Sunday, June 19, 2016


I was driving on the Northway today and saw a car with the license plate: UPTOF8 or Up to fate.

I have never lived my life in the HOPE that something good would happen to me to ensure my success (both personally and professionally.)

When I had my car accident (I was a pedestrian)  back in 1976 and had  my right leg was amputated and reattached, I always KNEW that if I worked hard enough, I could still have a successful life. In fact, I worked so hard that after 18 months and 4 surgeries later, I was out running 5 miles. (Was it fate that one of the great trauma surgeons, Dr. Roger Seible (now deceased) was my surgeon..Possibly?)

When I fractured my shoulder 18 months ago, was it fate that I had access to a great shoulder surgeon? Or was my recovery and return to work the result of going to physical therapy for 4 months, 3 times a week?

Is it fate that I have an international reputation for being a quality restorative dentist OR perhaps is it the result of taking more than 6200 hours of Continuing Education and much of it with the best in the world?

Yes it is true that no one becomes a success without the help of someone else along the way but the fact of the matter is that an individual must work incredibly hard to reach the upper echelons of their profession. Success is not an accident (or fate). It is always the result of hard work with 10,000 hours being the bare minimum for success.

(An Aside: President Obama said that no one is successful all by him/her self and he was roundly criticized by his opponents. Trust me, we all have gotten some help by someone along the way and I have blogged several times how my broken tooth and a visit to Susan's family dentist helped me get accepted to dental school. Lots of people are accepted to dental school but few work hard enough to become recognized for their abilities.)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

We Tried It This Way

We have tried having a 2nd Amendment with no restrictions.

And how has this worked for modern America?

From my standpoint: miserably.

The unlimited access to assault weapons, designed for rapidly killing the enemy by the military, is unworkable.

Perhaps if all 350 people in the PULSE Nightclub had been slaughtered, we would see some change in our laws on assault weapons.

Perhaps if 1000 children had been murdered in the Newtown School we might think differently.

There is no unlimited, unrestricted right in our Constitution EXCEPT the 2nd Amendment. Even our right to practice our religion is not unlimited. The Supreme Court has ruled that marijuana is not acceptable for use in religious ceremonies. The Court has also limited the use of  'magic mushrooms' during American Indian celebrations.

This also reminds me of the stop light that was installed in 'downtown' Cropseyville, NY.  Cropseyville was a farming community in the middle of no where (but where my office was for 10 years before moving to 'Uptown' Cropseyville). Unfortunately, three downstate residents died in car accidents at the junction of Rt. 2 and 278. Nobody wanted a stop light installed but that didn't matter because the reality was that more people would die if a light wasn't installed. The reality must always dictate what our reactions should be.

We have tried the 2nd Amendment without limits. Now reasonability must prevail.

Teeth are very important to me but so is human life.

When the Pain is Unbareable

Last week a patient sent me one of their employees who was in agony. He had had a toothache for two days and was directed to my office.

I was able to get him an immediate appointment with an oral surgeon to have his tooth extracted. While Donna was on the phone with the surgeon, I saw how much pain the young man was in and offered him Novocain to immediately stop the pain. and of course, he accepted.

The young man was put on the phone to speak with the surgeon's office and when he hung up, he told us that he could not keep the appointment because he had no money and no credit card. He left our office before we could tell him that my staff made an 'Executive Decision" that WE would pay for him to have his tooth extracted. Unfortunately, he did not have a cell phone and we could not reach him to tell him to go to the surgeon's office for treatment.

I don't care about what someone's political or philosophical beliefs are about poor people but when someone is standing in front of you IN AGONY, it is hard not to want to help another human being.

[Aside: You might be thinking, "But your office does not accept Medicaid." Correct and I never will. The ONLY people that bear the burden of Medicaid are physicians and dentists. Their reimbursement will not even pay the hourly wage of a top notch assistant."]

There has to be a better way to care for those that cannot care for themselves. The inability to solve this problem speaks more about who WE are than about those who are helpless.

What would you do with another human being with intense pain standing before you?

Mick Jagger Told Us 50 Years Ago

"You can't always get what you want but if you try real hard, you will get what you need." So goes the song.

Maybe it is me..........People are becoming more unreasonable all the time.

I tell my new patients (my long term patients already know) that I believe that I am a very good dentist BUT I cannot change:

1. The laws of physics
2. The rules of biology
3. Your DNA

When a patient presents with a problem and I provide the options for treatment, it is often unreasonable for a patient to say that they don't like their options. Frequently, when I tell a patient who has been in pain that they have two options for eliminating the pain. They can have the tooth removed or have root canal therapy. Sometimes a patient will say, "I don't want either option."

Kindly refer to rules 1 through  3 above.

I cannot change your options nor can any other dentist.


I know that this is America in the year 2016 but 50 years later, "You STILL can't get what you want."

Find good people to take care of you and let them do what they do to take care of you.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Young Guy

A young man in his 20s presented  to my office with a fractured edge on his upper left front tooth.  The tooth had been previously bonded in the Midwest but the young man would not let the dentist remove part of a lower tooth that was sticking up higher than any other lower tooth and was responsible for chipping the tooth in the first place.

I had read the previous dentist's notes and he noted that he refused to let him adjust the lower tooth which is commonly done.

I informed the young man that in High School he was taught a principle in his physics course:

"Two things cannot occupy the same place at the same time." Most of us intuitively know this to be true but some just do not believe it...

Trust me: It is 100% TRUE.

I gave the young man two options:

1. Shorten the lower front tooth
2. Have Invisilign treatment (Clear othodontistics) to realign the lower teeth...

The patient informed me that he didn't want his lower tooth touched nor did he want Invisalign.

That's nice but the patient cannot dictate treatment that is not in his best interest. Period, No exception.

The patient also said that he would never submit to treatment without having a second opinion.


So if a patient goes to the BEST dentist in the world but does not like his options, he   believes that it would be ok to get a second opinion from a dentist ranked  2000 in the world??


It is absolutely necessary to go to the best clinicians in the world and then listen to their advice.

Yes ,  Really.

Remembering Back

When I was a sophomore in dental school, a local Amherst, NY  dentist in his mid to late 60s would teach clinical labs to the students. He was a crotchety old guy (Aren't most of us old guys?) who used to give 2nd year students a hard time with the projects that we needed to complete. Dr. K had probably been a dentist for 30 or  35 years and he was most proud of the fact that he had completed 450 hours of Continuing Education.This he reminded us was equivalent to having gone to dental school twice.

450 hours? Really?

I have over 6,000* hours of CE and that does not include the year that I spent in my Residency Program at the old EJ Meyer Hospital in Buffalo, NY.

Now why would a dentist take so many hours of CE???


To take better care of you and your family.

Unfortunately, the majority of patients (both Medical and Dental) believe that all physicians and all dentists are the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The best doctors are far superior to the average doctor and even the doctors know that.

Find good people to take care of you!!!!!

*Please note that NOT one of these hours was on a cruise ship or in a vacation area so that a dentist will go to the conference for an hour and take side trips for the rest of the day.