Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  Give Kids a Smile Day at UIC College of Dentistry


On Tuesday, February 28, UIC College of Dentistry celebrated Give Kids a Smile Day. Schoolchildren from St. Malachy School came to the UIC dental clinic for cleanings, and dental college faculty and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle spoke at a press conference on the importance of oral health.

CDS President Dr. John Gerding also spoke at the press conference. Below are his remarks:

It's a pleasure to be here this morning, together with all of you in support of a common cause: making sure all children in Illinois have access to dental care.

Things are tough in our state right now. In the last few years, dental clinics have closed all over the metro Chicago area for lack of funding. 

Those at UIC know firsthand how closing of dental clinics have affected patients and the college’s own ability to provide care to the community.

The system we have right now is stretched past capacity, and now Springfield is weighing cuts to Medicaid, and we don’t know yet how deeply those will go.

It’s definitely a lot to make anyone committed to oral health nervous. 

We all know that oral health is vital to overall health--that you can’t be healthy without a healthy mouth--but the perception too often is that access to dental care is a secondary consideration. 

Just this month, we had a state senator call it “inessential.” Try telling that to someone suffering from an infection so severe they can’t go to work. Or what about child who is in so much pain they can’t pay attention in school?

But there are bright spots, and I must pause here and acknowledge the leadership shown by Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, who has taken a stand for oral health. She understands the importance of a dental care safety net and has pledged $1 million to improve access to dental care in Cook County. Thank you, President Preckwinkle.

And I also want to say Chicago Dental Society, an association for thousands of dentists in the metro area, is your partner in access to dental care.

Our Government Affairs Committee has been working with elected officials  to see that funds are committed to oral health programs and are used wisely, to the benefit of the greatest number of patients.

We also have our CDS Foundation, which just last week announced plans to reopen a dental clinic in DuPage that closed last year for funding issues. 

And with our foundation, over the last 10 years we have made more than 80 grants to support dental education and access to care, totaling almost $5 million. 

We stand here with you. Thank you for your dedication, support and hard work to improving oral health for all in Illinois.


Permanent link  Opening Session pays tribute to dentistry leaders


by Joanna Brown

View photos from the 2012 Midwinter Meeting Opening Session

It was with great spirit and enthusiasm that Chicago Dental Society President John Gerding opened the 147th Midwinter Meeting Thursday, Feb. 23.

“I hope that you find the Midwinter Meeting as exciting and as much fun as I do,” he told the hundreds of Midwinter Meeting attendees who had gathered in the Skyline Ballroom for the Opening Session. “We believe the Midwinter Meeting will once again afford you the opportunity to learn, see new products, and interact with colleagues. We trust that you will agree that Teeth and All That Jazz will fulfill your Midwinter Meeting attendance goals and objectives.”

With Midwinter Meeting general chair Dean Nicholas at the podium, the program went on to honor several guests.

Gordon Christensen joined Dr. Nicholas on stage first to present the Recognition Lecturer Award named for Dr. Christensen, who has a record of outstanding contributions to both the dental profession and the Midwinter Meeting.  This year the Christensen Award was presented to Joseph Maggio.

Dr. Nicholas then called attention to Terry Dickenson and Bruce Bergstrom, recipients of the George H. Cushing Award. Honorees are selected annually by the Communications Committee for their efforts to raise public awareness about the importance of public health.

“Dr. Dickenson is the executive director of the Virginia Dental Association and the founder of the Mission of Mercy (MOM) projects,” Dr. Nicholas said. “Since 2000, MOM events across America have been providing free dental care to the underserved. Mr. Bergstrom is the executive director of the America’s Dentists Care Foundation and has helped donate and supply the equipment to the MOM events. Mr. Bergstrom accepted the award, as Dr. Dickenson was unable to attend the Opening Session.

James Robinson, a CDS Foundation trustee, was then called to the stage to present the first CDS Foundation Vision Award. The award aims to honor outstanding volunteer achievement and philanthropy.

