KOMET Korner Q&A with Tina Calloway, CDA

Oct. 20, 2009
Tina Calloway, CDA, shares her insight into what makes assistants so valuable to a practice. She explains how you can help your dentist market the practice, how important it is to be an infection-control officer, and how to create the perfect provisional.
This month’s KOMET Korner welcomes back our friend and colleague, Tina Calloway, CDA, designer of the Tina Calloway PRO-Visional Kit. Tina will share her insight into what makes assistants so valuable to a practice. This month, she explains how you can help your dentist market the practice, how important it is to be an infection-control officer, and how to create the perfect provisional.Don’t forget, Dental Assisting Digest wants to know what’s on your mind. This is an interactive forum, so if you have something you want to ask KOMET USA’s esteemed panel of assistants, please e-mail your questions to [email protected]. Your continued success is beneficial to your office’s success.DAD: What can I do to market my dentist and the practice?Calloway: It is very important for assistants to participate in the marketing of their dental practices and their dentists. This is one of the many ways we can help generate production and help to feed the practice and our families. Word of mouth is one of the best referrals your practice can receive. It is important after each patient visit that the assistant hand out two business cards and say to the patient, “Mr. Jones, we strive to make your visit as pleasant as possible, and if you like what we do here, please pass on these business cards to your friends or family who may be looking for a good dental home. It would be our pleasure to serve them.” When you are out socially, people usually inquire about teeth when they find out you are an assistant. Answer their questions as best you can (without examining them at the dinner table) and hand them a business card (always keep your practice business card in your wallet). Let them know if they themselves or if they know of anyone who is looking for a happy dental home, they need look no further. Sign the back of the card and encourage them to visit the practice’s Web site or call the office. Local women’s journals are a good way to advertise. Statistics show that women are the primary appointment makers for their families. Rather than just an advertisement, an article can be included by your dentist or clinical assistant on oral care for children and women, and long-term effects of poor oral hygiene. Moms are very interested in taking care of their children and themselves. Most medical/health journals are available to them, so reach out to them on a local level.DAD: How important do you think it is for assistants to become the office’s infection-control officer?Calloway: This is a very important role for any team member. For clinical assistants, this is usually one of the many roles that we perform in our daily duties. Though we are all responsible, it is important for at least two team members to share the role of primary infection-control officer. This keeps the practice updated on any new and established infection-control regulations. The infection-control officer is designed to protect all team members because we need to know what to do when cleaning a room, sterilizing instruments, or knowing the emergency protocol if someone gets “stuck.”DAD: What’s your technique for creating the perfect provisional?Calloway: It definitely has a lot to do with the material you use, proper occlusion, and of course, your margins. I like to use a material that is strong and illuminates nicely. Always double check that your preoperative impression or matrix does not have any deficiencies before placing your temporary material. Make sure that your patient is biting down completely for proper occlusion. Keep your margins nice and clean. Many make the mistake of taking too much off, leaving a couple of millimeters open. This gap can cause sensitivity; however, leaving too much can irritate the tissue. One of the ways we were taught to remove excess material is to trace the margin and remove any unwanted material. One of my favorite tips is “old school,” but one that continues to make all my patients happy — polishing the provisional with the lathe, rag wheel, and pumice. This creates a smooth surface for the tongue and using the KOMET “yellow” mop creates a beautiful shine.About Tina Calloway, CDAMs. Calloway is a Texas native, who served in the U.S. Navy in 1992 and received her dental assisting training in Marietta, Ga. Now living in North Carolina, she has worked in dentistry for 14 years as a full-time dental assistant, currently serves as president of the Piedmont Dental Assistant Society, and is a clinical assisting consultant. Ms. Calloway is a member of the North Carolina Dental Assistant Association and the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA). She is also an award-winning graduate of the Dale Carnegie Organization, an advisory board member of Dental Assisting Digest and Inside Dental Assisting magazines with several published articles. She is a member of the Speaking Consulting Network, and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Team Advisory Council. Ms. Calloway has also been a guest lecturer at the Thomas P. Hinman Meeting, the Holiday Dental Conference, the University of North Carolina, School of Dentistry, and PennWell’s Professional Dental Assisting Conference.