Wednesday, March 30, 2016


I saw a patient today that has been in my practice since 1979. I redid all of her really old dentistry more than 20 years ago and now one of the restorations that was placed had cracked so we were replacing it. While I was waiting for novocaine to become fully effective, my patient reminded me of something that I said to her more than 35 years ago. "If you follow my recommendations, you will keep your teeth all of your life."

And so it has been.

I also saw another family this week who have been my patients since 1980. The children were 12 and 9 when they joined our practice and the 12 year old is now almost 50!!!! That family also has almost every tooth that they had when they entered our practice.

What else do my long time patients have in common? Unlike  in most dental  practices today, my patients have very few crowns on their teeth.

Can you draw the conclusion that the fewer crowns you had placed when you are younger, the more likely it is that you will keep all your teeth?

Why can't other dentists come to the same conclusion?

Just something to think about when your family members or friends are having their teeth cut down for crowns.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Can Belgium Really Be THAT Ignorant

Reports on the news stated that Belgium was not prepared for the recent terrorist attacks because they don't have the money or the manpower. (Forget about the fact that they refuse to cooperate with either the French or American  Intelligence Services.)

Don't have the money?????????

Tax rates are between 25-50%
Citizens pay 14% of income towards their 'Social Security" and employers contribute 35%
There is a VAT (value added tax) of 21%  on nearly everything that Belgium citizens purchase with necessities taxed at 12%

In 2000, the United Nations said that Belgium was the 8th wealthiest nation in the world. (You would think that the UN could afford new computers to get us better statistics.)

Have you done the math??????????????

Belgium takes a majority of each citizen's wealth and then says that it is too poor to protect its citizens from terrorism.

And there is a law in Belgium that says that you cannot go after TERRORISTS after 9 PM.. You think that I am making this up?????

You  are kidding me, right???????????

(Aside: A Belgium citizen was interviewed this morning on the news and when asked how Belgium could have missed all the warnings of terrorism by Turkey and other nations she replied, "Give us a break, you (American's) missed 9/11." Maybe the reporter should have told her that 911 was 15 years and a world away from today.)

So much to think about.

Absolute Nonesense

I received the following email from a dental consultant company wanting to enrich MY bottom line.


My raison d'etre (reason for being) is to take care of YOU and only when I do that well do I benefit myself. All the dental consulting companies tell dentists that they better take some dental courses to improve their skills but what you REALLY need is a sleazy way to generate more money AT THE EXPENSE OF THE PATIENT and that is what these companies do. Sorry but I don't buy that (not to pun it.)

I believe that only if I possess the finest dental clinical skills, have the greatest care and concern for my patient, have the highest ethical standards and be the best employer that I can be then and only then can I be a success.

I could care less about making more money because I  see more patients by shortening my appointment time or double booking; I am also not interested in destroying your teeth with crowns when a direct bonded resin filling it the BEST option and cost between 1/3-1/4 less than a crown.

I do not see YOU as my personal ATM machine like some in my profession.

The email:


Is it a marketing issue? Or something else?

Marketing works best when great leadership, strong systems and processes and healthy cash flow support it. Every now and again a new client requests marketing, and we very quickly identify that the issue is not in marketing, but in one of the other three areas. 
Leadership Success:
Challenges with leadership may make the marketing less effective. Only when we get the whole team on the same page do we experience true marketing success. The best professional to help with challenges in the area of leadership is a practice coach, not to be confused with a practice management consultant. The coach focuses on improving people while the consultant works on improving systems.
Click here to read the signs of leadership success.
Systems/Processes Success:
When systems and processes are insufficient, the effectiveness of the marketing suffers. For example, a robust marketing strategy might attract new patients to the practice. When a new patient calls in, the phones must work properly, the intake process must be seamless, the billing process buttoned up, the follow-up process dialed, etc. The best professional to help with challenges in this area is a specialist in the given system or process; for example, one company to handle accounting, bookkeeping, billing, payroll and recruiting.
Click here to read the signs of systems/processes success.
Cash Flow Success:
Cash flow is the fuel that propels the marketing machine. When cash flow is weak, it seems impossible to invest regularly in marketing that will maintain steady patient flow and strong production. When cash flow is strong and marketing becomes a standard monthly investment, marketing efforts are consistent and results are, too. If this is an area of challenge then a cash flow consultant can provide accurate projections to get the practice back on track.
Click here to read the signs of cash flow success.
Marketing Success:
Marketing is the oxygen to the practice, keeping it alive and well with a steady flow of new patients and compelling branding that keeps existing patients loyal. When marketing is weak, the practice sees erratic production month over month. If this is an area of challenge, a reputable dental marketing agency can offer a strategy to correct course.
Click here to read the signs of marketing success.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

You Can't Make This Stuff UP: Fact or Fiction?

This is a report on CNN's website. The longer I live the stranger life becomes...At least the truth ultimately is revealed.

