Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Author: Delta Dental (Page 1 of 33)

Your best free marketing tool for finding new patients

A lot can happen in a year! If you’ve made some new hires, changed your hours or updated any other important information about your business, then consider this your friendly reminder to check your online directory listing.

With millions of Delta Dental members utilizing our Find a Dentist online directory, your listing is a powerful marketing tool for finding new patients in your area. Your listing includes essential information, such as languages spoken by staff, location, hours and if you’re accepting new patients. It’s free and easy to use, but it’s up to you to make sure that your information stays accurate. That’s why we recommend setting a yearly reminder to revise your listing.

Updating your listing

  1. Log into Provider Tools and select  an essay on globalization cialis 1800 number an inspector calls essay sheila go essay writing india of my dreams buy zithromax without prescription overnight click here best critical essay editing site us how to write an essay in first person narrative source site kamagra gold side effects follow url annotated bibliography for research paper because i could not stop for death essay question source link go sample dissertation science education best critical analysis essay ghostwriter site essays on homer simpson follow url encorton ulotka skutki uboczne viagra list of interesting topics for research papers accutane prostate bath salts drug for sale online My account.
  2. Click on Directory profile.
  3. Go to Actions and click Open.
  4. Update information as needed.
  5. Save your changes as a draft if you’re not yet ready to publish your updates or select Publish if you’re ready to go live.

Don’t forget to check your other popular online listings for accuracy, too! YelpFacebookGoogle and Apple Maps are great places to start.

In dentistry, diversity matters

The minority population of the United States is growing — the U.S. census put it at nearly 40% in 2019. Despite this, ethnic and racial disparity persists within the dental industry, both in terms of who receives care and who provides it.

Gaps in dental care for minorities are significant

While the gap has closed somewhat in the past decade, utilization of dental care among minorities, including Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, still significantly trails that of whites.

For people of color, cost is a significantly greater barrier to dental care than it is for their white counterparts. And this gap is growing — since 2005, the cost of seeing a dentist has increasingly become more of an issue for Black and Hispanic adults and seniors than it has for whites.

  • In 2019 almost 30% of black seniors reported that the cost of dental care was an issue, compared with only about 10% for white seniors.
  • The number of Black seniors reporting cost as a barrier to care has increased nearly 20% since 2005.
  • The number of white seniors who reported cost as a barrier has increased only 6% during the same period.
  • Cost has become less of a barrier to dental care for minority children since 2005, in part because dental services for children are now a mandatory benefit within Medicaid.

Language can also create a barrier to dental care. For instance, a study found that limited English proficiency is related to oral health and dentist visits. Among the groups studied, Spanish-speaking Hispanics reported the poorest oral health, most infrequent dentist visits and fewest teeth. Limited English proficiency can also be a barrier to dental care for some Asian populations.

There’s also a significant lack of diversity among dentists

Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are severely underrepresented among dentists in the United States, and this situation has remained largely unchanged for more than a decade. 

  • As the white population of the United States has decreased during the past 15 years, so has the number of white dentists. However, whites are still overrepresented, with 60% of the population contributing more than 70% of its dentists.
  • Asians are significantly overrepresented, contributing 18% of the country’s dentists despite making up only 5.6% of the population.
  • Meanwhile, the Hispanic population in the United States has increased to around 18% from 14% during the same period. Despite this, the percentage of Hispanic dentists in the U.S. has increased only slightly, to 6%.
  • For the Black community, both its percentage of the population and the dental pool has remained unchanged, making up only about 4% of the country’s dentists despite comprising more than 12% of the population.

Among dental assistants, situation is more encouraging. More than 30% of registered dental assistants are Hispanic and 7% are Asian, and the majority are women. However, Blacks are also underrepresented here; fewer than 7% of dental assistants are Black.

Looking toward the future, there is some cause for optimism.

