The Tea(th) – 20th Ed: “My Gums Are Bleeding A LOT!”

What is ‘The Tea(th)’ you ask? It’s our way of bringing some dental news, current events, and clinical pearls to the palm of your hand. With a little added humor and satirical stanzas, of course! We know your life is busy and no one has time to read a newspaper nowadays, so we aim to make this brief yet informative, and above all piping HOT!

In this week’s edition: Student Loans Or A Home?, NOT, Getting Off ‘Scot’ Free, Let’s Talk Disability Insurance, Just Floss It, and more!

Recent News

Student Loans Or A Home?

Let’s play a quick game of ‘Would You Rather.’ Would you rather pay back that mountain of student loans dental school gave you or have a house to live in?!? Ugh I know this is a tough one. Like having a good credit score is important, but like I kind of want a place to sleep at night too. Gee, that’s a lot for me to ask, I’m such a *needy* millennial. Jk…kind of. Have no fear, although student debt can definitely make the process more challenging, buying a home is absolutely doable especially with the right resources. Take this as a sign to start getting on top of your finances, today!

NOT, Getting Off ‘Scot’ Free

Don’t get me wrong, the educational effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt and are debilitating for dental students across the country, but *at least* we’re not in the same boat as our Scottish counterparts. The BBC reports that as a result of dental schools in Scotland having to remain closed for extended periods of time due to the pandemic, they had to make the unfortunate decision to delay graduation and place a temporary hold on the acceptance of new incoming class years. Talk about a major YIKES moment. I would probably pursue a new career in hand modeling if it came to that point.


While your undergrad friends who majored in business and now work in FiDi are out making ‘adult moves’ with real jobs while you slave away in dental school, it’s easy to forget you’re an adult too. Even if you don’t have the income of your peers, you should still take steps to set yourself up well financially. Follow this column for tips and insights to help you get ahead, now.


 Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors. The content in this article is for educational purposes only, citing our own personal opinions. In order to make the best financial decision to suit your needs, you must conduct your own research and seek the advice of a licensed financial advisor if necessary. Know all investments involve some form of risk and there is no guarantee that you will be successful in making, saving, or investing money; nor is there any guarantee that you won’t experience any loss when investing.


Let’s Talk Disability Insurance

We spend a fortune on dental school just to be able to practice dentistry. To add to that already stressful reality, let’s add in the looming fact that 1-in-4 dentists will be forced to retire early from a disability or inability-to-practice related event. Our profession, while lucrative, is also very taxing on the body. (P.S. #TaxSzn is upon us…it’s like #CuffingSzn except you lose money to the government instead of your S.O.) This is why all dentists should carry some kind of disability insurance. Serving as a hedge in the event you face a work-related disability or accident leaving you unable to practice.
We won’t go into the weeds about disability coverage, but will provide links to sources that have done that job for us below. Here are the key takeaways to remember though:
  • The younger/healthier you are when you purchase, the lower the cost.
  • The strongest, most reputable plans come from: Guardian, Principle, MassMutual, The Standard, and Ameritas. This boils down purely to their strong “own occupation” policies.
  • The ADA also offers a plan, which is by far the best priced plan; however, its coverages and restrictions are reviewed ‘to leave more to be desired.’ In general this is an area where you really get what you pay for. *Shrug*
  • Things you want included:
    • A strong “own occupation” clause
    • A partial disability coverage
    • “Non-cancelable” clause
    • Benefits guaranteed until retirement, with ability to increase your coverages as your income rises
    • Coverage for at least 60% of your net income
    • A short elimination period before benefits can be claimed
    • Women should also be keen on coverage for maternity leave and
It is important to shop around and get many quotes, since oftentimes a discount can be had if a policy is purchased prior to dental school graduation. You may be approached by a disability insurance agent; but these people generally make money off a commission from the premiums you pay the insurance company to them. Keep in mind an agent may try to get you to over-insure yourself since they get paid more this way. Snakes are everywhere people. These links also dive deeper into the topic of disability insurance for dentists: DentistryIQTreloar & HeiselPolicyGeniusDentalEconomics.



Real patients, real stories, fake names.

A different Bob came in this week as an “emergency patient” and since I’m a nice guy I finagled to fit him into my schedule…which was my first mistake. I do a one-over of his chart and see his CC: “My gums bleed A LOT when I brush and floss on the top right side.” I swear my eyes are STILL rolling to the back of my head from reading that. But I took a deep breath, mumbled a few choice words, and went to the room he’s in. Reviewed Medical/Dental Hx, Allergies, HPI, etc. and explain to Bob I suspect he’s probably “experiencing something called Gingivitis” and “just needs a good cleaning since it’s been over a year from his last one.” Regardless, I humor him, lean him back, do a quick clinical exam, and take a couple xrays, and guess what…? Yup, NO SIGNIFICANT FINDINGS! Who would have thought? Oh right, me! So I rinse the UR with peridex, reviewed OHI, and told him to keep brushing and flossing and schedule a cleaning on his way out. I wanted to also tell him not to let the door hit him…but I can’t afford to retire…yet.


Just Floss It

Have you ever had the rubber dam on and been prepping a tooth for an onlay, trying to restore a Class II composite, or insert a crown and no matter what you do the dam keeps getting in the way? Yup. No wonder we all loathe rubber dam isolation (#RDI). Next time, before you toss that rubber, try using a floss ligature to better adapt the dam. Simply take a LONG piece of dental floss, fold it in half lengthwise, place your thumb and index in the loop, fold it over pulling the proximal portions of the two tails through, and now you have two loops. Place both loops around the tooth in question working it apically and tightening with the loose ends to get that dam out of the way. If my terribly worded description didn’t help, this video will likely show you how better!

meme of the week


Have any interesting or crazy patient stories? Want to share helpful clinical, business, or study-related pearls? Or just have some updates on how you’re surviving dental school, residency, or life in the real world (yikes)? Well, we want to hear all about it! Submit your Tea(th) anonymously below or tell us your name so we can credit you. We promise to NEVER mention your name unless you tell us otherwise and give us explicit permission.

spill the tea gif


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