The late Dr. Michael Stablein, who served CDS as president in 2010 and is celebrated by friends and colleagues as a champion for access to care, was the first honoree. M. Caroline Scholtz, wife of the late Dr. Stablein, accepted the posthumous award.

“Our final recognition tonight is for a colleague and a friend that we lost way too soon,” Dr. Nicholas said, speaking of CDS past president the late Dr. Leo Finley, Jr. Dr. Finley died in August, and was honored by the Illinois State Dental Society House of Delegates in the fall.

In addition, the Illinois House of Representatives 97th General Assembly adopted House Resolution 563, offered by Rep. Renee Kosel, acknowledging Dr. Finley’s commitment and dedication to dentistry. He served not only CDS, but also the U.S. Army, Ilinois State Dental Society, Dent-IL-PAC, and the American Dental Association. 

Several members of Dr. Finley’s family, including his wife of 50 years, Alicia, accepted the resolution from Dr. Nicholas at the Opening Session. 

After the final accolade, the announcer called one last guest to the stage: Ryan Baker, who brought to the stage the spirit of Frank Sinatra. With stage credits that cross the country, Mr. Baker transported the audience back in time and paid tribute to the Chairman of the Board.


Permanent link  Reminder: Download your 2012 MWM CE certificate


2012 MWM Televised CE

If you missed your chance to download your CE certificate at the 2012 Midwinter Meeting, now is the time to do it. 

This service is free through December 31, 2012. There will be a $25 charge per certificate starting January 1, 2013.



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Permanent link  Sneak Peek at the Latest from Crest + Oral-B


Our blogging team was able to squeeze their way through the crowd over the weekend and get a sneak peek at the latest products from Crest + Oral-B. 

We were introduced to their Pro-Health Plaque Control toothpaste and the new Pro-Flex toothbrush, designed for those “over aggressive toothbrushers,” which is due to hit stores next month. 

Couldn’t make your way to the Crest + Oral-B booth? Here’s a quick look: 


Permanent link  Word of Mouth Referrals Turn Digital


The traditional "word of mouth" referral has transformed into a dependancy on online reviews. Digital review websites, such as Yelp, are becoming increasingly popular for patients voicing their opinion on their overall dental experiences.

We caught up with CDS Member Dr. Sam Weisz, Libertyville Dental Associates, at the Midwinter Meeting to learn more about online review websites and how they're affecting dental practices. Dr. Weisz says encouraging patients to review your practice on websites such as Yelp can be a useful tool to drive new traffic to your office.


Does your practice encourage patients to write about their experience online?


Permanent link  Midwinter Meeting Kicks Off With Big Anouncement


The Chicago Dental Society kicked off this year’s 147th Annual Midwinter Meeting with some exciting news. The Chicago Dental Society Foundation, the Society's philanthropic arm, announced plans to open a dental clinic in DuPage County by working with volunteers from the recently closed dental program at DuPage Community Clinic.

You may recall, in June of 2011, the DuPage Community Clinic ended its dental care program, citing the opportunity to generate more revenue by converting the space occupied by dental services to a medical clinic. At the Foundation's February board meeting, board members voted to open a dental clinic in DuPage County, using equipment rescued from the closed clinic and working with those dentists who had once volunteered at DuPage Community Clinic.

To read the full announcement, click HERE.

During the Midwinter Meeting, the Open Wide blogger team caught up with Rodney Watt, Executive Director of the CDS Foundation, and asked for his thoughts on the recent announcement. Check out what Mr. Watt had to say:


Permanent link  2012 Midwinter Meeting in Photos


View photos from the President's Dinner Dance and Friday night concert benefitting the Chicago Dental Society Foundation during the 2012 Midwinter Meeting.


Permanent link  Sound bites: Show your patients the importance of a healthy mouth


Talking to patients about home oral healthcare can be tricky. It’s important to convey the proper technique for optimal preventative impact, but it’s the “why” and “how” of the message that often gets shortchanged.

Dental hygienist and Midwinter Meeting lecturer Trisha O’Hehir says that sound bites make it easier for both sides of the conversation. 

