Education never stops. Read the takeaways from experts’ talks for dental professionals

Make the most of this time at home and watch the series of live webinars from the Curaden Academy.

One of the most effective ways to feel better in these slow and unpredictable months is to invest time in things that matter. Rethink your everyday practice and start working on new habits, ready for when everything starts to get back to some sort of normality.

Curaden Academy recently launched a series of free webinars, where experts were invited to talk about their valuable practice, expertise, research and methods. Read on for the summaries and key points of discussion that we selected for your constant learning experience.

“Turn adversity into triumph: work hard on yourself now.”

Dr. Steven Schluentz

An experienced dental practitioner and coach, Dr. Steven Schluentz shared his views on what we can do now to help ourselves as we go through this pandemic. In his webinar The three things you need to work on during the pandemic, he discussed how to successfully navigate a positive mindset, how to align a business with your core values and how to plan for profit. These are the areas he recommended to work on during these uncharted times.

  • Do the mind work (not mind-set). Mind work is something you have to work on constantly, on a daily basis, to grow as a professional. To understand mind work you need to understand paradigms on a deeper level.
  • Understand the tools of the mind and tools of the brain. The brain has 5 tools: 5 senses – which are important for survival. The mind, on the other hand, helps us create what we want via its tools – imagination, reason, intuition, memory, perception and will. These tools all have an ability to shape the reality that we want.
  • Cut out the external stimuli and focus on where you want to go. By doing that, you’ll start to use more tools of the mind than of the brain. Practice gratitude as a way of creating a new mindset and personal development. Take a blank sheet of paper, write five things you’re grateful for, and you’ll have an immediate emotional response.
  • The law of compensation. Understand that there will always be the need for skilled dentists. The difficulty to replace you in the market increases as you practice the life-long learning.
  • Cut the costs, enhance creativity. Determine your ideal service and the best customer avatar. Enhance your market-service resonance by better equipping your practice. Try to hone your methods on how to deliver the best service to your best patients once we get back to normality.
  • Plan for profit. You don’t have to be the financial manager to be able to improve profitability. Move to a percentage-based budgeting model and move 1% of your profit to a separate account. Keep increasing this percentage day by day.
  • Practice from a place of core values. What do you want your practice to look like when we get moving again? Work on the positioning of your practice today, to profit from it in the future.
  • Market your service. Practices that are creative in their marketing endeavours now will continue to thrive post pandemic. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, just consistent and authentic to what you offer.

Want some ideas on how to think about mind work, money dynamics, and your practice’s strategy?

Listen to Dr. Stephen Schluentz in his webinar, The Three Things you need to work on during the Pandemic.

Prof. David Williams: “Biofilm is the origin of over 65% of hospital infections.”

Prof. David Williams is head of the oral and biomedical sciences research department at Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry. Williams is also a principle investigator within the Microbial Diseases Research Group, where his studies primarily focus on microbial biofilms and their association with human infection.

In his webinar, Biofilms: microbial lifestyles of clinical relevance, he introduces biofilm as the origin of over 65% of hospital infections and shares his expertise in modelling, profiling microbial communities and the analysis of microbial gene expression, as well as the findings of the recent studies involving the relationship between oral microbiome and cardiovascular health or respiratory infections. Watch Prof. Williams’ presentation if you are interested in:

  • Further understanding of biofilms in medical settings. Prof. Williams compares biofilm to a satellite map – if you zoom in, you can see the living components in there. His 3D pictures and videos of biofilm and its structure are definitely worth watching.
  • Plaque-mediated diseases. Professor Williams pays attention to diseases caused by Candida albicans, which is responsible for approximately 80% of human candidiasis.
  • Fungal infections. You will also learn the differences between the main kinds of candidiasis, like pseudomembranous candidosis, acute erythematous candidosis, chronic erythematous candidosis and chronic hyperplastic candidosis, and the level of their danger.
  • Ventilated associated pneumonia. The webinar also includes an overview of studies on the impact of biofilm on endotracheal tubes, which was found to have the ability to cause pneumonia due to the movement of bacteria from the oral cavity to the lungs through the endotracheal tube.
  • New findings in Candida albicans and oral biofilm research. In the webinar, Prof. Williams also shares the key findings of the recent studies conducted by his team, including e.g. the oral hygiene of intubated patients, and more.

Discover the results of recent studies of biofilm with Prof. David Williams in his webinar: Biofilms: Microbial Lifestyles of Clinical Relevance

Dr. Antonina Getsman: “Learning a non-medical guided behaviour technique is crucial for a child to get used to a dentist”

The paediatric dentist Dr. Antonina Getsman from Moscow treats patients with DBMP (dental behaviour management problems). In her webinar, Dilemma between adaptation, sedation and GA treatment, she explains how to make the right decisions based on objective measurements rather than emotional factors. We have chosen some of the points she shared on the best ways to manage a child during their dentist visit. 

Patients can have DBMP for many reasons. Sometimes it comes from a negative experience after a dental treatment, sometimes it’s just a feature of character. The fact is that every child can be adapted to receive dental treatment without fear or trauma, and only their clinical situation will tell us how much time we have to work on adapting that behaviour. 

