volume 87 number 2

March - April 2008
Pucker Up - The Effects of Sour Candy on Your Patient's Oral Health

Anatomical variations of the Lingual Mandibular Canals and Foramina

Taken to Heart: The 2008 MDA President's Interview

Can I Afford to Retire?

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Minnesota Districts

Saint Paul District

Loren J. Taple
Associate Editor
Northwood Dental

1227 Northwood Parkway
Eagan, MN 55121 

Take One User Friendly Vampire …The Saint Paul District Hosts Children’s Dental Health Day

The Saint Paul District Dental Society accomplishes many things for its members and the greater Saint Paul community each year, and it is due in great measure to the work of its committees and the members who volunteer their time to serve on them. Without the people who volunteer for these various committees, most of the great things we do in our area and for the people of Saint Paul would not be possible. I recently sat down with one such person, Dr. Tiffany Waki, a practicing orthodontist in Burnsville and a member of our district. One of the most visible things we do each year occurs during February: Children’s Dental Health Month. For the past few years, Dr. Waki has been involved in various capacities with Children’s Dental Health Day at the Minnesota Children’s Museum.

LJT: Can you give me some background on what Children’s Dental Health Day is all about?

Dr. Waki: For the past four years, I have been the chairperson of this event, with the help of the District’s Executive Director Kathy Krauter and staff person Cindy Smith. This year the event was held on Saturday, February 16, at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in downtown Saint Paul.

I’m so pleased to tell you that we had record attendance: more than 3,000 people! (A typical day at the Children’s Museum draws about half that amount.)  With the help of more than 40 volunteers, the event was nothing short of truly successful. We had a number of Saint Paul dentists and assisting and hygiene students from Century College and Dakota County Technical College, along with many dental students from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.

The event is designed to provide awareness of and education about dental issues to the public.  All the kids attending got a real kick out of visiting with Count Plaquela, the Tooth Fairy, Crest Sparkle, and Dudley the Dinosaur. As well, stationed throughout the Museum were various interactive activities. One of the kids’ favorites was the “Dentist for a Day” station where the kids got to wear smocks, gloves, and masks and perform exams on their parents’ teeth. We would like to thank Patterson Dental for the use of the dental chair for this activity. They also provided us with an intra-oral camera for another part of the exhibit. There were crafting areas where the kids could make their own tooth fairy wands and create art using toothbrushes. Another of the most popular areas was “Ask the Dentist”. Kids and their parents could ask the dentist questions and get educational materials on topics running the gamut from fluoride and general oral care to whitening and oral piercings. In addition to these areas, we also had a “Sip All Day, Get Decay” display, and demonstrations on sealant placement and proper brushing and flossing techniques.

LJT: What motivated you to become involved with this event and continue chairing it?

Dr. Waki: Being an orthodontist, I am naturally drawn to working with children. This event seemed like a natural fit for me to get more involved with providing dental education in a fun way to a wide variety of kids. I volunteered as one of the dentists for the first two years I worked on this event. Each year I got more and more involved, and when the opportunity for me to become chair occurred, I was more than happy to step up and help out. I have now chaired the event for the last three years.

LJT: What do you think you and the other volunteers have gained from being involved in a project such as Children’s Dental Health Day?

Dr. Waki: I think a great part of an event like this is the ability to reach out and touch so many kids and families who may not otherwise have the opportunity to get access to even a limited amount of dental education - especially education that is provided in such a fun and non-threatening environment.

LJT: What do you think contributed to the large increase in the public’s participation this year?

Dr. Waki: I think the Saint Paul dentists’ promotion of the event through distribution of the free admission coupons was a big part of it. Also, the event has now been going on for a few years, and it has begun to have a public recognition of its own, which has helped attendance grow every year.

LJT: What can you say about all of the people who volunteer for an event like this?

Dr. Waki: The mixture of volunteer students and dentists is what makes the day run like a well oiled machine. They make the event young, hip, and energetic. As a side benefit to the volunteers, I think there is a lot of mentoring that goes on between the dentists and the students.

