DiCesare & DiCesare Periodontal Health Specialists

The dental hygienists at DiCesare & DiCesare Periodontal Health Specialists are education driven and value learning to improve their work. With a long history of excellence on the Jersey Shore, the practice, which specializes in periodontics and implants, centers a mission to elevate patient care through education. Not only is the practice celebrating 30 years of its Dental Study Club, but also 23 years of its Dental Hygiene Study Club. In a professional environment that encourages them to work together as a team, the hygienists at DiCesare & DiCesare improve through learning together and have become an integral part of the practice.

The Hygiene Study Club was created as a forum by which hygienists could meet annually and learn from each other. Since its creation in 1999, the educational impact of the study club has reached even beyond hygienists within the practice. The Jersey Coast Dental Forum, led by Anthony Di Cesare, DDS, Director, also hosts a Hygiene Extravaganza that brings together dental hygienists from all over the state of New Jersey for a full day event to celebrate, recognize, and educate hygienists with exciting and empowering speakers. This year the tradition will continue as a unique virtual event with the Hygiene Extravaganza Livestream on Sunday, May 22.

Hygiene Spotlight: Joanne Sciandra, RDH

Joanne Sciandra, RDH, is a faculty member for The Dawson Academy and a practicing dental hygienist at Daxon Dentistry in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sciandra is passionate about dentistry, and her commitment to her patients' dental health and overall well-being goes far beyond cleaning teeth. "Identifying signs of occlusal instability or ‘signs of stress' is the biggest reason our patients return for care on a regular basis," says Kimberley Daxon, DDS. "At every recall visit, Joanne's patients are checked for tooth mobility, pocket depth changes, increases in recession, wear, cracks, and bite changes. Through exceptional verbal skills, she helps patients to understand the implications of these signs and what happens if they are left untreated." Sciandra's ability to get her patients back into the chair for diagnosis and treatment is key in the maintenance of their teeth. Daxon says, "Our patients know that their visits with Joanne are much more than just a cleaning. Joanne's love for people, and her high level of integrity, parallels her intense passion for dentistry."

Hygiene Spotlight: Stephanie Pajot, RDH

In her 13 years as a dental hygienist, Stephanie Pajot, RDH, has published several articles and lectured both locally and nationally on clinical topics and innovations in hygiene care. She currently practices dental hygiene at Smile Creator of Bingham Farms, a private dental practice focused on restorative and family dentistry. “Stephanie is an integral part of my general and implant dentistry practice,” says Timothy Kosinski, DDS. “As she is empathetic to all our patients, treating many physically and mentally disabled children and adults is a routine. Our busy and comprehensive care practice can be a challenging workplace, but Stephanie has embraced her department and elevated treatment to the highest level.”

Hygiene Spotlight: Barbara Beth Bosak, RDH

“It’s an honor to care for you.” That sums up the personal philosophy of Barbara Beth Bosak, RDH, lead hygienist at Highpoint Dental Medicine in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. Bosak has arrived at this patient-centric focus based on years of experience, working in pedodontic, periodontal, and general dental practices. First as an assistant then as an RDH, Bosak, who is also a registered nurse, understands what is required to have a successful dental hygiene practice and enjoys being part of a team that makes it happen. It starts with Brian Wilk, DMD, who sets clear expectations, but it is most important that the entire staff works as a team-with and for each other-to ensure patients routinely receive the highest level of customized care. “We are able to focus on treating the patient's needs without limitations on time or other concerns,” Bosak says. “That is so important as a professional, and the patients know we care.” Building patient trust and communicating clearly are key to treatment acceptance and improving continuity of oral hygiene care at home. Using one’s skills and knowledge to provide requisite care, while putting patients at ease and engaging them to assume a more active role in their own oral hygiene are indeed noble goals for health care providers. For some, it is an honor. Pictured from left are Alina Cuko, RDH; Barbara Beth Bosak, RDH; Victoria Stasiak, RDH; and Elina Osipyan, RDH.

Hygiene Spotlight: Dulce Malvais Rosas, RDH

Dulce Malvais Rosas, RDH, spent 3 years as a dental assistant in a pediatric office before going back to school to become a dental hygienist. Upon graduating, she decided she did not want to be tied down to one location, so she chose to join the Aspen Dental team. She has now worked in four cities in her nearly 3 years as a dental hygienist. Rosas also has combined her passion for travel with giving back to those in need. In addition to Aspen’s annual Day of Service, she has participated in the MouthMobile program and the Overseas Outreach mission trip to Trinidad. The MouthMobile program involves a portable dental office traveling the country to provide free dental care to veterans in underserved communities. The Trinidad trip exposed her to patients who, without these outreach missions, might never receive oral healthcare or even education about dental hygiene. She says she looks forward to participating in similar outreaches in the future.

Hygiene Spotlight: Courtney Antolick, RDH, PHDHP

Courtney Antolick, RDH, PHDHP, says she is “beyond blessed” to be a part of the family at Sprout Dental in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. “Teamwork has never meant more to me until I started my hygiene career here,” Antolick says. “Everyone picks right up where help is needed, without thinking twice about it. It is such a natural demeanor in each team member here at Sprout. Not only does our willingness to help each other give our work lives a wonderful ebb and flow, but our patients and their families can feel the warmth and joy when they visit us as well. Sprout Dental rocks and would not be the same without each team member!”