  • The number of women dentists in the U.S. is increasing. They’re also more ethnically diverse than their male counterparts, with a larger percentage of Hispanics and Blacks.
  • Applications to dental schools by underrepresented minorities have risen, increasing to more than 15% in 2015 from 12% in 2000.
  • Dental school enrollments were also up during the same period, with underrepresented minorities making up about 5% more of the student population in 2015 than they did in 2000.
  • Dental school enrollment among Native Americans has seen significant gains, according to a 2019 study.

However, the 2019 study also found that Black enrollment in dental schools is stagnant. And despite the growing dental school enrollment numbers among minorities, population parity among U.S. dentists is still a long way off. 

For example, dental school enrollees from underrepresented minorities in 2015 totaled less than 2% of the dentists needed to achieve true parity among dentists in the United States.

Why diversity matters

Minority dentists are crucial to ensure that diverse communities have access to dental care. Studies have shown that while minorities make up a disproportionately small percentage of the country’s dentists, they provide a disproportionately large share of the dental care to our nation’s minority and underserved communities.

  • 40% of Black dentists report that more than half of the patients they serve are Black.
  • Native Americans dentists report than more than 20% of their patients are Native American, even though Native Americans make up less than 2% of the U.S. population.
  • Minority dentists also serve a much-higher-than-average number of patients on public insurance than do white dentists.
  • Conversely, while white dentists make up the majority of dentists in the U.S., they’re also the least likely to participate in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  • More than half of Black, Hispanic and Native American children are insured through Medicaid and CHIP or another form of public insurance, as opposed to only about a quarter of white children.

Trust is another issue. Studies have indicated that minorities, particularly those in lower socioeconomic brackets, often have a higher level of distrust for physicians than do whites. 

However, when treated by a physician of their own race or ethnicity, not only are minority patients more trusting, they’re also more likely to be satisfied with their level of care, receive preventive care and agree to necessary procedures.

How to make your practice more culturally inclusive

Cultural awareness and sensitivity has become more important than ever for an inclusive practice. A great way to ensure that your practice is inclusive is to develop cultural competence.

An important part of cultural competence is taking action, with the goal of improving your service and creating better outcomes for your patients. Another crucial component of cultural competence is being able to communicate effectively with your patients:

  • Try to learn a few relevant phrases (hello, goodbye, please, thank you, open your mouth) for your low English proficiency patients. To help you communicate with Spanish-speaking patients, Delta Dental offers a downloadable English-to-Spanish phrase guide for dentists.
  • Ask whether anyone on your staff is at least partly fluent in another language — you might already have a valuable resource. If not, considering hiring staff members who are bilingual or multilingual. Don’t forget to update your Delta Dental directory listing to reflect the languages you and your staff speak.
  • Make health and wellness materials available in relevant languages. Delta Dental offers a variety of Spanish-language health education materials, including Grin! magazine and wellness videos.

How Delta Dental can help

Delta Dental offers a variety of resources to help you create a culturally inclusive practice.

  • Delta Dental’s Language Assistance Program (LAP) offers enrollees interpretation via telephone in more than 170 languages.
  • On-site interpreters are also available for Delta Dental enrollees with limited English proficiency — at no cost to the enrollee or you. (Onsite interpretation services require at least 72 hours advanced notice.
  • You can learn more about the LAP by logging in to Provider Tools and navigating to the Reference Library.

As part of our commitment to fight racism and build minority representation in the dentistry profession, Delta Dental plans to partner with universities to provide scholarships for qualified applicants who are Black, Hispanic or represent other communities of color.

Finally, to advance dental health and access, the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation also supports dozens of agencies and nonprofits that provide dental care to underserved and minority populations.

Your dental policy brief: Current issues and updates in the news as of October 12

From the Medicare debate to three-year dental degrees, FYI brings you the biggest dental policy stories.