I would like to thank Dr. Waki for taking the time to sit down with me and talk about such a successful event. I also want to commend her and all of the volunteers for their time and commitment to the Saint Paul District and helping to place such a positive light on the dental profession.

If you would like to volunteer for future Children’s Dental Health Days or any of the other many committees that the District has operating on an ongoing basis, please call the District Office at (651) 697-0831. We would love to have you involved and make Saint Paul an even more vibrant district than it already is. Unless we know you are interested in a particular area, we sometimes do not know to ask.


Welcome, New Member…

Dr. Shannon M. Held is a general dentist practicing at Metro Dental Care in Cottage Grove. Please welcome her to the ranks of the SPDDS.

In Memory

Our condolences to the family and friends of Charles H. Buscher, who died February 14, 2008.

And I’ll See You There…

Saturday, April 19
SPDDS Leadership Retreat and Long Range Planning

Wednesday, April 23
Lunch & Learn Continuing Education

Subject: “White and Red Lesions of the Mouth
Speaker: Dr. John Koutlas         

Friday, May 9
Installation of Officers & Spring Social

August 13
SPDDS Caucus at Minnesota Humanities Center

Minneapolis District

James D. Nickman
Associate Editor

500 Osborne Road, Suite 345
Fridley, Minnesota 55432

Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Evening

The MDDS 2008 Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Evening will be Thursday, April 17, at the Golden Valley Country Club. Officers for the upcoming year are James D. Nickman, president; Alejandro M. Aguirre, president-elect; Mark R. Omlie, vice-president; and Gary A. Bolmgren, secretary/treasurer. The MDDS will present its Guest of Honor Recognition Award during the evening’s program as well, this year to Bashar Bakdash in recognition of his years of service to the profession. Please join us to honor these members as the take office for 2008–2009. Again this year, we will be honoring the District past presidents. Please plan on attending, getting reacquainted with colleagues, and enjoying the hors‘d oeuvres, wine, dinner, and program.

It Works
What a difference a day makes! On Saturday, February 2, MDDS held its eighth annual “Give Kids a Smile” day at the Sharing and Caring Hands Dental Clinic in Minneapolis. Many thanks to Mary Jo Copeland for opening her heart and the doors of Sharing and Caring Hands so that we could provide a full day of dental care to children who are most in need. It was truly a celebration of service to the community and a commitment to volunteerism by District members.  We provided more than $37,200 in dental care to 108 children who might otherwise have no access to care. Volunteers provided oral hygiene instruction, dental exams, toothbrush prophylaxis, fluoride treatments, radiographs, sealants, extractions, pulpotomies, stainless steel crowns, and composite and amalgam restorations. We had face painting, a coloring table, and a goody bag with toothbrush and floss for each child.

AppleTree Dental once again provided their mobile dental unit, helping us to more than double the size of Sharing and Caring Hands’ permanent dental clinic, giving us the opportunity to see even more patients in a single day. Many thanks to all our GKAS donors as well as Sullivan-Schein Dental for providing comprehensive/complete restorative kits for every child treated.

MDDS gratefully acknowledges the following companies’ support of Sharing and Caring Hands’ Give Kids A Smile Day.
AppleTree Dental
3M – ESPE Dental Products Division
Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals
Crest/Oral B
Crest Health Smiles 2010 Program

Dental Foundation
Procter & Gamble
Sullivan-Schein Dental Company

Dr. Teresa Fong coordinated another very successful event. Thanks go out to our more than 80 volunteer dentists, dental specialists, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental students, other dental auxiliaries and volunteers. Our dentists who led the way:
Donald Blakeslee, D.D.S.
Jayne Cernohous, D.D.S.
Michael Flamenbaum, D.D.S.
Teresa Fong, D.D.S.
Jeffrey Holmberg, D.D.S.
Barry Kinneberg, D.D.S.
Venetia Laganis, D.D.S.
Douglas Lambert, D.D.S.
Wm. Gregory Lawton, D.D.S.
Kathy McCann, D.D.S.
James Nickman, D.D.S.
Mark Omlie, D.D.S.
James Osberg, D.D.S.
Stacy Roszkowski, D.D.S.
Daniel Sampson, D.D.S.
Warren Scamp, D.D.S.
Fred Schilling, D.D.S.
Stacey Vogt, D.D.S.
Melissa Zettler, D.D.S.

