Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  CDS Blogging Contest: Soda is everywhere


This fall, the Chicago Dental Society turned its newspaper journalism contest into a blogging contest open to any high school student in Cook, Lake or DuPage County who answered the question, "Is Soda Just Liquid Candy?"

Full details on how to enter are posted to our contest Web page. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2010.

This entry is by Scott L.

"You're a good boy," the waiter said to me after i asked for another glass of milk. My immediate family was sitting around the small table in this empty restaurant giving the waiter and me awkward smiles and laughter. The waiter soon explained himself and how he could never get his own son to drink his milk, instead, he would ask for soda. As he spoke, I noticed that every one of my family members except me had ordered some sort of soda. I wasn't sure I would ask for another milk either, because the waiter was praising me as if I were puppy who could sit when it was told to. In fact, after I had finished my small glass of milk, I did ask for a soda. It just seems to be so normal in our society to drink soda, and there was a reason that your parents may have discouraged the drinking of it.

My parents only discouraged soda only because I would be drinking less milk. I was raised this way, so I usually prefer milk over soda. My sisters, on the other hand, would have soda whenever they could. Even now, my family probably has three to six twelve-can boxes of soda lying around, so soda around our house is pretty common. At my school, there are vending machines selling soda during lunch hour, and there are sodas sold at the counter as well. I often see people at my lunch table everyday. In my world, soda is by no means uncommon. It doesn't help that it is so common to be drinking a can of soda; if you were to do so, most people would think nothing of it. Somehow, I can't seem to find can of milk like I can find a can of soda. In fact, I don't think I've seen anyone drinking milk aside from during meals.

In my opinion, soda is too accessible. Compared to other healthy drinks, soda is sold much more in convenient places like vending machines, and at best vending machines will sell water. Either healthy drinks must become more accessible in our society, or soda needs to be healthier. Both of those will help prevent problems caused by soda, without impacting the people who will still buy it.


Permanent link  CDS Blogging Contest: Soda is culture


This fall, the Chicago Dental Society turned its newspaper journalism contest into a blogging contest open to any high school student in Cook, Lake or DuPage County who answered the question, "Is Soda Just Liquid Candy?"

Full details on how to enter are posted to our contest Web page. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2010.

This entry is by Rajat D. 


A hot summer's day, a hammock in the backyard, and a refreshing soda in your hand is simply wonderful. Since the beginning of soda, Americans have adopted this beverage as a typical part of their lifestyle. A simple idea as carbonated, colored, and sweet water has revolutionized the soda industry. We see soda engraved into our culture, our politics, and our media. Imagine grasping a cold drink, popping the can open, closing your eyes awaiting the sweet soda to reach your mouth, taking the small initial sip, and exhaling a tone of satisfaction. This feeling one gets from soda, is priceless. Although there are many health defects to soda, the bliss and complacency from soda is absolute.

From the polar bear in Coca-Cola to the squiggle on Pepsi, soda is recognized as a worldly beverage. The original and successful recipes for sodas are known around the world. In America, we see how soda is a vital part of our culture. From a super bowl party to a simple get-together, sodas have drastically modified social interactions as well. For instance, soda has changed the vernacular of many areas. In America, we refer to soda as "pop." In India, people refer to soda as "cool drink." In different parts of the world, soda has been transformed. Australia's unique grape soda is more popular. Introduced only in the UK and Gibraltar, Orange Coca-Cola was a hit. Limca, Thumb's Up, and Coca-Cola are top contributors to the soda industry in India.

As you can see, the perception of "the best soda" from country to country is different. Throughout the world, people have modernized soda to form kinships. We may not realize the significance of these drinks until we realize how often we use them. For example, Coca-Cola is a part of our daily lives in America. From schools to bars, coca-cola is used frequently. Although soda may have damaging effects, we must realize that the satisfaction from soda outweighs the defects. In addition, we must realize that soda is only a serious threat when abused. Over-consumption of this drink is damaging similar to any other beverage.

The merriment derived from soda is unbreakable. For example, in the 1980's, Reagan's administration faced a peculiar situation. When Coca-Cola introduced a new line of Coke which was sweeter in taste, the public let a roar of defiance. Stating that this goes against America, this new Coke was soon discontinued. In this case, we see that classic Coca-Cola is truly a part of America. Even attempting to modify it caused a major problem. This means that people have accepted Coca-Cola as a part of who they are as well. Something as small as soda has taken over America and is a part of our identities.

To conclude, soda deserves more credit than it receives. Imagine yourself taking a long, hot, and sweaty airplane to Miami. Imagine you're under the stress of a business meeting, and it's really hot on the plane, but you do get soda. Imagine watching bubbles rise to the top and watching them pop. Imagine picking up the cold cup and taking a refreshing sip of your beverage. Now, wouldn't you want a cold cup of soda?


Permanent link  CDS Blogging Contest: Soda is a tasty thing


This fall, the Chicago Dental Society turned its newspaper journalism contest into a blogging contest open to any high school student in Cook, Lake or DuPage County who would answer the question, "Is Soda Just Liquid Candy?"

