Monday, December 28, 2015

Beginning a New Year

2015 was a great year even considering the fact that I fell, fractured my shoulder and had to undergo extensive rehabilitation....In the biggest of big pictures, it was still great.

All of us have setbacks in our lives and as my Father used to say, you have to roll with the punches.

Susan and I still have our health, I have a great staff and some of the best and most loyal patients in the world. My patient's concern for my health after my fall was truly amazing.

Also my friends continue to have good health and have prospered after the nation recovered from our financial crisis.

There is so much to be grateful for and as we are about to begin our new year, I wish all of you continued health, happiness and prosperity....After all very little else matters.

May 2016 be our best year ever.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The People That Are REALLY Good at What They Do, Do Not Do It for the Money

I watched an interview of Neil Leifer by Robert Caplin on the Photo Brigade Podcast #83 which you can see on You Tube.

Neil was a legendary sports photographer for Sports Illustrated, Time and Life Magazines for 20+ years and now makes movies and documentaries. He also lived on my street in Laurelton, Queens during the 1960s.

Neil was asked about the business side of photography and selling his fabulous photos.  He said that the only time that he hated going to work was when he was intimately involved in the business of photography. He also said that he has never been motivated by money and that it was the creative side of his work that made him very happy.

I could not agree with Neil more. I, also, have never been motivated by making more money and have never treated a patient because I could earn more money. My sole motivation revolves around providing the best possible care for my patients with the hope that everything that I do rises to the level of art.

(For the record, my office manager, Tricia totally manages the business side of our office so that my sole job is to take care of my patients. Trust me when I tell you that this is not the usual way that dental practices are managed.)

When Tiger Woods was at the top of his golf game, he was worth $1Billion. Do you really think that winning a million dollar purse for winning a tournament was what motivated Tiger Woods?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Other Dentists Have Stepped Up Their Game

I am always thrilled to see one of my colleagues work on their skills for the benefit of their patients. A fabulous dentist loves their work and this contributes to  the stature  of our profession.

Ray Voller is a dentist from Pennsylvania who I have had the pleasure of knowing for about 15 years. We have chatted many times on different dental forums and Ray has always been one of those rare dentists who wanted to improve his skills and was not afraid to show other dentists his work.

Yesterday he posted the following on FACEBOOK

23 hrs ·

SO what are the purposes of the little bumps and grooves in natural teeth, and why do some of dentists strive to restore teeth to this condition? They serve to hold food on top of the tooth to prevent it from falling off as it gets 'squished' from the opposing tooth crushing it with each chewing stroke! *(like a mortar/pestle used in the old pharmacy days to crush pills!)
It's important to not only make teeth look like teeth, but to make them function like teeth! (which is one in the same!). With time, tooth wear can occur, especially in those who grind or clench their teeth together, flattening out the enamel, and lowering the efficiency of chewing, which also creates fracturing and a whole cascade of other negative effects. Make sure your teeth look like teeth when they're restored! By the way, these were restored with composite resin in about an hour.

‪Gerald Benjamin‪ Only the BEST dentists have the courage to show both their patient and other dentists their work. Why would anyone go to an average dentist?

Thank you, but. YOU'RE work is impeccable !!

Ray Voller's photo.
I am always thrilled to compliment another dentist who is doing great work. It is sincerely an honor when a another dentists praises my work. This is why when I refer a patient to Root Canal Experts (Drs. Banchs and Byrne) or to Dr. Cooney, my prime orthodontist I always tell  them what a privilege and an honor it is to be treated by one of these doctors. There are NOT a lot of great dentists around and when I see really good work, I support those doctors and I think that you should  too.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Even Some of My Friends Don't Listen

One of my good friends in Buffalo sent me the following email:

"I went to the work holiday luncheon yesterday and ate a candy cane which I didn't really even want. There was his one little piece that wasn't melting in spite of sucking on it for 15 minutes, plus there seemed to be a piece stuck in my gum. Finally I gave up and threw away the piece that wouldn't melt. At dinner, I still felt some roughness on the gum/tooth area, checked it out and found that a piece of my tooth was gone. Damn candy cane!

