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Episode #316: Whine About it With the WINEgenist, with Katrina M. Sanders, RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF

the best practices show podcast Jul 05, 2021

She isn't everybody’s cup of tea, but she is someone’s glass of wine! Today, Kirk Behrendt introduces Katrina M. Sanders, The Dental WINEgenist, to share her passion for dental hygiene and good wine. Great conversations need great wine! And with the two combined, she hopes to support, encourage, and empower others to elevate dentistry. If you're a dental professional who needs to whine about dentistry with wine and a like-minded tribe, listen to Episode 316 of The Best Practices Show!

Main Takeaways:

  • COVID-19 exposed many existing problems in dentistry.
  • The Dental WINEgenist sparks conversations about those problems.
  • Dentistry can be isolating since professionals are siloed in their own operatories.
  • And because dental professionals are isolated, it stops communication and great ideas.
  • Join The Dental WINEgenist to share ideas and support one another in elevating dentistry.
  • Great conversations require great wine!


  • “It is isolating. We’re stuck in this operatory where now, a lot of times, we don't have other colleagues to share ideas, ‘Hey, come look at this X-ray. What do you see?’ If you're a one-doctor practice, you don't have somebody aside from maybe your hygienist to share some of those ideas. And if you're one hygienist in the practice, you don't have somebody to help you sharpen instruments. Or if you're struggling to remove that piece of calculus, you don't have a colleague to bring into the operatory to help you out. And so, this is, I think, where a lot of ideas stop, a lot of high-level clinical practice care stops, and I wanted to be a part of the conversation that isn't happening in dentistry. And so, you want to have a fabulous conversation, you've got to bring some great wine. So, that's who we are. The birth of the WINEgenist.” (12:05—12:53)
  • “I think dentistry was caught with its scrub pants around its ankles when the pandemic happened. And the reason for that, I think, first and foremost, is that a lot of things that we needed to address in dentistry but hadn't had been swept underneath the front office rug. There are things that we should've been talking about, like lack of leadership and efficiencies within the practice.” (17:35—17:57)
  • “I think that what I do is highly essential. I'm not risking my life [during COVID-19] to just clean someone’s teeth. I'm an inflammatory specialist who’s highly trained in infection control. And before I go back to the operatory, I want to make sure that we’re doing this safely so that I'm not putting myself at exposed risk, nor am I putting the rest of the team members or other patients at risk. And that's where the conversation got away from us, is because these conversations that we should have been having about the essential nature of the work that we do, the responsibility that we have to the profession, that conversation went out the window. And it was more about us having fears about our safety, or lack thereof, when we go to work.” (19:48—20:27)
  • “The concern really became, so much was swept underneath the rug. And with one wave of a regulatory hand, boom, everything got blown out and it was exposed — we were exposed as dental professionals — to the things that were inadequate in our profession, conversations that needed to be happening. And that's where I think we’ve had the opportunity since March 17th to do better as a profession, to take what it is that we’ve experienced during this global health and financial crisis and really create the pivots that dentistry has so desperately needed for so long.” (20:53—21:33)
  • “We started to see patient screening taking effect [during the pandemic]. And what that did, that peeled back the layer that a lot of hygienists have had grief about for a long time. And that is, how do you update health history information on patients who are not interested in updating health history information? Well, now, it kind of became this societal norm that if you walk in somewhere, you want to get an eyebrow wax, you have to fill out a form stating where you've been, if you're experiencing any symptoms, etc. So, dentistry could help supplement a lot of those things.” (26:00—26:30)
  • “The incredible amount of information out there linking oral inflammation, oral disease, oral biofilm right back to COVID-19 has been incredibly impactful. My provocative idea on that being, remove the word “COVID” from the conversation and add in stroke, heart disease, upper respiratory tract infections, certain types of cancers, diabetes, any other one of the 57 biological conditions or diseases that have a plausibility back to periodontal disease. And I think we can all agree that we now have a scintillating conversation that we can have with our patients.” (26:33—27:08)
  • “In my opinion, the best thing that came out of this pandemic is we now have an educated community, a community that understands disease prevention, that understands infection control, and is now looking to the medical entities to help support them in health, wellness, and vitality.” (29:47—30:03)
  • “A lot of us, early on, before this pandemic even happened, I was speaking about high-volume evacuation aerosol mitigation. And I had warned the dental community that we’re practicing in the petri dish of dentistry, so to speak, that there are aerosols everywhere and that we do need to be concerned about airborne infection. And quite honestly, I was trying to promote the use of high-volume evac, and the right PPE, and Level 3 masks, and wearing hair caps, and nobody wanted to listen to me. And then, March 17th rolls around, everyone’s drinking green beer and now sliding into my DMs like, ‘Hey, I'm ready to listen to you.’” (32:51—33:28)
  • “I started to see a lot of non-dental professionals following a lot of my content because they wanted to understand appropriate infection control standards, or even what to expect from their dental professional when they go into their dental appointments. And so, I think we’re going to see a lot more curiosity on the general public side as well, which I'm excited about.” (33:48—34:09)
  • “Early on, I gathered some data from the CDC about where the general public is gathering most of their information about COVID-19. And wouldn't you know it, right at the top was the news, followed shortly thereafter by social media, followed by looking at the newspaper, listening to the radio. And then, down toward the bottom of all of that was healthcare providers. That's us, way down at the bottom. So, social media, the news, what was happening on the internet, going to the grocery store, all of those pieces of information were providing more readily available content for the general public to metabolize versus [dentists and dental professionals]. And this is where we missed the mark.” (35:25—36:09)
  • “The final piece that I want to share, this was a new statistic that came out. I read this in a research article a few weeks back, that now with people working from home, people are reading their snail mail more. So, a paper newsletter or a paper postcard with information to the general public, more people are reading that now more than ever because so many entities are going to a virtual platform with so much. So, maybe considering your patient population. Are they a patient population that you may get their attention a little bit more readily if you're sending a paper newsletter to them?” (37:59—38:35)
  • “What you put out on social media, people can see. And dentistry seems to be one of those professions where we have no problem bullying each other and attacking each other, judging each other on social media platforms for our clinical decision-making or, ‘Why would you do that? Why would you say that to the patient?’ And I'd really love to implore people listening to be kind to each other, because we can't tear each other down. Now, more than ever, we have to come together. And now is the opportunity for us to have a collective conversation that helps elevate our profession and support the community in health, wellness, and vitality.” (39:35—40:13)