Full details on how to enter are posted to our contest Web page. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2010.

Here's our first entry, from Hanna C. View. 

Soda is a tasty thing.

Heck, I was just finishing up a cup of Coca-Cola a minute ago.

And yes, I do drink soda frequently, around once or twice a week or so.

I am aware of the spoonfuls of sugar there are in each can I consume. I am aware of the sodium, the calories, the caffeine, the artificial ingredients, and the effects it has on my health.

Call me ignorant, but I am willing to bypass those facts once in a while for a drink to go with a slice of pizza, or a burger.

I think a lot of kids my age can agree with me on this one. We all were taught that soda was bad for us, just like how alcohol or cigarettes are. Many of us may never smoke a cigarette or get drunk, but most likely, we frequently drink a can of Sprite despite the knowledge of the possible consequences.

But in my opinion, that a cup of soda is just as bad as a doughnut, or quarter-pound burger. People eat these things for taste. Not for their health. You can still maintain a healthy body, even when consuming these kinds of foods. All that matters is how frequently you have these things.

And really, the reason why I drink soda most of the time is because it tastes better with what I'm drinking it with. Of course, if I was eating a Caesar salad, I'd drink water or tea. But with a greasy pizza, you can't go wrong with washing it down with a fizzy drink.

Of course, I'm not advising that kids SHOULD go around and drinking soda. Especially if they're like my friends' younger brothers, who start running around like crazy whenever a drop of carbonated drinks touch their tongues. I just think that it's all dependent on drinking it, in moderation.


Permanent link  Infection control in the dental office: Our interview with Midwinter speaker Dr. John Molinari


John Molinari, Ph.D., author, lecturer, husband to a pediatric dentist, and father of seven, will be presenting the lecture "Respiratory Infections, Protection" at the Midwinter Meeting, along "Infection Control" and "Vaccination Recommendations for Healthcare Professionals." With current concerns about H1N1, his topic is timely.

Q: What drew you to the topic of respiratory infections in the dental office?

Dr. John Molinari: I've been a microbiologist in infectious diseases for many years. Respiratory infections are the most transmissible, and people in the dental profession are exposed to respiratory infections very routinely. A dentist wears a mask while he or she is working, but there are so many other opportunities for infection to be passed. There's a logical bond here with the professional exposure.

Q: What airborne infection causes the greatest concern for dentists this season?

JM: The flu. Both seasonal and H1N1, which has been around since April. Any pandemic strain of influenza, which crop up every few years, is more virulent. Everyone needs to be aware of the principles of normal infection.

Q: Which are the approaches to protection that dentists' offices can take that you'll be talking about in your lecture?

JM: Well, we're not just talking about the flu here, but also TB, Pertussis or the whooping cough. These are all easily transmitted. I'll be talking about how they are passed and how they work. Some of the preventative steps are, of course, vaccinations and hand washing. For dentists, masks are good. I'll be talking about he alternative use of alcohol hand rubs that everyone's carrying around in their purses and pockets these days.

But I'll also be talking about what the influenza vaccine is all about and why you need a new one each year. I'll be talking about how the vaccines are prepared, and I'll be clearing up a huge misunderstanding: You cannot get the flu from the vaccine. People hear the stories from their neighbors and their grandmothers and are afraid the vaccine will give them the flu. I had to go to extraordinary effort to convince my own mother to get the vaccine this year! She had heard from so many people that it could give you the flu--but who's the microbiologist here?

In any case, I'll be giving the people in my lecture the science and the background behind it. By the time they're finished, they're allies. They're junior microbiologists who can talk to their patients about this. People will believe what a dental hygienist or dentist tells them because they see them, they're familiar and comfortable.

I'll also be talking about TB and whooping cough as an emerging issue. When's the last time people thought about the whooping cough? We used to see this as something you were vaccinated against and never had to think of again. But we're seeing it in more adolescents and adults, and we're finding that the vaccine doesn't protect as long as they thought it did.

Q: How long have you been in the field of microbiology?

JM: I've been in the field for 44 years, including research, teaching, and as a clinical microbiologist. And I have not just focused on respiratory infections. I've researched and worked with AIDS, cancer, you name it. You have to have the clinical expertise to go along with the science.

Q: How many of these Midwinter Meetings have you attended? Do you have any tips or tricks for navigating the Meeting?

JM: I come every other year, and sometimes every year. There are just so many courses that are very, very good. If you're with other people, you'll have to split up and compare notes. It's such a traditionally good meeting as far as courses, you can't possibly see everything you want to see. And the exhibits are among the most extensive. You have to be prepared to spend a full few days there.

Q: What's your advice for visiting Chicago in February?

JM: Dress warmly! We've had everything from rain to snow to sleet.… I won't say we've had warm weather! If you want good food or entertainment in the city, you have your pick. And of course the shopping if you're into that. Chicago really has everything you could want … except the warm weather!

Q: Are you doing anything unusual over the holidays?

