Western Society of Pediatric Dentistry

Spring Awakenings

Spring is the season of new beginnings. Buds freshly bloom, animals awaken, and the earth seems to come to life again after being dormant during the winter. Behind the scenes, Organized Dentistry at the State, District, and National Levels worked hard ensuring that the profession would be ready for its reemergence in a Post COVID-19 world. WSPD adapted under the leadership of President Cody Hughes. Thank You, Cody, and WSPD for guiding us through these unprecedented times. Thank you to Outgoing Western District Trustee Jacob Lee.

At the National Level, The AAPD Communications Committee updated three of its Patient Education Brochures: The Pediatric Dentist, Dental Care for Your Baby, and Sealants. The committee also advocated that the AAPD Membership and patients would benefit from a Patient Brochure on Dental Insurance to help educate the public on Dental Insurance. The AAPD Board of Trustees at its 2021 Winter Board Meeting authorized this brochure’s commissioning.

On December 22nd , 2020, the ADA and The AAPD achieved a long-time legislative priority when the U.S. Senate voted to repeal the McCarran-Ferguson antitrust exemption for health insurance companies by passing HR 1418, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act. The House previously passed the bill on September 21st, 2020. The President signed the bill into law on January 13th, 2021.

The Profession of Dentistry is at a turning point where an active and engaged membership and responsive leadership are more important than ever. The Pandemic has given us time to pause and reflect on our future and life balance. It has shown the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit.

The Pandemic has also taken a mental toll. Sarah Lyall writes about this in her April 3rd, 2021, The New York Times Article, We Have All Hit a Wall, Confronting late-stage pandemic burnout, with everything from edibles to Exodus.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/03/business/pandemic-burnout-productivity.html

“When people are under a long period of chronic, unpredictable stress, they develop behavioral anhedonia,” Dr. Wehrenberg said, meaning the loss of the ability to take pleasure in their activities. “And so they get lethargic, and they show a lack of interest — and obviously that plays a huge role in productivity.”

She writes, “Call it a late-pandemic crisis of productivity, of will, of enthusiasm, of purpose. Call it a bout of existential work-related ennui provoked partly by the realization that sitting in the same chair in the same room staring at the same computer for 12 straight months (and counting!) has left many of us feeling like burned-out husks, dimwitted approximations of our once-productive selves.”

“Malaise, burnout, depression and stress — all of those are up considerably,” said Todd Katz, executive vice president and head of group benefits at MetLife. The company’s most recent Employee Benefit Trends Study, conducted in December and January, found that workers across the board felt markedly worse than they did last April.

Yes, malaise, burnout and depression, and stress are up. Recognition that we are all in the same boat is the first step in tearing down that Mental Wall. Moving forward, we must tackle this Mental Wall. We must be engaged members communicating with our leaders. We must guide the future path of Pediatric Dentistry as a profession because we Pediatric Dental Specialists are the experts in Pediatric Dentistry.

Fortunately, WSPD has an Activist/Advocate leadership under the guidance of Incoming WSPD President Dennis Nutter. Having worked with him and the leadership of WSPD, I know they will break down that wall and guide the profession in the right direction at the District levels, making practice and academics exciting and fulfilling. Dennis has demonstrated a reputation of listening to members and serving the membership and the public by advocating optimal oral health of infants, children, and adolescents. I look forward to serving with them and you in representing the Western District at the National level. Thank you, it is a privilege to be your Incoming Westering District Trustee. Make it a Happy Healthy Day.