If unable to participate this year, please plan to volunteer next year: Saturday, February 7, 2009.

Up for Some Fun in the Sun?
Monday, August 11 brings the MDDS golf tournament to a new location: Golden Valley Golf Club. Kick-off with a delicious lunch before a shot-gun start of 1:00 p.m. This event is open to all MDA members statewide, so plan a trip to the cities and join us for prizes and special events!

The annual Trapshoot Tournament is set for Wednesday, August 20. We will be returning to the Metro Gun Club in Blaine, Minnesota. The day will culminate with a gourmet wild game dinner and prizes. For those of you who have not participated for awhile or who have never join us, this is an event not to be missed…even for the novice. Everyone is welcome to come out and enjoy the wonderful wild game dinner even if you are not in the tournament.

The Greater Twin Cities Tennis Mixer is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3 at the Bearpath Golf and Country Club, Eden Prairie. This event will include members from both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul District Dental Societies. The Tennis Committee has a fantastic day arranged. Play on outdoor clay courts starting at 1:00 through 5:00 p.m., with dinner following. Again this year all competition is doubles. Players of all skill levels are encouraged to come.

Registration forms for all summer events will be included in upcoming issues of the Brush-Up newsletter. If you need a form, please contact the District Office at (651) 631-9845.

Upcoming Programs and Events
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Annual Installation of Officers and Guest of Honor Evening

2008 Guest of Honor: Bashar Bakdash, D.D.S.

Golden Valley Golf and Country Club
Golden Valley, Minnesota

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 – Tentative Date
MDDS Caucus Meeting

All Members Welcome

Golden Valley Golf and Country Club
Golden Valley, Minnesota

Monday, August 11, 2008
Minnepolis District Golf Tournament

Open to All MDA Members

Golden Valley Golf and Country Club
Golden Valley, Minnesota

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Trapshoot Event

Metro Gun Club

Blaine, Minnesota

Wednesday, September 3, 2007
Greater Twin Cities Tennis Event

NEW LOCATION: Bearpath Golf and Country Club

Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Friday, September 19 and
Saturday, September 20, 2008
MDA House of Delegates

Minneapolis Airport Marriott Hotel

Bloomington, Minnesota

Friday, December 5, 2008
83rd Annual Midwinter Dental Meeting

Special Guest Speaker: TBA
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest Hotel

Minnetonka, Minnesota

Welcome, New Members
Congratulations to the following new members of the District.
Sarah L. Hermanson, D.D.S.
Joseph J. Kuzma, D.D.S.
Sally E. Owens, D.D.S.
Michael J. Tulkki, D.D.S.
Yuqiang Wei, D.D.S.

Northeastern District

Gary Hedin
Associate Editor

927 Trettle Lane
Cloquet, MN 55720

Rich is Having Enough to Share
Hopefully by the time you are reading this the weather will have warmed up somewhat and the glaciers will have retreated from the Northeastern District. As I write this article, the temperature is pretty close to zero and so is the patience level of most of my patients for the cold. Anyone who enjoys winter has been blessed with a good one, with plenty of snow for skiing the Birkie or snowmobiling on the North Shore Trail. But we are ready for a change, one that comes in the form of green grass and lower heating bills. Anyway, it’s been a good couple of months in the Northeast, and I have a few words and several pictures to share.

The January NEDDS meeting was held in Grand Rapids at Itasca Community College. Geri Lewis was the featured speaker, and her talk was entitled “Relating to Others: Improving Workplace Communication”. She has a background in communications, has taught at UMD, and has lectured at the Star of the North Meeting. Throughout the day-long presentation, the subject of interpersonal communication was discussed. Geri gave an entertaining and down-to-earth talk, and I think everyone in attendance was able to take a few pearls back to his or her office the next week. It was also good to see a number of staff members at the meeting in addition to the doctors present.

