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
http://www.agd.org/members_only/leader_resources/LRC/. 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 Stefanie.Schroeder@agd.org. 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 Stefanie.Schroeder@agd.org for more information.
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
o Dental techniques enhance smile and increase confidence
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.
[PREFIX. FIRST NAME LAST NAME]
[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,
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
[xxx.xxx.xxxx] or [E-MAIL] if you have any questions or wish to arrange an interview
with a local AGD spokesperson.
Public Information Officer
[CONSTITUENT] Academy of General Dentistry
Enclosure: Winter 2006 Dentalnotes
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
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
This article is available online at http://www.agd.org/media/2006/dec/toothloss.asp
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
• Dispose of the pacifier after use; it is not sanitary to keep it or give it away.
This article is available online at http://www.agd.org/media/2006/dec/pacifiers.asp
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
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 http://www.agd.org/media/2006/dec/cosmetic.asp
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
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
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 http://www.agd.org/media/2006/dec/mouthrinses.asp
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
• 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 http://www.agd.org/media/2006/dec/CVS.asp
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
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 http://www.agd.org/media/2006/dec/veneers.asp
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.
• 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 Stefanie.Schroeder@agd.org.
• Additionally, all constituents are encouraged to contact the headquarters’ office to
sign up for Vocus free of charge. Please e-mail Stefanie.Schroeder@agd.org for
• If you were unable to pick up a copy of the PIO Workbook at the Leadership
Conference, please request one by e-mailing Stefanie.Schroeder@agd.org.
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
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 Stefanie.Schroeder@agd.org so we can pass this information on through AGD