Course Descriptions

CODHA Annual Session 2019

“Dental Hygiene Scope of Practice and CDT Procedure Coding Best Practices”
Alyssa Aberle MBA, RDH+ and Kathy S. Forbes RDH, BS+

Colorado is a great place to be a dental hygienist. The dental hygiene scope of practice allows hygienists to utilize all aspects of their education; however, our scope of practice did not happen by chance. This course will help you understand the Colorado Dental Practice Act and the dental hygiene scope of practice. You will gain an understanding of the legislative process in Colorado, the various regulations (rules) and laws (statutes) that apply to our profession, and how to find the information you’re looking for when it pertains to your dental hygiene practice. 

Because of our advanced scope of practice in Colorado, diagnosis, treatment planning, procedure coding and billing issues arise frequently. Hygienists who are working in their own practices, within the private practice setting, or within larger DSOs and community health centers face procedure coding questions daily. This course will help you understand which procedure codes are within your scope of practice and understand when various procedure codes are appropriate. 


  • Understand the current scope of practice for dental hygienists in Colorado lus how and where to find accurate information.
  • Utilizing the Colorado Dental Practice Act be able to understand how the dental laws/rules interact with the practice of dental hygiene.
  • Describe how to accurately assign and report Dental Hygiene/Periodontal Procedure while understanding the definitions/descriptors assigned by the American Dental Association.
  • Explain what dental “insurance” is and what it is not.  And what is the best way to bill insurance codes in order to receive full payment and not be held hostage by cost containment and benefit limitations assigned by these carriers?

**NOTE: This course is now SOLD OUT**

“Cracking Periodontal Codes with Class: Diagnostic Decisions”
Katrina Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed., RF+

Ramifications of an inadequate periodontal diagnosis lead to diseased patients, financially unproductive practices and of greatest concern: legal action via negligence.

Failure to diagnose periodontal disease is consistently a top complaint filed with state dental boards. The first step in treating and managing a patient’s care (with maximum insurance reimbursement) is diagnosing disease accurately, ethically, and comprehensively.

As diagnostics continually evolve, dental providers are encouraged to put down the scaler and pick up the probe. Active and appropriate diagnosis leads to comprehensive and effective therapy. This course walks the dental provider through the nine classifications of health and disease as established by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), as well as effective clinical decision-making in the management of each diagnosis.

The struggle for appropriate diagnostics to maximize insurance coverage remains a common stress in the dental office. Katrina Sanders RDH, M.Ed authored a textbook which is used in dental hygiene schools to teach the foundational details behind periodontal diagnostics and coding. This course walks the dental billing team through effective coding techniques to best enable insurance coverage.

We will review anatomical and clinical observations that aid in the identification of active disease as well as the system for case types and classifying diseases. Gain guidance in coding, narrative suggestions for informed refusal, and templates for appeals to support advanced coverage by third-party payers.


  • Review clinical parameters involved in distinguishing periodontal classifications, including contrasting terms of gingival disease and periodontitis
  • Discuss the paradigm shift within the nonsurgical approach to periodontal therapy
  • List, describe, and differentiate the various periodontal diseases
  • Analyze effective protocols for implementing diagnostic, preventive and periodontal codes
  • Explore future trends of periodontal classification as discussed by the American Academy of Periodontology

“Au Naturale:  Oral Health and Homeopathic Trends”
Lancette VanGuilder RDH, BS+

Holistic and alternative medicine trends are on the rise.  More and more people are seeking out natural ways to feel better, improve their health and minimize the need for harmful chemicals and invasive procedures.  The dental team has the opportunity to serve as a valuable resource for optimal oral and overall health. This course will provide background on natural healing practices as well as an overview of current oral and homeopathic trends and alternative medicine culture.


