Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Important New Developments with Facebook

Friday, May 6th, 2016

Facebook phoneBy Ian McNickle, MBA

It should be no surprise that the largest social media site on the planet continues to change and innovate at a rapid pace. It has been very interesting to monitor recent developments, and understand their impact for dental practice marketing.

Facebook Newsfeed Algorithm – How to get seen

Last year Facebook announced they would be making a change to the newsfeed algorithm so that they could better deliver relevant content to their users.  They started to track what a user was engaging with (likes and comments) and then gave higher relevance to similar stories being in someone’s newsfeed.  What this means is if someone has liked or commented on a post from your practice they would be more likely to see your posts again in the future. Facebook is essentially trying to understand your interests and match those topics with what would be shown to you in the future. This is similar to internet radio stations like Pandora that learn what you like and attempt to give you more of what you like over time.

Last week Facebook announced another change to take this concept a step further.  Now they are going to track how long you interact with an article or piece of content after leaving Facebook. By monitoring engagement time it gives them additional insight into what a particular user likes to read and see in their newsfeed.

This data is currently being collected on Facebooks new Instant Articles as well as articles that open in the Facebook application on mobile devices.

What does this mean for your practice?

Relevant and engaging content is more important than ever!  If a Facebook user clicks on your content and immediately bounces right back to Facebook without taking much time to read the content, then this could negatively impact your visibility in the future.  On the other hand, if a user goes to your page and takes the time to read the entire article, then you’re likely to rank higher in the newsfeed.

The interesting thing to note is that although this information is valuable to track user engagement and relevant content, it’s also part of Facebook’s push to get publishers using their new tool “Instant Articles” which means more content is being published behind Facebook’s wall and less on other sites. Essentially they are trying to keep people within the walls of Facebook and not link to external websites, thereby leaving Facebook during that browsing session.

For now, it’s important for your practice to take note of the changes and be sure that your blogs and other social media posts are engaging and targeted specifically to your audience.

New Search Feature – Is Facebook trying to be like Google?

Recently Facebook started testing a new service called “Local Search”.  Local Search allows a visitor to search for businesses near them and see results on a map with detailed information about the business displayed on the search results page.

Facebook hasn’t done much to announce this new service yet and in fact has said they don’t plan to use this site as an entry point for traffic.  Think of it more as a value add to the user already on Facebook. However, some industry experts speculate that this is a direct attempt to siphon search traffic away from Google and other search engines.

Although the service isn’t ready for rollout just yet, there are some interesting things to keep in mind.

1) With Facebook thinking along the lines of search, now is a good time to update your practice page on Facebook current with the most complete contact information (phone, address, website, photos, videos, etc.).  If Facebook search does materialize, you’ll want to be ahead of the curve by having your page ready.

2) Facebook reviews might carry more weight in the future.  Currently Facebook reviews don’t have much impact on your search results within the site.  However, it remains to be seen whether or not this will change in the future.  If Facebook rolls this out similar to Google and Yelp, then reviews will carry a lot of weight in the ranking of search results within their site.  When you consider that most consumers place as much value on online reviews as they do with word of mouth it seems likely that reviews on Facebook will become more critical in the future.

No one knows for sure whether or not this new service will make it past the testing phase but the implications of the testing of this service means changes might be on the horizon for Facebook.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIan McNickle, MBA is a national speaker, writer, and marketer. He is a Co-Founder and Partner at WEO Media, a national dental marketing firm endorsed by the ODA. Ian is regular contributor to Dental Products Report where he co-authors a monthly column on Digital Marketing. If you have questions about social media or online marketing you may contact WEO Media for a consultation to learn more about the latest industry trends and strategies. The consultation is FREE for ODA Members. For more information you can visit them online at

As Easy as C-B-A – Conceive it, Believe it, Achieve it!

Monday, March 7th, 2016

By: Greg Psaltis, DDS

Few things in dentistry amuse me more than colleagues’ confusion about my passion for pediatric dentistry. Many of the referring dentists apologize to me for the patients they send and are often quick to add some variation on the theme of  “thank goodness for pediatric dentists.” Non-dental people, when learning what I do, will invariably say that I must be “very patient” or a “very special person” to do my work. I am neither. In fact, I am rather compulsive and regular. So how is it that I cannot only find success, but also enormous satisfaction in working all day with children? The answer is as simple as C-B-A.