In February, a very well-attended NEDDS meeting was held at the Kitchi Gammi Club in Duluth. The title of the presentation was “Minnesota Board of Dentistry Update/Minnesota Department of Health Radiation Control Update”.  Marshall Shragg, Executive Director of the State Board of Dentistry, gave the first part of the presentation. He discussed new requirements that have been recently enacted by the Board of Dentistry, and cleared up questions about current requirements that may seem confusing.

The second speaker of the day was Kimberly Pappas, the X-ray Unit Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Health. She presented material on the current ionizing radiation rules and requirements for the state of Minnesota. Although these topics aren’t quite as exciting as, say, a Rolling Stones concert or a 30-inch walleye, they are unquestionably very important to our practices, and we owe it to our patients to be on top of the most current regulations.

During the meeting, two outstanding dental hygiene students from Lake Superior College were presented with scholarships from the Northeastern District. The students were Katie Muerman, a first-year hygiene student, and Sheree Harwood, a second-year hygiene student. Dental hygiene faculty member Tess Caywood was present for the recognition, and our district president, John Conry, awarded the scholarships. Each year the Northeastern District gives out four scholarships, two to hygiene students and two to dental assisting students from our local hygiene and assisting programs. Every year a great group of students graduate from these programs, and we hope that many of them stay in the Northeastern District for years to come.

Legislatively Speaking
Many of you are very interested in legislation that affects the practice of dentistry in Minnesota. You should rest assured that your Northeastern District leadership is working hard to keep on top of everything happening in the legislature this year. Here are a couple examples of what I’m talking about…

In February, several dentists from our district met with Representative Tom Huntley of Duluth to discuss legislative concerns of the MDA and the Northeastern District. I won’t go into excruciating detail, but suffice to say that some good discussion took place and Rep. Huntley is well aware of the concerns that many of you may have.

The second event that recently took place was Dental Day at the Capitol. This is a time when dentists from throughout the state can go to the legislature and meet with the elected representatives from their home areas to discuss the goals and concerns of the MDA. Our Northeastern District sent a great group of folks down for the day,
and a number of fruitful meetings took place.

It’s O-fish-ial.

I have put away my ice fishing gear for the year, after what some friends were starting to call the “World Tour of Ice Fishing”. It was a decent year on the ice, and I was fortunate to fish on Lake Winnibigosh in January with several friends from dental school, including Steve Graber.  In February, Peter Mayer, Peder Morse, Adam Huneke, and I took on the walleye of Lake of the Woods with good success, and also in February I fished in the BWCA off the Gunflint Trail for some trout. Since I was the only dentist on that trip, I had to endure plenty of jokes and razzing from my so-called buddies. It’s no wonder dentists need to travel in packs!

Grazie …
Many thanks to Mike Zakula and Greg Kaake for providing many of the pictures in this report. Until next time, here’s to immediate dentures that need no adjustment and endo files that stay in one piece!


Northwestern District

John E. Lueth
Associate Editor

P.O. Box 310
Bemidji, MN 56619

Headwaters Dental Society “Christmas Dinner”
If you practice dentistry anywhere near the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, you are automatically a member of the Headwaters Dental Society. From Fosston and Park Rapids; from Walker, Cass Lake, and Blackduck; Clearbrook, Bagley, and Bemidji – you are part of the group. There are no applications. There are no dues. There are no requirements. You’re from the region? You’re in.

In days of old, the Headwaters Dental Society functioned as both a dental study club and twice-a-year socializer for dentists and spouses. (In those early days, “dentist” meant male and “spouse” meant wife. Not so for many years now!) However, this younger generation has not found it in themselves to continue the study club activities, and has elected to meet once or twice annually purely to socialize. And so it was that on Monday, February 11, at the wonderful Italian restaurant Tutto Bene in Bemidji, many found themselves at the Annual Headwaters Dental Society “Near one of the Holidays” Socializer.

It was a bitter cold evening outside, but the assemblage did a good job of heating up the restaurant with their Belated Christmas/Early Valentine’s spirit. It has been a rare year when this Headwaters function occurs prior to Christmas…it’s just too busy then! And besides, sometime between mid-January and St. Patrick’s Day is a great time of year to have the excuse to go out for a fun evening! Braving temperatures of 20 below or colder, folks came from Fosston, Clearbrook, Blackduck, Walker, and the Bemidji area, with the longest drive, 100 miles, done by our Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Drs. Bill Baker and John Foss from Brainerd.

