Scariest Clinical Mistake with Dr. Jennifer Bell

Host: Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas
Guest: Dr. Jennifer Bell
Edited By: Candy Velez CRDH

We had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Jennifer Bell, a full-time practicing dentist based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dr. Bell is known for her involvement in organized dentistry and as a co-host on the podcast “Dentists IN the Know.

We discuss her experiences in the dental field and a clinical mistake that she made early in her career. Let’s dive into the conversation.

The Comprehensive Care Approach

Dr. Bell practices in Raleigh, North Carolina, and offers comprehensive dental care, catering to patients of all ages. She explains,

 “We treat from age zero to 99, so we really span a broad spectrum of demographics.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

With a focus on general dentistry, Dr. Bell and her team provide a wide range of services, excluding endodontics and surgical procedures that require sedation. She and her partner ensure that their patients receive the highest quality of care by specializing in what they excel at.

The Birth of “Dentists IN the Know”

Dr. Bell hosts the podcast “Dentists IN the Know” alongside Dr. Jeff Horowitz and Dr. Chad Duplantis, which was born from a COVID project. She explains, 

“My partners and I wanted to continue educating our colleagues, but with the limitations imposed by the pandemic, we had to find a new platform.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

The podcast started as a hump day happy hour, where they would gather to chat about relevant topics and provide mental health support to one another. Over time, it evolved into a platform for sharing up-to-date information and featuring guests from the dental community.

The Importance of Staying Informed

One of the critical focuses of “Dentists IN the Know” is providing dentists with the latest news and updates that impact the dental profession. Dr. Bell emphasizes, 

“Important decisions are being made on our behalf, and we must stay informed and have a voice in these matters.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

She highlights her role in organized dentistry, advocating for dentists and encouraging colleagues to get involved to protect the profession.

The Clinical Mistake: Extracting a Canine

Dr. Bell shares a clinical mistake that she made early in her career, which she now finds laughable but was initially quite scary. She recalls,

 “I managed to extract a whole canine while doing a hard reline of a partial denture.” 

Dr. Jennifer Bell

The mistake occurred when she attempted to remove the partial denture after the hard reline material had fully set. Despite her best efforts, the canine tooth became locked in the clasp of the partial denture, resulting in its extraction.

Lessons Learned and Clinical Pearls

Reflecting on the experience, Dr. Bell offers her colleagues valuable insights and clinical pearls of wisdom. She advises, 

“When working with hard reline material, it’s important to pull the partial denture out during the early set period to create the path of draw.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

 Additionally, she recommends using a handpiece to cut the partial denture if it becomes locked rather than exerting excessive force. Dr. Bell humorously concludes, 

“Taking out a tooth unanesthetized and having it locked in a clasp is not the ideal situation!”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

The Importance of Learning from Mistakes

Dr. Bell’s clinical mistake serves as a reminder that even experienced dentists make errors. She emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and continuous improvement, stating, 

“Every day, you process the day and ask yourself, ‘Was today the best dentist I could be? Or do I hope tomorrow I come back more dialed in?”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

Mistakes are an inevitable part of the learning process; through these experiences, dentists grow and refine their skills.

The Role of Organized Dentistry

Dr. Bell’s involvement in organized dentistry, particularly with the Academy of General Dentistry, highlights the significance of collective action in shaping the future of the profession. She explains,

“Being actively involved in groups that influence decisions on our behalf is crucial.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

By participating in legislative and regulatory discussions, dentists can ensure that their voices are heard and that decisions are made with their best interests in mind.

The Power of Collaboration

Through platforms like “Dentists IN the Know” and organized dentistry, dentists can collaborate and support one another. Dr. Bell emphasizes the importance of lifting each other up and moving the profession forward together. She states, 

“We want to create a community where colleagues can share their experiences, learn from one another, and stay informed about the latest developments in dentistry.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

Conclusion and Future Outlook

Dr. Jennifer Bell’s journey in dentistry and her involvement in organized dentistry highlights the importance of staying informed, learning from mistakes, and collaborating with colleagues.

Through her podcast, “Dentists IN the Know,” she provides a platform for dentists to connect, share knowledge, and navigate the ever-changing landscape of dentistry. As the profession continues to evolve, dentists must stay engaged, advocate for their interests, and support one another to shape a bright future for dentistry.

In the words of Dr. Bell, “Embrace your mistakes, learn from them, and strive to be the best dentist you can be.” With this mindset, dentists can continue to grow, innovate, and provide exceptional patient care. 

Until next time, keep learning, keep exploring, and fuel your dental dreams with knowledge!

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Dr. Jennifer Bell, DDS, FAGD, FICD

Dr. Jennifer Bell, DDS, FAGD, FICD

Dr. Jennifer Bell is a native of Lexington, North Carolina. She earned her undergraduate and dental graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, she completed the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC. In 2010, Dr. Bell along with her business partner started a general dentistry practice in Holly Springs, NC. They opened their second practice in Angier, NC in 2017. Their practices treat all ages and complexity of cases. Her main interests include rehabilitation cases, complex prosthodontic cases, laser dentistry, and sleep disorders. Dr. Bell has earned a fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) where she has served the North Carolina state chapter as president, committee chair, national delegate, and most recently as executive director. In addition to her work with the AGD, Dr. Bell is an active member in the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and a fellow in the International College of Dentists. In March 2018, she completed and graduated from the Kois Continuum in Seattle, WA. Outside of dentistry, Dr. Bell is active with Kiwanis International and other local philanthropic organizations in her community. Dr. Jennifer Bell is an innovative and fresh voice in the world of dentistry. She brings a unique perspective on digital innovation, practice management, team building, and leadership development through an engaging and interactive style. Dr. Bell is a frequent contributor to leading dental publications, speaks on a variety of relevant and timely topics, and co-hosts a popular, weekly dental industry podcast. Dr. Bell and her husband Brian reside in Holly Springs, NC with their three children.