Episode 105 – Dental Therapy Part 1 – Arizona Dental Association President Opposes Dental Therapy

On this week’s episode of Removing the Bite Block Dr. Zeller interviews president of the Arizona Dental Association, Dr. Robert Roda. Dr. Roda is an endodontist in Scottsdale, AZ. In April of 2018 Dr. Roda wrote an editorial that was published in the ADA news titled, “MyView: State’s Failed Dental Therapy Experiment”. At this time the state of Arizona was considering the licensing of dental therapists. In an attempt to block this bill, Dr. Roda describes his view on how, “…Dental therapists are a distraction. They solve nothing.” He also states that the Minnesota dental therapy model, “…is really nothing more than a few people standing around waving sparklers.” Dr. Zeller and Dr. Roda discuss this editorial, along with some of the following topics:

  • Dr. Roda’s idea for Quality Assurance permits
  • How the dental community responded to his editorial
  • How some patients simple make “bad decisions”
  • The power of interactive study clubs
  • The Pew Foundation
  • Defining “success” when providing access to care
  • Zombies
  • Getting more involved in organized dentistry

Dr. Roda received his BS in Biology (1977) and DDS degrees (1981) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and practiced as a general dentist in Nova Scotia for 10 years. He earned his MS in Oral Biology and Certificate of Specialty in Endodontics at Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas in 1993 and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics in 1998.

Dr. Roda is a Past President of the American Association of Endodontists and the current President-Elect of the Arizona Dental Association. He is an Endodontic Consultant to the Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners, Visiting Lecturer in the Endodontic Department at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and Associate Editor of the Journal of Endodontics . He is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), American Association of Endodontists (AAE), the Canadian Acadamy of Endodontics, and the Central Arizona Dental Society (CADS).

A link to his editorial published in the ADA News about the Minnesota Dental Therapy Model can be found here.

Banner image featuring Dr. Marko Vujicic

Episode 104 – Dr. Marko Vujicic Part 2 – Chief Economist of the ADA Talks Future Dental Trends

In this week’s episode of Removing the Bite Block, Dr. Zeller interviews Chief Economist of the ADA, Dr. Marko Vujicic. They discuss his controversial guest editorial in the March 2018 JADA including many other controversial topics. Dr. Vujicic describes how he believes we approaching an era where major changes will be happening in our profession. He supports expanding dental care in government funded programs, tying reimbursement partially to patient outcomes, and developing an oral health measurement system so that we can better treat and improve the health of our patients.

To view Dr. Zeller’s deconstruction of the dental community’s response to Dr. Vujicic’s editorial, click here.

banner photo for episode 104 part one. Dr. Zeller's response to Dr. Marko Vujicic article.

Episode 104 – Dr. Marko Vujicic Part 1 – ‘The Dental System is Stuck and Here is What to Do About it’

This episode is the first of two parts. Dr. Caroline Zeller discusses what she believes to be the most influential piece of dental literature, of the past year. In Dr. Marko Vujicic’s guest editorial from the March 2018 JADA he states that  the current dental system is stuck, and how he believes it should change. It is a very disruptive piece. This episode is short, but contains a lot of crucial information for the dental community. In Part 2, Dr. Zeller interviews Dr. Vujicic about this piece and many other controversial topics.

Dr. Vujicic is currently the Chief Economist and Vice President of the American Dental Association.

Response to Dr. Vujicic’s Editorial

In March of 2018 Dr. Marko Vujicic wrote a guest editorial in JADA. It was titled Our Dental System is Stuck. Below is my response to this thought piece.

In the March issue of JADA Dr. Marko Vujicic described the current dental system as “stuck”. He believes that major reforms are needed to improve the dental care system in a meaningful way. He recognizes the disruptive implications of these reforms, but insists that they are absolutely necessary to improve the oral health of the American public. Dr. Vujicic ends his editorial asking: who will lead the change? Well Dr. Vujicic, I’m raising my hand.