At the urging of Dr. Lee Scotland (Bemidji), all the dentists were encouraged to bring photos of themselves in their first year of practice. As couples arrived, the photos were posted on the “Their Early Years” display. During the social hour hosted by local orthodontist Brett Cooper and the aforementioned oral surgeons, everyone crowded around the display of ourselves in some former life. Some of the group had much more “former” than others! Thanks, Lee, for the great idea!

Once seated, it was a great time to briefly address the events of the year since our last get-together, recognizing area accomplishments and items of note while informally welcoming the newest dental families to join the group.

With sadness we noted the passing of Dr. Roy Bengtson, who had a long and distinguished career in Bemidji. Much reminiscing ensued about the old days and those having gone before us, and a number of those who are now the older practicing dentists among us (boy, did that fact meet with some feistiness among those guys…it’s still the guys getting old here!) told stories about a photo on the display board which was taken of the Headwaters Dental Society members as they were in 1976. Many of those members are now gone, but their memories carry on. The stories, anecdotes, and laughter from those who are now the “oldtimers” (they were the ones who were in their first years of practice in the 1976 photo) hopefully were appreciated by the recent 2007 arrivals to area! Because as the meal was winding down and conversations turned to good-byes, a camera came out with the request to photograph this evening’s Headwaters Dental Society members. And hopefully years from now at another gathering of the area dental community, folks will share the enjoyment of their colleagues’ company, discuss the happenings of the day in which they live, and reminisce fondly about those in our photo who have gone before them.

Auld Lange Syne Starts Here
“If You Don’t Have Fun…It’s Your Own Fault!” Ask the folks who trekked north to Baudette and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Canada for the 2008 Edition of the Northwestern District’s Winter Meeting, aka “2008 Ice Fishing Adventure”, and you’re likely to get an earful of the fun they had. From far and wide they came. Most by car, some with snowmobiles in tow, experienced anglers and novices. And once again a group from the southern reaches of our state hopped on the Sportsman’s bus for a worry-free drive and rolling Kaffee Klatch.

Why ice fishing, and why Baudette and Lake of the Woods? The reason when it’s freezin’:  to conduct one of the two yearly district meetings which the “remote” Northwestern District must hold. The method: to have a heckuvalotta fun while doing so!

While the past format for our district meeting as a multi-day weekend affair - with a couple of half days of continuing dental education linked to afternoons of golf, fishing, shopping, or family activities, followed by evenings of fine dining and socializing – had devolved to a rather sterile “nine to four” lecture format, a revival of fun and fellowship at least once every couple of years was the hope with the Lake of the Woods festivities.

The verdict is in: It seems to appeal to many folks! Just consider this: 24 people took advantage of the bus ride option, double the number of the 2006 LOW meeting. Word of how fun a good ol’ bus ride can be really spread! And like the old Greyhound Bus television commercials stated, those easy riders spent the miles on the road socializing, snacking, swapping tales, and “leaving the driving to us”.

With the first pick-up of Dr. Grant Florine in Rochester very early Friday morning, the bus pointed its hood ornament to the great white north for stops in Inver Grove Heights, Moose Lake, and several more locations on its journey north … picking up 23 more along the way.  Past MDA presidents, the dean of our dental school, general practice, specialty practice, large and small, Minneapolis and Saint Paul – quite a group it was. MDA president Jamie Sledd braved the trip as the sole female on the bus. But when greeted upon arrival at Sportsman’s Lodge at the other end of the ride, she appeared none the worse for wear. In fact, a few of the guys confided that she more than held her own!

Even the CDE program speakers Drs. Dave Resch and Roger Ettel elected to hop on the bus. What the heck, they were experienced – they did the same two years ago.

