Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  International guests come out on top


The 149th Midwinter Meeting welcomed 1,351 international attendees representing 82 countries, from Albania to Venezuela. Many of them stopped by the International Lounge for a break in the action.

Those who did were entered in a raffle. CDS congratulates winners Juliano Facioli, of Brazil, and Jean Charles Rivioire, of France.

“We are grateful for all those attendees and exhibitors who traveled from distant lands to help make the Midwinter Meeting a truly international success,” said CDS past president David Fulton Jr.


midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  Chairside Screenings for Chronic Diseases Could Bring Big Savings


Screenings by dentists for the most common chronic medical diseases could save the American health care system as much as $102.6 million annually, according to a new study conducted by the American Dental Association's Health Policy Resources Center (HPRC).

The findings were published Feb. 13 in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7.8 percent of the U.S. population has undiagnosed hypertension, 2.7 percent has undiagnosed diabetes and 8.2 percent has undiagnosed high cholesterol. Screening for these conditions in dental offices could lead to savings of up to $102.6 million, or $33 per person screened, and healthier outcomes for patients.

“As many as 27 million people visit a dentist but not a physician in a given year,” Kamyar Nasseh, PhD, lead author of the study said in a prepared release. “This presents an opportunity for dentists to be part of an integrated health care team working to combat chronic illnesses.”

There is potential for additional savings over the long term through prevention, health promotion, and early interventions that the study did not model.

“We have long known that the mouth is the window to the body,” said ADA President Charles H. Norman.“But we have an increased understanding about roles that dentists can play in detecting chronic, systemic disease. This study shows that dentists can contribute to reduced health care costs in the U.S. by screening for chronic conditions.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all American adults suffer from chronic illnesses, which account for more than 75 percent of health care costs and 70 percent of deaths each year in the United States. Chronic diseases are estimated to cost the country $153 billion annually in lost productivity.


ada , dental care ,

Permanent link  Voting is underway for the 150th Anniversary Molar Contest


To celebrate our sesquicentennial, 10 friends of the Chicago Dental Society worked last fall to transform four-foot fiberglass molars into works of art. But only four will get to spend the summer months on Michigan Avenue.

Vote once per day for your favorite molar – and check back in April to see which teeth come out on top! Voting runs through midnight, March 31.


Permanent link  Mentorship luncheon supplements clinical education


2014 Mentorship LuncheonLongtime Chicago Dental Society volunteer Salvatore Storniolo held court over lunch. At a table filled with dental students, conversation included Game of Thrones, the Oscar nominees for Best Picture and the wisdom he’s gained through 26 years in dentistry.

“I think of myself in your shoes 27 years ago, and I can say it was scary. There were a lot of mixed emotions,” he told the students with whom he shared a lunch table. “But what you’ve got to realize is that it’s all there for the taking. You just need to figure out what kind of dentist you want to be. And you must get involved; networking is the key.”

Dr. Storniolo was one of many CDS volunteers who made time Thursday, Feb. 20, to attend the Mentor Luncheon. Held annually at the Midwinter Meeting , the event paired practicing dentists with dental students for camaraderie.

They agreed that their time together was a valuable part of their Midwinter Meeting experience.

“As dental students we spend so much time in class and lab, but there is no instruction on how to be a dentist in the real world,” said second year dental student Jeri McCombs, who lunched with dentist Victoria Ursitti. “That’s where organized dentistry comes in for students. It’s really neat to meet people at events like this and talk about tangible career goals.”

Dr. Ursitti agreed that networking events like the Mentorship Luncheon would have enhanced her experience as young dentist; she volunteers today so that others benefit from her experience.

“It would have been nice to have had someone to ask ‘what do you use for scheduling software?’ or ‘what kind of clinical software do you like?’ Running a business is not just clinical,” Dr. Ursitti said. “The personal contacts here are fantastic, but as a young dentist I think you need someone to put their arm out and invite you to do something, and I think I have a lot of offer in that way.”

