Alejandro M. Aguirre
2805 Campus Drive, Suite 445
Plymouth, Minnesota 55441
2009 Midwinter Meeting
More than 250 member dentists, dental students, and staff joined in the 83rd Annual MDDS Midwinter Meeting Friday, December 5, 2008 at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel in Minnetonka. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Student District Dental Society. The day began with a hot breakfast buffet and mingling time with colleagues and sponsors in the exhibit hall. Then, everyone turned their attention to guest speaker Ms. Jo Ann Pulver.
Ms. Pulver presented two outstanding lectures over the course of five hours. “Successful Confrontation Skills for Managing Conflict” discussed how unresolved conflict can exhaust tremendous amounts of our energy and attention. Not always easy, resolving a problem can create a great energy boost. Resolving conflict requires skills that enable everyone to bypass personal differences and open up to possibilities.
“The Art and Science of Effective Communication: The Dental Professional’s Guide to Communicating More Effectively with Team Members, Patients, and Referral Partners”, talked about how creating better and more predictable results for patient care is one of the greatest challenges of the dental profession. The demands of digital dentistry include the need for secure, HIPAA compliant, file sharing applications and online collaboration. She focused on how to communicate in a faster and more efficient manner while monitoring progress of referral and laboratory cases.
Our thanks to Program Chair Melissa Zettler and her committee: Sandra Houck, James Nickman, Michael Perpich, Karen Reese, Herb Schulte, Tasha Strait, Jess Veil, and Michael Lee, and to Mary Huttenlocher and Beth Boyle, representing the assistants and hygienists, respectively.
Our sincere appreciation as well to the 56 commercial companies who supported the meeting with financial contributions and attendance in the exhibit hall, and for making it possible for the dental, dental hygiene, and dental assisting students to attend.
3M-Espe Dental Products Division
4 Med Systems, Inc.
Advanced Head & Neck
Ameripride Linen & Apparel Services
BENCO Dental Supply
Boos Dental Laboratory
CareCredit - Patient Payment Plans
Christensen Dental Consulting
Crescent Products, Inc.
Designs for Vision, Inc.
Dyste Williams Agency
Excel Dental Studios
Harrison Dental Studio
Henry Schein Dental
Heritage Construction Companies
Hermanson Dental - a DTI Company
JNBA Finanical Advisors
Junnila Company, Inc.
Karkela Construction, Inc.
Lemke Dental Laboratories, Inc.
Matsco, A Wells Fargo Company
Patterson Dental Supply, Inc.
PEB - XL Dent
Peoples Bank of Commerce
POS - Professional Office Services
Procter & Gamble - Crest/Oral B
Renstrom Dental Studio, Inc.
Saber Dental Studio
Shea Practice Transitions, P.A.
Sjoquist Architects, Inc.
Statement Plus Compliance
TDIC Insurance Solutions, Inc.
US Army Health Care Recruiting
Virchow, Krause & Company, LLP
Wells Fargo Insurance Services
Casey, Menden, Faust & Nelson, P.A.
Jackson Spah Dental Studio, Inc.
McGrann Shea Anderson Carnival
Straughen & Lamb, Chtd.
Meuwissen, Flygare, Kadrik & Assoc.
Quadent Studio, Inc.
Sabo Dental Lab, Inc.
Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.
Please mark Friday, December 4, 2009 for the 84th Annual MDDS Midwinter Meeting at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel in Minnetonka for you and your entire dental team. Five core continuing education credits will be given.
Last Call for Help
We are very short of volunteers for this year’s Give Kids a Smile Day, especially hygienists and assistants. Please ask your staff members if they would join us for a very rewarding day.
In conjunction with the ADA’s Give Kids A Smile Day, and in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the District will sponsor its 9th Annual Children’s Dental Health Care Day for children in need at the Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic in Minneapolis. This day helps children who would otherwise go without with dental exams, X-rays, treatments, and dental education. Our event will be Saturday, February 7, at Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic, 525 North 7th Street, Minneapolis, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
To sign up, please contact the District Office at (651) 631-9845 or contact Dr. Teresa Fong, (763) 786-4260 or the District Office with any questions.
The MDDS’ next General Assembly Meeting will be Thursday, February 12, at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel in Minnetonka. Dr. James Q. Swift will speak on “Medical Emergencies Simplified”. Dr. Swift is currently Professor and Director of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, and practices full scope oral and maxillofacial surgery in the Twin Cities area.
Participants will receive one core continuing education credit for this lecture. If in need of a registration form, please contact the District Office or check the MDDS website (email@example.com) under calendar and events. Every dental practice and staff member could benefit from this lecture.
That Perfect Time of Year
The District’s 2009 Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Evening will be Thursday, April 30, at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel. Officers for the upcoming year are Alejandro Aguirre, president; Mark Omlie, president-elect; Wendy S. Gulden, vice-president; and Gary A. Bolmgren, secretary/treasurer. MDDS will present our Guest of Honor Recognition Award during the evening’s program. Again this year, we will be honoring all the Minneapolis District past presidents at this event. Please watch your mail for the registration flier.