Just for checking in at the dental meeting registration desk, everyone attending received a custom sewn and embroidered “Northwest: If You Don’t Have Fun…It’s Your Own Fault” fleece stocking cap, a shiny gold lead head fishing jig, and an LED light (used for charging that glow-in-the-dark fish-catching tackle!). Once settled in their cabins or rooms, everyone headed toward the lower level of the lodge where all our activities originated. Dr. Resch (private practice in Saint Paul and involved in infection control and OSHA regulations for the past 17 years) did a great job with his presentation “OSHA and Infection Control: Flintstone Ideas in a Jetson World?” Dean Patrick Lloyd wrapped the afternoon by sharing with everyone all the new and exciting things happening at the U of M School of Dentistry.

But the day was really just beginning! With a few minutes to powder their noses, these hardy fisherpersons headed to the Sportsman’s dining room for a great border water dinner and an evening of entertainment. With tips and instruction on how to catch those wiley walleyes and sauger for the next day’s adventure provided by longtime Sportsman’s guide Flip, a “Catch and Release” walleye jigging competition was held…indoors. Rod/reel combos and other fishing paraphernalia prizes were awarded, and the evening continued with the “Friday Night Raffle” to raise money for our district dental educational institutions. The generosity of prize donors and raffle tickets buyers raised $1,800.00! A huge “Thank you” to all! One lucky winner went home Friday night with a Pioneer portable satellite radio, while another winner was immediately outfitted with a custom-built walleye ice fishing rod and reel combo and complete package of gear to put him straight on the ice the next morning. The only thing needed was minnows!  To top it all off, every single person’s name was drawn for ice-fishing-related door prizes thanks to Lindy Tackle and Dr. Roland Kehr (Brainerd).

Saturday’s hearty breakfast and second wonderful CDE presentation (by Dr. Ettel, White Bear Lake, practice limited to periodontics, “Periodontal Esthetics” and “Periodontal Regeneration”) segued into changing into our ice fishing duds, climbing into the “Bombers” for the ride out to ice houses where the angling began. It was your choice whether or not to kiss your minnows for good luck! Seventeen ice houses full of fisherpersons jigged, bobber-fished, danced, and snoozed the day away. It was a great time to visit and make new friends - and many folks even caught fish! We topped it off upon return to the lodge with a scrumptious “Shore Lunch” dinner of the best tasting north country fried walleye you’ll ever eat, surrounded by all the fixins’. And just when you think that it can’t get any better than that, along came the Ice Fishing Awards and the Saturday Night Raffle.

Dr. Pat Alcorn (Red Lake Falls) served as award presenter for the former, where largest, smallest, most, and least were recognized. Some sore but lucky person won a prize for having the worst case of “bobber neck” (a sore neck from staring down at a bobber in an ice fishing hole for too long). One unlucky person received a “Jigger of Consolation” drink coupon for having dropped her cell phone down the ice house hole. The story related by her companions was that at 32 feet deep it was not possible to hear the phone ring on the bottom of the lake…nor determine if any species of fish had answered! This unlucky recipient of the “Jigger” drink coupon immediately redeemed it! As for the Saturday Night Raffle, everything from hand-tied ice fishing flies to golf ball dozens to top-of-the-line power toothbrushes were given away. President Jamie Sledd “traded” her cell phone for an Apple iPod Shuffle (not long after redeeming the “Jigger of Consolation”!). A portable DVD player, TV/weather/AM/FM/CD kitchen clock radio, $100 Cabela’s gift certificate, and more fishing tackle and related items were awarded. Even the new Guitar Hero III video play-along game had been donated and went to one lucky guy! Every single donation was appreciated. And they all helped to raise money. The grand prize of the Saturday Night Raffle was a Dell laptop computer generously donated by Dental Technology Group Inc. Wow!

It was all just fabulous! What I mean by that is that it was a fun filled weekend made so primarily by the great people who attended and the degree to which they participated to make it so. To those who attended or contributed in some way, the District extends a genuine “Thank you”.  Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to create a memorable weekend in the Northwestern District. As was asked at the bottom of the weekend agenda when it was
all said and done, “Did you have fun?” The answer comes from our 2008 Ice Fishing Adventure motto: “If you didn’t have fun…!”

