Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Tag: health

Why dentist offices are safe

As your employees consider a visit to the dentist, they may be concerned about potential exposure to the coronavirus. Fortunately, the steps that dentists take to protect themselves, their staff and their patients from COVID-19 means that a trip to the dentist is actually quite safe. Here are the facts.

Dentists do all they can to make their office safe

As health care professionals, dentists and their staff follow strict infection control protocol. Over 99% of dentists have implemented enhanced infection prevention and control processes, according to the American Dental Association.

That hard work has certainly paid off; fewer than 1% of dentists nationwide have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the same study. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that dentists spend their days working on people’s mouths!

Here’s how dentists have accomplished this feat:

  • New technology has become more common as dentists’ offices have adapted to the realities of the pandemic. That means when people visit the dentist, they can expect to see machines like air purifiers, high-volume evacuators, infrared thermometers and hand sanitizer stations.
  • New processes such as rinses with disinfecting mouthwash and enhanced suction during cleanings and exams are now the norm at many dentists’ offices. These strategies help inactivate viruses in patients’ mouths and droplets in the air, allowing dentists to help fight the spread of infection. Dentists may also rely on teledentistry for exams rather than have patients come into the office.
  • New policies like having patients wait in the car to be seen and seeing fewer patients concurrently help reduce the risk of infection as well. The less time patients spend in the office and the fewer things they touch while there means less chance of exposure to COVID-19.

The steps take not prevent the spread of COVID-19 will vary from dentist office to office, but for a more in-depth overview of what your employees can expect, refer them to Grin!, our enrollee wellness e‑magazine.

Why employees might not want to visit the dentist (and why they should)

When people explain why they don’t want to go to the dentist during the pandemic, there are a few common reasons. It’s natural to have concerns about safety and costs, but it’s also important to realize that there are risks when it comes to avoiding the dentist as well.

  • “I want to socially distance as much as possible until I’ve been vaccinated.” This is a perfectly valid concern. At the same time, a visit to the dentist carries less risk of exposure than visiting other indoor areas. Dentists have the tools and training to minimize the spread of infectious diseases like coronavirus.
  • “I don’t want to sit in a crowded waiting room.” The good news is, dentists don’t want people sitting in crowded waiting rooms, either! That’s why they’ve taken steps like having patients wait in their cars, seeing fewer patients at a given time and removed waiting room furniture.
  • “I’m not in any pain, so I don’t need to see the dentist.” People who wait until they’re in pain to go to the dentist likely have issues such as severe cavities or infected root canals that could have been avoided if they’d gone in for regular cleanings and exams. Taking advantage of the diagnostic and preventive care offered with Delta Dental plans can help catch oral health issues before they become serious, and that helps to keep pain and costs down.
  • “My teeth look fine, so I don’t need to see the dentist.” It’s possible to develop oral health issues that aren’t obvious when looking in the bathroom mirror. Going to a dentist to detect issues like gum disease is important. Additionally, there are serious health issues that can have oral symptoms, such as diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. A visit to the dentist can help detect these issues as well.
  • “I’m too busy to spend time finding a dentist or making it into the office.” It can be hard to find time away from work or school to make it to the dentist. Fortunately, teledentistry has made it easier than ever before to connect with oral health professionals from the comfort of your home or office. Additionally, Delta Dental will soon offer tools that can connect members with a Delta Dental PPO™ dentist for a dental diagnostic report or video consultation.

Don’t be afraid to go to the dentist

When it comes to the dentist’s office, your employees can rest easy knowing that they can stay safe and healthy when it’s time for a visit. That’s sure to be a smile on their face.

4 ways to celebrate National Nutrition Month

Are your employees eating well? Food and drink choices can have a major impact on dental health. This March, share Delta Dental’s online resources for National Nutrition Month.

Check out these five easy ways you can help your employees make dental-savvy dietary choices:

  1. Download the latest SmileWay® Wellness kit. You’ll find ready-to-use flyers and posters on everything from chocolate to nutrition essentials. The pdfs can be sent by email or posted to your intranet. Or, print them on a color printer.
  2. Email your employees to let them know about National Nutrition Month. The kit includes an email template you can open in Microsoft Outlook, customize to your needs and send with just the click of a button. The email is packed with links to articles, videos and recipes.
  3. Boost your employees’ dental IQ with helpful articles about all things nutrition. The nutritional section of our SmileWay Wellness site has plenty of fresh articles to share.
  4. Find tooth-friendly recipes in our expanded recipe list. These dishes and desserts feature tooth- and gum-supporting ingredients and minimal sugar content.

XO X‑rays

While it can be difficult to resist a sparkling smile, it’s what’s within a person that really matters. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to encourage enrollees to take a look inside — their smiles that is! From bone loss to oral tumors, dental x‑rays can help reveal tooth and gum problems beneath the surface.

Help enrollees love their smiles from the inside out. Share this flyer to help answer some of the most common questions about dental x‑rays like:

  • What are dental x‑rays for?
  • Who needs them?
  • Are they safe?
  • What kind of x‑rays are there?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Learn about more procedures by checking out the entire Common Procedures Series.

Is there another topic you want to explore? Let us know what you want to hear about!

