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Communication in the Dental Office: Part 3 - Written Communication (AGD 550)

Presenter: Betty Ladley Finkbeiner, CDA-Emeritus, BS, MS


This continuing education course is intended for the entire dental team.  The purpose of this course is to understand the basic elements of written communication. The course will facilitate improvements in the use of written communication and accentuate the professionalism of the dental office.

The dental team uses several types of written communication in the office.  Traditional forms include; clinical records, recall/recare notices, greeting cards, letters, financial records and correspondence, inter-office memoranda, and a variety of signage. Electronic mail (e-mail) and text messaging are becoming popular means of disseminating information. In addition, social media and office websites are also utilized for distributing information and can be easily created via the use of a computer program and internet access. This course will not include the application of data entry into clinical records since this in itself is a separate course.


Betty Ladley Finkbeiner, CDA-Emeritus, BS, MS is Faculty Emeritus at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI where she served as Chairperson of the Dental Assisting Program for over three decades.  Betty began her career as an on-the-job trained dental assistant for the late Joseph S. Ellis, DDS in Grand Rapids, MI and later became a CDA and an RDA in the state of MI.  She received Bachelors and Masters Degrees from the School of Education at the University of Michigan.  She has served as a consultant and staff representative for the American Dental Association's (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation and as a consultant to the Dental Assisting National Board.  She was an appointee to the Michigan Board of entistry from 1999 - 2004.

Ms. Finkbeiner has authored articles in professional journals, authored several Continuing Education classes, and co-authored several textbooks including:  Practice Management for the Dental Team, Comprehensive Dental Assisting: A Clinical Approach, Review of Comprehensive Dental Assisting, and a handbook entitled, Four-handed Dentistry: A Handbook of Clinical Application and Ergonomic Concepts.  She has co-authored videotape productions including Medical Emergencies for the Dental Team, Four-handed Dentistry, An Ergonomic Concept, and Infection Control for the Dental Team and lectured to dental school classes and many dental meetings.  She received the ADAA Journal Award for the September/October 2009 article Managing Cultural Differences in the Dental Office.  She continues to write, lecture and provide consultant services in ergonomic concepts to practicing dentists throughout the country.

Ms Finkbeiner may be contacted at:
11841 Grand Isles Lane
Ft. Myers, FL  33913


Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Explain the importance of professional written communication in the dental office.
• Identify the types of written communication common in a dental business office.
• Identify the characteristics of effective correspondence.
• Identify the parts of a letter.
• Apply the rules of punctuation and capitalization.
• Describe the basic steps for preparing written communication.
• Apply various formatting styles to written communication.
• Describe standard procedures for preparing outgoing mail.
• Observe business etiquette and the ethical and legal obligations in written communication.
• Explain the use of electronic mail (e-mail) in the dental office.
• Eplain how ePHI and PHI are managed in written communications.
• Describe the use of social media in the dental office.
• Identify suggestions for managing social media.
• Identify appropriate use and precautions when using text messaging.


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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