Broaden your perio horizons

Dec. 1, 2006
An ad that caught my attention invites dentists, hygienists, assistants, and office staff to participate in Periodontal Disease Update 2006 - Broaden Your Perio Horizons.

An ad that caught my attention invites dentists, hygienists, assistants, and office staff to participate in Periodontal Disease Update 2006 - Broaden Your Perio Horizons. I had seen the ad in numerous issues of RDH and was intrigued by the program. Then I noticed it was coming to the Boston area. I decided to go, even though I already had plenty of CEUs. The program was sponsored by PennWell Publishing, the publishers of RDH, and OraPharma, so I knew I would be in good hands.

And what a treat it was! Broaden Your Perio Horizons offers four CEUs and is an exciting and informative seminar with two dynamic speakers - Richard N. Nagelberg, DDS, PC, and Karen Davis, RDH, BSDH. Each shared insight, humor, and sound educational information.

Dr. Nagelberg’s science

Dr. Nagelberg is a practicing general dentist in the Philadelphia area and the founder of PerioConsulting Services. He lectures extensively on periodontal topics. His program is titled, “Bacterial Origins of Periodontal Disease and Systemic Links.” The objectives include understanding:

  • The perio/systemic link and the role of biofilm
  • The role C-reactive protein has in the immune system response
  • The relationship between CRP and periodontal disease
  • The options for treating periodontal disease
  • The latest scientific research and relating it clinically

The microbiology of biofilms is not my forte, but Dr. Nagelberg presents his portion of the periodontal update program in understandable and concise language. He injects just the right amount of humor to make the program enjoyable, even with all of its science. Citing current research, he informs participants of their responsibility to maintain patients’ periodontal health, not just perform “cleanings.” Current science tells dental professionals to educate patients that bacterial biofilm (plaque) is not just something on the teeth, but a serious health risk. Dr. Nagelberg states current research and how the practicing clinician can apply this knowledge to the everyday world.

Art of effective communication

During the second portion of the program, Karen Davis, RDH, BSDH, discussed the “Art and Science of Effective Communication for Nonsurgical Periodontal Treatment.” Karen’s objectives include:

  • identifying barriers and providing solutions to patients seeking optimal periodontal health
  • identifying risk factors for periodontal disease
  • identifying the benefits of incorporating locally applied antibiotics
  • responding effectively to common patient objections.

Karen is a practicing hygienist with many years of clinical experience, the founder of Cutting Edge Concepts, and a senior consultant with JP Consultants. As a hygienist, Karen can relate to hygienists and team members in the audience. Many times during her program, participants agreed with her statements and examples, since many have patients similar to the ones she describes. Her light, informative style engaged the audience in the learning experience.

Both presenters offer insight into the future of periodontal disease treatments. What dental professionals are doing for patients today will change over the next few years as more scientific information becomes available about the periodontal/systemic connection. Are you ready to deal with all of this new information? This program gives the participant a stepping-stone to further their knowledge base.

The only negative I could find about the program is based upon my own educational experiences. An important part of presenting continuing education is to analyze an audience. Neither Dr. Nagelberg nor Karen “polled” the audience to learn who the participants were. In fact, I spoke with an assistant who had several questions for the speakers. As an assistant she was unfamiliar with material that a hygienist would know. Speakers should learn who their audience is.

Because the program was co-sponsored by PennWell and OraPharma, cost was minimal. OraPharma’s presence as the maker of Arestin® was there, but did not influence the program. This is the hallmark of a true sponsor of a continuing education program.

Quality continuing education programs at a reasonable cost often requires corporate sponsorship. A company that provides this sponsorship is given a place to promote their product, but does not influence the information presented by the speakers.

Also, PennWell is known for its quality continuing education programs, and this Periodontal Update is no exception. I encourage everyone to participate in this program when it comes to your area.

PennWell and OraPharma are currently finalizing details for the 2007 schedule (see list below for the tentative schedule). For current information, visit RDH

Author’s note: As stated I had decided to attend without any input from PennWell or OraPharma. Neither organization was aware I was going to be attending or critiquing the program for this column until I discussed it with them at the conclusion of the program.

Ann-Marie C. DePalma, RDH, BS, FAADH, is currently a faculty member at Mt. Ida College’s dental hygiene program after spending more than 25 years in private practice. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and is also pursuing a master’s degree in education in instructional design. Ann-Marie has written numerous articles and provides continuing education programs for dental hygienists and dental team members. She can be reached at [email protected].

Periodontal Disease Update 2007 seminars

The 2006 OraPharma and PennWell seminars described in DePalma’s column will continue into 2007. At press deadline, the list below was considered to be a “tentative schedcule.” Interested readers should visit www. for updated information.

April 25, Minneapolis
April 26, Detroit
May 4, Seattle
May 23, Boston
May 24, New York City metropolitan area
June 6, San Diego
June 7, San Jose
July 11, St. Louis
July 12, Chicago
August 29, Philadelphia
August 30, Baltimore
October 10, Houston
October 11, Phoenix
November 14, Atlanta
November 15, Florida location