The officers of the Northwestern District and organizers of the 2008 Ice Fishing Adventure would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the following:
Dental Technology Group, Inc.
   Mark Isenbrenner
Sullivan-Schein Dental –
   Tony Groen and John Lester
Patterson Dental
   Jodi Nelson and Curt Wilson
Lindy Tackle – Dr. Roland Kehr
Procter and Gamble – Trent Schull
Welu Dental Lab (Fargo) –
   Wayne Welu
Dr. Robert Panther
Bluewater Sports (Bemidji) –
    Mark Cook
Dr. David Resch
Dr. Roger Ettel
Dean Patrick Lloyd
Dr. Jamie Sledd

Bemidji Woolen Mills
Sportsman’s Lodge: Gregg Hennum, Diane, Shelly, Jenny, and staff

Southeastern District

Travis A. Schmitt
Associate Editor

204 4th Street SW, Suite 144
Austin, MN 55912-4427

Remember Your Dreams: Mission Trip to Tanzania
James V. Herrick, D.D.S.*
I felt for many years that I would like to serve at a mission somewhere in the world on a short-term basis, but never took action to make it happen. Then about a year and a half ago, a physician friend who once lived in Austin called me and asked if I could have lunch with him. At that meeting, Dr. John Toso asked me if I would consider coming to a medical mission he was building in Tanzania to help with advanced training for the two mission dentists. It was like God was telling me, “Remember your dreams, Jim.”

Dr. Toso left Austin about eight years ago to become the director of Global Health Ministries in Minneapolis. He and his wife, Joann, had a long history of missionary service in Africa. He ultimately partnered with a gentleman who wanted to build a mission in Tanzania. From this partnership has come the Dodoma Christian Medical Center (DCMC).

The first project completed at the Center was eight homes for mission staff. Then a dental clinic was built, and dedicated in November of 2006. The clinic is staffed by two mission dentists: Dr. Charles Rebemahefa, a full-time mission dentist from Madagascar, and Dr. Francis Mdoe, a Tanzanian-trained dentist three years out of dental school. Thanks to the generosity of dental supply companies, the dental clinic has four fully equipped operatories which boast X-ray units, a panorex, and a vacuum system. The clinic has as well a sterilizing area, a laboratory, a training room, and a preparation center. Since opening, it has served more than 1,300 patients and has established a poor fund to expand outreach to the poor. DCMC’s dental capabilities include simple to complex extractions, routine restorative dentistry, and periodontal and endodontic procedures. Bleaching is also offered for those who have fluoridosis, which is prevalent in some regions of the country.

I was asked by Dr. Charles and Dr. Francis if I would teach them rotary endodontics. They had a rotary endo engine, but no supplies or knowledge of how to utilize the technology. Prior to my wife Mary and I leaving for DCMC in March of 2007, I received a generous gift of rotary files and obturators from Dentsply/Tulsa Dental Supply.

We arrived in Dare Salam, Tanzania, and from there took a Mission Air Foundation (MAF) flight to Dodoma, in central Tanzania. This is a town of about 750,000 people, and is five kilometers from DCMC.

A two-week stay at DCMC was a most enjoyable and rewarding experience for Mary and me. Two Tanzanian dentists joined Dr. Charles and Dr. Francis at the dental clinic as we spent time in lectures on rotary endodontics, hands-on work at the lab bench, and also many endodontic procedures on patients. I cannot adequately describe how enthusiastic and appreciative these four dentists were as we learned a new technology.

Mary went to a warehouse in Dodoma with Dr. Charles’ wife and Joann Toso to help sort medical supplies, including midwife kits that had arrived from the USA. She was so excited to have the opportunity to see what happens to all the items donated and packed with so much love and care at our various churches in the U.S. She commented that it would now be even more special if she could see the midwife kits actually distributed to the people.

Within two days, Dr. Charles and his wife, Irma, had arranged to take us to an Anglican mission hospital about 40 kilometers from DCMC in the village of Mvumi. We were welcomed to the 250-bed hospital by the medical director, who gave us a tour which ended in the maternity ward. There, Mary and Irma distributed these much appreciated kits to new mothers. It is so eye-opening to see how so much of the world does with so much less and such antiquated equipment and facilities.

