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New Medical and Dental Students Immerse Themselves in El Paso’s Culture While Honing Clinical Spanish Skills

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2022

Courses for first-year students help them understand region’s health care needs

A desperate family stepped up to the pawn shop counter, presented a TV and camera and asked the employee for $150 for the electronics.

“Forty dollars for both,” the employee replied coldly.

“One hundred for both,” a family member countered.

“Sorry, all I can do is $40,” the employee said, shaking her head. Disappointed, the family agreed and walked out with cash to help them survive the week.

This role-playing “family” of students, along with around 200 other first-year students from the Foster School of Medicine and Hunt School of Dental Medicine, experienced a “poverty simulation” as part of an educational workshop at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) El Paso. Dental and medical students experience this simulation workshop to better understand what the 18.8% of El Pasoans living in poverty go through nearly every day. As one might expect, poverty is a major obstacle to accessing routine health and dental care.

The poverty simulation is an innovative experiential learning addition to the introductory component of the Society, Community, and the Individual (SCI) course that TTUHSC El Paso medical and dental students take during a three-week period in July informally known as “immersion.” As the name indicates, students at the two schools begin their academic journey with an immersion in the unique lifestyle, culture, and language of the Borderplex community. Currently, nearly 40% of Hunt School of Dental Medicine students and 20% of Foster School of Medicine students hail from El Paso or West Texas counties with culture similar to that of the Borderplex.

The immersion courses – Society, Community and the Individual, and Conversational/Clinical Spanish – are the first courses medical and dental students complete before they begin studying medicine and dentistry in August to kick off “Year One” at TTUHSC El Paso.

Immersion has been part of curriculum since the medical school opened in 2009. The new Hunt School of Dental Medicine also adopted immersion into its curriculum, and its inaugural class completed the courses in summer 2021.

Salma Elwazeer, B.D.S., M.D.S., M.P.H., assistant professor of public health and dental public health at the Hunt School of Dental Medicine and director of the dental component of the SCI course, pushed to integrate the poverty simulation experience to the immersion course. Dr. Elwazeer said the experience is a great addition to immersion at TTUHSC El Paso this year.

“With the simulation, we’re trying to help students understand the realities of poverty,” Elwazeer said. “Students role-play as low-income families trying to survive a month in poverty. They experience the families’ hardships and the day-to-day challenges facing those families while interacting with various community agencies. Understanding those challenges can promote poverty awareness, transform students’ perspectives and their unconscious biases toward disadvantaged populations, and inspire their roles as future health care providers to be the local change in the health care field.”

Immersion professors hope these future health care leaders will better understand the barriers many underserved patients face in accessing health care, including a lack of transportation that causes them to miss appointments and low incomes that prevent them from seeking treatment at early stages of a disease.

During immersion, students also hit the road to assess the social, health and infrastructure needs of the community.

They visited area neighborhoods, unincorporated communities (colonias), and regional towns and cities, including Canutillo, Clint, Fabens, Horizon City, Montana Vista, San Elizario, Socorro, and Sunland Park and Chaparral, New Mexico, to speak to residents and community leaders about their community’s health care needs.

Jorge Torres, a first-year medical student from Eagle Pass, Texas, said immersion was a great way for students to interact with each other and create support networks among themselves.

“I thought it was helpful and informative to participate because as future physicians, we'll be serving a community where residents are going through what we experienced during the simulation,” Torres said.

A Unique Program

TTUHSC El Paso immersion professors said it’s a one-of-a-kind course offering that sets the Foster School of Medicine and the Hunt School of Dental Medicine apart from other medical and dental programs across the country.

“It’s an opportunity to get students immersed in the local community and learn about their future patients in their first weeks on campus,” said Lee Rosenthal, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., director of the medical component of the SCI course and assistant professor in the Foster School of Medicine.

First-year medical student Jessica Hoffman from Dallas, Texas, was assigned to visit Chaparral, New Mexico, where she interviewed community health care workers and a health clinic employee.