Sorry for the quality of the pics, but can you give me any advice on repairing this before I see my dentist?"

So what do you think that my response to him was?

"Well I now have proof that you don't read my blogs. I have been imploring my patients for years to remove their old mercury fillings because EVERY single tooth will suffer the same fate...fracture of the natural tooth. Unfortunately, most dentists will insist on a crown instead of placing a well done bonded resin under rubber dam. 

High school science: all metals expand when coffee, tea, pizza etc. teeth are made of glass and expand very little and develop micro fractures instead. At some point, every tooth with an old metal filling will suffer the same fate as yours. I have a quarter century experience with posterior resins and they are fabulous. Unfortunately, dentists make 3-4 times more by doing a crown instead of a filling. In fact, they will tell you that what I do will fall because the material is too weak. No they just don't have the talent or skill (or ethics) to do resins well. This tooth now needs a crown. 
Be well and thanks for checking in."

No tooth with a large silver mercury filling will survive indefinitely intact. EVERY SINGLE ONE will ultimate fracture the tooth just like in the above photo.

Everyone of my friend's teeth can be restored with a bonded resin filling if he so desired. The likelihood is that he will have 4 crowns placed by his regular dentist.

Let's do the math: 4 crowns @$1650= $6600

                              4 Direct resin bonded fillings in my office @$400=$1600 (These are the most
                               complex resins and cost the most)

Does anyone want to argue with me that $1600 is a lot less than $6600?
Dr. Benjamin is so expensive. Really?
Think about this!

And for the sake of your bank account....Replace your old mercury fillings before they split your teeth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This is How We Do It

All reasonable people know that no one is perfect and that errors of commission or omission happen....And that is why we are human.

Several weeks ago I was working on a large implant case for a patient that travelled to me from NYC. Unfortunately, everything that I had done perfectly was undone by a company that my laboratory was working with. Heather, the owner of the lab  is a friend of mine for almost a 25 years and she apologized for the role that she played and for the company that she had used. I was very willing to accept her apologies but the mega million dollar corporation was not owning up to their role in the case failure which meant that I lost 10 hours of chair time.

Today, one of the executives from the company personally called me to offer their apologies and took responsibility for my problem with the case. The executive informed me that he his company would like to send me a beautiful gift basket for the Holidays to make up for my challenges with my case.
I informed the executive  that hearing his apology was all I needed and that I prefer that his company make a contribution in my name to SmileTrain so that children around the world can have their cleft lips and palates repaired. The executive was stunned by my request but agreed to make the contribution rather than sending me the basket.

Everyone who has any relationship with me or my office knows that things are NEVER about the money and always about doing the right thing. I wanted to hear the executive apologize and that was sufficient for me.

I am thrilled that my very unpleasant experience with my case will result in one child having a chance at a normal life. This is a great day for me and a very lucky child.

This is how we do it...It is never about the money....NEVER.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nothing Surprising Here

I just received and read the January, 2016 issue of Consumer Reports. There was a report on the Most Satisfying Cars to own and the Least Satisfying cars to own.

Before I give you both lists what do you THINK is common aspect among the cars in each group?


Most Satisfying:

1. Testla Model S
2. Chevy Corvette
3. Porsche Cayman
4. Porsche Macan
5. Porsche 911
6. Acura MDX
7. Ford Mustang
8. BMW2 Series
9. Subaru Outback
10. Volkswagen Golf

Least Satisfying:
1. Kia Rio
2. Nissan Sentra
3. Jeep Compass
4. Jeep Patriot
5. Hyundai Veloster
6. Dodge Journey
7. Nissan Versa Note
8. Nissan Juke
9. Fiat 500
10. Nissan Pathfinder

Most intelligent folks believe that you get what you pay for and the more you pay for something, the more that it performs as expected.

Not unexpected...the same can be said for almost all goods and services including medicine and dentistry.

Something to ponder.