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August 2019

Appearance Policy: A Good Way to Make
a Great First Impression

Some of the hardest conversations to have with staff originate from seemingly simple situations. For example, staff appearance policies are a great example of a policy that would appear to be straightforward and easy to manage, but it can sometimes get complicated.

In the dental office there are generally two options: business casual or scrubs. So how can that be complicated? Appearance is everything that a person visually sees and is one of the strongest impressions dental staff can leave on patients. Appearance can include clothing, hair, tattoos, piercings, etc. In fact, the MDA receives frequent calls from offices wanting to address concerns with a staff member’s appearance.

First and foremost, there needs to be a policy for the practice — but it should be simple. The goal of this policy is to set an expectation that staff will represent the practice in a professional manner. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is very clear when it comes to establishing dress code policies. Its position is as follows:

“Dress Code — In general, an employer may establish a dress code, which applies to all employees or employees within certain job categories. However, there are a few possible exceptions.

“While an employer may require all workers to follow a uniform dress code even if the dress code conflicts with some workers' ethnic beliefs or practices, a dress code must not treat some employees less favorably because of their national origin. For example, a dress code that prohibits certain kinds of ethnic dress, such as traditional African or East Indian attire, but otherwise permits casual dress would treat some employees less favorably because of their national origin.

“Moreover, if the dress code conflicts with an employee's religious practices and the employee requests an accommodation, the employer must modify the dress code or permit an exception to the dress code unless doing so would result in undue hardship.

“Similarly, if an employee requests an accommodation to the dress code because of his disability, the employer must modify the dress code or permit an exception to the dress code, unless doing so would result in undue hardship.” (EEOC,

Click the link below to download a sample representation of the practice/uniform dress code policy. For more questions about appearance policies or other human resources questions, contact Brandy Ryan, MDA director of human resources, at 800-589-2632, ext. 416.


License Renewals Coming Up: Be Prepared

It’s dental license renewal time! If you’re an office manager given the responsibility of keeping track of your dentist’s license renewal date, it’s a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly.

With one-third of all dental licenses expiring on Aug 31, 2019, time is running out. Be sure to check the license renewal dates of the licensed dental professionals in your office for a possible Aug. 31 renewal.

Why is renewing on time so important? Without a valid license:

  • An individual cannot legally practice dentistry.
  • The practice could lose thousands of dollars in income.
  • Insurers will deny claims for any treatment provided by anyone with an expired license.
  • Malpractice coverage will not apply if the dental professional practiced without a license.
  • The individual could be forced to pay a late renewal penalty by the state.

MiPLUS Licensing System

The state of Michigan recently implemented the new MiPLUS licensure system. When dentists, hygienists, or RDAs renew their license for the first time using MiPLUS, in most cases their new license will have an expiration date that corresponds to the date they first received their professional license.

Be sure all licensed dental professionals in the practice look at their new expiration/renewal date. The Aug. 31 renewal date they have been accustomed to will likely not be their new renewal date.

The state of Michigan also requires all licenses to be renewed online. Click here to renew online.

Additional Resources

Frequently asked questions and answers about MiPLUS appeared in the June MDA Journal and are also available on the MDA website.

New CE Learning Experience for Entire Office Team Coming Oct. 23

The Michigan Dental Association will present a “New Learning Experience for the Entire Dental Team” on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at MDA headquarters in Okemos.

This new learning experience will focus on the entire staff. The team will be divided into three groups — dentists; hygienists and dental assistants; and business staff/office managers. Enjoy 45 minutes of each speaker learning about topics for each specific role in the office. Then meet up after for a group lunch with your team to discuss what the group learned and how to incorporate what you’ve learned when returning to the office.

The cost of the seminar is $350, which includes eight people from your office. This course counts toward the Certified Dental Business Professional curriculum.

Topics include:

Skyrocket Your Practice with Exceptional Customer Service!
Dr. Thomas Lambert will present a dynamic and engaging style that is sure to inspire your team to focus on exceptional customer service! From the first impression to the last, your patients will be raving about you on social media.

HIPAA Update and Review
Jennifer Cosey will present how HIPAA requirements impact your position as a dentist, hygienist, and assistant or office staff member in three separate sessions, with material tailored to each area. The seminar will touch on topics from HIPAA privacy, security, and breach notification.

Cyber Security: Minimum Risk
Join Joe Gates for this session that will explain how your practice may be at risk — and what you can do to protect yourself. Any business that collects Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Protected Health Information (PHI) has a potential exposure and a legal obligation to protect such information.

Optional DiSC® Training

For an additional $200, spend the afternoon getting to know your team’s work styles and improve communication and efficiency in the office. Team members will determine their DiSC® profile, and then as a team discover how to best work with one another, making for a happy workplace. This extended session starts at 1:30 p.m. and should be completed by 3:30 p.m.


Save $10 on MDA Practice Management Series Books

All through the month of September the MDA is offering special pricing on the MDA Practice Management Series print edition books — $10 off each title. The Practice Management Series includes:

Most-Asked Human Resources Questions: Edited by Jodi Schafer, SPHR, this book contains a compilation of human resources questions and answers common to almost every dental office. Reg. $29, now $19.

Most-Asked Legal Questions: Authored by MDA Legal Counsel Dan Schulte, JD, this book provides answers to MDA members’ most-common legal questions. Reg. $29, now $19.

Dentist’s Guide to Michigan Law: This newly revised edition is a Michigan-specific guide to laws affecting dental practices, complete with legal citations. Reg. $29, now $19.

NEW! Most-Asked Ethics Questions: This book features ethical questions and answers especially selected by Michael Maihofer, DDS, the former chair of the MDA Committee on Peer Review/Ethics. Includes the updated ADA/MDA Code of Ethics. Reg. $29, now $19.

Hurry — this special sale ends Sept. 30. NOTE: Each book is also available as a free electronic download (sale applies to print editions only).