I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Paul Feuerstein, DMD


There are many [podcasts] out there….Some are full of technical information, some are like Ted Talks, and others are just entertaining with some good dental information thrown in.

One of the best (and sometimes worst) ways to learn about new technology and dental procedures is by scouring Internet resources. Our own website (dentistrytoday.com) has a lot of information in both text and video formats. Some content comes directly from manufacturers, while the bulk is from clinicians. During the course of a day in my practice, I sometimes sneak away before a patient is seated and look for an instructional video or information on a procedure. Many times, I am directed to YouTube, where you could probably duplicate your entire dental school education. Some examples are protocols to cement certain restorations; how to insert an overdenture attachment chairside; and indications and instructions for the use of silver diamine fluoride. (Teaser: I will have a lot of new information on this interesting product/process in the near future.) Many of these videos are put up by individual dentists, hygienists, assistants, or lab technicians as a sort of public service. Everyone wants to be an Internet star! Of course, there are great videos and some questionable ones, and all are of varying quality.

For years, people have published podcasts. There are many out there, and if you have a long commute and don’t want to hear the the day’s news, they are quite interesting. Some are full of technical information, some are like Ted Talks, and others are just entertaining with some good dental information thrown in. I will mention a few here, but a search for “dental podcasts” will direct you to lists and reviews of many. There is a lot of crossover on the Internet, as some of the groups publish on their own sites and mirror on Facebook. Do whatever is easier for you—a similar search on Facebook or Instagram will fill your bucket. There are several formats, with some being dissertations from one person and some having guest presenters, while most seem to use an interview format. Some of them are targeted toward clinical issues, some toward practice management, and some focus on wealth management, and others still are general and even social. Here are a few that I follow and invite others to try. (Note that this column, as with all sections of Dentistry Today, are easily found on dentistrytoday.com. I may update this column online with direct links to podcasts if there is interest.)

I must say that my dear old friend Dr. Howard Farran really knows how to dig deep into an interviewee in his podcast, Dentistry Uncensored with Howard Farran. I have carefully avoided Howard over the years as I want to keep my deep, dark secrets from the world.

One of the most popular podcasts is The Thriving Dentist with Gary Takacs, which looks at the business side of dental practices with great insight. The Dental Hacks Podcast, hosted by Drs. Alan Mead and Jason Lipscomb, is a no-holds-barred look at dentistry with a bit a humor and sarcasm. Dr. Tarun “T-Bone” Agarwal, one of the premier experts on digital dentistry and sleep apnea, entertains on T-Bone Speaks Dentistry. Want to make your fortune? Check out The Dentalpreneur Podcast with Dr. Mark Costes. One of the newest podcasts is Dr. Chris Phelps’ Dental Slang Podcast, in which the interviewees tell how they explain dentistry to patients and each other in our own code and give helpful clinical and management hints in the process. And don’t forget that the ADA has a couple of interesting podcasts: Tooth Talk and the non-clinical Beyond the Mouth.

There are numerous groups on Facebook, a few being offshoots of these podcasts. One example is Dental Hacks Nation! Most are private groups that require registration, but you really don’t know who is looking at the posts. A lot of the text, photos, and videos are quite graphic. (Facebook has a filter that obscures potentially graphic content; click the warning message to diplay the post.) Since many of these forums are international, you get to see interesting cases and techniques that you never really thought about. And as you remember from some of the wild pathology cases and photos you saw in dental school, some of these actually appear in people’s offices and clinics around the world. A few of these forums are designed to show failures, which are always eye-openers. However, I am always afraid that some may be from clever Photoshop users who have nothing better to do than to start trouble, but the majority are honest. A fun one is an implant-failure group with a name I cannot print here, but just search “implant club” on Facebook to find it. A wonderful group is Dental Clinical Pearls, which is moderated—an important factor in keeping it top-of-the-line. The cases and discussions are high-end, and many of the members post techniques with detailed information and excellent photos. Also check out the new group led by Dr. Sandy Pardue, Dental Gumbo, which includes practice management discussions and tips.

The problem is that some forums create their own “experts.” As I said, everyone wants to be a star, so there are some people who post very often and appear to be the latest key opinion leaders. People are followed based on the fact that they have over 1,000 posts. Some are genuine teachers, while others are merely showing off their knowledge base—you have to filter this. Still, it is interesting to see a variety of approaches to dental issues. On the other end, there are dentists like Dr. Bill Strupp, who continue to amaze everyone with superb gold restorations. In one recent post, Bill showed a buccal pit gold inlay that had been in place for 40 years. Of course, I have a few patients with buccal pit amalgams that have been in at least that long, but they aren’t as shiny!

Generally, I find that although many of the interviews or talks are from names you know, a lot are just everyday practitioners talking about their experiences, successes, and failures. There are a lot of you out in the trenches who have no desire to rack up thousands of air miles traveling to lecture but have a lot to tell us. Also, many of the posts are from dentists who have run into difficult clinical and diagnostic situations and are looking to colleagues for help. The speed at which an answer can be obtained is often surprising: sometimes while a patient is still in the chair. Private practice can be a lonely place, and it is great to realize that we are all trying to get to a common patient care goal and that there is a virtual camaraderie out there.

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