“As a group, we discovered several health care challenges in Chaparral,” Hoffman said. “For example, transportation, especially to specialty doctors, is very limited. Diabetes and other chronic illnesses are a large concern for the clinic. And mental health is an issue, but there are almost no resources to address these needs.”

Hoffman said spending time with community members provides invaluable lessons.

“It’s the best way to understand how to be a competent, compassionate and culturally aware health care provider,” Hoffman said. “Through this experience, I interacted with a medically underserved local community. It’s important to understand their needs so as health care providers, we can work to expand access and quality care for these residents.”

Working on Spanish language skills is the other important aspect of immersion because language and cultural barriers can also be obstacles to communication and self-advocacy for underserved patients.

Research shows that patients with limited English proficiency greatly benefit from bilingual health care providers and are more likely to understand diagnosis and treatment and adhere to medication and routine care.

“Our Spanish instructors are very understanding and patient with us as we're learning,” said Kyanna Spain, a first-year dental student from El Paso. “I really like the information we've been getting and the discussions we've had because cultural competency will be very important as a future provider.”

About TTUHSC El Paso

TTUHSC El Paso is the only health sciences center on the U.S.- Mexico border and serves 108 counties in West Texas that have been historically underserved. It is also the only health sciences center on the U.S.-Mexico border designated as a Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution, preparing the next generation of health care heroes, 48% of whom identify as Hispanic and are often first-generation college students.  

Whip Mix Welcomes Briana Obranovich as the new VP of Business Development and Strategic Alliances

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2022

Whip Mix welcomes Briana Obranovich to its team as the new V.P. of Business Development and Strategic Alliances. Obranovich comes to Whip Mix with more than 20 years of experience in digital dentistry.

Obranovich was the founding member and managing partner of Imago Group, where she helped dentists navigate many business challenges, including the best digital solutions for their practices. She has been and advisor, speaker, advocate, trainer, and champion to the dentists she represents.

“Digital Dentistry is my passion. Over the past 20 years I have witnessed the evolution of dentistry through technology bringing the dentist and manufacture partnership to the forefront of healthcare,” she says. 

“Briana fits into Whip Mix perfectly, as Digital Dentistry is her passion and the company’s direction”, said Jim Myers, the company’s President. “She is a seasoned Business Development executive, whose track record of revenue and market share growth will help Whip Mix. We look forward to Briana joining our team.”

Obranovich will be responsible for developing Whip Mix’s Digital Strategy and Strategic relationships.


Straumann Group and TAG Partner on Course for the Aspen New England Region

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2022

Straumann Group DSO, hosted Dr. Sundeep Rawal (Senior Vice President, Implant Support at Aspen Dental) and the Aspen New England region at their training center in Massachusetts. Nearly 50 clinicians from the greater Boston area attended the three-hour continuing education course and learned about the benefits of implant restorations, how to increase implant case acceptance, the benefits of the BLX implant system and the restorative end-to-end solutions that Straumann can provide. The event concluded with a hands-on session with BLX implants by Dr. Sundeep Rawal and Dr. Bruno Arnaud (Head of Clinical Affairs & Integrated Workflows, DSO, NAM). This is the most recent course partnership by Straumann Group and The Aspen Group. Training also continues across the US and Mexico. For more information on the Straumann Group Dental Support Organizations, please visit

Figure 1. Dr. Bruno Arnaud, Head of Clinical Affairs presenting

Figure 2. Dr. Sundeep Rawal presenting

Figure 3. BLX Hands-on training

Figure 4. Audience of 49 clinicians in attendance



Roland DGA’s DGSHAPE Americas Dental Business Group Announces Key Changes to its Leadership Team

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2022

Roland DGA’s DGSHAPE Americas business group, a leading provider of advanced dental milling machines, 3D printers, and accessories for the laboratory and clinical markets, has announced key personnel changes to its leadership team.