You know that the science behind bacteria, infection and inflammation, but for patients, tag lines like “bleeding is a sign of infection,” and “bleeding allows bacteria to travel to other parts of the body” convey the same message. Ms. O’Hehir recommends they be delivered frequently and emphatically so that patients understand the importance of oral health and oral healthcare.

Ms. O’Hehir also uses cartoons to illustrate the business of bacteria and biofilm. She shared with the Daily Review her book, the Toothpaste Secret, so that Midwinter Meeting attendees and their patients might see how these health lessons can be communicated quickly and easily. We hope you enjoy this sample.

Toothpaste Secret 3a Toothpaste Secret 3


Permanent link  Keep Smiling, There's Still One More Day to Come!



Dr. C.D. Watson-Lowry is nothing but smiles after day two of the Midwinter Meeting. 

Keep smiling, because there's still one more day to come!

Keep the conversation going on Facebook and Twitter and stay tuned for follow-up highlights on Monday. 



Permanent link  Removing Biofilm with the Latest Laser Technology


Dr. Mark Colonna explains the new LightWalker laser technology to the CDS blogger team. We hear the laser removes biofilm in under twenty seconds and sterilizes the root canal system. Check out what Dr. Colonna has to say in the video below! 


Permanent link  Flossing with...air?


Dentists have heard almost every excuse for not flossing. Stacy Borgward, from Philips Sonicare, showed us an alternative to traditional flossing that dentists can present to their patients. 




Permanent link  Seeing Old Friends at Midwinter Meeting


We stopped these dentists on the exhibit floor to ask what they like best about the Midwinter Meeting. 


While dental professionals from around the world are visiting Chicago to hear about new products and learn new techniques, they're also here to see old friends, socialize and form new relationships.


Permanent link  Midwinter Meeting is Popping with Color


Everyone knows white is the standard for teeth, but you can always keep your dental office full of color with these neon tools! 

Capture more colors from the exhibit floor and share them with us on Facebook and Twitter!


Permanent link  Social Media Trending at Midwinter Meeting


Our recent member dentist survey revealed an impressive jump in social media activity among dental offices. 67 percent of the dentists surveyed say that their practice has a Facebook page, which is up from a 17 percent response last year. In addition, nearly 24 percent say their practice uses Twitter, up from 6 percent, and 14 percent are using YouTube, up from 4 percent. 

We met up with Anastasia Turchetta, whose course on communications in dentistry has been a hit at this year’s Midwinter Meeting, to ask for tips on a successful social media strategy for dentists. 

We ran into Dr. Katie Garcia and Dr. Danielle Barstad on the exhibit floor and found the dentists recognize that social media is trending at this year's Midwinter Meeting.


To see more from Anastasia, check out her weekly health and wellness news clips on YouTube.

To see more of the member dentist survey results, click here.

Stay connected with CDS on Facebook and Twitter.


Permanent link  An In-depth Look At 3-D X-rays


Dr. Maharukh Kravich, a CDS Communications Committee member, gives us an in-depth look at 3-D X-rays and how they compare to 2-D. 

Check out Biolace Technology at booth #1237 for more info!

Follow the CDS Communications Committee on Twitter.

Follow Dr. Kravich on Twitter @mgk2001 


Permanent link  Fun Brushing For Your Young One


When the Chicago Dental Society surveyed more than 100 of its member dentists about children’s oral care, results showed that choosing the right tool is a must. Check out Prophy Perfect’s toddler toothbrush options.  

 Prophy Perfects

Learn more at or swing by booth #1515.


Permanent link  Day Two of the Midwinter Meeting is Full Steam Ahead and the Fun Has Just Begun



Day two is underway at the 147th Annual Midwinter Meeting. The snow hasn't slowed down one of the largest trade shows in dentistry, as dental professionals continue to flood McCormick Place. 

While there are countless courses, exhibits and live demonstrations on the docket for today, there's still time to play. Stop by booth #1016 for a plinko challenge with Patterson Advantage! 

Stay tuned for live blogging and updates from Facebook and Twitter. 




