension can negatively impact your practice.

So how do you identify an issue that may be burdensome to your office, your “White Elephant?”

Prime the pump.  People feel valued when they are listened to. You apply this principle every day with your patients. It is the same with team members. Whether or not the issues are ultimately solved to their liking, team members appreciate-ate being heard and involved in the process. This also gives you an opportunity to possibly explain why, systems/procedures especially, are the way they are. No matter what, we al-ways benefit from seeking information!  An easy way to prime the pump is to ask 3 simple questions:

1. From my vantage point, what is the biggest challenge currently facing this office?

2. What areas of team communication or work practices could be improved in order for the team to increase the level of productivity?

3. Relationally, how could team members (including dentists) improve the team climate and/or the level of service provided to the patient?

To ensure honest responses, create a Survey Monkey® (www.surveymonkey.com) account and allow members to respond anonymously. It is easy to set up a free account and to e-mail each member the link to the survey.  You are able to go into your account and simply read all of the responses to see what themes arise.

Commit to being objective.  Before you even begin to ask, you must commit to being objective about the information that is revealed. You must approach the information with the attitude of problem-solving and analyze rather than react. Bottom line, some of the issues may involve asking you to change or adapt the way you do things.

Bring in the  Elephants!  Set time aside (off site is most advantageous) to engage those involved in productive discussion of the issues that presented themselves consistently within the responses. If you are not able to separate yourself, or fear a higher level of combativeness or emotionalism from team members, hire a facilitator to guide the team through the process. The ultimate goal, in either case, is to view the conversation as an opportunity to make things better! Finally, do not leave the conversation without a written plan of action that ensures progress.

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear . . . . It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”  Marilyn Ferguson

Reference: Barry, P. (2007). The Power of Listening., Dental Practice Management, Winter 2007.

Symphony Dental provides Practice Management, Marketing and Web Design services to dental practices in Georgia and the Southeast region.  Website: www symphonydental com

Alexa Chilcutt PhD

Alexa Chilcutt PhD

  • Alexa S. Chilcutt, PhD is an Organizational Consultant /Team Re-treat Facilitator and Member of the Symphony Dental Strategic Advisor Team.  Email Alexa@symphonydental com




Debbie Druey, MBA

Debbie Druey, MBA

  • Deborah Druey, MBA is President and Client Marketing Advisor for Symphony Dental  Email ddruey@symphonydental com
Posted in GAGD Explorer Fall/Winter 2012 News