2009 Summer Sporting Events
The annual Trapshoot Tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, August 19, Metro Gun Club, Blaine; gourmet wild game dinner and prizes, of course. Come enjoy the wonderful dinner even if you are not in the tournament.
The Greater Twin Cities Tennis Mixer is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at the Bearpath Golf and Country Club, Eden Prairie, and will include members from both the Minneapolis and St. Paul District Dental Societies. All competition is doubles; play is on outdoor clay courts from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., with dinner following. Players from novice to advanced are encouraged to come.
Megan L. Beuckens, D.D.S.
Chris J. Fondell, D.D.S.
Eric R. Hunter, D.D.S.
Amy L. Merritt, D.D.S.
Peter L. Nguyen, D.D.S.
Upcoming Programs and Events
Saturday, February 7, 2009
9th Annual Give Kids A Smile Day
Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic
Volunteers still needed!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
General Assembly Meeting
Subject: “Medical Emergencies Simplified”
Speaker: Dr. James Q. Swift
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Annual Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Meeting
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel
324 W. Superior Street, Suite 828
Duluth, MN 55802
The December NEDDS meeting, held at the Kitchi Gammi Club in Duluth, featured oral pathologist Dr. Michael Rohrer. Dr. Rohrer is a member of the faculty at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, and a number of us in the room had him as a professor. We all slouched a little in our chairs to avoid being called on for a differential diagnosis or technical description of a lesion. In all seriousness, though, Dr. Rohrer gave an interesting and engaging half-day presentation about oral cancer. He discussed various types of oral cancer, and showed many helpful slides which helped us to recognize lesions to be concerned about. In addition, a good discussion of new screening technologies such as ViziLite, VELscope, and the OralCDX brush biopsy took place. Dr. Rohrer answered a number of questions, and gave his opinion on some of the new technologies. Basically the take-home message was that there is really no substitute for using your own eyes to determine that something is not “normal”, and if that is the case, the person should have the questionable area biopsied.
The evening also included the Midwinter Dinner Dance. A delicious meal was served, and people danced to the band “Shack Shakers”. There were a lot of folks in attendance, including some of the new dentists from our district and their spouses. Everyone seemed to be having a great time! Dr. Rohrer, a devout bowtie wearer, and his wife Cecilia stayed for the night and ripped up the dance floor with some nifty moves. I migrated to a dark corner along with a several other guys in an attempt to hide from the dance floor. Somehow our wives always managed to find us, though.
The US Navy is invading our district. Specifically, Dr. Matt Royal, currently serving in the US Navy, will be joining Northern Endodontic Associates late this spring. He will be working intermittently in Duluth until his commitment to the Navy is completed in June. Dr. Royal is a Duluth native, and attended the University of Minnesota for dental school and the University of Iowa for endodontics. He is looking forward to returning to the endless 75 degree days we have in Duluth all year long.
Just before Christmas, a special meeting was held at the Kitchi Gammi Club in Duluth to discuss the upcoming Minnesota legislative session. Around 20 dentists from our Northeastern District were in attendance, as well as the MDA lobbying team of Dominic Sposeto and Tom Day; MDA President Lee Jess; Patrick Lloyd, dean of the School of Dentistry; and MDA Executive Director Dick Diercks. We were joined by guests Yvonne Prettner Solon, state senator from Duluth, and Representative Tom Huntley, also of Duluth. The meeting provided an important opportunity for members of our District to discuss their concerns and questions regarding the upcoming Oral Health Practitioner (OHP) legislation with our local elected officials. The consensus was that the meeting went well, with both Prettner Solon and Huntley asking several questions and also elaborating on their feelings regarding this issue. Dean Lloyd also gave a brief presentation on the School of Dentistry’s proposed OHP training program, which would integrate the OHP students with DDS students.
In January, our NEDDS meeting was held at the DECC in Duluth. Nearly 500 dentists and staff members were in attendance to hear Dr. John Molinari speak about infection control and allergies. Dr. Molinari was happy to be lecturing in a state whose NFL team won a game this year, and he gave a good presentation on what is traditionally a pretty dry subject. Many good practical tips and guidelines were presented, and Dr. Molinari provided some comic relief as well. During lunch, the Guest of Honor Award was given to Dr. John Cornell. John was roasted to a crisp by his friends and colleagues, but took it all in stride. Congratulations to you, John!
That’s all I have to share with you for this edition. By the time you read this, I hope you’ve done one of the following: taken a vacation to a warm destination, caught a large fish through a hole in the ice, or followed through with at least one New Year’s Resolution. Take care and stay warm!