Second year dental student Shauvik Ponnusamy found that kind of camaraderie in his relationship with CDS member Dean Nicholas. Mr. Ponnusamy shadowed Dr. Nicholas in the office to supplement his clinical instruction; he most enjoyed the way Dr. Nicholas interacts with patients.

“He makes everyone laugh,” Mr. Ponnusamy said. “It was great to see how he made connections with patients, which is not something they teach in dental school. And when we started endo at school, it was nice to hear him say ‘it’s going to be okay, there is a light at the end of the tunnel,’ and hear his reassurance and feel that camaraderie.”

Mr. Ponnusamy encouraged his peers to seek out the mentorship program.

“Take initiative. Small steps make a big difference in learning about how to manage outside of class when it comes to things like finances and debt and continuing education.”

His classmate Punita Shukla agreed.

“You can’t do one without the other: go to school and talk to a mentor. This is the base for your future,” she said.

Find more photos from this and other 2014 Midwinter Meeting events on Flickr.


cds members , dental education , dental school , meetup , midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  New dentists strengthen the bridge at Friday reception


2014 New Dentist ReceptionConversation came easily at the 270 Restaurant Friday evening, when dentists who have been in practice for 10 years or less gathered for cocktails and camaraderie at the New Dentist Reception.

"It's a relaxing thing to do after a day of learning, to come out and meet other dentists," said Sandra Lu, a Midwinter Meeting attendee who earned her dental degree from the Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Dental Medicine.

Beside her, fellow SIU grad Jessica Rhodes added that she was interested in networking there and furthering her career.

"This is effective networking," affirmed dentist James Benz, who leads the GPR program at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. "It's becoming less common to graduate and immediately go into a practice situation that you'll have for your whole career, so networking at this stage of your career is essential."

Dr. Benz came to the New Dentist Reception looking to reconnect with former students and hear how the GPR program trained them to meet the demands of their careers. He would take their feedback back to the office to improve the program for current residents.

Across the room, Marquette graduate Andrew Wiers was talking up the benefits of organized dentistry. Dr. Wiers is a member of CDS's New Dentist Committee.

"Job opportunities, debt load, how to piece together jobs to develop the career you want, are all topics that we talk about there, and here," he said. He called the reception a success. "The room is full, people are having a good time, and it's almost difficult to hear because there are so many great conversations going on."

Among them was endodontist Milton Davenport, looking to meet more local doctors. He earned a dental degree at Harvard University, and then completed his residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"Everyone is so busy and spread out, but everyone can be here at the Midwinter Meeting, and then we party all weekend," Dr. Davenport said.

Find more photos from this and other 2014 Midwinter Meeting events on Flickr.


cds members , dentists , meetup , midwinter , midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  So Long Midwinter Meeting 2014!


Check out our Midwinter photo recap on Facebook, Through the Eyes of Open Wide. Share your photos using the hashtag #CDS14. 

See you next year! 


Permanent link  Tooth Fairy of the Floor


Amid the toothbrushes, X-rays and water picks on the exhibit floor, America’s Tooth Fairy is waiting to tell you about the more philanthropic side of dentistry.

The National Children’s Oral Health Foundation program is dedicated to eliminating pediatric dental disease by providing programs and comprehensive resources to deliver community-based critical preventive, educational and treatment services.

Stop by their booth #1845 and see some of the fun tools they are bringing into communities to help educate parents and kids about making good oral choices!



Permanent link  Welcome to the final day of our 149th Midwinter Meeting


We’re glad to welcome you all back to the floor of McCormick Place West for the final day of #CDS14. Be sure to make your rounds to all of the great exhibits you might’ve missed yesterday, submit your votes for your favorite Molar on Parade, and enjoy yourselves. We can’t wait to see you out there!   

opening day 3



Permanent link  What a Day, What a Day!


Ah! The Open Wide blogging team had a great time out on the exhibition floor for day 2 of the #CDS14 Midwinter Meeting. We had a chance to see some new products, meet some kind and enthusiastic folks, and get their reactions to all the great classes, exhibits and events here at McCormick Place. We can’t wait for tomorrow and hope to see everyone’s smiling faces back out on the floor.  