  • Understand cultural diversity and the role it plays in the dental setting
  • Discuss research and literature regarding alternative medicine trends
  • Manage discussions around current oral health and homeopathic trends
  • Discuss oral health considerations for homeopathic populations
  • Review current professional recommendations

“What the JUUL?”
Lancette VanGuilder RDH, BS+

Vaping, e-cigarettes and the new harmful trend you may not know about. These devices are sleek, easy to use and all the rage among teens and young adults. But what is the impact on oral health?


  • Explore vaping/smoking trends and products
  • Identify potential health risks associated with vaping devices
  • Discuss the role of the healthcare provider

“It’s the Way of my People: Understanding Cultural and Generational Differences for Improved Patient Care”
Catrice Opichka RDH, MS+

The twenty-first century has brought a new generation of patients, with unique personalities and motivations. We are also living in a diverse world where cultural differences impact the relevance of dental healthcare. We will explore cultural differences that include gender, generational, societal, and socioeconomic nuances that affect our ability to provide patient care.


  • Identify how cultural and generational differences drive our interaction and communication with patients.

“The Mighty Thyroid: How Thyroid Dysfunction Affects Oral Health”
Betsy Reynolds RDH, MS

With an estimated 200 million people suffering from some form of thyroid disease in the world (many of whom are undiagnosed), oral healthcare providers are dealing with the ramifications of thyroid malfunction in their patients on a routine basis. Research endeavors focusing on potential causes for the dramatic upsurge in rates of thyroid disorders are providing insight relevant to treatment options, dietary considerations and oral healthcare recommendations offered in the dental and dental hygiene settings. Come prepared to learn about this fascinating endocrine gland in a relaxed atmosphere designed to promote audience participation while enhancing the learning experience.


  • Understand the role the thyroid gland plays in health and disease
  • Formulate dietary recommendations for patients receiving treatment for thyroid disease
  • Modify in-office procedures to accommodate thyroid medication interactions
  • Recognize oral and systemic signs and symptoms of thyroid malfunction
  • Devise appropriate home care recommendations for patients with thyroid dysfunction

“Local Anesthesia: New Techniques, The Latest Trends, and Troubleshooting”
Katrina Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed., RF+

If there is one universal truth shared between dental providers and patients, it’s this: Everybody hates The Shot. But does it have to be that way?

Injection failure not only causes unnecessary patient discomfort and apprehension, it can also frustrate providers, as well. The causes are varied; patient specific considerations, varied anatomical modifications, and injection technique. As a practicing clinician for over a decade, Katrina has never delivered an Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block yet she consistently achieves successful mandibular anesthesia. Learn how you can, too!

Now for the good news. In this interactive, engaging course, Katrina Sanders, RDH, M.Ed. guides participants through the common causes of injection failure, including anatomical and physiological conditions. Explore techniques used in private practice, including appropriate doses of anesthesia, anatomical and armamentarium considerations.

We’ll also discover alternative injection techniques and discuss new trends in the provision of pain management. Building on a solid basis of anatomy, attendees will learn how to deliver and troubleshoot local alternative injections— safely and effectively.


  • Review indications, relevant anatomy and technique factors of common dental injections
  • Identify the physiological and anatomical considerations that may lead to inadequate anesthesia
  • Develop critical thinking skills for troubleshooting local anesthetic delivery
  • Gain strategies for addressing inadequate local anesthesia during patient care
  • Discover alternative delivery techniques
  • Learn about new trends in the delivery and reversal of local anesthesia

“The Stress Mess: Systemic and Dental Ramifications of the Stress Response”
Betsy Reynolds RDH, MS

Stress has become an integral part of everyday life.  Whether rushing to an appointment across town during rush hour or dealing with difficult patient scenarios, we are often “stressed out” by the end of the day.  How does stress affect our ability to make clinical decisions? How does chronic stress affect overall health? How can people better manage stressors to decrease its adverse effects on well-being?  This course will help the participant answer these and many more questions through a fun, interactive program based on the latest research findings. Also included in this program will be how chronic stress impacts oral and systemic health.  As a recognized risk factor for periodontal diseases, stress reduction strategies for patient care will be presented in order for the participant to devise and implement treatment plans addressing stress-related sequelae. Because stress effects can be gender specific, a portion of the course will be devoted to how men and women differ in stress management, stress responses and stress manifestations.  