  • Katrina’s background. (05:11—07:09)
  • Origins of The Dental WINEgenist. (07:46—11:10)
  • Dentistry can be isolating. (11:30—13:10)
  • Becoming a Level 1 sommelier. (13:50—15:59)
  • Whining in dentistry. (16:44—21:36)
  • Changes since the pandemic. (23:06—30:03)
  • The future of dentistry. (31:30—34:09)
  • Proactively educating your patients. (35:17—38:45)
  • Last thoughts on whining in dentistry. (39:14—40:16)
  • Katrina’s contact information. (40:43—41:43)
  • Q&A: Do you make a pros and cons list, or just go with your gut? (42:36—44:16)
  • Q&A: Who was the best boss you've ever had, and what made them the best? (44:30—48:02)
  • Q&A: What is something that you love that is vintage? (48:12—50:09)

Reach Out to Katrina:

Katrina’s website: https://katrinasanders.com/

Katrina’s email: [email protected] 

Katrina’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katrina.sanders.948

Katrina’s Instagram: @thedentalwinegenist https://www.instagram.com/thedentalwinegenist/?hl=en

Katrina’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katrina-m-sanders-rdh-bsdh-m-ed-rf-39547bb4

Katrina’s podcast: @toothordare.podcast https://www.instagram.com/toothordare.podcast/?hl=en

Katrina M. Sanders, RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF Bio:

In the ever-changing world of dental science where research, technology, and techniques for patient care are constantly evolving, dental professionals look to continuing education to provide insight, deliver actionable steps, empower, and create a dramatic impact within their clinical practice.

With wit, charm, and a dash of humor, Katrina Sanders enchants dental professionals with her course deliverables, insightful content, and delightful inspiration. Her message of empowerment rings mighty throughout her lectures and stirs a deep sense of motivation amongst course participants.

Katrina is the Clinical Liaison for AZPerio, the country's largest periodontal practice. She performs clinically, working alongside Diplomates to the American Board of Periodontology in the surgical operatory. Katrina perfected techniques during LANAP surgery, suture placement, IV therapy, and blood draws. She instructs on collaborative professionalism and standard of care protocols while delivering education through hygiene boot camps and study clubs. 


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