Permanent link  The Interactive Electric Toothbrush


Yesterday at the Midwinter Meeting, Oral-B introduced the world’s first interactive electric toothbrush. The blogging team met up with Cherie Rippey of Oral-B and Dr. Sam Weisz to talk about the interactive electric toothbrush and its future impact on dentistry.

Check out the video below or click on this link.


Permanent link  What's New in Whitening


The blogging team caught up Dr. Jeffrey Heinrichs on his way out of a course on teeth whitening to find out about the latest trends.

Dr. Heinrichs, a dentist in Toledo, Ohio, says he gets whitening requests from patients every other week. While there are a number of options available, he prefers to use trays.

Meeting participants have had the opportunity to see a number of new whitening products on display here at the Midwinter Meeting, but when asked about his favorite, Dr. Heinrich was partial to his tried and true methods.

What is your go-to recommendation when it comes to whitening?  

Dr. Heinrichs


Permanent link  New Product Launches at CDS Midwinter Meeting


It’s no surprise that innovation and new products are the name of the game at #CDS14. The Midwinter Meeting is well known amongst dental industry professionals as a product launch pad. We dropped by the Arm & Hammer booth to learn a little more about ‘Truly Radiant,’ a new oral care toothpaste & battery-powered toothbrush combo that launched yesterday during day 1 of our 149th Midwinter Meeting. Come through and see their new spinbrush heads with elongated bristles for deeper cleaning and specially designed concave brush heads for whitening.



Permanent link  Beware the Mouth Monsters!


Have you met the Mouth Monsters? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and just launched a new series of online materials to help educate and prevent Ginger Bite-Us, Tartar the Terrible and Tooth D.K., the number one chronic infectious disease among children in the U.S.

Meet the Mouth Monsters, download posters, certificates and more and help project your young patients.   

moster 4 moster 1


Permanent link  Got a Chocolate Craving?


You may be able to snag some sugary treats at one of the booths on the exhibit floor (if you promise to brush your teeth afterward). Or, kill two birds with one stone and ask a Crest rep for a sample of Crest’s new chocolate-flavored toothpaste. 

 The company is featuring the Midwinter Meeting crowd-favorite flavor of it’s new “Be” toothpaste line at booth #2402.

 The CDS blogger team joined Karly, Viola and Rachael, students at the Midwest Technical Institute, for a taste of Mint Chocolate Trek, Lime Spearmint Zest and Vanilla Mint Spark. Their reaction? It’s pretty good!

 And don’t let anyone tell you this product is just for kids, said rep Sheryl Faye. Many adults love it, too. And the best part? “It’s zero points on Weight Watchers!”






Permanent link  Office Fun for Kids


Trying to figure out new ways to get your pint-sized patients excited about their trips to the dentist? Then you might have noticed the giant green dinosaur at booth #4801. The smiling green giant was a popular photo opp on the exhibit floor Friday. And at least one passerby was convinced the DINO kid’s dental chair may be coming to a pediatric dentist’s office near you.The dino is fully-functional as a dental chair, with a few bonus items. How about a side of cartoons with that cleaning? “We’re just trying to make the office a little more friendly and take the fear out of dentistry for kids.”




Permanent link  Local Exhibitors


This year at Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting, there are more than 600 exhibitors. And, just like our attendees, they are from all over the world. Some, though, are from our very own backyard. Bisco, a cosmetic and restorative materials and adhesives company, family-owned and operated for over 30 years, is based out of Schaumburg, IL. Despite being a local manufacturer and direct-to-consumer shipping, they maintain global distribution. Swing by booth 1014 and say hey!

Bisco 1


Permanent link  Faces of Midwinter 2014, Day 2


Are you keeping up with our Faces of Midwinter series on Facebook? We're featuring our attendees, exhibitors and everyone in between. Check out the album here.