 

Certified Ethical Hacker: Oxymoron or Information Security genius?

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our internal spotlight series on Delta Dental’s Information Security. (In case you missed any content, check out our article on employee training and compliance and our interview with Sitaram Inguva, Director of Information Security.)

Did you ever think you’d be thankful to read the term “hacker”? If not, we may have a new perspective for you. Meet Chad Greiner, Security Engineer III and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) in training, and see how he’s going the extra mile to protect your organization’s privacy.

 

Q: How long have you been with Delta Dental, and what other jobs have you held in your field?

A: I’ve been here for about six years. Before joining this team, I worked for a medical alert device company. I served as the main administrator for their entire IT operation.

Q: You’re training to become a CEH. Are there any other certifications you have or plan to earn?

A: Yes, I’m a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). The CISSP seems sort of like a generalized job title, but it’s actually a comprehensive certification. To sit for the exam, you have to have about five years’ worth of work experience, be recommended by a fellow CISSP in good standing and re-certify every three years. The CEH is kind of an extension of the CISSP, except it focuses on strategies to help you think like a criminal — so you’re better armed to prevent a cyberattack.

Q: I think that makes sense. Sort of like an information security version of Criminal Minds. With that said, do you think the CEH is a controversial certification? 

A: We don’t view it as controversial within the security industry. My perspective is that any type of attack is a crime, so in any criminal field, you need to understand the people you’re trying to catch or obstruct to be effective at your job.

Q: That makes sense. How would you respond to criticism that the title “ethical hacker” is an oxymoron? 

A: In my mind, intent is what makes an action ethical or unethical. I’m not necessarily learning how to break things; instead, I’m learning how things can be broken to prevent breaches in security from occurring.

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of your CEH training? 

A: Learning about what tools are out there has been extremely important. Early on in my career, there weren’t as many “hacking” opportunities readily available to experienced cybercriminals, let alone the average person. The way technology is evolving has made it easier to access private information — so it’s that much more important to learn every defense against cyberattacks that we can.

Q: Why do you think being a CEH is particularly valuable to an analyst within an organization like Delta Dental? 

A: Knowing what to protect against — knowing what avenues people can take in an attack — is critical. It’s really the first and most important step in securing private information. Our clients can have confidence in knowing that, with a CEH, we’re able to get into a criminal’s mindset and get a step ahead of them.

Q: Absolutely. Okay, this is the most important question of all. If you could choose any superhero to compare your work to, who would you choose and why?

A: I can honestly say I’ve never thought about this […] I’d have to say Captain America, since he has the shield and I really see myself as shielding our organization and our clients from people and scenarios that could jeopardize everyone’s privacy.

 

Thanks for reading our series on Information Security! Stay tuned for more client news and insights from Delta Dental. 

 

One phish, two phish

Protected Health Information (PHI) is more valuable than credit cards on the internet. Meet the team protecting your PHI. 

Last year, cybersecurity experts determined that PHI is especially attractive in criminal circles because it can be more useful in identify theft.

Have you ever wondered what Delta Dental is doing to protect you and your employees from a data leak or cyberattack? If you have, Sitaram Inguva — our director of Information Security — has some answers for you.

 

onephishtwophish

Q: How long have you been with Delta Dental? 

A: I have been at Delta Dental for three years now, but the majority of my experience is in financial security. I have held positions at American Express, IBM and Cubic.

Q: Now that you’ve been in the health care sector, would you say that the stakes are higher with PHI than with average consumer information?

A: All matters of information security are serious, but PHI is quite attractive on the internet, and data breaches can be very expensive. A recent study1 shows that a single compromised health record can cost a company more than $200 in reparation (per enrollee). For these reasons, we use world-class cybersecurity technology to prevent such compromises from happening.

Q: What causes a data breach? 

A: A data breach can take many forms, the most obvious form being external hacking attempts by cyber criminals. However, they also happen due to technology gaps, human error and a lack of awareness. At Delta Dental, we of course use best-in-class technologies to protect information, but our most valuable line of defense is employee training and awareness. Apart from data encryption, current software upgrades and patches, our greatest priority is ensuring that our people are trained and up-to-date on best practices in information security.

Q: Are there any specific challenges you face in your job? 

A: One challenge we face is striking a balance between convenience and security. As technology continues to evolve, and people rely more on mobile devices, we have to develop controls and safeguards alongside it. We want to offer our clients an excellent customer experience while also ensuring their private information is secure.

Q: Do you or your team have any information security super powers? 

A: Our security team is comprised of very talented and highly trained professionals, many of whom have industry-leading certifications including Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). These certifications are backed by years of information security work experience in health care, banking and government agencies.

Q: Is there anything else you want to share with our clients? 

A: I have a few quick tips, plus an interesting resource to pass along.

  1. Make employee training a priority in protecting your own company’s records and any private information.
  2. Beware of phishing scams, hoaxes and urban legends. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always check a company’s known web address if you receive a suspicious email.
  3. Be aware of vulnerabilities like mobile devices — especially if children have access to them. Check out this project on staying safe online for some useful tips to pass on to your employees.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more information on our IT security efforts!

 

1 2015 Cost of a Data Breach: United States, Ponemon Institute, May 2015

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