John E. Lueth
P.O. Box 310
Bemidji, MN 56619
Although there is undoubtedly dental news of significance occurring in the northwest corner of the state, the Pony Express does not always deliver to the associate editor. This is in no way a reflection on the Pony Express, whose illustrious historical record remains unblemished. Rather it signifies that those fearless riders were not given any dispatches to deliver! Therefore, much like the time- and space-filling practices of such culturally honored institutions as sports talk radio, airport waiting area television repetitive news loops, and those uncomfortable silences in Lutheran church services lasting more than 20 seconds, it is incumbent upon this associate editor in this issue to bring you assorted tidbits of writing - some of which may be true, not many of which are terribly important. Hey, we’re just having so much fun this winter with all the great snow that we haven’t had time to communicate!!
Turn Mother’s Picture to the Wall
Regarding: an over abundance of white-tailed deer; long, cold winters; driving.
While traveling down county highways in a pickup truck on our way to transplant some white spruce trees one cool morning in May of 2008, a great number of deer were observed out in the pre-sunrise time of day feeding on fields and shoulders of roads. As we both were commenting on this not unusual sight, my close friend (“Captain”) Ron told me of a recent encounter he had had with a deer on the shoulder of a road he was driving.
While traveling at the posted speed of 55 miles per hour, the following went through his mind in a fraction of a second:
“It’s been a long winter! [We had just seen three major snowfalls in April, and the ice-out date for Lake Bemidji was the latest it had been in 50-plus years.] We’ve eaten down the freezer with not too much venison remaining. The deer is standing on the shoulder of the road. (1) Will it dart in to my path causing me to attempt evasive action to avoid hitting it? (2) I’m driving my (older model) pickup... I don’t have to worry too much about damage to the vehicle. (3) I know I could hit it if I wanted to. Then I could put more meat in the freezer! (4) How big is it really? I’m not even going to try to hit it unless I’m sure I can get at least 70 pounds of good meat off it!”
Captain Ron did not hit the deer. However, we thereafter had a lengthy “A guy could...” conversation about keeping your snow plow on the front of the truck into June or so. By angling the plow to just barely clip a deer and toss it not too far off into the ditch (so you would be able to quickly and safely drive right down and toss it in the back), a guy could profit from those otherwise damaging deer-vehicle encounters by putting some meat in the freezer. You would also be helping society through a kind of road-warrior-Darwinian-process by eliminating those members of the deer population intent upon crossing in front of traffic. Aside from the fact that there are too many deer around here which result in negative vehicular encounters, vegetative damage of private and public lands by over-browsing, and which persist in the spread of various diseases affecting livestock and pets, why let the predators get all the venison when a little precautionary forethought could benefit people?
The unresolved question for us was whether the appearance of pickup truck tire tracks intentionally heading off the roadway into the ditch might be a little too obvious!
A Day Away - Far, Far Away
This is a heads-up for a time, place, and event that seems the stuff of dreams right now, I know, but dentists are planners, so get out your blackberry and start taking notes. The Northwestern District Dental Society’s Summer Meeting will be Friday, June 19, 2009, at the Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park (www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/itasca/index.html). Speaker will be Dr. Kevin Nakagaki from the University of Minnesota. Room reservations at Douglas Lodge fill very early, so now is the time to get your reservations. (1-866-857-2757 for reservations.)
The venue includes 15-plus miles of paved trails for hiking, biking, and rollerblading. There are additional trails for hiking plus hike-in-only lakeside campsites. There are opportunities for canoeing, swimming, fishing (walleye, crappie, pike, bass, and muskie fishing in the park!) Rentals available include boats, pontoons, paddleboats and canoes, fishing equipment, and bikes. There will be evening campfires. You can see the Headwaters of the Mississippi River and climb the Fire Tower! Add to that the interpretive center, naturalist programs, and possibly an evening dinner cruise on Lake Itasca.
Accommodations at Itasca Park include lodge rooms, four-person suites, four-person cabins, and tent or trailer camping in the park. Additional hotel, resort, and campground accommodations are available in nearby in Park Rapids, Walker/Leech Lake, and Bemidji.
For further accommodation information or meeting inquiries, please contact Dr. Roger Sjulson at 39154 335 Ave. SE, Fosston, MN 56542; 1-218-435-1599 (work); 1-218-435-6738 (home); Fax 1-218-435-6568; or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a thought on Minnesota ice fishing:
If you give a man a fish, he can feed himself for a day. If you get him set up in an eight-foot by 20-foot tow-behind portable ice house fully equipped with heater, cook stove and oven, indoor toilet, power generator, satellite TV, and bunks ... you’ll be lucky to see him before spring break-up!
You Might Be From the Northwestern District If:
• You know how to correctly pronounce:
• You know how to spell: Winnipeg
• You know the location of:Hayes Lakes State ParkKey West, Minnesota
• You know: Bemidji State University students don’t need to pay for campus parking...when Lake Bemidji is frozen!
