FYI

Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Category: Resources (Page 1 of 5)

Explore the tools and materials Delta Dental offers network dentists and staff.

Upcoming continuing education courses

Are you interested in learning about the latest trends and practices in dentistry? Sign up for these upcoming Delta Dental–sponsored continuing education courses!

You can learn new skills while receiving continuing education credits to help you meet your licensure requirements. Even better, as a Delta Dental dentist you’ll get a reduced rate.

What courses will be available?

Here’s a quick look at the courses that will be available. The course list is continuously growing, with new courses coming soon.

DateSchoolCourse titleLocationCredits
Oct 7, 2022University of Pittsburgh | School of Dental MedicineDigital Dentistry: The Engine that Supercharges Practice Growth (PDF)PA6
Oct 14, 2022University of Alabama at Birmingham | School of DentistryIntegrative Dental Medicine: The Next Great Frontier (PDF)AL6
Oct 15, 2022University of California, San Francisco | School of Dentistry2022 Delta Dental Day (PDF)CA7
Oct 29, 2022Nova Southeastern University | College of Dental MedicineUsing Risk Assessment for Treatment Planning In Dentistry (PDF)FL6
Nov 2022Columbia University | College of Dental MedicineManagement of Special Needs Patients and Pediatric Dental TraumaNY6
Nov 4, 2022The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta UniversityGeneral Dentistry & Problem Solving (PDF)GA7

Most courses are planned for in-person sessions. Locations are subject to change.

How can I sign up?

These courses are available to all dental professionals, but as a Delta Dental network dentist, you can enjoy a special discount when you enroll. To sign up for one of the courses, visit the training and events page and visit the registration page or brochure for the course you’re interested in. Seating is limited, so register now and reserve your spot.


Be sure to check the training and events page regularly for the most up-to-date information on course offerings. To stay in the loop, subscribe to FYI for monthly updates in your inbox, attend an upcoming webinar for more info. We’ll also send out targeted emails by state to let you know about the upcoming courses in your area.

Doing your part to stop opioid abuse

Opioid addiction is one of the most serious issues facing our country today. In 2020, 68,630 people in the United States died of an overdose involving opioids, a number that has been rising steadily for the past decade.

Of those deaths, more than 16,000 were a result of prescribed opioids ― that’s more than 40 deaths per day. While opioid prescriptions in the United States have been declining since 2012, U.S. health care providers still prescribe more opioids per capita at higher doses and throughout more stages of treatment than providers in any other country.

And among these providers, dentists are a leading prescriber of opioids. Learn what you can do to help stop opioid abuse and addiction.

The role dentists play

In the United States, dentists are the second-largest group of medical specialists who prescribe opioids and dispense about 9% of the country’s total opioid prescriptions. While there are some positive trends in opioid prescribing among dentists, studies suggest further steps need to be taken to reduce these numbers.

  • Dentists are the leading source of opioid prescriptions for children and adolescents.
  • Opioids prescribed by dentists have been associated with subsequent abuse, particularly among adolescents and young adults.
  • In the U.S. between 2011 and 2015, 29% of the opioids prescribed by dentists exceeded the dosage recommended for acute pain, and half of these prescriptions were for more than the recommended three-day supply of medication.
  • U.S. dentists prescribe more opioids than dentists in similar countries ― a lot more. For example, in 2016, 22.3% of dental prescriptions written in the U.S. were for opioids, while only 0.6% of English dental prescriptions were ― that’s a proportion 37 times greater here than in England. U.S. dentists also prescribed more powerful opioids than the English dentists did.

On the good news front, opioid prescription rates are dropping significantly, according to a recent study by the American Dental Association (ADA). The percentage of opioid prescriptions written for nonsurgical visits declined during each year between 2012 and 2019, as did the quantity and strength of these prescriptions.

That said, the study acknowledged that the overall opioid prescription rate is still too high and prescriptions are being written unnecessarily when alternative treatments would be more effective.

Effective alternatives to opioids

While opioids can be an effective to tool to treat your patients’ pain, they’re not the only one ― and may not even be the most effective. Non-opioid analgesics, such as a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can achieve equivalent or superior control of oral pain.

The ADA offers a helpful guide on prescribing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as an alternative to opioids.

