Navigating social media: 'Guygienist' helps develop online strategy for dental professionals

Jan. 12, 2016
'Guygienist' helps develop online social media strategy for dental professionals

'Guygienist' helps develop online strategy for dental professionals

Ann-Marie C. DePalma

Social media is defined as any form of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content such as videos. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest have blossomed over the last few years.

Having both a personal and professional social media presence is essential in today's electronic environment. Since 2014, all social media platforms provide the ability to grow one's brand and business substantially. But where and how do individual hygienists and dental practices use social media to enhance practice and personal goals? Elijah Desmond, RDH, has created a program designed to educate dental team members on the intricacies of social media. His program is titled, "Guygiene: Social Media from a Guygienist Guru for the Dental Professional of the 21st Century."

Program objectives include:

• Learn to use Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, GooglePlus, and Pinterest to the fullest extent

• Understand how to target demographics via social media to grow the practice and attract new patients

• Implement a system for posting topics and what types of topics are suitable for posting

• Establish personal privacy settings to allow how much or how little of your information is presented on social media

• Review the behind-the-scenes world of social media and explore algorithms that you never knew existed in the social media world.

Although the title is geared to the hygienist, Elijah believes that all team members will benefit from the program.

He also presents programs on the prevention of oral and systemic disease, orthodontics, case presentation, implants, and tissue regeneration. He is currently the owner and founder of a number of businesses: Back to Basics, LLC, a dental coaching company that focuses on chairside coaching and team motivation; Carmeye, LLC for Dentistry, a dental social network; Start-Up Staffing, a company that provides dental professionals with the tools to create their own staffing agency; A Success Story for Kids, a charity that focuses on children and their future success; and Smiles at Sea, which conducts continuing education cruises.

He is also a motivational speaker and presents continuing education programs for Invisalign and Straumann. His programs include handouts that are evidence-based to the highest level. Elijah uses PowerPoint only as the background to help his programs flow. He is never behind a podium to speak and needs to be expressing his energy in his programs among the participants.

Elijah graduated high school two years early and began his journey in dental hygiene at the Ohio State University dental hygiene program. Upon completion of the program, he moved to Hawaii and practiced clinical dental hygiene for a short time. However he soon discovered that there was a huge need for full-time dental hygienists on the islands, so he started his first business, Hawaii Smiles Dental Temp Agency, LLC and left full time clinical practice to focus on the business. Having the business allowed him the ability to temp himself, and by temping he discovered various clinical and business techniques that increased production and team motivation. These experiences propelled him to start, Back to Basics, LLC, a business that provides clinical and motivational techniques with business development tools for dental teams. Initially focused on the Hawaiian dental practices, Elijah expanded the business to other areas of the country.

During this time he also began his charity as a motivational speaker inspiring children to achieve their best. Additionally, he has also participated in a number of volunteer mission trips in underdeveloped countries.

Then in 2014 while on his first cruise, a six-day trip to the Caribbean with a friend, Elijah found himself enjoying it so much that he decided that he wanted to combine his love of hygiene, his high energy, and the joy of traveling into what became Smiles at Sea. At the time of the cruise, he was overseeing three businesses. Although he is a high energy person, being in an environment where others wanted to have fun and live life to the fullest while meeting new friends and making new experiences was an inspiring and exhilarating feeling. He returned home determined to move his dream forward.

Shortly after his return his daughter, Chloe, was born and that inspired his motivational and entrepreneurial spirit even more. Since dental professionals need anywhere from 20 to 50 hours of continuing education credits per cycle, Elijah was motivated and determined to put together a fun, exhilarating, and educational program through Smiles at Sea. He developed a business model, obtained the appropriate license, designed materials, and performed all of the necessary research to bring his dream to life. He contacted a number of well-respected continuing education speakers and the cruise set sail. Elijah has a number of other continuing education cruises planned in addition to his other continuing education programs.

Elijah's orthodontic programs center on educational tools for informing patients about orthodontics, ways to achieve high orthodontic treatment acceptance, and offering best practices for financing orthodontics in today's economy. He also presents orthodontic programs based on Invisalign and how the system can improve practice productivity and patient care. His case acceptance program, "Triple F: Front-Flow-Finance," delves into communication skills that allow team members to be on the same page from initial patient contact through treatment and beyond.

Elijah's prevention program, "A Guygienist's Perspective in Prevention" reviews the relationship between occlusal disease, periodontal disease, tooth wear, and heart disease while enhancing a team's communication and case acceptance skills. "An Interdisciplinary Approach in Regeneration" is the program he currently presents for Straumann, and it explores the history of periodontal disease and nonsurgical therapies while reviewing the repair vs. regeneration model and how biological mediators can affect the health of hard and soft tissues. All of his programs highlight his high-energy, dynamic personality.

Elijah wants all team members to understand and believe that motivation and determination without procrastination is the key to success. He also believes that with a belief in God all things are possible. Make all things possible in your world-whether in the social media or in day-to-day clinical practice-by embracing the belief that with determination you can succeed in anything.

For more information about Elijah or his cruises contact: [email protected] or visit

Thought for the month

"And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been"

Rainer Maria Rilke RDH

INeedCE course for January

The January INeedCE course is "Update on Medication Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw." RDH Readers receive a 50% discount, regular course price $59 with code AMJAN16 $29.50. Discount good until 2/24/16.

Update on Medication Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recently updated management recommendations and related information for osteonecrosis of the jaw. The condition formerly referred to as bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) was renamed medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) due to reports of several non-bisphosphonate drugs resulting in the loss of alveolar bone and clinically appearing similar to BRONJ. This course will cover new information on proposed etiologies, mechanisms of drug actions and physical events which may be related to development of the loss of alveolar bone. All pharmacologic agents proposed to play a role in the development of the alveolar bone destruction will be identified and the degree of risk for each agent discussed. Information to discuss with patients taking medications associated with MRONJ are included to assist in patient information identified in the AAOMS guidelines.

ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie is collaborating with several authors on various books for dental hygiene and can be reached at [email protected].