Jimmy Ruiz, a dental industry veteran with more than 16 years of experience in the field, has been hired as DGSHAPE Dental Business Manager. In his new position with Roland DGA, Ruiz will be responsible for the oversight of all dental activities in the Americas, including management of sales, marketing, product management, and service personnel.

Lisa Aguirre, previously DGSHAPE Dental Product Manager, has been promoted and will assume the newly created position of DGSHAPE Dental Marketing Manager. Aguirre’s new responsibilities will include planning, implementing, and analyzing marketing strategies and campaigns, overseeing events, promotions, and public relations, as well as delivering communications across a variety of mediums and channels.

Juan Molina, who has held several positions within Roland DGA’s customer service and technical support departments over the past 10 years, most recently serving as DGSHAPE Dental Technical Representative, has been promoted to the position of DGSHAPE Dental Product Manager. In his new role, Molina will manage all aspects of the dental product portfolio, develop strategies based on customer and market input, and help bring new products and solutions to market.

Additionally, Brian Kinard has joined the company as DGSHAPE Dental Sales Representative for the Western U.S. region. Kinard brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the dental field. As Roland DGA’s newest DGSHAPE Dental Sales Representative, Kinard’s responsibilities will include growing, managing, and supporting the dealer channel for his region through sales and post-sale support.

“We are confident that each of these talented, dedicated individuals will contribute greatly to the overall success of our DGSHAPE dental division,” said Roland DGA’s Vice President of Sales, Amado Lara. “Their combined experience and skills will strengthen DGSHAPE’s position as a leader in digital dental equipment for labs, and help maximize interest and awareness in our chairside solutions for clinics.”

To learn more about Roland DGA’s DGSHAPE dental products, visit For more information on Roland DGA Corporation, or the complete Roland DGA product line, visit

The Aspen Group Debuts Its TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence, Providing Free Dental Care to Underserved Illinois Residents

Posted on Friday, July 29, 2022

• First-of-its-kind oral care center celebrates ribbon-cutting ceremony with Stanley Bergman, Henry Schein Chairman, and CEO; Rahma Samow, EVP & Global Head DSO, Straumann Group

• Free, comprehensive dental care to be offered to estimated 2,500 underserved patients annually

TAG - The Aspen Group, a nationwide leader in consumer health care, debuted its TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence – a state-of-the-art clinic designed to provide comprehensive dental care at no cost to underserved Illinois residents.

"We're thrilled to officially open the TAG Oral Care Center after many years of intensive planning, organizing, and building," said Bob Fontana, chairman, and CEO of TAG. "We're extremely proud to put our resources, clinical expertise, and passion toward expanding access to quality dental care for underserved patients in Illinois. We believe that the services provided at the TAG Oral Care Center have the power and potential to change people's lives for the better, and we can't wait to get to work."

The new 25,000 sq. ft. clinic – centrally located in Chicago's West Loop – will offer patients access to the latest dental care technology and services offered by a team of dentists and dental support staff for up to 2,500 qualifying patients each year. To qualify, patients must be Illinois residents who are eligible for Medicaid, or who are uninsured with a household income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Patients will receive comprehensive dental care, including fillings, extractions, non-surgical periodontal treatment, dental implants, and associated restorations, 3D imaging and scanning, and restorative dentistry, including crowns, bridges, and dentures.

"The TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence will fill a critical gap for thousands of underserved patients in Illinois who struggle to access routine dental services," said Dr. Julie Frantsve-Hawley, CAE, executive director of the TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence. "To have reached this remarkable milestone is a testament to the efforts of so many – policymakers, local community organizations, our corporate sponsors, TAG doctors and teams, and many more. I hope it gives everyone involved a reason to smile a little brighter today."

The center was made possible with the support and advocacy of Representative Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago) and Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), the Senate's Majority Caucus Chair, who shepherded legislation through the General Assembly in 2021 to expand the opportunity for licensed dentists to provide free care to underserved Illinois residents through education and training programs.