Anticipated pain level Oral analgesic options
MildIbuprofen 200-400 mg as needed for pain every 4 to 6 hours
Mild to moderate Ibuprofen 400 to 600 mg fixed interval every 6 hours for 24 hours

Ibuprofen 400 mg as needed for pain every 4 to 6 hours
Moderate to severe Ibuprofen 400 to 600 mg plus acetaminophen 500 mg fixed interval every 6 hours for 24 hours

Ibuprofen 400 mg plus acetaminophen 500 mg as needed for pain every 6 hours
SevereIbuprofen 400 to 600 mg plus acetaminophen 650 mg with hydrocodone 10 mg fixed interval every 6 hours for 24 to 48 hours

Ibuprofen 400 to 600 mg plus acetaminophen 500 mg as needed for pain every 6 hours

Best practices for opioids

If you do decide that prescribing an opioid to your patients is the best option, taking some basic precautions can help ensure safety and minimize the risk of abuse. The ADA suggests the following:

  • Conduct a medical and dental history to determine your patient’s current medications, potential drug interactions and history of substance abuse.
  • Discuss with your patients how to prevent the abuse of prescription opioids, and how to store and dispose of them.
  • Follow, and continually review, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state licensing board recommendations for safe opioid prescribing.
  • Register with and use prescription drug monitoring programs to deter the misuse, abuse and diversion of these substances.
  • Consider nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics as the first-line therapy for acute pain management.
  • Recognize multimodal pain strategies for acute postoperative pain management to eliminate the need for opioid analgesics.
  • Consider coordinating with other treating doctors, including pain specialists, when prescribing opioids for management of chronic orofacial pain.
  • Seek continuing education in addictive disease and pain management related to prescribing opioids.

Delta Dental takes opioid abuse prevention seriously

Delta Dental is committed to fighting opioid misuse and abuse in our country. But we can’t do it without your help.

“Dentists play a key role in opioid abuse prevention as dentists are often the first health care provider to prescribe an opioid to young people,” said Dr. Jessica Buehler, Delta Dental’s Director of Dental Affairs.

Dr. Buehler stressed that opioid prescriptions should be kept to minimum, and alternative medications should be sought whenever possible.

“The reality is that nearly all opioid subscribing by dentists can and should be prevented through appropriate use of NSAIDs,” Dr. Buehler said, “which offer similar-to-better pain control as well as additional anti-inflammatory support.”

Finally, Dr. Buehler strongly encouraged dentists to attend one of the many available continuing education courses on pain management to learn more about opioids, their alternative and how to minimize the risks of abuse and addiction.

 “Expanding your toolkit for dealing with pain management can help curb opioid addiction in the U.S.,” she said.

Cultural and linguistic resources and tips, now in one convenient location

When it comes to providing care to your patients, you want them to feel heard, comfortable and confident in their outcomes. Your patients will feel more comfortable and confident in your care if you express an interest in their cultural heritage.

There are many different resources available to help you meet your patients’ needs, and now Delta Dental’s offerings are available in a single convenient location. You’ll find tools and resources on diversity and inclusion. By making the most of these reference materials and following these tips, your office will be on its way to mastering cultural competency.

Help your team understand what cultural competency means

Diversity, inclusion and cultural competency are more than just buzzwords. They’re principles your team can aspire to in order to better care for patients. You can share Delta Dental’s language and cultural resources with your whole team to help them better understand the importance of these principles, including:

  • The cultural competency slide deck. This short presentation (PDF) helps you and staff understand what cultural competency is, why it matters in dentistry, the cultural factors that affect care and ways to communicate with patients more effectively.
  • In-depth blog posts. Staying on top of the latest trends and best practices can feel like its own job, but these blog posts make it easy. Articles full of insights and analysis to help you build a more culturally competent dental practice are regularly featured on FYI.
  • Outside resources. As the population of the United States becomes more diverse, more organizations and institutions are weighing in on how best to serve that population. Check out what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Dental Association have to say about the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Have resources ready for the patients who come to you

If a patient comes to your practice that doesn’t speak the same language as any of your staff, there are resources available to help you provide them with the care they need. Delta Dental’s Language Assistance Program makes it possible for you to help patients even when you can’t directly communicate with them. Face-to-face interpretive services are available with 72 hours’ notice and phone assistance for Delta Dental members who need help understanding their coverage is available in over 170 languages.