Permanent link  Aribex Reveals Their Handheld X-Ray System


Our blog team caught up with Ken Kaufman, President & CFO of Aribex. He and his team showed us the ins and outs of The Nomad Pro, the newest handheld X-ray system. Learn more about this “Off the Wall” solution below! 

See more at or check out booth #2036. 

Follow Ken Kaufman on Twitter @_KenKaufman 



Permanent link  Get that fuzzy feeling before brushing


Helping patients understand — and follow through on — hygiene instruction can be challenging. But Midwinter Meeting lecturer and hygienist Trisha O’Hehir has several ideas to increase the chances of your success.

“To understand bacterial biofilm, I use cartoons and suggest using the tongue to feel the fuzzy bacteria on the teeth before numbing the tongue with toothpaste,” said Ms. O’Hehir, describing her book, The Toothpaste Secret.

“Repeat the sound bites several times within each visit,” she said. “Some science-based sound bites with preventive messages are ‘skip brushing and start cleaning in between,’  ‘dry brush inside first’ and ‘strive for five xylitol exposures each day.’”

Ms. O’Hehir shared her book with the Daily Review so that Midwinter Meeting attendees and their patients might benefit from her suggestions. We hope you enjoy this sample.

 Toothpaste secret 2a  Toothpaste Secret 2 


Permanent link  Dentists Fly Together at 147th Annual Midwinter Meeting



We've already completed day one of the 147th Midwinter Meeting and nearly 30,000 dental professionals walked through the doors at McCormick Place. 

Stayed tuned for more live blogging tomorrow and make sure to follow CDS on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

See you tomorrow!


Permanent link  Hands Free Periodontal Charting



Natally Lee demonstrates the redesigned Dental R.A.T. 2.0, a foot operated periodontal charting input device.

Benefits of the Dental R.A.T.? Natalie says it allows dentists to run the operatory dental software without an assistant or running the risk of cross-contamination.

Learn more at booth #3518 or 


Permanent link  When discussing preventative care with patients, keep it simple


Talking to patients about the importance of preventative care? Take a cue from Midwinter Meeting lecturer Trisha O’Hehir: keep it simple.

“Printed brochures with more words than photos will likely end up on the floor of the car, only to be found next time through the car wash,” she said. “Sound bites are more likely to be remembered. (Patients) don’t need all the scientific information; they need to know what they should do every day at home.”

Ms. O’Hehir shared with the Daily Review a book of cartoons she published to explain biofilm and bacteria in terms that patients can absorb quickly and easily. Enjoy this sample from her book, The Toothpaste Secret.

Toothpaste Secret 1a Toothpaste Secret 1


Permanent link  Show and Tell


Study Models

Show and tell - the best learning technique for patients. Kilgore International, Inc., booth #3616, displays their dental study models on the exhibit floor.


Permanent link  Periodontal Diseases and the Latest in Bacterial Testing


The Open Wide blog crew checked in with OralDNA Labs to learn about the latest in bacterial, genetic and viral testing.  Their product, MyPerioPath, uses a quick 30-second swish of saline solution to detect the presence and quantity of specific bacteria associated with periodontal disease. 

See more at 

We also sat down with hygienist Anastasia Turchetta of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina who is passionate about educating her patients on the risks of periodontal diseases and the importance of salivary testing.  She challenges dentists around the country to be proactive.  

“It is our job to educate and inform,” said Dr. Turchetta. My question is, we have the technology and diagnostic services to do it, why aren’t we?” 


Permanent link  WaterLase iPlus Demonstrates Their Fast Cutting Laser Drill



We caught up with WaterLase iPlus at the Midwinter Meeting and got a demonstration of their new laser drill. 

Dr. Chris Bugg, General Dentist of Cushing, Oklahoma said, “A 30-40 minute appointment is now completed in 5-10 minutes, if even that”. In a practice where timing is everything, Dr. Bugg says this tool will help patients and office staff get through the busiest days. 

The laser drill emits 5-10 pulses of YSGG laser energy per second, allowing dentists to cut through tooth, soft tissue, and bone while simultaneously numbing the tooth.   