"As a former healthcare provider myself, I uniquely understood the value a facility like the Oral Care Center could offer to residents of my district, too many of whom simply can't afford quality dental care," said Rep. Collins. "I was proud to sponsor this bill to help overcome this challenge in our community with the opening of the TAG Oral Care Center."

"Regular dental care is critical for overall good health, but for so many underserved communities, it's simply not a realistic option to maintain good oral health," said Sen. Hunter. "With clinics like the Oral Care Center, we can start to reverse that reality so that no matter where you live, you can get the care you need to support healthy living."

The TAG Oral Care Center for Excellence builds on TAG's history of breaking down barriers and expanding access to care. TAG is committed to meeting patients where they are and empowering leading clinicians and teams to provide state-of-the-art care through strategic professional development initiatives and access to the latest dental technology.

Most recently, Aspen Dental, one of TAG's core consumer brands providing dental care through doctor-owned practices across the country, hosted its annual Day of Service, providing free dental care to over 3,000 veterans and their family members. This annual initiative seeks to close the gap in dental care for veterans who are only eligible for dental benefits through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs if they're 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury, or were a prisoner of war. The TAG Oral Care Center seeks to build on that foundation of service for many years to come.

Patients looking to enquire about booking an appointment at the new center, and believe they fit the criteria, call 1-866-TAG-OCCE or visit our website: 

RE-GEN™ by Vista Apex Wins 2022 Best of Class Technology Award

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022

RE-GEN™ Universal Dental Adhesive has been selected as a 2022 Cellerant Best of Class Technology Award recipient. RE-GEN™ was developed by Vista Apex, a market leader in Endodontic and Restorative dental products. Vista Apex is honored that RE-GEN™, the world’s first bioactive dental adhesive, was selected for its innovation in the world of restorative dentistry.

“The development of RE-GEN™ has changed the way we look at restorative dentistry” said Vista Apex CEO Scott Lamerand. “Doctors now have a tool that eliminates recurrent caries and provides a pathway for healing compromised tooth structure. RE-GEN™ is setting the new standard of care improving the patient’s oral health every day.”

RE-GEN™ has been shown to prevent secondary decay, provide longer lasting restorations and provide the potential for hydroxyapatite formation to ensure clinical success. Vista Apex has been focused on delivering exceptional products within the restorative and endodontic markets for over two decades. With a focus on innovation, Vista Apex works with Clinicians to achieve better patient outcomes.

“My patients have been impressed, and I have been pleased with the success we have seen even in the deepest of 'pink eyed' preparations. I feel RE-GEN™ is the best we can offer to our patients today and applaud the Cellerant group for recognizing the design ingenuity." said Dr. Michael Miyasaki, Chief Dental Officer at Vista Apex.

This is the third Cellerant award that Vista Apex has received. The Phasor™ Composite Warming System was awarded the Best of Class Technology award in 2019, and PinkWave™ QuadWave™ LED Curing Light received it in 2020. Vista Apex will continue to stride towards making innovative products and help make dentistry better for everyone.


Panthera D-SAD Classic Oral Appliance Now Eligible for Medicare Reimbursement

Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022

Panthera has received notification from the Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding (PDAC) contractor, following their request for a coding decision for the Panthera D-SAD Classic oral appliance. PDAC, following a formal review and assessment, has classified the HCPCS code (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) E0486 to be used when submitting claims for Medicare billing and other insurers who require PDAC verification following CMS (Centers for Medicare-Medicaid Services) policy.

Panthera Dental (Quebec, Canada), a global leader in CAD/CAM implant solutions and dental sleep appliances, today announced they have received notification from PDAC that the Panthera D-SAD Classic can be billed for Medicare beneficiaries using the E0486 HCPCS code when submitting claims.

