KOMET Korner Q&A with Tina M. Calloway, CDA, for September 2010 DAD

Sept. 20, 2010
In this month's KOMET Korner Q&A for Dental Assisting Digest™, Tina M. Calloway, CDA, says that DANB courses are a must, discusses cloud computing/practice-management ideas, and talks about how her office handles oral cancer screenings.

This month, KOMET Korner welcomes back our friend and colleague, Tina M. Calloway, CDA. Tina says that DANB courses are a must, discusses cloud computing/practice-management ideas, and talks about how her office handles oral cancer screenings. Dental Assisting Digest™ wants to know what’s on your mind. 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 important to your office’s success.

DAD: I receive plenty of information and people recommend that I take a variety of courses offered by DANB (Dental Assisting National Board). Are there certain courses offered by DANB that are a must?

Calloway: Whether or not you are a certified clinical or business assistant through DANB [DANB Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) or DANB Certified Dental Practice Management Assistant (CDPMA)], I recommend attaining your CDE by using DANB’s e-learning program or programs provided by the ADAA. DANB offers three e-learning courses that can be taken at your own pace with CE applicable to your certification. One of the courses offered is “DANB’s Assessment-Based Certificate Program (ABCP): Accounts Receivable.” In my opinion, everyone in the practice should take this course to have a better understanding of the practice’s financials. In this course, you will be introduced to managing accounts receivable in a practice, creating simple financial policies and financial agreements, etc. DANB's ABCPs are required to earn status as a Fellow of the American Association of Dental Office Managers (FAADOM). The more clinical and business assistants learn about this topic, the more the dental team has a chance of producing for the practice and the team. Other available e-learning courses include DANB’s Radiation Health and Safety (RHS) Review Course and DANB’s Conventional Dental Radiography Review Course. In spring 2011, DANB’s e-learning courses will be rebranded and launched through the Dental Auxiliary Learning and Education (DALE) Foundation. The DALE Foundation was incorporated in March 2010, as a DANB-affiliated, but separately incorporated nonprofit foundation.

DAD: My office is considering cloud computing software to make everything more efficient. What do you suggest that our office use for practice management?

Calloway: Because cloud computing is still new to me, I did some research and asked our practice IT expert for advice. He said, “If you are asking if cloud computing would make the office more efficient, then that would be tough to say. I think I would focus on the internal processes first. The selling points of cloud computing are that it takes the daily server tasks away from the business. It provides better reliability (in theory), because it can house your data in a data center. I think it does give you an extra level of comfort as far as data backup.” As for practice-management software, there are several good systems to use, such as PRACTICEWORKS by Carestream Dental, Dentrix, and EagleSoft. The best advice I can offer is to attend a practice-management software seminar or have a representative come to your practice for a demonstration. Ask questions and compare to previous software you’ve used. You and your team will have done your research, and the team can make a decision together.

DAD: How does your office handle screening for oral cancer?

Calloway: In our practice, we begin oral cancer screening with patients as young teens. All patients are screened either during their new-patient exam, emergency exams, or recall appointments. We take this very seriously. If there is an area of concern, we perform a biopsy. Our exam begins with an external visual exam. We then move to the patient’s neck and palpate the submandibular area. Using a wet 2 x 2 piece of gauze, we gently hold the tongue and check the lateral border and sublingually, feeling the floor of the mouth. By depressing the tongue, we then have the patient say “ah.” We have considered other oral cancer systems that use UV lights or rinses. It’s all a matter of preference, so discuss this with your dentist to see what is appropriate in your operatory.

About Tina M. Calloway, CDA
Ms. 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, is the past president of the Piedmont Dental Assistant Society, and currently is a clinical assisting consultant. Ms. Calloway is a member of the North Carolina Dental Assistants Association and the American Dental Assistants Association. She is also an award-winning graduate of the Dale Carnegie Organization and an advisory board member of Dental Assisting Digest™. Ms. Calloway is a regular KOMET Korner participant and, in conjunction with KOMET, helped develop the Tina Calloway PRO-Visional Kit TD2103A.104, the first bur kit from KOMET designed for dental assistants by a dental assistant to work on provisional temporaries. 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.