One of Richard Nixon's top advisers and a key figure in the Watergate scandal said the war on drugs was created as a political tool to fight blacks and hippies, according to a 22-year-old interview recently published in Harper's Magazine.
"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people," former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper's writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.
    "You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."
    Ehrlichman's comment is the first time the war on drugs has been plainly characterized as a political assault designed to help Nixon win, and keep, the White House. 
    It's a stark departure from Nixon's public explanation for his first piece of legislation in the war on drugs, delivered in message to Congress in July 1969, which framed it as a response to an increase in heroin addiction and the rising use of marijuana and hallucinogens by students.
    However, Nixon's political focus on white voters, the "Silent Majority," is well-known. And Nixon's derision for minorities in private is well-known from his White House recordings. 
    The comments come as there has been a marked shift in attitudes toward handling drug use -- ranging from the legalization of marijuana in various states to White House candidates focusing heavily on treatment as an answer to New Hampshire's heroin epidemic while they were campaigning across the state.
    Ehrlichman died in 1999 and his comments did not surface until now after Baum remembered them while going back through old notes for the Harper's story. Baum said he had no reason to believe Ehrlichman was being dishonest and viewed them as "atonement" from a man long after his tumultuous run in the White House ended.
    "I think Ehrlichman was waiting for someone to come and ask him. I think he felt bad about it. I think he had a lot to feel bad about, same with Egil Krogh, who was another Watergate guy." Baum told CNN.
    Baum interviewed Ehrlichman and others for his 1996 book "Smoke and Mirrors," but said he left out the Ehrlichman comment from the book because it did not fit the narrative style focused on putting the readers in the middle of the backroom discussions themselves, without input from the author.
    Baum equated Ehrlichman's admission with traumatic war stories that often take decades for veterans to talk about and said it clearly took time for Ehrlichman and other Nixon aides he interviewed to candidly explain the war on drugs.
    "These guys, they knew they'd done bad things and they were glad finally when it was no longer going to cost them anything to be able to talk about it, to atone for it." Baum said. "Nobody goes in to public service, I don't think, on either side of the political aisle, to be repressive, to be evil. They go in because they care about the country."
    Attempts to reach Ehrlichman's family for comment were not immediately successful.

    Sunday, March 20, 2016

    "He Was Always Talking About Excellence"

    There was an interesting story on CBS Sunday Morning about a black abstract artist, Norman Lewis (1909-1979).
    He was a relative unknown except in the art world which knew of his talents.
    His daughter said, "He was a true Renaissance man. He talked about excellence and what it meant, and always shooting for the ceiling."

    There are so very few humans who understand and appreciate the concept of excellence. To me, it means that someone can never be satisfied with what they have accomplished, no matter how outstanding it is because it can always be done better. I have come to believe that the gene for passion and excellence are very rare on the human genome and that you have to be very lucky to be born with that gene.

    For those of us who understand passion and excellence it means that we are always trying to improve our work. Many around us believe that we are motivated by more money but the truth is, money plays no role in the pursuit of excellence.

    If you are lucky enough to possess that gene, please don't waste it but it is my belief that those us who have the gene for passion and excellence can think of nothing else but striving for excellence.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016

    The Political Class (Mildly political)

    We are ruled in this country by the Political Class. Yes we vote for our Representatives but once in office they are not receptive to our wishes. I have called my Congressman several times and asked why I can't pay for my own health insurance instead of being on Medicare...No answer...
    The Political Class has found a way to keep their jobs by laying out Congressional districts in such a way that puts all of their supporters in the same district so that they cannot be voted out of power. This is called Gerrymandering which has supposedly declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. In North Carolina, the Gerrymandering is so bad that the State Court has declared that voting for Congress will not count in the primaries (today) or in the Fall.

    Why do WE THE PEOPLE tolerate the Political Class? That is a good question but no one ever gives me a good answer.

    So many things to think about.

    Why would a dentist blog about this? Do you really only want to talk about teeth????

    Sunday, March 6, 2016

    It Has Been a Year

    A year ago yesterday (March 5) I had Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery by Dr. Lawrence Gulotta at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

    As you remember, I returned to work 34 days after surgery, went to physical therapy 3 times a week for four months and played golf on June 13 (as lousy as usual with even my long game being short.)

    So how am I doing?

    A miraculous recovery for an old guy who uses his shoulder every minute of every day. Is the shoulder as good as my original shoulder? NO WAY. There are limitations as you might expect. The muscles around the shoulder are often sore, my golf drive is 30 yards less, I can't get tissues out of the back pocket of my pants and my hand feels like when novocaine is wearing off.

    Always go to the best for your health care needs. There IS a difference and not a small one. You will pay more but in the end, it will cost you money and other ways.

    You get what you pay for is a concept that we all know but we need to be constantly reminded.

     Finding a bargain has become a national obsession.  I want to hire great people and let them take care of me.

    An Update on an Old Blog

    I have written about the biggest bagel company in the Capital District several times. I have often complained that they either didn't have any plain bagels on a Sunday morning, had no plain cream cheese on a Sunday morning or that they failed to fully bake the bagels so that instead of having a golden brown color, they were off white. To me, a connoisseur of bagels, these are capital offenses.

    So what is the big news about this company and why should we care?

    The company has filed for bankruptcy according to an article in the March 4 edition of the Times Union. No surprise here. When you have a company with one major product (and you are virtually the only game in town) and you no longer care about producing a good product i.e. a perfect bagel, you won't have a successful business.

    (Aside: The Attorney General of the State of NY, along with several other State Attorney Generals have cited Aspen Dental many times for various shortcomings.)

    Somebody stopped caring; somebody became complacent. Sometimes the business becomes more about making money than providing a great service or product. Sears, GoldDome Savings Bank of NY, SAAB, a window treatment business and the bagel place are businesses that I have had issues with and most of them are out of business or a shadow of their former business.

    It is in YOUR best interest to work with people and businesses that are passionate about what they do. Are you going to pay more for working with quality people? Of course! But in the end, it cost you less in terms of money, time and stress.

    It is what I want for myself.