The Panthera Classic device is 3D printed, made from 100% medical-grade biocompatible polyamide 12 nylon. The versatility of medical grade nylon removes traditional limitations in design, allowing for thinness, thickness, rigidity, or flexibility. Its pull/traction mandibular advancement mechanism is aligned with the occlusal plane, which has been shown to exert less force on the TMJ than an oblique push/compression design, thereby reducing the risk of patients developing TMJ disorders during treatment.1

Panthera Dental is leading the dental-sleep industry in manufacturing principles utilizing 4.0 technology that incorporates robotics, AI and laser sintering. The resourcefulness of nylon enables it to take any shape allowing the Panthera Classic to boast over 350 customization options. The turn-around time to deliver the Panthera Classic anywhere within the US is 8 days which means patients could be starting treatment sooner.

The therapeutic benefits for Medicare and Non-Medicare patients will be significant. The high degree of precision in the CAD/CAM production process means that Panthera Classic appliances are perfectly matched to the dental records provided. The fit goes beyond millimetres in fitting a patient’s anatomy, up to the micron ranges of fit. This often means a drop in fit, less chair time, and increased patient comfort.

The high durability of polyamide 12 nylon, making it virtually indestructible, combined with the latest in manufacturing 4.0 precision technologies, allowed for the company’s recent decision to issue a unique new ‘360 Warranty’. Not only does it offer a free remake for any appliance that breaks during normal use within 36 months, but Panthera Dental will also replace any appliance free of charge during the first 60 days, no questions asked. This is expected to give doctors and their Medicare patients unprecedented peace of mind when starting therapy.

“We are delighted that US practitioners can now offer our oral appliance therapy under Medicare” said Gabriel Robichaud, CEO and Co-Founder of Panthera Dental. “It’s a milestone, not just for Panthera Dental, but more importantly for Medicare patients who can now receive a treatment that is truly personalized in a way that can only be achieved by Industry 4.0 manufacturing.” He continued “Our aim has always been to improve provider’s experience with oral appliance, and to put our leading technology and in-house dental expertise to work to build efficiencies within their practices. We look forward to help them treat even more patients in the future.”

Panthera Dental’s Digital Sleep Apnea Devices (D-SADs), the Panthera Classic and Panthera X3, have FDA 510(k) clearance for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, bear the CE mark, and comply with the Canadian Medical Devices Regulations.

More information about Panthera Dental’s sleep division is available at


1. Cheze L. Impact on temporomandibular joint of two mandibular advancement device designs. ITBM-RBM. 27(5–6):233–7. 2006

Heartland Dental Announces Doctor Difference Brand Campaign Celebrating Company's Doctor-Led Roots

Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Heartland Dental launches new brand campaign, showcasing distinct advantages of its doctor-led approach, voiced by the company's supported doctors and hygienists

Heartland Dental, the nation's leading dental support organization (DSO), today announced a new Doctor Difference brand campaign reflecting its doctor-led culture and business model roots, amid a time of continued and steady growth for the organization. The Doctor Difference campaign was built on a powerful insight: doctors want to retain their clinical autonomy and the ability to focus on what they do best—providing world-class patient care. This philosophy of clinical independence due to support with the non-clinical day to day administrative tasks and being built – by a dentist, for dentists – is a point of differentiation from other DSO competitors.

Today's announcement ushers in a new day of possibilities for all non-Heartland practitioners, reimagining non-clinical dental operations to meet the unique and distinct needs of modern clinicians. Heartland Dental stands apart from other DSOs because of its doctor-led approach, providing supported dentists with world-class non-clinical administrative support and helping to make possible distinct professional and financial growth opportunities. The doctor-led culture and business model enables supported doctors to focus on the clinical aspects of their practice while not having to worry about the day-to-day non-clinical administrative workflow.

"Becoming a dentist and building your practice is about having the freedom to care for your patients and provide great dentistry. The reality for so many doctors, is that at some point, the administrative tasks take over," says Rick Workman, DMD, founder and executive chairman of Heartland Dental. "Our distinct model helps make life easier for supported doctors with robust staffing, equipment, and non-clinical support services that take the headache out of running a dental practice and allowing the focus to be on the simple joy of dentistry, which is why we became clinicians in the first place."