  • Relate the physiological aspects of the stress response to systemic and oral manifestations
  • Understand the effects of stress on immune system function
  • Recognize how stress impacts periodontal health
  • Emphasize dietary strategies designed to minimize detrimental effects of stress to dental hygiene patients
  • Understand gender differences in stress responses
  • Incorporate stress relieving strategies in the office and home setting

“Dental Hygiene: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” (Round Table Discussion)
Catrice Opichka RDH, MS+

Remember the days of Dental Hygiene School? We had good days, bad days; we were brilliant and had moments of failure. We experienced the stress, hardship, fulfillment and success of hygiene school – and we did it together. We always had our fellow hygiene students to bounce ideas off of, problem solve with and share or successful breakthroughs. Now that we work in private dental practice, it is even more important to have these opportunities to share with other hygienists.

This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity to problem solve specific issues of hygiene practice. We will work together to break down each situation to create solutions that can be implemented instantly in your office. We will wrap up the session with the sharing of our success (SOS). We will share our clinical, product, education and practice management successes to provide ideas that will allow us to grow as hygienists, educators, and members of a successful dental team.


  • Recognize the steps required for problem solving every day dental hygiene practice issues.
  • Understand the importance of sharing our practice successes in the development of new protocol we can implement in our offices.
  • Learn the value of sharing our knowledge with each other to renew our passion in dental hygiene.

Keynote – “Oxygen, Please: Self-Care Strategies for the Successful Leader”
Kelli Jaecks MA, RDH+

In today’s fast -paced, overstressed world, those of us who professionally care for the health and well-being of others often place ourselves at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to self-care. Everyone else’s needs come before our own; both at work and at home. How can we be effective leaders if our own tank is half-full, or worse, empty?

This fun, fast-paced, activity driven keynote is full of examples and reminders of simple self-care strategies that will empower you and put you back in the driver’s seat of your own life! Rejuvenate your sense of self and get prepared for those leadership opportunities- you’ll be ready for them!

“Martinis and Menopause”
Kelli Jaecks MA, RDH+

Perimenopause and menopause will affect most of the 163 million women in the United States today. The aging female experiences hormonal changes that affect many bodily systems, including the gums and dentition. Menopausal signs and symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating, and questions abound about what to do about them. As healthcare professionals, we can offer insight to patients undergoing this change of life and offer strategies for better oral and overall health.

This course will bring understanding to the science behind the changes in the female body during this transition time. Attention will be paid to oral, heart, and bone health, while offering strategies for prevention. Women will be empowered to manage their symptoms and make choices that work for them. An attitude of celebrating change will help participants understand how to help themselves, their patients and all women in their lives.


  • Understand the clinical definitions of perimenopause and menopause
  • Describe systems affected by hormonal changes including vasomotor, cognitive, and dental
  • Identify risk factors and prevention strategies for oral, heart, and bone health
  • Address the role of the dental professional in understanding, supporting and educating patients


Registration opens May 1st

Early registration discounts end September 2nd


Finding the Job of Your Dreams
Amy Kirsch RDH

Course description coming soon…

“Boards CRAM Session”
Katrina Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed., RF+

Walk into your National Boards Examination with a sense of confidence and optimism with Katrina M. Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF, Founder and CEO of Sanders Board Preparatory, Arizona’s #1 Dental Hygiene Board Preparatory Course!

As a published dental hygiene educator, Ms. Sanders has perfected the art and science of empowering dental hygiene students to rock their boards examination through her lecture program designed to enhance the understanding of complex concepts.

This cram session takes dental hygiene students through major course topics as discussed on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in a fast-paced, high-energy, entertaining and encouraging environment. Students leave the course with a positive and refreshed outlook in how to best approach studying for their boards examination with immense success and supreme confidence.