FYI

Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Teeth filing a dangerous trend for teens

A troubling trend has emerged on social media during the coronavirus outbreak: DIY teeth filing with household items such as nail files.

In June 2020, a 19-year-old TikTok user named Mia Dio posted a video of herself filing her teeth with a nail file. The video went viral. After being watched nearly a half million times, numerous TikTok videos have been posted showing young people filing their teeth.

Wait, what? Why would anyone do this?

In the video, Dio explains that she wants to remove imperfections in her teeth, but doesn’t want to spend the money for a professional procedure, such as an enameloplasty.

“We’re ballin’ on a budget!” she said.

Later in a Washington Post interview, Dio also said that she was reluctant to visit a dental during the current coronavirus pandemic. The TikTok videos also imply some confusion about the nature of tooth enamel which, unlike nails and hair, doesn’t regenerate.

Yikes! So what can I do about this?

Many dental professionals have taken proactive steps to ensure their patients and their families don’t try this. Some have decided to fight fire with fire by posting their own TikTok videos warning people about the danger of the practice. Other steps to consider include the following:

  • Send an email to your patients that explains this trend and warns them about the dangers. This may be especially effective for the parents of teens, who may not be aware of what their children watch on social media.
  • Post information on your practice’s website, Facebook page or social media feed about the danger of this fad and safe alternatives.
  • Ask patients who visit whether they’re aware of this practice, then explaining the dangers and suggesting safe alternatives for imperfect smiles, such as cleanings, orthodontics, cosmetic procedures and professional teeth whitening.
  • Make it a point to talk to any teen patients about the serious risks associated with this practice. Point out low-cost options such as cleanings that might be particularly attractive to teens.
  • Explain to patients that they can safely visit the dentist during the pandemic for any procedure they might need.

However you choose to spread the word, ensure that your patients understand that filing their own teeth is a terrible idea. And that the resulting damage can take a real bite out of their wallet.

As Dio said later in the Post interview, after she saw warning videos posted by dental professionals and understood the risks, “I probably would have thought twice about it.”

Join the journey: Help us pilot a program for new network dentists

We want your feedback! In 2021 we’re launching Provider Digital Journey, a program to support dentists new to our networks and walk them through the digital resources available to them.

But to ensure the program successfully serves our dentists and their staff, we need your input.

We’re looking for 15 participants to join the pilot program. The pilot will kick off on December 7 and run through January.

As a participant, you’ll need to:

  • Review a weekly email focusing on a leg of our digital journey
  • Take an action, such as filling out a short survey or attending a half-hour virtual meeting
  • Provide feedback at the end of the program about what you liked and what could be improved

Interested? Join an informational session this Friday, November 20 to get more details about the pilot program. Or, email us at providertools@delta.org.

Reminder: CDT 2021 updates have arrived

The American Dental Association’s CDT procedure codes and nomenclature* have been updated for 2021. The CDT updates for 2021 include 28 new codes, four code deletions and 11 nomenclature and description revisions.

Please review our summary of changes and claims processing policies (PDF) and begin using CDT 2021 codes on claims for procedures provided on and after Jan. 1, 2021.

*CDT coding and nomenclature are the copyright and a trademark of the American Dental Association, all rights reserved.

Dentist spotlight: Dr. Lori D. Nelson

Meet Dr. Lori D. Nelson, our Dental Health Partner of the Month. A veteran who served her country in the United States Air Force, Dr. Nelson now serves her community both as a dentist and advocate for people with special needs. Let’s learn more.

A native of Albany, New York, Dr. Nelson attended the State University of New York at Albany before graduating as class valedictorian from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 1983. Dr. Nelson completed a residency with the United States Air Force in 1984, then moved to Florida to finish her military career at Patrick Air Force Base. Today, Dr. Nelson is a partner in the Ultimate Smile Design dental practice in Palm Bay, Florida.

One of Dr. Nelson’s specialties is treating people with special needs, an interest she developed while interning at her dental school’s clinic. Dr. Nelson also serves those with special needs outside her practice as a board member of Promise in Brevard, which provides affordable, independent housing for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities.

Why did you decide to become a dentist?

I really wanted to be a dentist after volunteering at the dental clinic of a local hospital where I grew up. I always loved working with my hands and wanted to help others. I was encouraged by the fact that more women were getting into the field and it seemed like a wonderful occupation for someone who wanted to be a wife and mother. I come from a line of business owners and wanted to also own my own business. It seemed like a perfect fit for me!