Getting back to the DCMC clinic. Dr. Charles and Dr. Francis are very conscientious dentists who do their very best to provide the patients with the best care. They are aware that there is a lot of knowledge still there for them to learn, and so they asked me to help develop a five-year plan for continuing education for them when volunteer dentists come to work at DCMC. It was so enjoyable to see how thirsty they are for knowledge and excited at the prospect of being able to utilize this wonderful facility to provide high quality dentistry for patients who have so many needs.

The clinic does charge for its services on a sliding scale according to the ability of the patient to pay, though they never turn anyone away for financial reasons. Consequently, there is a lot of dentistry done free of charge. There are some people in the Dodoma area who can afford to pay a modest amount for the dental services provided to them at this wonderful clinic. Drs. Charles and Francis also are continually hosting school children at the clinic to provide them with valuable information on how and why they should take care of their teeth.

DCMC is now completing a medical clinic adjacent to the dental clinic that will have a focus on women and children. They will be utilizing the facility for a lot of education of the people of the surrounding area as well as staffing it with health care professionals to provide much needed care. As soon as it is financially feasible, an 80-bed full service hospital will be built.

DCMC’s mission statement sums up for me what the mission is all about. It is “To provide accessible and sustainable quality health care through both community-based and a referral/specialized health delivery system, with the compassion and love of Jesus Christ in collaboration with other stakeholders and in line with government policies.”

An experience like we had continues to call us back for more service. I hope to return to DCMC some time this year to further serve wherever I can. This is a wonderful opportunity to give back for any dentist who has a desire to serve at a foreign dental mission. Please feel free to contact me at jvherrick@charter.net if you have any questions.

* Dr Herrick is a general dentist (“mostly retired”) in private practice in Austin, Minnesota.


Student District

Bradley Anderson
Associate Editor

2799 Rustic Place
Apartment 308
Little Canada, Minnesota 55117

Keeping Busy Keeps You Warm
It has been a busy semester for the Student District.  We started out in January with our “Mentor Mingler”.  The event was held at the Radisson hotel on campus.  This year about two hundred first- and second-year students attended the event with their mentors.  This tradition is always a great opportunity to get together and share a meal with the dentists who sponsored our first year in ASDA.

     The weekend following the Mingler took us to our American Student Dental Association Western Regional Meeting.  This year it was held in Chicago, Illinois.  Our chapter sent five first-year dental students to the meeting.  It was a great event, and included many lectures and discussions about ASDA and why it is so important to be involved in organized dentistry.

     Every year at our regional meetings we also hold a mock House of Delegates to train our new members in legislative procedure.  That is the work of the trip.  The adventure, and I have to say the highlight, of this year’s regional meeting was a tour of the Hu-Friedy factory.  It was amazing to get to see how the handpieces we use in clinic every day are made.

     That same weekend the dental school put on its Give Kids a Smile event.  Hundreds of student, faculty, and staff volunteers came together to treat about 125 children in need of dental work.  This is one of our favorite events of the year, and it continues to get better and better for everyone involved.

     The month of February was also a busy one.  We joined with the MDA to hold our State Lobby Day event.  This year there were about 90 students and dentists at the event.  This particular activity was even more important this year when considered in the perspective of some of the legislative events occurring at the Capitol.  The couple of weeks following State Lobby Day are probably the busiest ones I can remember as far as student involvement with the legislative process.  There has been a huge movement on the part of the student body to voice their concerns over the ADHP bill with the legislators.  During the first week in March more than a hundred students attended a Senate committee meeting when the bill was discussed.  I am excited to see so many students taking part in these discussions, and we all hope that, as a result, they take away a lifelong commitment to the political process.

     The political stone kept rolling with National Lobby Day March 10 and 11.  We sent eight students to attend the event and lobby our national leaders regarding dental issues.  We will also be holding our own chapter elections sometime in early April, when we will choose our new president-elect, vice-president, secretary, and membership chair. 


Copyright 2008. Minnesota Dental Association

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