Serving patients from diverse backgrounds doesn’t have to be a challenge. By making the most of the cultural competency tools and resources available to dental offices and their staff, you’ll be able to grow your patient base, help people who tend to go underserved and develop a reputation for ensuring that people of all backgrounds can get the care they need.

Sign up for continuing education courses

If you’re interested in learning about the latest trends and practices in dentistry, sign up for Delta Dental–sponsored continuing education courses this fall. You can learn new skills while receiving continuing education credits to help you meet licensure requirements. And as a Delta Dental dentist, you’ll take advantage of a reduced rate.

Course schedule

Courses begin in October at the following schools:

DateSchoolCourse
title
LocationCredits
10/7/2022University of Pittsburgh School of Dental MedicineDigital Dentistry:
The Engine that Supercharges Practice Growth (PDF)
Pittsburgh, PA6
10/14/2022University of Alabama at Birmingham School of DentistryIntegrative Dental Medicine: The Next Great FrontierBirmingham, AL6
10/15/2022University of California San Francisco School of DentistryPeriodontics and Oral MedicineSan Francisco, CA6
10/28/2022The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta UniversityGeneral Dentistry & Problem SolvingAugusta, GA6
10/29/2022Nova Southeastern University College of Dental MedicineUsing Risk Assessment for Treatment Planning in DentistryFort Lauderdale, FL6

Signing up

To sign up for one of the courses, visit our training and events page and visit the registration page or brochure for the course you’re interested in. Seating is limited, so register now and reserve your spot.

Be sure to check the training and events page regularly for the latest information. These courses will be hosted in person, but if the public health situation worsens, the school may decide to offer the course on a virtual platform.

Access the DeltaCare USA emergency preauthorization form online

When your DeltaCare® USA patients need referral for emergency treatment, you can easily download the emergency preauthorization form online.

What is the emergency preauthorization form?

The emergency preauthorization form allows you as a primary care DeltaCare USA dentist to refer your patients to a specialist for emergency treatment.

The form captures the issues you’ve diagnosed as well as your recommendations for treatment. It also informs specialists that such treatments may not normally be covered under the patient’s DeltaCare USA plan.

How to find the emergency preauthorization form

To download the form from our website, visit the Administrative and claim forms page. The form is listed under Dentist Administrative Forms and Resources.

Coming soon: Continuing education courses for Delta Dental dentists

Staying up to date on new trends and techniques in dentistry is essential for dental professionals. That’s why we’re partnering with dental schools across the country to offer continuing education courses to Delta Dental dentists at a discount.

You’ll earn continuing education credits that can help you meet licensure requirements, improve your clinical skills and provide optimum care for your patients.

What courses will be available?

Here’s a quick look at the courses that will be available this fall. Our course list is continuously growing, with new courses coming soon.

DateSchoolCourse titleStateCredits
10/7/2022University of Pittsburgh School of Dental MedicineDigital Dentistry: The Engine that Supercharges Practice GrowthPA6
10/14/2022University of Alabama at Birmingham School of DentistryIntegrative Dental Medicine: The Next Great FrontierAL6
10/15/2022University of California San Francisco School of DentistryPeriodontics and Oral MedicineCA6
10/28/2022The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta UniversityGeneral Dentistry & Problem SolvingGA6
10/29/2022Nova Southeastern University College of Dental MedicineUsing Risk Assessment for Treatment Planning in DentistryFL6
Nov. 2022Columbia University, College of Dental MedicineManagement of Special Needs Patients and Pediatric Dental TraumaNY6

While most courses are planned for in-person sessions, this is subject to change depending on the public health situation, and virtual offerings may also be available.

Who’s eligible to sign up?

These courses are available to all dental professionals, but as a Delta Dental network dentist, you can enjoy a special discount when you enroll.

How can I sign up?

Registration will be available through the hosting school. Enrollment isn’t yet open, but details will be coming soon.

To stay in the loop, subscribe to FYI for monthly updates in your inbox, attend an upcoming webinar for more info and bookmark the training and events page, where flyers with more details will be posted over the next few weeks. We’ll also send out targeted emails by state to let you know about the upcoming courses in your area.

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