How long have you been practicing?

I graduated from dental school in 1983. After a residency with the USAF, I opened my practice in 1986. It’s been a joy to spend my life serving patients all these years.

What’s the most rewarding part of your career?

Having been blessed to have a career spanning more than 35 years, I have many fulfilling experiences. Besides helping my patients deal with a variety dental issues, I enjoy learning new things in the practice of dentistry and stimulating my staff by introducing them to improvements in equipment, materials and modalities. I have the pleasure of working with my lovely partner and our associate, thereby mentoring the next generation of dentists.

Can you tell us one of your funniest stories from the dental office?

I think one of the nicest things to be able to do in a day is help someone laugh, especially at the dental office! Laughter is the best medicine, and it reminds us that no matter what’s happening, there’s still love and joy in this world. We’re always sharing with our patients our funny stories of life with our kids and spouses — and hot flashes.

What do you consider dentistry’s biggest challenge?

My initial thought was that dentistry’s biggest challenge is the same as it was all those years ago when I first opened my door: dealing with patients’ fears of treatment and being able to pay for it. However, I wonder if it’s more than that. I’m reminded of a conversation I had with an older patient last week. As we finished scanning his mouth for a new restoration, he said he felt that nothing has changed as much in his lifetime as dentistry. I think he’s right, and keeping up with all that change can be challenging. Invigorating, but challenging!

What do you do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy walking the beach, gardening, and reading all sorts of things. I’m blessed to chair the board of a local nonprofit, Promise in Brevard, which serves adults with developmental disabilities by providing housing and employment opportunities, thus giving them the independence they and their families have longed for.

How did your time in the service influence you as a dentist?

I truly enjoyed my time in the service. I was fortunate to have completed my general practice residency at Scott AFB and was then stationed at Patrick AFB. I learned a lot about the sacrifices of our men and women as they serve our country and also the sacrifices of their families. More specifically to dentistry, I learned to do a lot with a little and I learned to appreciate my staff. I began to grasp my entrepreneurial desires and understood I prefer the private practice of dentistry over the military or corporate practice.  


We’d like to take a moment to congratulate Dr. Nelson and thank her for the work she does for her community. To find out more about Dr. Nelson, visit the Ultimate Smile Design website or Facebook page.

Don’t miss out: Earn your gifts cards by Nov. 30

There’s still time to earn gift cards for using Provider Tools. You can earn up to $60 in gift cards for Amazon, Target or Starbucks when you use Provider Tools to submit claims.

The Learn, Practice, Earn campaign ends Nov. 30.

To get your gift cards, complete the steps in Option 1 or Option 2 below.

Option 1: Earn $40

  1. Submit 20 claims, including two with an attachment. Keep the claim numbers handy — you’ll need to email them to us to claim your gift cards.
  2. Sign up for paperless claim payments. (If you need assistance, call 800-589-4712 to change your delivery option.)
  3. Email us the claim numbers. at providertools@delta.org.
  4. Receive $40 in gift cards to the merchant of your choice.

Option 2: Earn $60

  1. Submit 20 claims, including two with an attachment. Hang onto the claim numbers so you can email us them to us once you’re done.
  2. Sign up for EFT. Select the EFT/ERA icon after signing in to your account.
  3. Email us with your claim numbers.
  4. Receive $60 in gift cards to the merchant of your choice.

Get started today by logging in to Provider Tools.

Delta Dental Day 2020: Implant treatment planning course

For Delta Dental Day 2020, the UCSF School of Dentistry is partnering with Delta Dental to offer an informative course on restorative and surgical implant treatment planning. The course will be held Saturday, November 7, 2020 from 9 am to 1 pm and counts for four units of coursework for the California Continuing Dental Education credit.

Designed for general dentists, dental specialists and dental teams, the course will address common planning concerns of both clinicians and patients. Among the topics discussed will be:

  • Modern treatment planning principles
  • How to plan and execute implant surgery from a restorative standpoint
  • New technologies

The course will be taught by Dr. Gaurav Setia, DDS, clinical professor at the UCSF School of Dentistry and is $100 for dentists and $75 for auxiliary personnel. For more information or to register, call 415-514-0778 or register online.

« Older posts

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