1. Vaccine mandate unlikely to apply to dental offices, according to CMS

Following President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers at hospitals and other health care settings, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a statement suggesting that the mandate won’t directly apply to dental offices, as these are not regulated under Conditions of Participation. CMS is expected to issue an interim final rule later this month that will outline the vaccine requirements for applicable participating providers and facilities. Although the mandate will likely not apply to dentists, the mandate will apply to full-time employees of Delta Dental because the company is a federal contractor.

2. Medicare dental benefits would not kick in until 2028, according to Congress’ plan

Under Congress’ planned expanded Medicare coverage, dental benefits would not kick in for recipients until 2028, according to legislative text that was released by the House Ways and Means Committee. Beneficiaries would receive vision and hearing care in 2022 and 2023, respectively, according to the plan. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2019 that adding dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare would cost about $358 billion, with $238 billion for dental care.

3. Roseman second U.S. university to offer 3-year dentist training

Beginning in 2022, the College of Dental Medicine at Roseman University of Health Sciences in South Jordan, Utah, will become the second institution in the country to shorten its dental degree program from four years to three. The change is intended to reduce the cost of dental education, said the Roseman University dean in a news release. Roseman follows the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, which first offered a three-year program in 1942.

4. New CDC training resource outlines infection prevention in dental settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Oral Health has released free online training on safe care in the dental office and the principles of effective infection prevention and control. Foundations: Building the Safest Dental Visit is a self-paced training designed for dental health care personnel and others. The CDC partnered with the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention for the training, and OSAP will provide three hours of continuing education credit for completion.

5. October deadline to apply for COVID-19 provider relief funding

The deadline to apply for the fourth phase of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund is Oct. 26. The fund allows eligible dental service providers to apply for payments made for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19. The agency is hosting a series of webinars on how to navigate the application portal and is also assisting providers with a Provider Support Line at 866-569-3522 from 9 am to 11 pm ET, Monday through Friday. The American Dental Association has also published a FAQ addressing dentists’ questions about applying for the funding.

Dentist spotlight: Dr. Marta Nieto

Dr. Marta Nieto knows a thing or two about having a passion for dentistry. Born in Cuba, Dr. Nieto came to the United States in 1988, where she obtained her license in 1992 from the University of Florida. She established her own practice, Marta Nieto Dental Spa, in Miami in 2012.

Dr. Nieto says that what drives her every day is a love of perfection and a passion for helping people. Delta Dental caught up with Dr. Nieto during a busy day at her office to discuss what originally inspired her to become a dentist, the ins and outs of practicing in Miami and what she sees ahead for the future of the field.

How and when did you decide to become a dentist?

My whole life I wanted to do surgery. My only game as I grew up was to play surgeon or doctor. I pretended that I did everything in the hospital. If I played with other children, I had them be the mother and father of the baby. I think I just love to help people. I also love beauty and cosmetics.

It was originally my dream to do facial reconstruction. When I started to study to become a dentist, I wanted to have a specialty in maxillofacial surgery for people with congenital malformations.

I graduated in Cuba in 1986 with honors because I was the best student in my class in my year. I came to the USA in 1988, when my son was three years old. In 1992, I got my Florida license.

I wanted to bring my family — my parents, my grandmother — from Cuba, and I had to work very hard. For me, it was very difficult to get a specialty. But I still do cosmetic procedures. I love beauty. When I finish my work, the patient is so happy, because they feel much younger, they feel healthier.

Why did you decide to open your practice in Miami? What are some of the challenges and rewards of practicing there?

I decided to put my practice in Miami because when I arrived from Cuba, my only family in the U.S. was my brother. He lived in Miami. This was why I got established here in Miami. It was for the language, too. My language is Spanish, and half or more of the community here speaks Spanish. It’s easier for me to find patients.

Many years ago, I thought about moving to another place, maybe a more typical American city, but I’m a very family-oriented person. I had my grandmother, my mother, my father, all my family with me, and my son in school, so I didn’t move. Now, I feel happy here in Miami, because my patients are very happy with my work. I love to work with the Spanish community.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, would you have any advice for young Latina women who want to study a career in dentistry?