  • Be the left brain. Specialists cannot make decisions based on emotional factors. Often, poor dental behavioural management causes children to have a negative experience. Parents are responsible for soothing their child’s emotions; dentists and assistants have to control themselves rationally and follow logic.
  • Apply skills and knowledge from other disciplines. When dealing with children, one has to tap into other disciplines such as soft skills, psychology and logic to make the correct decisions.
  • Develop a relationship and trust with the patient. If you have the chance to take care of a child from an early age, work on that relationship and make him or her feel comfortable so that later on, he or she will be more cooperative thanks to that level of trust. 
  • Preparation for sitting in a chair. Learning the non-medical guided behaviour technique is important to allow children to get used to a dentist without developing potential trauma. If your patient is happy to lie in the chair but does not allow you to brush their teeth, nor do an x-ray or any oral hygiene, judge whether the clinical situation is urgent. If it isn’t, do three more visits to work on adapting their behaviour through the non-medical techniques. If the situation is urgent, go straight to sedation. First and foremost, always try to work on non-pharmacological strategies and pursue the behavioural prophylaxis. 

Find out more tips on how to handle treatment on children in Antonina Getsman’s webinar, Dilemma between adaption, sedation, and GA treatment

Aikaterini Pegka: “Now the attention of your patients is online more than ever.”

Social media expert Aikaterini Pegka says that, “The internet is a miracle that can help us do a lot of good.” In her webinar, Patient communication on social media during the crisis: tips & strategies, she focuses on the role of online communication, which tools can be used, and even how to use the coronavirus crisis to get ready for when everything starts to get back to some sort of normality. Here are the main takeaway points from Aikaterini Pegka’s talk:

  • The attention of your patients is online more than ever. So use social media to provide information (opening hours etc.), education (use the fact that you’re the expert), support, communication, and to create a sense of belonging (remind patients that we are all in this together).
  • In your online communication, you should be very honest, transparent and open. Your patients are in survival mode right now and they can be extremely sensitive, so you must be empathetic more than ever.
  • When it comes to posting on social media, be consistent. Don’t post today and then again in two months. Post as often as possible. Use Facebook and Instagram posts and stories, Twitter updates, go live (for example, make daily updates in stories or IGTV). Don’t forget to update your Google Business info if something has changed. 
  • To do’s in communication with your community (fans, followers): decide on your tonality, reply quickly (within 24 hours), hide-delete-block inappropriate comments, set up automatic responses, use profanity filters, and use monitoring tools.
  • Don’t stop your marketing activities. The things you do now, during the crisis, will define you as an expert and as a brand in the future. We can’t go on with business as usual, but if you stop all your marketing activities, you will probably spend double the resources to get back to where you were before the crisis. Respect the current situation and use the time to recalibrate your business strategy.

Learn how to communicate with your patients online from the webinar, Patient communication on social media during the crisis: Tips and strategies

Dr. Cristina Rizea: “Be prepared for making decisions that will compromise your professional and personal beliefs.”

Dentist and prosthodontist Dr. Cristina Rizea from Bucharest had a chance to volunteer in multiple developing countries, where she also dealt with various ethical questions. In her webinar, Dental volunteering in Africa: professional vs. human ethics, she shared specific examples on how professional and personal ethics can collide when different cultures meet. These are a few of the interesting points she gave us to think about.

  • When permanent teeth erupt and the temporary ones are still on the arch, treatment guidelines would prescribe the extraction of temporary canine teeth followed by an orthodontic treatment. The movement of the permanent tooth to the available space on the arch is good from a functional, health and aesthetic point of view. However, some deeply-rooted cultural convictions can cause a challenge in your professional practice. Some tribes, such as the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania, believe that the gum swelling due to errupting canine teeth can be caused by evil spirits which can lead to other health issues. To protect the child, and the whole village, the errupting canines have to be extracted.
  • In areas where medical care is not that accessible, extracting a tooth can be life threatening for a child. In Maasai culture, women extract the canine teeth by knife which can cause bleeding, infection and which can damage the neighbouring teeth. Canines are also important for occlusion, and particularly for the Maasai people who eat a lot of meat, these teeth would be especially helpful.
  • Extracting flawless teeth, despite our conventional treatment guidelines advising us not to do so? In our everyday practice, we would not think of extracting a healthy canine. But in other cultures such as Maasai, this is normal. You therefore have to consider that later on the child would have the tooth removed anyway – by an untrained village dentist who has no proper tools nor uses anaesthesia. There comes the moment when you have to balance the human ethics with the dental ethics, which can contradict with what you have been trained in.
  • Always consider your patient’s background and consider their treatment accordingly. When dealing with a patient or their responsible person, explain and suggest what the best solution or treatment is according to your standards, but never try to force your judgement onto your patient. 

Did you know that Masai people often ask for bleaching?

Learn more interesting facts from Dr. Cristina Rizea’s webinar, Dental volunteering in Africa: Professional vs. human ethics.

Never miss a webinar by Curaden Academy. Register for free at and you’ll have a chance to watch the webinars live, ask the experts questions directly, and follow the experience of dental practitioners from all around the world.