You might be from the Northwestern District when:
• Winnipeg is closer than Minneapolis/Saint Paul
• You live closer to three Canadian provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario) than to the Twin Cities
• Your regular cable TV service includes at least one Canadian channel
• CBC radio reception is as clear as any other...and you enjoy it even though half of it is in French
• A herd of elk have damaged you or your patient’s crops
• Hunters stand in line for Krispy Krèmes...day old...for bear bait
• The term “nationwide cellular phone coverage” is a joke
• You possess and routinely use your “Remote Border Crossing” permit
And - you can correctly combine the following (draw a line to the match correctly):
East Grand Forks Rams
Agassiz Prime Minister of Canada*
Warren an ancient lakebed ...not a rock
Stephen Harper parkland
*For extra points: What political party does he represent?
Christine H. Hermanson
1055 Highway 36 E.
Maplewood, MN 55109-1911
Notice: SPDDS has a new email address: email@example.com
It Doesn’t Feel Like Midwinter ...
SPDDS held its 55th Midwinter Meeting January 16 at the Crowne Plaza Riverfront Hotel. The Midwinter Committee presented topics and speakers that appealed to all members of the dental team, and attendees were able to choose from among ten Breakfast Seminars and nine Morning Speakers. In addition to the programs, there were a wide variety of commercial exhibitors. Past SPDDS presidents and invited guests enjoyed gathering together for an early morning breakfast prior to the seminars.
Scott Lingle received the Out-standing Service Award and was honored at the luncheon.
Also honored with awards were Darlene Birkeland, CDA, RDA, for her outstanding work in the dental assisting field, and Pat Lenton, RDH, M.A., for her contributions to her profession and community.
Our thanks to the Midwinter Committee for their time and talent in planning the 2009 meeting.
Welcome, New Members
Mark S. Moeller graduated in 2001 from the University of Iowa and received his certificate in pediatric dentistry from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Dr. Moeller practices on Beam Avenue in Maplewood. He and his wife Naomi reside in Edina.
Kyle Wilkes is a 2008 graduate from the University of Minnesota. He is in general practice at 4700 Lexington Avenue in Shoreview.
‘Tis the Season:
MDA and SPDDS Honor Milepost Years of Membership
The Minnesota Dental Association and the Saint Paul District Dental Society have recognized the following members for reaching the 25 and 50 year levels of involvement in organized dentistry, and extend their thanks for making our associations vital and effective.
Donald (Brad) Rindal
Sandra Cole Wilkinson
Fifty-year Golden Club:
The SPDDS Scholarships
Our district has had the privilege of distributing funds from the George S. Monson Foundation for many years. Dr. Monson was a Saint Paul dentist and an SPDDS member until 1933. In 1981, his daughter, Ruth Monson, created the George S. Monson Foundation for the purpose of supporting education in the field of dentistry.
The SPDDS Foundation Committee — Lois Duerst, Chair, R. David Resch, Loren Taple, and Howard Taylor — awarded scholarships to five University of Minnesota School of Dentistry students.
Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic Receives Donation from Patterson Dental
Thanks to Patterson Dental, some exciting improvements have been in the works this year at the Union Gospel Mission Dental Clinic. After helping fund the renovation of the clinic in years past, this year Patterson Companies donated a state-of-the-art digital panoramic X-ray unit, Eaglesoft software, and training for the mission staff. The project has enabled the clinic to be much more efficient while providing better service to clients.
We wish to thank the team of Patterson executives who facilitated the implementation of this project. They are Jim Wiltz, president and CEO of the company; Chief Financial Officer Steve Armstrong; and Rich Kochmann, vice-president of Technical Services.
We also wish to thank the Saint Paul District dentists and staff members who have continued to provide valuable services to the needy through our Monday and Thursday night clinics. Their faithful commitment to volunteer at the clinic, combined with the generosity of Patterson Dental, is making a difference in the lives of patients at the UGM Dental Clinic.
And I’ll See You There ...
February 3, 2009
Executive Council Meeting
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Give Kids a Smile
Lunch & Learn Seminar
Subject: “Oral Ulcers &
Speaker: Dr. John Koutlas,
Noon to 1:00 p.m.
MDA Central Office
Children’s Dental Health Day
Minnesota Children’s Museum
10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Dental Day at the Capital
SPDDS Long Range Planning
Minnesota Humanities Center
Benefit Event Held for Dr. Mark Houston
A Benefit Auction and Dinner was held December 14 for Dr. Mark Houston and his wife Michelle, who are both battling life threatening illnesses.
Mark (Dent ’81) and Michelle, who is a dental hygienist, met while both were students at the University of Minnesota. After dating for 10 years, they married and now have two children, Chris (14) and Nicole (12), who are their lifelines. They live in Hugo, and Mark had practiced for 27 years at Rice Creek Dental in New Brighton.
In August of 2006 Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of mantel cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In November 2006, his wife Michelle was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease, ALS.