While there are doubtless many tricks to being successful with children, such as “blowing sugar bugs away with a whistle” instead of “drilling the decay out of your tooth,” I believe the formula for success lies much deeper than that. I was stimulated recently by a speaker who said that the secret to most successes in life depends on this formula: if you can Conceive it and then you Believe it, you will Achieve it. C-B-A. This simple formula is universally applicable and certainly so in pediatric dentistry. It never fails to amaze (and inspire) me that about one half of all our referrals (usually sent to us because the children “wouldn’t cooperate”) are ideal patients by the time they have taken their seats in our operatory. How can this be? My talented and dedicated Team has embraced the philosophy that is the hallmark of our practice. It is simply this: We believe that every child will have a perfect visit every time. Do we accomplish this? Of course we do not. If a child has a difficult experience with us do we abandon this belief? Again, we do not. After 35 years as a pediatric dentist, I am convinced that much of the success in the practice comes from nothing more than the belief by all members of my Team that each child will do well. Children sense this immediately and respond accordingly.

Unlike most other specialties, pediatric dentistry is defined by our patient population, not by the procedures we do. This may account for the focus placed on relationship rather than technical care. It is not lost on me that much of the treatment we provide will ultimately fall out. The attitudes we engender in the minds of our patients, however, will not exfoliate. My legacy as a pediatric dentist will be that the attitude my patients take to their next dentist will be a positive one lacking in the fears that many adults still carry toward our profession.

While it doesn’t pay my mortgage or buy me groceries, a significant part of my “pay” in my practice comes in the form of gratitude. Children give me hugs and send me senior pictures; parents thank me with relief (if not disbelief) written all over their faces and at the end of my day, I take home thoughts of satisfied, grateful clients. As if that weren’t enough, I also enjoy the fact that the government will not be taxing me 35% of this form of pay. I get to keep it all.

I am a Stanford University graduate and, quite frankly, one of the least likely candidates I know to be spending my day squirting “sleepy juice” and holding “raincoats” on teeth with a “button.” If anything, I am more of an academic than a daycare provider. My career has taught me much. It is the lifelong education that I could never have gotten in college or even dental school. My private pediatric practice has taught me the power of positive thinking and the stunning results that come out of it. Dale Carnegie understood this years ago. I smile at dental conferences when my behavior management course is in a room across the hall from the “How to make a bazillion dollars in dentistry” course. That room, of course, is packed with dentists. My room is filled with assistants and hygienists. Ironically, if dentists really wanted to be more successful, the information about relationships and positive thinking would get them much farther than learning how to “sell” a treatment plan or sending their patients computer-generated birthday cards. Almost every day a parent will ask me, “Can I come here for treatment?” I doubt it is the cute vocabulary that attracts them. I believe the successful formula is as easy as C-B-A.

Sedation in Dentisry: Luxury? Necessity? or BOTH?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

By: Mel Hawkins, DDS, BScD AN, FADSA, DADBA

“It is no longer enough that dentistry be technically competent, it must be humanely presented”
Dr. Wm. Dover, dentist, dentist/anesthesiologist

Modern dentistry. With its biomaterials, advanced implant techniques, cosmetic emphasis, state of the art laboratory procedures, beauty, function, pain control, pharmacology, drugs, patient management, smiles, local anesthesia sophistication,  products,  adjuncts, medical wonder drugs …Is one any more important than the other? Yes. But it’s not in this list. We dentists, dental hygienists, expanded duties practitioners, dental assistants, office managers, registered nurses must never lose track of the fact that we are treating real people, not actors, as in TV commercials.

Dentists approach me at the podium, by email or at a reception and state something like:

  • “I’ve never needed to use sedation for my patients. I’m a gentle, patient, communicative person and use tender loving care (TLC) to get my patients through”

To get them through? Key phrase.

  • “I’ve only ever referred one difficult to manage child in 30 years of practice.”

That’s admirable. Sooner or later if an individual practices long enough, a patient has an indication for referral.

  • “I have a lot of senior citizens in my practice with a variety of heart problems, diabetes and physical and mental challenges. They just don’t need sedation”.

Stress of a dental appointment and myocardial compromise don’t go well together. Cardiac patients, high blood pressure individuals, and of course the apprehensive patient benefits from a reduced stress level.

I’m not here to sell sedation. I don’t need to. Some 85 million Americans avoid the dentist out of dread, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

The ADA has stated that a significant % of the population still avoids dental treatment due to fear. It’s ranked up there with public speaking, heights, flying, snakes, claustrophobia and crowds. As with any therapeutic treatment modality, patient management by sedative inhalational gases, oral or IV medications such as midazolam  (Versed®) will or could help the patient feel better towards dentistry, help the appointment time pass faster or provide memory gaps of points in the appointment which really don’t need to be remembered.