 Faces of Midwinter 4


Permanent link  Day 2, Let's Go!


The gang's all here and ready for day two! The blogging team is excited to welcome everyone back onto the exhibition floor at 9 AM! So much to see, so little time. Fortunately, the blogging team is here to share some of the highlights. Keep up with us here, our Facebook page and on Twitter using the hashtag #CDS14 to join in on the conversation!

Day 2 Welcome


Permanent link  Wrapping Up Successful Day 1!


Sending out a huge THANK YOU to all 28,000-plus dental industry professionals who braved the rain today to join us on the first day of the 149th Midwinter Meeting. We're waving bye for now, but can't wait to see all your smiling faces in the morning! 



Permanent link  Radiation Reduction with Planmeca


The blogging team spent some time this afternoon with Bob and Jim Pienkowski of Planmeca at booth 3414. Planmeca CAD/CAM technology for creating dental restorations allows dental professionals to be more precise about radiating only areas of clinical need. Planmeca’s technology also features a child mode which enables dentists to limit a child’s cone beam radiation exposure when targeting a single tooth or smaller section of teeth.



Permanent link  Dr. Weisz Speaks to Fox 32 News Chicago about Oral Caner


The blogging team had a great time with Corey and Darlene today at Fox 32! A big thank you to CDS member dentist Dr. Sam Weisz for sharing some important facts about oral cancer and the new technology on the floor of the Midwinter Meeting. Click here to watch the interview.



Permanent link  Faces of Midwinter 2014(1)


People come to the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting from all over the world. Take a look at some of the 2014 attendees here!

Dentist Gina


Permanent link  Pediatric Dentistry


As any parent will tell you, it can sometimes be difficult to get children to develop oral hygiene habits. One method the blogging team came across on the exhibition floor was a series of books for children that dentists can place in their waiting rooms. Parents can also use the pictures and characters from the books to show their kids how to properly care for their teeth in a fun and engaging way. How did your parents encourage you to consistently practice oral hygiene? Tweet us @Chicago_Dental using the hashtag #CDS14!

pediatric dentistry


Permanent link  IsoliteSYSTEMS and New Technologies


Our very own CDS blogging team member Liz Lightbody sits in the dental chair to demo IsoliteSYSTEMS dental isolation mouthpiece at booth 4413. Watch her try out the ‘rubberdam of the 21st century.’ What kinds of new technologies are you integrating into your practice? Be a part of the conversation on Facebook or tweet us @Chicago_Dental using #CDS14!



Permanent link  Digital Dental Imaging Technology at CDS '14


One of the big trends we’re seeing here at the 149th CDS Midwinter Meeting is innovation in digital dental imaging technology. The blogging team saw a quick demonstration of the latest in portable caries detection on the exhibition floor. With DEXIS CariVu™, Dentists can use the handpiece to ‘hug’ the tooth, envelop the tooth in near-infrared light, and render the enamel transparent so dentists can see the tooth’s structure clearly. Check it out at booth 2419 and see the difference between intraoral x-rays and fluorescent imaging. What kinds of new technologies are you using at your practices? Tweet us @Chicago_Dental using #CDS14 and let us know!   



Permanent link  Communicating with Patients in 2014


The way dentists communicate with their patients is changing. The blogging team spoke to Raeanna Reudy from Demandforce, at booth 4031, about how dentists can grow their practice with automated online marketing and communication tools.

Demandforce integrates with management software to automate marketing and patient communications, like appointment reminders and reviews.

See why dentists like Dr. Gene Romo are making fewer phone calls and using more tools like Demandforce to communicate with patients.



Permanent link  Voting is now open for your favorite 150th Anniversary Molar


150 ToothTo celebrate our sesquicentennial, 10 friends of the Chicago Dental Society worked last fall to transform four-foot fiberglass molars into works of art. But only four will get to spend the summer months on Michigan Avenue.

Vote once per day for your favorite molar and check back in April to see which teeth come out on top! Voting runs through midnight, March 31.