Immediately after Mark’s diagnosis, he started chemotherapy, and in February of 2007 underwent a stem cell transplant. Three months later, they were disappointed to learn the transplant had failed. Mark, however, had been in remission and was able to return to work in the fall of 2007. In March 2008, Mark found out his cancer had returned with tumors in his neck and abdomen. Another round of rigorous chemotherapy forced Mark to sell his practice and retire from dentistry in May 2008. Mark found this chemotherapy much more taxing than the first time, but because the tumors had not responded as hoped, two additional months of chemo were needed before attempting another stem cell transplant in September 2008.
Michelle’s condition, which is incurable, has progressed rapidly. In January of 2008, she was hospitalized for breathing difficulty, and transferred to a hospice facility after two months.
She is paralyzed from the neck down, and in August had a tracheotomy placed which prevents her from speaking. Michelle now stares at letters on a board to help with communication. Michelle wanted to be with her children as much as possible, and received her wish in September when she was transferred back to their home, where she receives 24/7 hospice nursing care. There continues to be a slow deterioration which is eroding her ability to communicate.
Mark had his second stem cell transplant September 15, when he was hospitalized for two weeks. Since then there have been daily trips to the clinic, infusions, and pills. He has been in isolation since September, but was able to attend the fund raiser for a short time, as long as he wore a mask and didn’t touch anyone. As of January 4, Mark’s stem cell transplant has been successful, with a marrow biopsy showing no cancer cells. There are still concerns, and Mark will be rechecked in three months. Full recovery typically takes at least one year.
Throughout this ordeal, the Houstons have tried to maintain some sense of normalcy for their children Chris and Nicole. Family and friends have stepped in to provide meals, diversions, and transportation to the kids‘ activities. Family members have been tireless in providing care and assistance as needed for Mark and Michelle.
Astronomical health care expenses prompted a group of family and friends to organize the Benefit Auction and Dinner which was held at the Hugo American Legion December 14. This event included a spaghetti dinner, a silent auction, raffles, games, and a live auction. The weather was blustery, but the crowd of more than 700 well wishers and 100 volunteers overwhelmed the Houston family. Auction donations ranged from scarves knitted by classmates of Nicole Houston through electric toothbrushes, diamond jewelry, and football, hockey, and basketball tickets. Dentists who provided items for donation include Pete Cannon, Matt Berg, Suzanne Kappel-Geib, Roscher Dental Group, Northeast Dental, as well as Patterson Dental. A donation of $1,000 was presented to the Houston family by SPDDS president Loren Taple and Executive Director Kathy Krauter. Also in attendance were Craig Sulzdorf, Paul Berg, Karl Berg, Mike and Marcia Kurkowski, Dan Shannon, Paul Kirkegaard, Christine Hermanson, Phil Lundeen, and Larry Krueger.
All the proceeds were used to help pay for Michelle’s care, which last year alone cost more than $100,000. Insurance benefits pay for 16 hours of nursing care per day, but the family is responsible for paying for the other eight hours of needed care ($5,000/ month).
Michelle’s sister Tonya, who was instrumental in planning this event, expressed appreciation to all the people who supported the family. She stated they were pleased with the amount raised, but indicated it did not come close to covering the needs for Michelle’s ongoing care.
Mark sums up their feelings in his recent caringbridge entry. “Michelle and I continue to be amazed at the tremendous outpouring of support as we slide into the New Year. It certainly lifts our spirits greatly to know so many people care.”
Information about donating money to the Houston family can be found at Houstonbenefit.org, and messages can be left at www.caringbridge.org/visit/houstons.
Christopher E. Carroll
150 East Fourth Street
Winona, MN 55987
I’ve told every Tom, Dick, and Harry
That the OHP work group’s been scary
For we’d all be insane
To settle for the mundane
When we could have something extraordinary.
The Dust Has Yet to Settle
Our SEDDS trustee, Mike Flynn, and I gave it our best shot. As you recall, we two were the only outstate private practicing dentists on the Minnesota Department of Health’s 13-member Oral Health Practitioner (OHP) work group. We felt woefully outnumbered. A clear majority of the work group represented constituencies that had great needs to fill, and were wanting as much as they could possibly get from the new OHP. They were pulling hard from all directions for more procedures, more invasive procedures, more independence, fewer restrictions, and less supervision.
The minority to which Mike and I belong strove to have the OHP more focused. We did make some headway, but were generally unsuccessful in gaining a consensus for the provisions which we felt were the most important to the success of the new midlevel provider.
That phase of our work is now done. The work group was dissolved after the sunsetting of that law on December 15. The product of our long months of negotiations was a huge, 150-plus page report. It contained the majority’s recommendations, but it also had several alternative or dissenting proposals. One of these was crafted by the MDA’s OHP task force, chaired by 2007-2008 MDA president Jamie Sledd. To view these documents, you can go to the Department of Health’s web site at (http://www.health.state.mn.us/healthreform/oralhealth/index.html).