I believe there are others in the dental community also stepping forward and speaking out. I believe that we must find a way to connect, collaborate, and create. The reforms you suggest will take many years, and they start with the decisions being made today. The organizations that affect dentistry are changing the future of the dental profession. Yet the individuals making these decisions will likely not be affected. The future that is being changed, is mine.

I personally am dissatisfied with the millions of Americans being left behind in our current dental system. But I am just one voice with only a handful of experiences. Do we know what the voices of the future want it to look like? New dentists are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt and entering a dental community that doesn’t look anything like what they imagined. We are struggling to adapt, struggling to achieve the quality of life we worked so hard to attain.

I believe the only way to produce sustainable and meaningful improvements in our dental system, is to seek the help of my generation.

I challenge students and new dentists to get informed and speak up. Don’t feel like you don’t have a voice. You do and you must. Connect with others on social media. Get involved in organized dentistry. Apply for positions on committees. Every voice is important.

I challenge dental educators to support these discussions. Create a space where students feel comfortable asking ‘Why’ and ‘How can we make this better?’ If the goal is to prepare students for the real-world, we must teach them how to thrive in an ever-changing environment.

Finally, I challenge the entire dental community to actively create space for new perspectives. I believe that our profession is made of large hearts and brilliant minds from all ages and with unique experiences. We must consider them all if we want to improve our profession and the impact it has on the American public.

So stand up. Speak out. We want to hear what you have to say.



Episode 103 – Dr. Marcia Brand – The Future of the Dental Delivery Model and Advocating for Oral Health

Dr. Zeller and Dr. Marcia Brand discuss where they believe dentistry is going, and how that will look entirely different than many expect. They also discuss the utility in an integrated healthcare model and those that support and hinder change. Finally, Dr. Brand describes how the dental community can best advocate for oral health to their state and federal lawmakers.
Marcia K. Brand, Ph.D. is a Senior Advisor to the Dentaquest Foundation and the Executive Director of the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health. She has held a number of leadership positions in the Federal government and academics and currently serves as a consultant and advisor on matters related to access to oral and rural health care.  From 2009 until 2015, Dr. Brand was the Deputy Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an Agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services that works to fill in the gaps for people who live outside the economic and medical mainstream.  The Agency uses its $10 billion annual budget to expand access to quality health care in partnership with health care providers and health professions training programs.   She held other leadership positions within HRSA, including associate administrator for the Bureau of Health professions and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.  Brand worked in the US Senate as a legislative assistant, and held academic appointments in the dental hygiene departments at Thomas Jefferson University and Old Dominion University.  She earned a doctoral degree in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, and both master’s and bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene from Old Dominion University.

Episode 102 – Dr. Anthony Palatta – The Future of Dental Education and Fear of Change

In the next episode Dr. Anthony Palatta discusses his project aimed at adapting to the changes facing dental education.


Dr. Anthony Palatta is the Chief Learning Officer at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) in Washington, DC. where he leads and implements strategic initiatives designed to improve teaching and learning, support curriculum innovation, support the use of effective curriculum assessment tools, and promote the use of technology in teaching.

Previously, Dr. Palatta was the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Academic Support at New York University, College of Dentistry. He received his DDS from New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD), after which he performed clinical dentistry both in private practice and in a community hospital setting. He joined his dental alma mater, NYUCD in 1992 as a clinical associate professor. His interest in his student’s personal and professional development led to him instituting the Office for Student Retention at NYUCD in 1999 where he served as the director. In 2006, Dr. Palatta was named Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions, also at NYUCD. In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Palatta co-wrote and taught cultural awareness programming for dental students.


Episode 101 – Meet the Host and Understand the Inspiration

Meet Your Host –

In the first episode of the Removing the Bite Block podcast, you’ll meet host Caroline Zeller, hear about the inspiration for starting the podcast, Caroline’s background and why she’s on a mission to improve dental care and the dental industry. Let’s get excited!