Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  August 11 webinar provides advice for member recruitment and retention


Did you know the CDS Membership Committee’s main goal is to retain existing members and to recruit new members for the society? It also determines the current needs of dentists and recommends member benefit programs.

The committee presents a Recruitment and Retention Webinar at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11. Steve Fretzin, a premiere business development coach, speaker and author, will present the webinar. In this one-hour session, learn how to recruit members for your branch using customized scripts. Register online today.

Have you heard of our Tri-partite Non-renew Incentive Program? 

Another great reason for you to register for the August webinar and help recruit members is that your branch gets paid.

For each 2014 CDS regular member (from Cook, DuPage or Lake counties) who did not renew and rejoins between May 1 and Dec. 31, a $50 rebate will be rewarded to that member’s branch.


Permanent link  ADA selects 16 members for Institute for Diversity in Leadership


In June, the ADA Board of Trustees selected 16 participants for the 2015-16 Institute for Diversity in Leadership, which provides a diverse group of dentists with education and experience to build a lifetime of relationships and set new leadership paths within the dental profession and their community. Chicago Dental Society member Susana Elena Torres, a 2002 graduate of the University of Iowa with a practice on Peterson Avenue in Chicago, will be representing Illinois.

The ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership is designed to enhance the leadership skills of dentists who belong to racial, ethnic and/or gender backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles. Participants select an issue or challenge in their community, organization or the profession and develop and execute a plan to address it. Institute faculty, national mentors and ADA staff continue to act as ongoing resources throughout the development and execution of the projects. Alumni of the Institute serve as volunteer leaders at the local, state and national levels of ADA and other organizations. 
Each year 16 U.S. dentists are selected to participate in the tuition-free program. The Institute Class of 2015-16 will convene in Chicago on the following dates:

  • September 10-11, 2015
  • December 7-8, 2015
  • September 8-9, 2016

Each spring a call for applicants is posted online and in ADA publications. There is no fee to apply and participation is open to all active, licensed dentists, residing in the U.S. regardless of their ADA membership status. 


Permanent link  Looking Back: Flag Day


Flag Day banner

Dental school founders left impressive legacies

by Walter F. Lamacki, DDS

The Columbian Dental School was established in Chicago in 1892 as a proprietary enterprise. 

Its first location was at State and Quincy streets, across from the Great Northern Hotel. A score of proposed dental schools held charters from the State of Illinois in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but only a few would actually open. The school enrolled 86 students and graduated 26 dentists at its first convocation.

In 1898, the school reorganized as the Illinois School of Dentistry, and a year later was moved to Clark and Van Buren streets.

By 1900, the College of Physicians and Surgeons (a medical school) owned the bulk of the stock in the dental school and expected its income would subsidize the medical school. In 1901, the college negotiated an affiliation with the University of Illinois, apparently without financial support, and moved the medical college from Harrison and Honore streets to make room for the dental school. During renovation, the roof caught fire, destroying the top floor. The new glass and steel roof was reportedly a decided improvement and gave the clinic – with new state-of-the-art equipment – outstanding lighting.

The stockholders, not realizing a profit in nearly a decade of operation, sold the dental equipment to the Chicago College of Dental Surgery and closed the new school in 1909. The locks were hardly snapped shut when Drs. J. Walter Dittmar and Fredrick Moorehead swung into action. They and other prominent dental educators convinced the president of the University of Illinois, Edmund James, and Gov. Charles Dineen that the university needed to have a dental school – and more importantly, to fund it. 

The school reopened as the U of I College of Dentistry Oct. 1, 1913, with Dr. Moorehead as dean. The distinguished faculty was comprised of Drs. Dittmar, Fredrick Noyes, Edgar Coolidge and Donald Gallie, an ADA president from 1914-15.

Throughout the distinguished history of the College of Dentistry, many of the Illini “chiefs” made contributions to the profession and to the nation. Two notables were Bernard Cigrand and Dr. Dittmar.