Having been given only two options on which to hang our hats, Dr. Flynn and I endorsed the MDA’s proposal. I also had inserted into the final report a synopsis of how I felt the OHP should shake down, as follows:
“Other solutions may be acceptable in the other parts of the world where the standard of comprehensive care is lower and where people are isolated in remote areas, but in Minnesota, there is one clear place where a midlevel dental practitioner can be utilized to the fullest advantage and where our collective and their personal investment will yield the highest returns. That place is within the existing, highly efficient dental delivery care systems.
“A wide gap exists between what the dentist does and what the currently highest trained auxiliaries can do. A highly trained midlevel practitioner with a skill set which falls within that gap would greatly increase the capacity of the dental work force. If their efforts were focused on the underserved, then the greatest amount of the unmet need would be addressed.
“It would be a mistake to look upon the OHP as a solution for too much of the existing access problem. The level of care that would be required by nursing home patients, prisoners, indigent adults, etc. is beyond what could reasonably be expected of a midlevel practitioner. Other initiatives will be needed and are much more appropriate here. We should not dilute to ineffectiveness our sizable investment in the OHP by spreading their talents too thinly across too many aspects of the access problem. This is being realized by other countries as they are now transitioning away from their traditional, stand-alone midlevel practitioner into one which is integrated with the entire dental team.
“All this is especially true when it comes to children. We should not be too quick to accept a lower tier of care for our most precious citizens. Every reasonable effort should be made to insure that they receive the highest level of care in a dental home staffed by the most qualified dental team.
“The advantages of having Minnesota’s OHP be an integral member of the dental team are great and manifold. Optimal efficiency, productivity, scope of practice, career satisfaction and longevity, public safety, and use of talent and resources are best assured by this common sense approach. We should take full advantage of this opportunity and create the best OHP that we possibly can.”
The dust has yet to settle over all of this. The haggling will now be moving over to the state capital. All the constituencies are lining up behind their proposals, and they will be pushing hard. If you have any strong opinions about the OHP and the form it should take, now is to time to make your voices heard. Contact your state law makers, and consider joining us in Saint Paul on February 25 for “Dental Day at the Capitol”. Instead of just spending another day at the office, you could throw your weight behind this, and in the long run, do even more good for your patients and for your state and country as well.
Ken A. Windschitl
2000 South Broadway Street
New Ulm, MN 56073
Meeting Ourselves Coming and Going: The SDDS Annual Meeting
The Southern District held its annual Mid-Winter meeting this past Saturday, January 10, 2009. The meeting was held at the South Central College in North Mankato, Minnesota. This was a successful and educational meeting with many speakers who spoke on a variety of interesting topics about dental, and non-dental, topics. The meeting was well populated, with more than 110 paid attendees and a number of students from South Central College, Minnesota State College, and Minnesota West Community Technical College Canby. All the students who attended were granted tuition by the South Central Dental Study Club of Mankato. Also, for all contributions made from TDIC, Shelly Stark, and Anthony Roth, thank you!
Jackie Malling started off the morning with “The Gift of Sight Through Organ Donation”. Jackie is an active member of the Eye Bank Association of America (EBAA). She has served as executive director of the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank since 2002. Also she has served as the technical director for seven years, and has worked as a RN at an orthopedics/neurology hospital unit. Jackie volunteers as a Reach to Recovery coordinator for the American Cancer Society. She is a founding member and past president of the Minneapolis Ambassadors Lions Club. Jackie’s informative speech on eye tissue donation for transplant and research has created the awareness for all of us that when we work together we can achieve so much more. Almost anyone can donate tissue that can be used for research and sight restoration.
Judge Allison Krehbiel, Nicollet County Prosecutor Ken White, and Drug Court Coordinator Julie Mayo were representing the Nicollet and Blue Earth County Drug Court. Together they gave a very moving presentation of what drug court is, who is a part of drug court, and how difficult it can be to get dental treatment to recovering addicts. These people want change in their lives. They have asked to be a part of Drug Court to avoid becoming lost in the system. This is crucial so that they are able to go out and interview to get jobs with confidence and become active members in society. Let me assure you that this is not an easy topic to discuss, especially with tight corners and budgets the way they are. The sooner we revise this, the sooner we can feel the benefits of helping these unfortunate individuals get their lives to a place where they can be at least in part self-sustaining.
Professor Michael Rohrer spoke to us in depth on the topic “Red and White Oral Precancerous and Cancerous Lesions”. His education from the University of Michigan combined with the experiences gathered while teaching at the University of Oklahoma for 22 years culminated in his being named a Presidental Professor, the first from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. He has held many titles and has received outstanding awards, grants, and contracts. It was certainly understandable why we need people to inform us on the issue of oral cancer because we are the professionals who patients trust to detect cancer in the earliest stages. This topic, “Oral Cancer: Dentists in the Front Lines”, was interesting and informative.