Permanent link  Midwestern University clinic adds pediatric care to menu of services


Midwestern University’s Dental Institute recently announced the addition of pediatric dental care — exams, cleanings, tooth restoration, and minor oral surgery  — for children from age 5 and up. Orthodontic care is also available. Since some children can benefit from early orthodontic intervention, the Dental Institute strongly advises an orthodontic screening by age 7.

The Dental Institute is home to some of the most advanced technology and diagnostic tools available to help provide patients with quality dental care. Student dentists in their final years of professional training treat patients under the supervision of licensed faculty who have many years of private practice experience. As a teaching clinic, patients can expect comprehensive, compassionate care – at about half the cost.

The Dental Institute is part of Midwestern University’s Multispecialty Clinic located at 3450 Lacey Road, Downers Grove IL. For more information about the services offered at the Dental Institute, contact 630.743.4500 or visit


access to care , children , dental care , dental school , midwestern university , pediatric dentistry ,

Permanent link  Cushing Award honors NASCAR driver Greg Biffle


Longtime Midwinter Meeting participants know that the Chicago Dental Society’s Communications Committee annually nominates an oral health advocate for the George H. Cushing award.

Dr. Cushing was a prominent Chicago dentist in the mid-1800s. He was a Professor of Principles and Practice of Dental Surgery at Illinois’s first dental school, the Chicago Dental Infirmary, and was one of three faculty members. He also served as Chicago Dental Society president five times and was a strong advocate of dental health education. 

The Cushing Award is given to an individual or group that has raised the public awareness of oral health issues. Past recipients have included Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, the Shriver Family and many more. 

This year at the 149th Midwinter Meeting we have the honor of bestowing the award to Greg Biffle. Since 2011, Mr. Biffle, NASCAR driver of the #16 3M ESPE car, has been working in conjunction with the American Dental Association on their Give Kids a Smile Day program. Mr. Biffle has been helping deliver the message about the benefits of healthy habits like brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist and making smart food choices to children around the country at NASCAR events. This past September one of these events was held at the University of Illinois Chicago. The school’s dental clinic hosted students from St. Malachy School in Chicago for dental screenings and an opportunity to view a NASCAR vehicle up close. 



midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  CDS Foundation honors Brian Homann with Vision Award


To say that Brian Homann knows about volunteerism is an understatement. He actually wrote the book on it.

Dr. Homann, a 2012 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, will be honored with the Chicago Dental Society Foundation’s Vision Award for outstanding volunteer achievement. He was nominated by his peers for work he did to establish the student-run dental clinic at Goldie’s Place, and his continued efforts to help dental students across the country replicate their success at increasing access to care.

The Vision Award will be presented Thursday, Feb. 20, at the 149th Midwinter Meeting. 

“Dr. Homann is in the beginning of his career as a dentist and already has determined that helping to bring oral care to those underserved is part of the fabric of his professionalism.  It is truly heartening to see that his dedication — including passing on his secrets — so that others can do the same,” said CDS Foundation chair Mary Hayes. “We are privileged to honor this leader for his Vision: he energetically shows the rest of us how it is to work effectively to improve all our patients’ oral health.

A 2012 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Homann was a founding participant in the student-run dental clinic at Goldie’s Place for homeless Chicagoans; while there, he initiated a donation drive and created Goldie’s Place Denture Program. 

As the clinic grew in scope of services and capacity, Dr. Homann created a manual for other dental students to follow as they created their own student-run dental clinics on campuses nationwide. Along with the manual came Dr. Homann’s mentorship, as he admits that there is no universal model for success.

Now a practicing dentist, Dr. Homann continues his involvement at Goldie’s Place. He works part-time in private practice and two days per week in a paid position at Goldie’s Place. This is the first time Goldie's Place has ever had a paid dentist on staff, funded by a grant.

He is also an adjunct assistant clinic professor at UIC, an unpaid position that allows him to work with current dental students in the student-run clinic on his days off. His current students have assumed his old role of mentor to other campuses across the country.

