Winning Ways

Dentists Improve Their "Home Practice" Advantage at HDC Advantage

Winning Ways Award

In sports, it's no wonder most major championship games are played in neutral locations. In the arena of patient care, however, a "home practice advantage" helps everyone, and HDC-affiliated dentists are constantly looking for new ways to increase this advantage and benefit their patients. At the recent HDC Advantage program, Dr. Ben Miraglia lectured on clinical aspects, focusing on interceptive orthodontics, and author Shawn Achor provided principles for success based on his research in the area of happiness. Both speakers helped attendees attain new ways to increase their own "home practice advantage."

Dr. Ben Miraglia, a practicing dentist in New York, shared at HDC's annual dentist gathering, offering ways dentists can improve the health of pediatric patients by using interceptive orthodontics. Miraglia's philosophy includes guiding the overall growth and development of the middle and lower thirds of the head, including the airway. The results promote healthy longevity of the whole body.

It's a change in orthodontic focus―treating the cause rather than the symptoms. With patients under the age of 12, Miraglia shifted the focus to the airway as opposed to teeth alignment. He compared the mouth to a room and teeth to guests. "During the ages of 5 to 12, the room is being built," Miraglia explained. "We know how much room will be needed for the guests. If we can see there won't be enough room, why not change the size of the room while it is being built?" he asked.

Ben Miraglia, DMD
Ben Miraglia, DMD
Practicing dentist in Mount Kisco, New York, lectures on dental topics including Invisalign and interceptive orthodontics.

The featured clinical speaker challenged doctors to guide
normal maxilla and mandible growth, which he describes as downward, forward and wide. By controlling the maxilla, we can expect the mandible will follow. Taking notice and acting on this at an early stage puts the patient at a tremendous advantage for a lifetime. Miraglia recommended that parents bring young children to the dentist "as early as the child will let them." The muscular development in the tongue, lips and cheeks occurs during the formative years. "Soft tissue development moves hard tissue," he said. "Removable appliances exist to help redirect the tongue and ultimately recondition the body."

BBased on societal factors, Miraglia noted that underdeveloped airways are a growing problem. Improper development in these areas can lead to sleep disorders, diminished IQ and increased rates of ADD and ADHD. He encouraged dentists to recognize and diagnose these problems and pursue more education in orthodontics. "As dentists, we have an opportunity to get these children back on track," Miraglia said. "This is a great
opportunity for dentists to make a
positive impact."

Researcher and author Shawn Achor provided the second portion of the "home field" advantage, sharing how doctors and teams can improve performance through happiness and positivity. The Texas native explained that 90 percent of long-term happiness is determined by the way our brains process the world. It is not necessarily reality that shapes us, Achor said, but rather the lens through which the brain views the world around us. By changing the lens, we change our possibilities.

Shawn Anchor
Shawn Anchor
Author of the best-selling book, "The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work".

The Harvard researcher encouraged the group to find ways to become positive in the present, and the small changes will ripple outward. These practical steps included writing down three gratitudes each day, journaling, setting aside 15 fun minutes, meditation and doing conscious acts of kindness. Making these items part of a daily routine will lead to a competitive advantage. Providing a championship level of care is the first priority for HDC-affiliated dentists. These advantages can be put to use in delivering optimal patient experiences.