The new brand campaign reflects this core philosophy and connects Heartland Dental and supported doctors to new and prospective doctors with a unique understanding of their needs, told through their perspective.

"The power of the Doctor Difference is that it is told through the experiences of current supported doctors, underscoring the authenticity and credibility that is the foundation of our brand," says Stacy DeWalt, Chief Marketing Officer at Heartland Dental. "Coupled with attractive financial offerings by the supported PC, proprietary operational systems, leadership and skill development programs to help deliver world-class patient care and experiences, the Doctor Difference that Heartland Dental offers supported doctors is a clear advantage over competitors."

The Doctor Difference campaign, which includes a powerful series of supported doctors and hygienist testimonials, launched today on Heartland Dental's website and social channels. Discover the Doctor Difference by visiting   

Clinician's Choice 7th Annual Aruba Conference Announced February 2-4, 2023

Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Clinician’s Choice is pleased to announce the 7th Annual Aruba Dental Conference, February 2-4, 2023, hosted at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino.

The Aruba Dental Conference is open to all dental professionals with an interest in enhancing their knowledge and scope of restorative and esthetic dentistry. With a commitment to supporting their clients to deliver clinical excellence for their patients with innovative solutions and providing leading education, Clinician’s Choice has secured a distinguished line-up of speakers including Dr. William “Bo” Bruce, Dr. Betsy Bakeman, Dr. Marc Geissberger, Dr. Susan McMahon, Dr. Amanda Seay and Dr. Adamo Notarantonio. This 3-day event provides 12 CE credits, with courses running daily from 8:00am – 12:30pm.

Morning programs leave plenty of time each day to soak up the sunshine. Daily temperatures of 82°F are ideal for enjoying Aruba’s breathtaking vistas, historic sites and natural landmarks. The beautiful and pristine beaches are perfect for those longing for a peaceful, restorative retreat. Those looking for adventure will find it in the many explorations and excursions Aruba has to offer, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kite surfing, water skiing, tubing, parasailing and more. Whether it is a luxurious getaway, or an adventures escape, an Aruba vacation will be sure to please.

Set on Palm Beach overlooking the Caribbean, the resort boasts some of Aruba’s most scenic views and accommodations. The Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino is perfectly positioned on the white sands of Palm Beach, and you will never be more than a short stroll from the breezy open-air lobby, new adults-only pool, beach, shops and restaurants.

Early Bird Registration ends November 30, 2022, and space is limited – register early to avoid disappointment.

For more information on the 2023 Aruba Dental Conference, or to register online, visit

LightForce Welcomes Roger George to Company Board

Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Former Invisalign Exec Joins LightForce to Help Drive the Second-Wave of Orthodontic Digitization

LightForce, makers of the world’s only fully customizable 3D printed braces system, announced today that industry veteran, Roger George, has been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. George served as Senior Vice President of Global Legal and Regulatory Affairs at Align Technology, helping that company scale during a pivotal time in their growth. In particular, he became an established expert in establishing, prosecuting, and protecting IP in the dental industry.

“Roger has been in the orthodontics space for over 15 years and understands what it means to focus an organization for rapid growth,” said LightForce CEO Alfred Griffin. “His industry knowledge, functional expertise, and leadership experience in a hypergrowth environment will all be invaluable to the LightForce team and the Board as we pursue our mission to create a new standard of care for braces."

“Based on my experience, I see a tremendous opportunity in front of Alfred and the LightForce team,” said Mr. George. “Clear aligners demonstrated that customized treatment plans based on 3D-scans and sophisticated software were the future of orthodontics; however, the vast majority of patients continue to be treated with braces. It’s truly exciting to join LightForce as they drive the second-wave of digitization and customized braces therapy to address this huge segment of the orthodontic patient population.”

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