JM: Well, we have seven children. Three of our daughters are out of the house, and the last three are our thirteen-year-old triplets, and our oldest still at home is sixteen, so with four teenagers in the house, you can imagine! We'll be diving down to visit our families for the holidays--mine are in North Carolina and my wife Gail's are in Georgia. For Thanksgiving, with the older girls and grandchildren, we'll have sixteen family members along with four neighbors, so twenty people at the Thanksgiving table!


h1n1 , midwinter meeting 2010 , rachel zanders ,

Permanent link  State of Illinois offers incentive for dentists to treat Medicaid patients


This just in, from Bridge to Healthy Smiles Coalition:

Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 489 into law which allows dentists who treat public aid patients to opt into a health care provider deferred compensation plan.  This allows medical or health care providers enrolled in Medicaid to except payment from the state to be deposited into a tax deferral investment portfolio in lieu of direct payment for services performed.  This new law will provide opportunity for low-middle income dental patients. This is similar to an existing retirement savings plan offered to state employees, and is currently allowed in four other states; Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi. 
This deferred compensation benefit will help motivate providers "dentists" to enroll in the Medicaid program which will help meet the demand of all those who need care.  Illinois has among the lowest funding rates in the nation for many dental procedures and as a result patients are forced to delay treatment or go without dental care altogether. This program brings us a step closer to bridging the access to care gap.


access to care , practice management , state of illinois ,

Permanent link  Are you ready for a medical emergency? Our interview with Midwinter speaker Dr. Stanley Malamed


Dr. Stanley F. Malamed, professor of Anesthesia and Medicine at University of Southern California's School of Dentistry actually hopes it snows in Chicago during the Midwinter Meeting! He'll be teaching two courses, "Is Your Practice Ready for a Medical Emergency?" and "The Renaissance of Local Anesthesia."

This transcript is edited from an e-mail exchange that took place in November 2009.

Q: What drew you to the topic of medical emergencies in the dental office?

Dr. Stanley F. Malamed: I am a dentist anesthesiologist, a member of a small group--several hundred in the U.S.--of dentists who have completed an anesthesiology residency. Given that background, and being in an academic environment, one of the subjects that is closely associated to anesthesia is emergency medicine--essentially how to keep a person alive, which is what anesthesiologists do on a daily basis.

Q: Are there any recent events that make this a particularly important topic today?

SFM: On a regular basis we hear, through the media, of "disasters" that occur in the dental office. In Chicago in 2007 the principal of an elementary school died in a dental office while having root canal treatment. It made the national press. Unfortunately, when a person dies in a dental office, it comes as a surprise to non-dental people, who make up most of the world. Yes, unfortunately this does happen, albeit rarely.

Q: What are the most common medical emergencies that occur in dental offices?

SFM: Syncope, or fainting, is far and away number one, accounting for about 50 percent of the emergencies we see. Other common emergency situations include mild allergy, anginal chest pain, seizures, asthmatic attacks, and low blood sugar.

Q: Which emergencies do you think dental offices are least prepared to handle?

SFM: From surveys I have done asking doctors about their level of confidence in recognizing and managing specific emergency situations, the lowest levels of confidence occur with local anesthetic overdose, sedative overdose, and bronchospasm, or acute asthmatic attack.

Q: What is the number-one preventative step you will be discussing?

SFM: Knowing your patient-medical history, monitoring vital signs, knowing when not to treat. Having said that, about 75 percent of all medical emergencies seen in dentistry are preventable; however 25 percent are not. Stuff still happens.

Q: Do you have any anecdotes relating to emergency medicine?

SFM: At the Hinman Dental Meeting about four years ago, as I was walking into the Georgia World Congress Center to give a talk on medical emergencies, a man walking about 20 feet in front of me collapsed on the ground in cardiac arrest. Helping the paramedics, I ventilated, and the man survived. A memorable way to start a lecture on medical emergencies.

Q: You're coming from sunny southern California! How do you feel about visiting Chicago in February?

SFM: I love coming to the Midwinter in February. It's my four or five days of winter. I hope every year that it snows and is really cold. I like to run in the park in the snow … knowing that in three or four days I'll be able to return to L.A. and run in the nice warm "winter" weather at about 60 to 80 degrees.

Q: Would you be willing to share any anecdotes about your early experiences as a dentist?

SFM: Two anecdotes about my early experience as a dentist, before I became the "famous" Dr. Malamed, the expert on local anesthesia as well as emergency medicine:

Taking my state board examination in NY in 1969, a very good friend of mine was the patient. After getting an OK to start, I pulled out a local anesthetic syringe and proceeded to stick the needle right through his lower lip! We both started laughing, which broke the tension of the exam and I then proceeded to successfully pass it. Happily the examiner never found out!

Another story: While in my anesthesia residency, my wife was to have her four third molars extracted by a rather prominent oral surgeon. He asked me to help him by simply getting her "numb." Needless to say I missed all four teeth!

About ten years later while I (by now an "expert" on local anesthesia) was giving a lecture on "How to Teach Local Anesthesia to Dental Students," a hand went up in the audience. The question, from the oral surgeon mentioned above, was "Would you tell the audience about the day I asked you to get your wife numb?" It was humbling.


rachel zanders , midwinter meeting 2010 ,