Dentists who use sedation say it may be the only way to get certain patients into the dental chair at all. Mom’s and Dad’s who parent uncooperative, caries ridden children say it may be the only way their child can be managed.

So how does a practitioner deal with the major disadvantages of oral sedation, namely “guessing” at a dose because titration is impossible and what if you’re wrong? How does one minimize the time of onset? Doesn’t waiting for it to work just exacerbate the already existing apprehension?


How do you choose a dose? The first appointment is in part a guessing game but the guesswork can be successfully reduced by employing a few practical (and rational) rules.

  1. Body weight: adult vs. child
  2. Age
  3. Level of apprehension.
  4. Drug experience, prescription drugs, OTC medications e.g. cough medication DM, tolerance, dependence, chronic prescribed medications (benzodiazepine history), liver enzymatic induction.
  5. Difficulty of dentistry and
  6. Time required (appointment length).

WHAT TO USE? Prototype: Triazolam – Halcion®

What do I mean “amnesia is conditional”? Isn’t that why a benzodiazepine is administered? Yes, but there are two overriding events that negate amnesia.

  1. Trauma / Pain
  2. Audio comments.

In other words, anything that stimulates a physical (pain) or emotional (anger, envy, insult) reaction from the patient, for example:

  1. Elevating a lower third molar which is not adequately anesthetized. “It’s just pressure, it’s just pressure”, while thinking, “they won’t remember it anyway”. Not. It hurts and they do.
  2. “Don’t you love my new Porsche? I’m going to Hawaii for a month”. Don’t say it!

There are many consents out there and sedation consent forms ( pardon the play on words) one more category. The first interview question should be, “Is English your first language?” or “Is English your preferred language of discussion?” If it’s not, it will be a very short appointment, ending now, for today. They must then arrange to bring an interpreter for the consultation and consent appointment. I have experienced occasions where during a consultation I believed that a patient while nodding “yes” at almost every point (as opposed to nodding off), ultimately had understood virtually nothing! Their first language was an East Asian dialect.

The most important point after communication confidence has been established is for the patient to 100% understand:

  1. Not to drive a motor vehicle, operate machinery or use sharp objects (i.e. in the kitchen, for example ) and not to make any important decisions for 24 hours. Yes, they may go back to work but must sign off on the above!

The most important points for the dentist to adhere to are:

  1. Although the initial question and answer format can initially be conveyed in the printed word, consent must be discussed verbally with an adequate time allowed for questions and answers. Note that obtaining consent is not a single event but rather a process that occurs over time.
  2. An oral sedative cannot be administered and then consent endeavored to be obtained in the belief (true fact but not legal) that because the onset of the drug effects will not occur for a few minutes, “we may as well not waste time”. Why do all the consents and then administer the tablets/pills/capsules and then wait even longer? Answer: Because you must.
  3. Never change the treatment plan while the patient is under the influence, i.e. extract a tooth that you said you would initiate endodontic therapy on, see what happens, you find a crack, the tooth is obviously doomed and you take it out without permission, or with “permission” from the intraoperatively sedated patient, or just as bad, the spouse, which of course is not permission at all.

What is the criteria for assessing a professional fee for the reimbursement of a 25 cent tablet (or two or three)? Of course, this is not about the cost of the medication. It is very much about the education and expertise of the dentist, the time and money expended to do so, the responsibility of administering and monitoring the drugs involved, per-op and post-op, the ability to manage side effects including a medical crisis, the challenge of managing not only an uncooperative child but also a parent or guardian who may be equally as challenging, demanding or sceptical. In other words, “what’s it worth?”…or “should it be free as it simply allows the dentistry to be more efficient?”

Sedation is a wonderful adjunct to the practice and delivery of modern day dentistry. Not only is the apprehensive individual a prime indication for consideration, but also longer, more sophisticated and intricate procedures necessitate a cooperative and relaxed patient. The relaxed dentist and dental office environment form the third point of the treatment triangle and as a comprehensive treatment plan is extended to our patients, perhaps a comfortable, safe an time efficient consideration should be offered simultaneously.

Dr. Hawkins is board certified as a Diplomate of the American Dental Board of Anesthesiologists and is a Fellow of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology. He has over 30 years of private practice experience in sedation dentistry in Toronto, Canada. Mel has been lecturing throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia for 40 years.

 Like what you read? Dr. Hawkins will be speaking as the 2016 Oregon Dental Conference!  Register today!

Coming soon!

Monday, February 27th, 2012

The Oregon Dental Association will be launching it’s newest social media venture “The Tooth of the Matter” in mid-March.  Check back soon for weekly posts on a myriad of oral health topics!