Permanent link  Live Blogging from the Midwinter Meeting


 Exhibit Flooor 

We're here live at the Midwinter Meeting and exploring the exhibit floor. Stay tuned for an inside look at this year's exhibitors and lectures! 

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates.


Permanent link  Look for non-commercial exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall


When you’re in the Exhibit Hall next weekend, make time to browse the eastern and western edges of the exhibit space. These sections of scientific exhibits have a lot to offer, as they house many of the non-commercial exhibitors who contribute to the business of dentistry, too.

Professional groups like the Hispanic Dental Association, the National Dental Association and the Academy for Sports Dentistry will tell you about their member benefits. Learn about the scientific meetings offered by the Associazione Italiana Odontoiatri, the Asociacion Dental del Districto Federal and the Journees Dentaires Nice.

Educational institutions like Kennedy-King College and Sanford-Brown Skokie are eager to meet up with alumni — and talk them up to professionals who are unfamiliar with their programs.

And there are the not-for-profit exhibitors like the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation and the Dental Lifeline Network, who are looking for partners in their efforts to increase access to care. CommunityHealth will be in booth 217, talking about opportunities for professionals at its clinics in the West Town and Englewood neighborhoods.

“We provide medical and dental services to the growing uninsured,” explained volunteer services manager Kelly Tondini. “In just a few hours a month, dental providers can help patients in need who are extremely grateful. This is an opportunity to change lives. 

“We are very excited and honored to be a part of the Midwinter Meeting. We are looking forward to sharing our information and meeting many new volunteer providers.”



access to care , midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  Unhealthy Snacking Caries a Big Burden


It’s hard to resist the sweet taste of many popular and convenient snacks, but as every dentist knows, these tasty treats are no friend to your teeth. Sticky candies, cookies, dry fruit, and other common sugary snacks, especially among children, can cause dental caries, commonly known as cavities. Even starchy snacks, like chips and crackers, can cause cavities as they break down into sugars when left in the mouth for long periods of time.

As part of our annual member dentist survey, we asked dentists to offer smart snacking ideas for kids. While our focus was on healthy snacking for young ones, these tips are useful for all ages. Here are a couple pointers:


  • It's cheesy, but true. It’s a standard practice for parents to encourage kids to finish their milk. Why? It’s a great resource of calcium and builds strong bones, including teeth. The same holds true for cheese. In fact, some cheeses can slow the activity of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
  • Peel away from sticky candy. Gummies and sticky candies, such as dry fruit or suckers, are dangerous to teeth. When chewing, they get stuck on surfaces and in between crevices, causing bacteria to feed on the candy and produce more cavity-causing acids. The dentists we surveyed recommend “sticking” to healthier snacks, like fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt, and cheese


See all the healthy snacking tips HERE.


If you’re attending this year’s Midwinter Meeting and are interested in an in-depth education on treating dental caries, check out these FREE courses:


What’s the pH Got to do With It?

Course #: F127

When: Thursday, February 23, from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Description:  A lecture discussing what products and techniques are available to test salivary pH, elevate acid pH levels, and rematerialize the enamel—procedures meant to help prevent dental caries.

CE Hours: 3

Cost: No Charge


Who Caries?

Course #: F201A and F201B

When: Friday, February 24, from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m and continued Friday afternoon from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Description: An in-depth look at the current thinking on dental caries and how best to treat the disease medically.

CE Hours: 6 (3 hours each session)

Cost: No Charge


Today, Friday, February 17 is the last day to pre-register for the Midwinter Meeting. Thereafter, attendees will be able to register on site for all available courses. 


Permanent link  Shop the exhibit floor to benefit the CDS Foundation


Will you be shopping at the Midwinter Meeting? We’re got two ways to stretch your dollar – to benefit the CDS Foundation.

 The Bosworth Company – which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year – has committed one percent of all Midwinter Meeting sales to the CDS Foundation.