Tom Day, Director of Legislative Relations and also an MDA lobbyist, was present at this year’s seminar. Mr. Day gave a short update on legislative news. Karen Metz gave a brief update on the Dental Assisting Program at the South Central College. Lynnette Engeswick was present on behalf of the MSU dental hygiene program and spoke to us from her area of expertise, as did Teresa Noyes from the Minnesota West Community Technical College Canby.
On the lighter side of things, humorist and storyteller Al Batt gave an interesting talk that we will all remember. Al is a contributing member of this area with his weekly appearance on KSMQ-TV’s “Memories and Musings” by Al Batt. Al could be called an environmentalist, as he writes about nature and has been awarded Birder of the Year by Wild Bird magazine.
Our last speaker was Stephen P. Merry, a practicing family medicine physician from the Mayo Clinic. His topic for the conference was “Primary Care Ear, Nose and Throat Problems for Dentists.” It was interesting to hear how medical conditions such as pink eye, ear infections, and bronchitis can often be treated without antibiotics. It seems we are in a rush to bring children to the physician, when most of the time we could use WASP (his “wait and see” plan).
To wrap things up with Southern Districts news, I would like to report that I am much caught up with new members and retiring members. I think you may find it interesting and fun to catch up on one last (for now) retiring member, Dr. Doug Burgess.
Doug Burgess, D.D.S., P.O.V. (Permanently on Vacation)
University of Minnesota Dental School class of ‘69 and a very pleasant 39 years of practicing dentistry later, Dr. Doug Burgess admits, “One of my claims to fame is beating the odds of a patient ‘cooling off’ in the dental chair. The national average is one and a half deaths per dentist per career, and I am happy I avoided being a part of that statistic.” Doug sold his practice to Dr. Brent Olson in 2008. “Brent is a very capable young dentist born and raised in nearby St. Peter,” he told us.
“My first six months of retirement have gone by amazingly quickly. If anything, I have too many hobbies and interests to attend to all equally! I do enjoy my toys with engines.”
As a junior in dental school I ordered a 1968 Pontiac GTO convertible — Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was when I picked it up from the dealer. I could paint my name on the street in second gear with the glass-belted redline radials! Six years later, with a crying two-year-old in the back seat and a pregnant wife riding shotgun in 100 degree heat, we got blasted by a semi on a gravel road, and my wife made it clear that this was not a family car. The next day I traded it in. Fast-forward six years, and the craving for a muscle car returned. I came upon an ad offering a black ‘68 GTO convertible. I thought I’d take a look. Finding a service record book in the glove box, I opened it up, and lo and behold it was my handwriting! I crawled underneath: There was the telltale dent in the frame. Then it was just a matter of what it would cost to return this goat to its original owner. As it turned out, it was the same price I’d paid for it 12 years earlier! I’m enjoying the car more today than I did in 1968. Other ways of wasting my retirement include riding two Harley Davidsons, boating, golfing, and returning to my farmer roots.
“As far as dentistry goes, I certainly enjoyed the years, but I still am not wishing to re-up my license. The most thrilling thing about retirement is not having to send the tidy little check every three months to the state of Minnesota for the “sick” tax. And that’s the truth.”
Deciphering OHP Legislation
On one of the year’s coldest nights in Mankato, things were heating up inside the Holiday Inn during a special event for southern Minnesota dentists. The Minnesota Dental Association organized a special grassroots meeting to discuss the status of local Oral Health Practitioners (OHP). Twenty dentists and colleagues from Southern Minnesota took the opportunity to hear from MDA leadership and staff as well as Patrick Lloyd, Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, regarding the oral health practitioner and dental therapist program that is being proposed.
An OHP could be authorized to perform duties that traditionally only a dentist was able to do. There is a debate regarding the specific scope of the OHP as well as the level of supervision. The MDA contends that a dentist must be in the building if any surgical procedures are to be performed by these non-dentists and that we need to start with a more limited scope of practice. Also, surgical procedures must only be taught in a school that is accredited to teach surgical procedures.
Dean Lloyd discussed much of the specifics of his curriculum and stated that they hope to begin enrollment of 10 dental therapist students this fall. The program that he is proposing is being supported by the MDA.
The rest of the country is watching what is happening in Minnesota, and we only have one chance to get this right. It is imperative that each District gets active in talking with their legislators to ensure that the proper regulations are placed on these new dental team members.
2833 Lexington Avenue North #D
Roseville, MN 55113
Wherever You Go ...
The New Year brings a raft of opportunities and challenges for the Student District as we prepare for many significant events that are now on the horizon. School is back in full swing after the holiday break, and our ASDA chapter is ready to go for an eventful 2009.
As last year’s legislative session made clear, advocacy should be a top priority for our organization. To prepare ourselves for what is shaping up to be a tumultuous year in our state’s legislature, we are organizing several educational and training sessions for our delegation. With help from the MDA and its Legislative Affairs Director Tom Day, we aim to be knowledgeable emissaries for the issues that impact the practice of dentistry and our patients. We are looking to send another strong group of students to attend the Dental Day at the Capitol event in cooperation with the MDA. In turn, we hope to see broad representation from practicing dentists across the state to join us to deliver a unified, coordinated message to the Capitol.