You need passion to study dentistry. It’s very hard work. Many people think dentists earn money very easily, but it’s not true. Our career is very stressful. It can cause pain in your back, in your body. You need to love it.

In my opinion, in the university, many people study this career only for money. I’m frustrated when I try to contact new graduates to work in my office, and I don’t know if they have the love they need for the profession. They see the profession as just a way to make money.

Don’t misunderstand me: It’s OK to want to earn money, but you have to care about the health of people. My recommendation is: It’s a beautiful career, but if you don’t love it, don’t do it.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to travel! I love Europe. I love hiking, and I love the beach, the mountains, the rivers — everything to do with nature.

What do you think are the biggest challenges to the practice of dentistry? What do you think is ahead in the future of the field?

I think dentistry is at a revolutionary stage. There are a lot of new procedures and materials arriving to the practice. Years before, dentistry was a career just to do fillings and things like that. But now, dentistry is a much wider career. There’s so much new technology — I think dentistry has a very big future.

If I had to study dentistry again, I’d do it for sure. I have a dream that one day it will be possible to create new teeth with modal cells, with no need for an implant. Maybe I will see it, but maybe another generation will come to do it.

Congratulations to Dr. Nieto on being our Dental Health Partner of the Month! Learn more about Marta Nieto Dental Spa.

Tips for caring for your blind and low-vision patients

October is Blindness Awareness Month and it’s the perfect time to reevaluate some of your accessibility practices. Approximately 12 million Americans over 40 are visually impaired, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 1 million are blind and 2 million have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of low-vision and blindness among adults over 50. Additionally, studies have linked periodontal disease to retinal degeneration and certain oral bacteria to glaucoma

Not all visual impairments are obvious, so it’s important to offer options to your patients.

What you can do for your patients

Accessibility doesn’t necessarily mean big digital and office modifications. Being mindful of blind and low-vision patients and their needs can create a better dental experience for everyone involved. A little bit of awareness goes a long way in creating a safer and more dignified dental visit for your patient.

  • Need to remind a patient of an upcoming appointment? Text messages or email are often preferred methods. Paper reminders via mail are often not accessible for blind and low-vision patients.
  • During appointments, don’t assume that your patient is able to visually take in everything, such as X-rays. Verbally state any important information such as your name, what procedure you’re performing and anything else that should be known. Additionally, if you have to leave the room, let the patient know.
  • Tempting as it may be, guide dogs have an important job to do. If a patient arrives with a guide dog, understand that by petting it or offering treats, you may be interfering with it helping its owner. Always ask before approaching.
  • Even the simplest webpages can have coding that’s difficult for magnification and screen reader users. Make your website easier to use for blind and low-vision patients by using alt-text for images, being thoughtful with colors and choosing descriptive phrases for linking.
  • If you need to prescribe any medication to your patients, talk to them about how often they should take it and anything else they should know. Often times, side effects and other crucial information can be printed quite small.

Resources from Delta Dental

When your patients need a little extra help with their benefits, Delta Dental is here to help.

  • For any questions about their coverage, members can simply call 866-530-9675 and speak to a customer service representative.
  • Written materials, such as plan information, can be translated to Braille or audio for blind and low-vision patients. Contact customer service to request material translations.

All patients deserve equal care and dignity when receiving it. For more tips and resources, visit the American Foundation for the Blind.

Share your Halloween photos with Delta Dental for a sweet surprise

Delta Dental knows how hard you strive to be the best at what you do, and Halloween isn’t any different. Dental offices love to rock the spookiest Halloween decorations and greatest costumes!

If you’re decorating the office or dressing up for Halloween, don’t keep it under wraps this year.

Post photos of your decorations and costumes to social media and tag Delta Dental Ins. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also directly send us your photos to

No trick: We’ll send our favorite Halloween looks a sweet treat!

We can’t wait to see who comes up with the spookiest looks of all. Have a safe, happy and very haunted Halloween!

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