The Roscoe, IL, native thanked the CDS Foundation for honoring him with the Vision Award. 

“I was at Goldie's Place when I heard. I was excited, I was surprised, I was blown away because I know what I've always done with my time, and it doesn't compare to what others have given,” he recalled. “But it made me excited to realize that the selection committee saw the importance of giving back early in our professional lives. It's not extra - it's part of being a dentist. Dentists have opportunities to do what only our profession can. With our education, we have the responsibility to help people in need.“






cds foundation , dental school , midwinter meeting , philanthropy ,

Permanent link  Your dental society needs your leadership


Tom Sullivan knows just how many volunteers contributed to the 2014 Midwinter Meeting. And he knows that the Chicago Dental Society will need just as many volunteers to produce similarly stellar meetings in 2015, 2020 and 2050.

He and his colleagues will help interested members identify opportunities to increase their involvement with their dental society at a new program being offered at the 2014 Midwinter Meeting. Dr. Sullivan, a longtime Chicago Dental Society member and past president of the Illinois State Dental Society will lead Your Dental Society Needs You Friday, Feb. 21, beginning at 10 a.m. in Room W474A. 

“In my 30 years with organized dentistry, I got into the mix of the Midwinter Meeting, met people, and learned from the bottom up what it takes to put together something of this magnitude. There is a huge team behind our meeting; someone has to be walking the floor and checking fire codes, for example,” Dr. Sullivan explained. “We aim to make people aware of the avenues for new dentists to get involved with their Branches and gain access to volunteer positions.”

Dr. Sullivan and his colleagues on site will answer questions from the audience and share their own stories of involvement in organized dentistry.

“As a young dentist, what impressed me was putting a face to name that I had heard and getting to know people, emulate them and call them my true mentors,” Dr. Sullivan said. “You can repeat that story if you take the time, and you get it back 10 fold. It’s not that big of a mountain to climb, but it is fun climbing it.”

Longtime CDS member and volunteer Michael Durbin said the program was born out of questions he hears from younger colleagues all the time. He encouraged current volunteers to invite younger colleagues and attend together.

“We know that our dental students are more engaged than they used to be, and we have lots of student volunteers. But there are the same opportunities for them once they graduate and start practicing,” he explained.

 “We need to grab that enthusiasm and make sure we’re giving them an outlet for their leadership to continue. We hear over and over again that people are unsure of how to get involved,” he continued. “We needed to take that message to the Midwinter Meeting for people to see all of their options for getting involved. This is an opportunity to ask questions and get together a plan for where to go next.”



member benefit , midwinter , midwinter meeting , volunteer opportunity ,

Permanent link  Midwinter Meeting program highlights member benefits


Local dentists know that their membership in the Chicago Dental Society has its benefits.

They aim to educate more of their non-member colleagues at a Midwinter Meeting symposium Friday, Feb. 21, Are you getting the most out of your membership?

The program begins at 11 a.m. in Room W474A. It will last one hour and is open to all dentists and dental students who are attending the Midwinter Meeting. Attendees will not receive CE credit for their participation.

“We talk a lot about the power of three and the alignment of the tripartite,” longtime CDS member Michael Durbin said, speaking of the relationship among the American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society and Chicago Dental Society. “This program is designed to overview what’s out there and present an argument for membership in organized dentistry. We want people to see the opportunities there are to save money, improve their practices and improve themselves through the features we offer.”

The symposium will feature a panel of CDS members sharing how they have used their member benefits at all stages of their careers.

“The best way to see the value of a CDS membership is to hear other members share their stories. They practice the same as you, work the same as you, and they have used organized dentistry to their advantage to improve their lives every day,” Dr. Durbin said.

He encourages members of organized dentistry to invite their non-member friends – and for both to stay and learn more about the benefits of membership.

He explained, “I want people to leave with an answer to the question, ‘how could I not be a member when I see everything that comes with it?’”



cds members , dentists , member benefit , midwinter , midwinter meeting , practice management ,