Eight students from our ASDA chapter will be flying out to Washington, D.C. to attend the 2009 National Dental Student Lobby Day February 11 and 12. At this event, they will be educated about pertinent bills and current legislative issues that affect us on a national level. Dental students, each coming from his or her own small part of the country, will descend upon the Capitol and come together to speak about issues that are important to dentistry, dental education, and patient care. Our students are excited about this opportunity and are ready for the rewards and challenges that come with advocacy.
The Give Kids a Smile campaign and its successes are well documented. This year, the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry will be holding its GKAS event Saturday, February 7. We are looking to provide much-needed dental care to many underserved children from the area. Teaming with the School’s faculty and support staff, dental students from each class will be volunteering their time to help make this event a continued success. Third- and fourth-year students with pediatric training will be operating, while first- and second-year students will be escorting and assisting.
On the social scene, ASDA will be hosting its annual G.V. Black Tie Dance event Friday, February 20 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. On this one magical night, dental students will, for the first time, see each other in clothing other than scrubs, clinical gowns, and sneakers. It is truly remarkable how nice we all look once you take the plaster and lab stone from our clothes, the alginate from our hair, and the loupes from our faces. Overall, our students really look forward to this formal event in which we can show the world that we dental students can still have a good time.
Jeanni R. Foss
15167 Edgewood Drive, Suite 240
Baxter, Minnesota 56425
Since We Spoke Last ...
Enough time has passed since our last update in the journal that I felt it would be appropriate to write a year’s summary in the form of those notorious Christmas letters. I am excited to head up the writing for the WCDDS since there are so many interesting things that happen across our district. And since I tend to lug all of my camera equipment to our events, there should always be plenty of photos.
Our year started in January with the passing of the torch from the extremely energetic orthodontist, Ben Nemeth, to our new WCDDS president, the master extreme sportsman pedodontist, Mike Steil. We had a great turnout at the Brainerd Lakes Lodge for our annual meeting. The weekend family getaway had great food and entertainment from Friday through Sunday.
The featured speaker for the event was Dr. Gary Anderson from the University of Minnesota, discussing the topic of Evidence-Based Dentistry, which spurred quite a heated debate at the end of the talk. We had a very nice meet-and-greet luncheon after his presentation.
The kids of all the dentists seemed to get along well, going rogue en masse with the dinner napkins, using them as biker bandanas. They had a blast with the kids’ dinners and cookies galore.
The families went on to enjoy time at the waterpark all afternoon and evening, with the kids especially enjoying splashing and jumping on the “bridge to nowhere”.
The evening meal gave all of us time to talk about miscellaneous happenings in our towns and to discuss both dental and non-dental issues. Since our district ranges from Montevideo to Alexandria, St. Cloud, and north of Brainerd, we have a wide range of geographic and demographic differences, a never-fail conversation starter.
The other summer events that managed to entice several dentists were the Tour of Saints Bike Ride that Central Minnesota Pediatric Dentists sponsored in July; the Alexandria Golf Outing organized by Rich Moen in August; and the Golf and Duck Shoot* in the Little Falls area, sponsored by the Crow Wing County Dental Society in September. (Sorry if I missed some other events.)
The golf outing was a fabulous event this year, with unbelievable weather and great sponsors, including Patterson Dental and the unflappable TDIC drink-cart ladies. I will say the golf started slightly out of control with someone teeing off at the first hole and hitting two cars in the parking lot. Don’t worry, secret someone - your identity is safe with me. It was pretty funny, though! And I do have pictures... With the economy looking the way it is, I think I’ll just tuck them away for a rainy day. As they say in the movies, blackmail is such an ugly word.
The speaker at the event was an amazing presenter from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Deepak Kademani. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he spoke on salivary gland tumors and reconstruction surgeries. The talk included several wonderfully gross photos that we all enjoy as dentists. We hope to hear again from this speaker at future events.
The last part of our year was uneventful due to the presidential election (event enough!) and ice fishing across the region - some of the best in the world, I might add. We had early snow and early ice, which made the guys a little crazy. As seen in the photo taken from my cabin, people were willing to risk everything to load up on walleyes, which they are doing this year. I will tell you the best way to get anyone’s secret fishing spot is to ask them just prior to injection of the anesthetic. A needle can be a great motivator, although there are still those who won’t fess up even when I get my cowhorns and crown removers out and race toward them with scary eyes. That is true dedication to the sport of ice fishing.
I hope to have seen a lot of people at our meeting in January (16th-18th) at the Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, with speaker Dr. David Basi discussing “Bisphosphonates, Medical Emergencies, and Basic Trauma”.
Please share your news from around the West Central District with us and the rest of Northwest Dentistry’s readers. Submissions should be sent to: