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January Public Information Officer (PIO) Memo.doc


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January Public Information Officer (PIO) Memo.doc

  1. 1. January Public Information Officer (PIO) Memo Visit the AGD Leader Resource Center If you have not already, please take a minute to visit the AGD Leader Resource Center at From there, click on the “Constituent” tab on the left-hand side, then “Constituent Public Information Officer.” There, you will be able to find qualifications and responsibilities of the position, sample Public Information templates and the Public Information document that contains information that is relative to public relations. This master document includes detail on types of media, how to work with the media and other useful tips that will help you grow as a PIO. Also, Winter 2006 Dentalnotes are located on that page as a PDF. If you distribute the “newsletter” format to media outlets, this is a good way to get more copies. The e- version of Winter 2006 Dentalnotes is provided within this memo, along with hyperlinks to the stories that are posted on the AGD Web site. New PIO in your Constituent? Update Headquarters! In order for the PIO program to run smoothly and achieve success, it is important that staff at AGD headquarters remain updated on changes within each constituent. If you have elected new officers within your constituent and the PIO position has changed, please e-mail Stefanie at Please include the name of the new PIO, his or her contact information, the name of the previous PIO and indicate in which constituent this change occurred. Once we have that information, we can provide the new PIO with the materials he or she will need to feel prepared for the role. Thank you in advance for your cooperation on this matter. The Value of PIOs: Why Every Constituent should have One The Public Information Officer (PIO) represents the grassroots public relations efforts of the AGD. The AGD implements national public relations plans; and the constituent PIO applies public information ideas locally. PIOs are the vital communications link between the AGD constituent and the general public. PIOs work with local media to increase awareness of the AGD as a whole, the general dentistry profession and oral health issues that are important to the community. PIOs accomplish this by distributing Dentalnotes, the AGD’s media newsletter, to local media; developing local community programs such as the state-wide, toll-free dental hotline SmileLine; and by dispensing information at local health fairs and educational visits. If your constituent is currently without a PIO and you know of someone who is well- suited for the position, please e-mail for more information.
  2. 2. Winter 2006 Dentalnotes: E-version As a PIO, you receive a complimentary subscription to Dentalnotes, the AGD’s media newsletter. On the national level, the AGD public relations staff sends Dentalnotes to national print and broadcast outlets and follows up the mailing with phone calls. To support this effort, you are encouraged to send Dentalnotes to the print, radio and television media in your area. Sending Dentalnotes in an envelope with your return address or distributing the e-version provides the media with a local resource for dental information. Media professionals receive hundreds of press releases and letters each day, so it is challenging to get information printed. Using the e-newsletter version however can help cut through the clutter. The stories are provided within this document, and the link their location online is also included. This would be a great way to refer journalists to the AGD’s Web site for additional oral health resources and news. Winter 2006 Dentalnotes stories: • Periodontal Disease o A visit to the general dentist can prevent a major case of tooth loss • Children’s Oral Health o Sucking on pacifiers has negative and positive effects • Cosmetics o Dental techniques enhance smile and increase confidence • Mouthrinses o Swishing once a day poses no harm to dental work • Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome o Recurring and unexplained episodes destroy teeth • Q&A: Veneers The PIO pitch letter is also included within this memo.
  3. 3. DATE [PREFIX. FIRST NAME LAST NAME] [TITLE] [PUBLICATION] [ADDRESS] [CITY STATE ZIP] Dear [SUFFIX LAST NAME], Many parents worldwide give pacifiers to their children to ease their discomfort, and there has been much debate regarding whether they are good or bad for children. Pacifier use up until the age of two can reduce the cause of SIDS, increase sucking satisfaction and provide a source of comfort to infants, according to a study in the January/February 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal. The study reviewed literature examining the positive and negative effects of pacifier use. Since sucking is a habit that is learned at birth, the study examined how breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and non-nutritive sucking affected an infant’s oral health. Data revealed that children who use pacifiers during sleep caused them to not fall into the deep sleep that causes SIDS, but pacifier use after two can affect the alignment of teeth and changes in shape of the roof of the mouth. A few suggestions from the authors can help to ensure that pacifier use is as safe as possible for infants: • Pacifier use should be restricted to the time when the infant is falling asleep. • Look for ventilation holes in the shield, as they permit air passage. This is important if the pacifier accidentally becomes lodged in the child’s throat. • Dispose of the pacifier after use; it is not sanitary to keep it or give it away. With your help, we hope to educate consumers about the positive and negative qualities of pacifiers. Enclosed, please find the Winter 2006 issue of Dentalnotes, which contains more research-based facts and articles on this topic and other health issues. As a Public Information Officer for the [CONSTITUENT] Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), I can help you add a local angle to this story. Please contact me at [] or [E-MAIL] if you have any questions or wish to arrange an interview with a local AGD spokesperson. Best wishes, [YOUR NAME] Public Information Officer [CONSTITUENT] Academy of General Dentistry Enclosure: Winter 2006 Dentalnotes
  4. 4. Periodontal Disease A visit to the general dentist can prevent a major case of tooth loss Do you know what common oral disease has been associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes and preterm low-birth weight babies? According to the November 2006 issue of AGD Impact, the monthly newsmagazine of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), it’s periodontal disease and can be easily prevented through regular visits to a general dentist, daily brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning. Periodontal disease is also known as gum disease and it can affect three out of four people in their lifetime. Gum disease is a chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue. The primary cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque which is a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on the teeth. Toxins (poisons) produced and released by bacteria in plaque cause fibers that hold the gums tightly to the teeth to break down, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more toxins and bacteria. The pockets may extend deeper, destroy the bone that holds the tooth in place and eventually cause the tooth to fall out. Anne Murray, DDS, FAGD and AGD spokesperson, says that “risk factors for periodontal disease can include genetics, diet, tobacco use, medications, stress, poor nutrition and clenching or grinding your teeth.” “As a general dentist, we are our patients’ primary care provider and that means that we manage their overall dental health care,” says AGD President Bruce DeGinder, DDS, MAGD. “A general dentist takes responsibility for the diagnosis, treatment, and overall coordination of services to help meet our patients’ oral health needs.” Treatment will consist of scaling and root planing, which involves removing plaque from around the tooth and smoothing the root surfaces. In the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, scaling and root planing and proper daily cleaning will achieve a satisfactory result. More advanced cases, however, may require surgical treatment. “Sticking to a regular oral hygiene regimen is crucial for patients who want to sustain the results of therapy,” says Dr. Murray. “Patients with gum disease should visit their general dentist every three to four months as well as floss daily and brush their teeth and tongue at least twice a day.” What are the warning signs of gum disease? • Red, swollen, or tender gums that may bleeding while brushing or flossing • Gums that pull away from teeth • Loose or separating teeth • Pus between the gum and tooth • Persistent bad breath • A change in the way teeth fit together when the patient bites • A change in the fit of partial dentures
  5. 5. This article is available online at
  6. 6. Children’s Oral Health Sucking on pacifiers has negative and positive effects It’s one of the hardest habits to break and can require a great deal of persuasion: Parents often struggle with weaning their child off of a pacifier. There is much debate regarding the use of pacifiers, but there is evidence to show that there are both pros and cons, according to a report/study that appeared in the January/February 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal. “Contrary to popular belief, there are some positive effects that result from sucking on pacifiers,” says Jane Soxman, DDS, author of the study and Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. “One is that they assist in reducing the incidence of SIDS. Babies who are offered a pacifier do not sleep as deeply as those who sleep without a pacifier. Pacifier sucking makes it possible for the infant to be aroused from a deep sleep that could result in the stopping of breathing. Pacifiers also increase sucking satisfaction and provide a source of comfort to infants.” Breaking the habit is not always easy, and there are several methods parents can use to stop it. Parents can dip the pacifier in white vinegar, making it distasteful; pierce the nipple of the pacifier with an ice pick or cut it shorter to reduce sucking satisfaction; leave it behind on a trip; or implement the “cold turkey” method. Parents should be aware of the effects of pacifier sucking on an infant’s oral health. “Children should stop using pacifiers by age two,” says Luke Matranga, DDS, MAGD, ABGD, AGD spokesperson. “Up until the age of two, any alignment problem with the teeth or the developing bone is usually corrected within a 6-month period after pacifier use is stopped. Prolonged pacifier use and thumb sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of the teeth and changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth.” Tips and recommendations: • Pacifier use should be restricted to the time when the infant is falling asleep. • Pacifiers can cause severe lacerations if the shield is held inside the lips. • Look for a pacifier with ventilation holes in the shield, as they permit air passage. This is important if the pacifier accidentally becomes lodged in the child’s throat. • In order to prevent strangulation, do not place a cord around a child’s neck to hold a pacifier. Look for pacifiers that have a ring. • A symmetrical nipple permits the pacifier to remain in the correct sucking position. • Dispose of the pacifier after use; it is not sanitary to keep it or give it away. This article is available online at
  7. 7. Cosmetics Dental techniques enhance smile and increase confidence What are the characteristics of an attractive smile? While not every person is born with a perfect smile, qualities such as straightness, cleanliness or whiteness of teeth may come to mind. Thanks to developments in the field of cosmetic dentistry, people can change the smile they were born with into a smile they love. General dentists are able to perform a variety of cosmetic procedures to improve patients’ smiles, according to an article in the December 2006 issue of AGD Impact, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) monthly newsmagazine. These procedures range from subtle changes to major repairs, fixing flaws such as discolored, chipped, misshapen or missing teeth. Cosmetic procedures include bleaching, bonding, veneers, reshaping and contouring. Bleaching is a common and popular procedure that is used to whiten teeth and can be performed by a dentist in the office or under supervision at home. Dentists can also use a variety of methods to correct misshapen or crooked teeth. Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or plastic that are cemented over the front of teeth, and bonding is the use of tooth-colored material to fill in gaps or change the color of teeth. Tooth reshaping or contouring are used to alter the length, shape or position of teeth and are ideal for patients with normally healthy teeth but seek subtle changes in their smile. Some cosmetic procedures are not permanent, however. Craig Valentine, DMD, FAGD, AGD spokesperson, notes that “bleached teeth may fade back to their original color, and might require more bleaching or veneering to cover dark enamel.” Dr. Valentine adds that, as with all dental procedures, “the patient must maintain the health of the teeth and gum tissue through daily flossing and brushing to keep the smile beautiful.” Questions to ask before undergoing treatment: • What will the changes look like? • May I see before and after photos of other patients? • What should I expect throughout the course of treatment? • What type of maintenance will be required? • What type of continuing education courses in cosmetics have you completed? This article is available online at
  8. 8. Mouthrinses Swishing once a day poses no harm to dental work People have been paying more attention to the effects certain liquids like coffee, citrus- containing drinks, and even toothbrushes have on teeth. Mouthrinses are no exception. Mouthrinses contain essential oils, which include eucalyptol, menthol, thymol, alcohol, sorbitol, and others. People use mouthrinses for many reasons, ranging from whiter teeth, better breath, or cavity protection. But are there any risks to using mouthrinses that contain essential oils? In a recent study in the November/December 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, authors examined mouthrinses containing essential oils and the effects they have on restorative materials in the mouth. Restorative materials studied in this article included amalgams (silver/mercury mixture used for fillings), glass ionomers (used to cement gold and ceramic crowns to teeth), and composite resins (fillers that are tooth-colored). The authors subjected these materials to continuous exposure to mouth-rinses and distilled water for 10 days. The materials were placed in mouth guards that had three holes, each of which contained a specimen of each type of restorative material, and volunteer patients wore the mouth guards 12 hours per day for 10 days. The patients rinsed twice daily with a commercial mouthrinse and after the 10 days, the materials were removed from the devices and were inspected. Strength and appearance of the materials were observed and compared. Overall the study found that even long-term exposure to a mouthrinse containing essential oils has a minimal effect on the strength or surface of dental restorations of any kind. J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, PhD, the lead author of the study, says that “this is a positive finding since patients are often concerned that rinsing the mouth with alcohol-containing mouthwashes could affect their fillings. Fortunately, this was found not to be the case.” However, because many mouthrinses do contain a wide variety of ingredients, Dr. von Fraunhofer is looking to see whether they may have an effect on dentures and even orthodontic appliances. These studies are in progress and are yielding some interesting information. He indicated that he will report his findings to General Dentistry as they become available. What are restorative materials? • Amalgams – silver/mercury mixture used for fillings • Glass ionomers – material used to cement gold and ceramic crowns to teeth • Composite resins – fillers that are tooth-colored This article is available online at