Hygiene Spotlight: DeAnna Shannon, RDH

Serving the Underserved, Even During a Crisis

DeAnna Shannon, RDH, says what makes her team so amazing are the patients they serve. Samaritan Dental Clinic is a community clinic in Rogers, Arkansas, that provides free vital oral health care including restorations, extractions, biopsies, dentures, partials, and oral hygiene education to adults and seniors. The team includes, from left, Connie Greenlee, RDA; Kim Freeman, RDA; Lois Hodgson; Jill Self-Pike, DDS; Shannon; and Leah Devorak, RDA. Their patients are uninsured and underserved, and include the mentally and physically disabled, battered women, veterans, and men and women recovering from drug and alcohol addition. Many have never been to a dentist prior to visiting the clinic, and have never received any oral health education. The majority suffer from at least one systemic disease and are not aware of how their oral health impacts their overall health. “Our amazing staff is passionate about the importance of providing oral health education and exceptional care to every patient we serve,” Shannon says. "Our patients are unique with very unique needs, and our amazing team will stop at nothing to meet the needs of our patients and do it all in a loving, compassionate, and professional way! We all truly feel honored to have the opportunity to work together as a team serving our amazing patients and our community.” While the COVID-19 crisis has impacted Samaritan, the team continues to help its patients smile by handing out free hot meals and groceries. “Every day I am thankful to work with such an amazing team,” Shannon says, “but it’s in uncertain times like these that I am most thankful.”

Hygiene Spotlight: Kate Trivett, RDH

Improving Continuing Education Strategy to Benefit Patients

Kate is the ultimate empowered dental hygienist. About 2 years ago, she decided to improve her continuing education strategy by being more intentional with her course selection, because she was inspired by her favorite dental hygiene podcast, “A Tale of Two Hygienists.” She has brought what she’s learned into her two practice locations and transformed her practice with one-hour appointments where she can focus on patients’ overall well-being in addition to their oral health. Kate takes blood pressure on every patient, and she has identified cancer on multiple patients. In addition, she found nodules on a long-time patient’s thyroid, which ultimately led to the patient’s thyroidectomy. Kate is having more fun now and is seen as an invaluable team member by her dental team and patients. We look forward to keeping an eye on Kate, as her next order of business is to learn more about airway disorders and further her knowledge regarding the ever-growing link between oral and general health. Way to go, Kate!

Hygiene Spotlight: Carly Wilkins, RDH, and Stephanie Signore, RDH

A Hygiene Team that Does it All

In this progressive dental practice, Courtney Lavigne, DMD, employs only clinical team members, and the dental hygienists are a part of all aspects of patient care. Carly Wilkins, RDH, and Stephanie Signore, RDH, along with Lavigne and the rest of the team, conduct weekly meetings to discuss the needs of all of the patients that week. In addition, they meet daily for a quick review of the patients on the schedule, so everyone in the office is prepared for the day. Wilkins and Signore are involved with all aspects of the patients’ care, from confirming insurance coverage, to providing dental hygiene services, making appointments, and checking them out at the end. In addition, it is common for Carly and Stephanie to come into a restorative visit to see how problems that were identified during their hygiene visits look like once the tooth is prepared and then restored. These hygienists have so much knowledge beyond clinical hygiene, and they are invaluable members of this team.

Hygiene Spotlight: Meg Atwood, RDH, MPS

Independent Educator on Behalf of Waterpik, Inc.

Meg Atwood, professor in the Dental Hygiene Department, has been a dedicated faculty member at SUNY Orange in Middletown, New York, for 36 years. She teaches head and neck anatomy, embryology and histology, and clinical instrumentation, and she supervises in the clinic. She also teaches oral health prevention and public health; both courses, her students can attest, are a passion of hers. Meg’s dedication has positively impacted not only her students but also countless individuals who have benefitted from her advocacy for the promotion of water fluoridation and the promotion of oral health, on a community, state, and national level. In addition, she is extensively published and has provided continuing education courses, served on the peer review board of several dental hygiene publications, and reviewed content for dental hygiene textbooks.

SUNY Orange has recognized her commitment and has awarded her the SUNY Orange President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

When asked what advice she would offer to our readers, she said, “Use evidence-based science. Do all you can to prevent dental disease. Dental decay is preventable, but if we miss our chance, it’s gone. See children before the age of 1 for their first dental screening and then at appropriate intervals after. Support water fluoridation. Collaborate with other healthcare professionals in any way you can. It’s our future. Support your colleagues. We are all in this together and we can all be winners. It's not a competition. Be an active member of the ADHA.” She continued by saying, “I have been in this profession for a long time. I still love it, and I think I am more passionate about prevention, teaching, and learning than ever. How lucky am I?”

How lucky are we to have a colleague like Meg?!

Is your hygiene team amazing?

We want to hear about it! Send us a team photo with a few words about how great you work together for a chance to be featured on our social media. One lucky team will also be included in our next issue! Send your entries to: idhteam@aegiscomm.com