Dr. Cigrand, the father of Flag Day, became acting dean in 1903. Dr. Cigrand made his first his public appeal for Flag Birth Day in 1886 through the pages of the Chicago Argus. He was the organizer of the American Flag Day Association; the group drew 100,000 people to a rally in a Chicago park. His dogged efforts led to President Woodrow Wilson proclaiming June 14 as Flag Day in 1916. 

Dr. Cigrand was not a one note Johnny. He was president of the American College of Dentistry, president of the Chicago Public Library and served with distinction as a naval lieutenant in World War I. 

Dr. Dittmar was the first superintendent of the infirmary and would educate future dentists for the next 40 years at the school. Dr. Dittmar was also active in organized dentistry, serving as president of the Chicago Dental Society (1911-12) and Illinois State Dental Society (1920). He was elected 8th District (Illinois) trustee of the American Dental Association in 1926, and won a hotly contested election for ADA president in 1932. As president, he promoted a membership plan that for the first time would reduce dues for new dentists. In 1999, Dr. Dittmar’s grandson, Peter Roberson, was elected ISDS president.

This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of the CDS Review.


Permanent link  Survey: Affordability a key issue in patients lacking dental insurance


Insurance Infographic 1

In a newly released annual survey* on oral care access and affordability, 62 percent of the nationwide respondents were found to have dental insurance. 

Here are some key findings:

  • Respondents with dental insurance tend to be younger, married with children, have a Bachelor’s degree and make more than $50,000.
  • 75 percent of respondents with dental insurance make between $50,000 -$99,000 and 85 percent of those with incomes greater than $100,000. 
  • Only 39 percent of those making less than $25,000 have dental insurance. 

According to the respondents without dental insurance: 

  • 58 percent said it was not affordable
  • 21 percent said it was not offered through their employer
  • 15 percent said it was not necessary
  • Only 23 percent of respondents would seek out other low or no cost alternatives to dental insurance.

“If you are not receiving dental insurance as part of your employer’s benefits package, it is very likely you don’t have coverage,” says Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for :DentalPlans. “The survey also revealed to us that only about 50 percent of respondents are somewhat or very familiar with dental savings plans. It also concerns us that 15 percent of the respondents did not feel dental insurance was worth it. For us, that means we need to do a better job of educating people about the importance of oral care to your overall health and the affordability and ease of access dental savings plans offer.”

*A national study was conducted for :DentalPlans between Jan. 1 and Jan. 7, 2015 by Infosurv Research, an independent research agency. A total of 1,200 respondents were surveyed, yielding data with a margin of error of +/- 2.83%.


Permanent link  Natural plant chemicals could help fight tooth decay, study shows


Oral care products containing a natural chemical that stops bacteria could help prevent decay, according to a study published in the journal Chemical Communications.

The compound – known as trans-chalcone – is related to chemicals found in the licorice root. The natural plant product acts against harmful mouth bacteria and could improve oral health by helping to prevent the build-up of plaque, researchers at the University of Edinburgh say. The study shows that the compound blocks the action of a key enzyme that allows bacteria to thrive in oral cavities. 

The bacteria – Streptococcus mutans – metabolise sugars from food and drink, which produces a mild acid and leads to the formation of plaque. Plaque is formed when bacteria attach to teeth and construct biofilm –  a protective biological layer. Without good dental hygiene, the combination of plaque and mouth acid can lead to tooth decay. 

Researchers found that blocking the activity of the enzyme prevents bacteria from forming biofilm. Preventing the assembly of these protective layers would help stop bacteria forming plaque, according to the study.

The study is the first to show how trans-chalcone prevents bacteria forming biofilms. The team worked out the 3D structure of the enzyme – called Sortase A – which allows the bacteria to make biofilms. Researchers were then able to identify how trans-chalcone prevents the enzyme from functioning. 

The study was supported by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and the University of Edinburgh.