  9. 9. Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Recurring and unexplained episodes destroy teeth Health risks are everywhere and as many as people know about, there are still many of which people are unaware. Parents face even more concerns when it comes to protecting children. Some diseases and problems are more prevalent in children—like cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS). CVS mainly affects children, and is something of which parents should be aware. According to a recent report in the November/December 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal, CVS is characterized by a number of symptoms, the most evident being recurrent episodes of nausea and vomiting that are not caused by any specific disease and occur between periods of otherwise normal health. The study’s author, Eric T. Stoopler, DMD, says that the disorder generally lasts between two and six years and fortunately commonly resolves during adolescence. With regard to oral health, CVS affects the mouth and teeth in similar ways to diseases associated with chronic vomiting, such as bulimia, gastritis, or peritonitis, and can cause tooth sensitivity and erosion, caries, periodontal disease, xerostomia, salivary gland enlargement, and trauma to the oral tissue. So what can parents do? Dr. Stoopler advises parents to watch for anything unusual and to make sure both the child’s pediatrician and dentist are informed. “If an otherwise healthy child develops chronic episodes of severe nausea and vomiting in conjunction with systemic, gastrointestinal, urologic and/or neurologic symptoms, parents should consult with a pediatrician. If a child’s dentist obtains a medical history that is suggestive of CVS, the patient should be referred to a pediatrician for further evaluation.” CVS: What to look for • Nausea and/or vomiting not caused by any specific disease • Lethargy • Headaches • Phonophobia (sensitivity to sound) and photophobia (sensitivity to light) • Vertigo (a dizzy or spinning sensation) • Ulcers or infections in the mouth This article is available online at
  10. 10. Q&A: Veneers Q: What are veneers? A: Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic material, which are bonded to the front of teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Porcelain veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth, and to improve a smile. Q: Why a porcelain veneer? A: Porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size, or shape. Porcelain veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as staining, and are ideal for masking discolored fillings in front teeth. Patients with gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may consider porcelain veneers. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed. Q: What about maintenance? A: For about a week or two, you will go through a period of adjustment as you get used to your “new” teeth that have been changed in size and shape. Brush and floss daily. After one or two weeks, you’ll return for a follow-up appointment. Have realistic expectations Porcelain veneers are reasonable duplicates of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It’s not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of porcelain veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance your smile, and can heighten inner satisfaction and self-esteem. This article is available online at
  11. 11. SmileLine Online: In December, consumers posted 32 oral health care questions on the SmileLine Online Forum. Volunteer members worked continuously to make sure responses were posted in a timely manner and included links to more information on the AGD Web site and the toll free number to find an AGD dentist. Some Reminders: • If you did not request a local media list when returning your survey but would like one e-mailed to you, or if you would like to receive additional hard copies of Dentalnotes, please e-mail • Additionally, all constituents are encouraged to contact the headquarters’ office to sign up for Vocus free of charge. Please e-mail for more information. • If you were unable to pick up a copy of the PIO Workbook at the Leadership Conference, please request one by e-mailing PIOs in Action Pennsylvania PIO Carl Jenkins, DDS, FAGD, informed AGD headquarters about an upcoming opportunity for Dr. Shawn Casey to work with local media. Members of the PAGD are working to inform reporters about “meth mouth,” so the AGD provided them with articles on the condition and other free resources. Way to go! Have a success story you would like to share? Please see instructions below on how to submit them. PIO Efforts: The Public Relations department is featured in a monthly section of AGD in Action, in AGD Impact. This will help spread the word on what our PIOs are doing on a local level to get the AGD’s message out. If you have had a successful program or campaign, please e-mail so we can pass this information on through AGD publications.