“We’re very excited for the Midwinter Meeting, and to be working with the CDS Foundation,” said Caroline-Nicole Figueroa, Bosworth’s marketing and meeting coordinator. “We really look forward to being on the floor and getting to see everyone. Our partnership with the CDS Foundation extends our company’s commitment to improving access to care.”

Ms. Figueroa said Bosworth has lots of surprises (and treats) planned for the Midwinter Meeting, all to celebrate their anniversary. Enjoy the party while you shop.

In addition, Crest/Oral-B has committed two percent of sales on power brushes to the CDS Foundation. Premium power brushes are also on sale during the Midwinter Meeting – but the CDS Foundation only benefits from sales written Thursday, so make time to shop Crest/Oral-B between your Thursday courses.

Chicago District Manager Cherie Rippey said this commitment to the CDS Foundation extends the company’s commitment to community health.

“Since Crest established our division in the early 1960s, we have always been committed to access to care,” she said. “Whether through our Children’s Dental Health Month activities or Healthy Smiles 2010 or any of our other programs, Crest has maintained a consistent mission to improving overall health that has never waivered.” 

Check out Crest/Oral-B’s new program, Go Beyond Open Wide, while you shop to benefit the CDS Foundation Thursday.



access to care , cds foundation , midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  News from ISDS


From ISDS:

The Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and establish a voluntary program that encourages the installation of amalgam separators. This MOU is in lieu of the State Agency pursuing a legislative mandate requiring amalgam separators while federal rules are being defined on this issue. To that end both the ISDS and IEPA feel that a cooperative effort will help build awareness and expedite the use of amalgam separators by dentists; thereby increasing the recovery of amalgam and reducing the amount of mercury being discharged into wastewater.

Please take one minute to answer our 5 question survey which is a part of our MOU agreement with the IEPA so that ISDS can establish a benchmark for future efforts on our part to increase voluntary compliance.




Permanent link  You can still pre-register for the Midwinter Meeting today


Today is February 2, Groundhog Day.

The first anniversary of Chicago’s Snowmageddon.

National Heavenly Hash Day. 

And another day to pre-register for the Midwinter Meeting.

Yes, pre-registration for the 147th Midwinter Meeting continues online today, and through Feb. 17. But if you do log in and sign up today, don’t look for your badges to arrive in the mail. 

Midwinter Meeting attendees who pre-register in February must pick up their badges on site, at McCormick Place West, when they arrive for the Midwinter Meeting.

That means you’ll need time to get from the parking garage or shuttle bus stop to the Registration Area. You might need to wait in line there to retrieve your badges. And then you’ll need time to get from the counter to your first class. (Plus even more time if you’ll need to stop somewhere for a cup of coffee and a doughnut.)

We know that between 2,500 and 4,000 attendees will attempt to register for the Midwinter Meeting on site before noon each of the first two days of the Midwinter meeting. Pre-registering online now keeps you out of those lines and gets you to your class and the Exhibit Hall faster.

Please plan ahead. 



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Permanent link  Lake County sees outbreak of norovirus


The Lake County Health Department is warning residents about an outbreak of norovirus and its associated viral gastroenteritis. Nine outbreaks were reported in January.
“Noroviruses can make a person very ill,” said Irene Pierce, the Health Department's Executive Director, in a prepared release. “They are very contagious and can spread quickly in families and places where people are in close contact with each other, such as schools, childcare centers, long-term care facilities, and cruise ships.”
The virus causes gastroenteritis and is often called "stomach flu," or "food poisoning." Symptoms include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Fever/chills
  • Muscle aches
Symptoms usually last only a few days, but are often severe. The virus remains in the body for 2-3 weeks.
People can become infected by:
  • Consuming contaminated food or beverages
  • Touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then putting their hands in their mouth
  • Direct contact with a person who is infected and showing symptoms, such as caring for someone with the illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill.
To protect yourself against this virus, the Health Department encourages following these preventive steps:
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, before eating and before preparing food.
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner. 
  • Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with the virus after an episode of illness (use soap and hot water).
If you would like additional information on norovirus, call the Health Department's Communicable Disease Program at 847.377.8130 or visit them online.