Sunday, September 25, 2016

Another Loss

I took care of David since he was about 12 years old. His family, one of my favorites, has been my patient since about 1981 or for 35 years.

About 13 years ago, David developed a neurological disease which forced him to stop working and to, once again, be dependent on his parents. None of his family ever missed a 6 month dental check up but a few years ago it became evident that David was declining as he would have to be helped into and out of my dental chair. Several years ago, David received his health care through Medicaid and his Mother told me that he would have to go to another dentist because I did not participate in that program. My response was: "ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!. I have always taken care of David and I would continue to do so AT NO CHARGE. This is how you take care of people when they are down on their luck.

I received a one page letter last week informing me that David had succumbed to his disease.

I was heartbroken to learn the news. At the bottom of the page was a long list of people that the family wanted to thank and my name was mentioned.

I was honored to be David's dentist almost all the days of his life.

"You Have the Best Dental Patients"

The is how Dr. Francisco Banchs describes MY patients.

Why does he say this?

Because he calls YOU: intelligent, engaged and involved. He also says that you are aware that neither his office, Root Canal Experts, nor my office is interested in taking your money unless we give you value. This means that you KNOW that we are sincerely interested in taking care of you.

Every dentist: the good, the bad and the great receive letters and card of thanks and appreciation several times a year. In our practice, we receive cards and letters  as often as several times a week.

This is a "Thank You" card that I received this week:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The World is Flat

16 years ago Thomas Friedman, a renown international reporter for the New York Times wrote a best selling book, "The World is Flat." His point was that the entire world was becoming interconnected and that we had better learn to compete with people from around the globe.

My favorite dental form is the highly regarded international group called Dental XP. Many members of the forum are world class and leaders of my profession. Trust me when I tell you that the best dentists in America are among the best in the world but the best dentists around the world are far better than the Average American dentist...Sad, I know

There is a very fine clinician who is an MD, DDS, Oral Surgeon and Periodontist on the forum who happens to be from Croatia. She posts some of the most spectacular dental implant surgical and restorative cases for critical comments. I am one of the non implant surgeons on the forum and I am highly regarded for my knowledge and ability in restoring teeth and implants.

Dr. Snjezana Pohl posted a case yesterday and she asked for comments and I was happy to make restorative suggestions prior to her case being completed. This is how she responded to my comments:

Thank you, Gerald. I appreciate your knowledge, sharp eye, your advices and taking your time to help me to make better dentistry! I understood each point and agree with you. Technician and prosthodontics colleague will receive it.
Thank you again (actually, I decided to post more cases with provisional, hoping for your comments).
Best regards

I am honored by Dr. Pohl's comments; her comments she make you happy as well in that you KNOW that YOUR DENTIST is recognized both inside and outside the United States.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"This is the First Time that I Have Been in This Room"

People constantly think  (and say) that I am a very expensive dentist. I tell people that it is my job to help you keep your teeth all the days of your life. That means that I do not routinely cut down your beautiful, healthy tooth structure for a crown to "save your tooth." Crowns ARE expensive and most other dental treatment is considerably less costly.

Today one of my long-time patients...35 years...was in to have some fillings placed because she developed tooth decay. This 78 year old patient had EVERY SINGLE TOOTH that had when she became my patient more than 3 decades ago....She also had only one or two crowns placed in all of those years.

As soon as Mrs. G sat down in my chair she says,"Wow, I have never been in this room before."
Mrs. G came with me from Troy and we see her at least once a year for a cleaning and checkup which means that she has been to my "NEW" office more than 10 times during the last 8 years.

She has had NO dental treatment  except for cleanings for almost a decade...

Now really, if you don't have to pay ME to fix your teeth for almost 10 years, how can I be expensive?

PS: Most of the treatment done for this patient was placed 18-25 years ago....That's good dentistry

The Corrupt Sugar Industry

In the 1960s, The Sugar Research Foundation  paid Harvard scientists  the equivalent  (in today's dollars) of $50,000 to convince the country that it wasn't sugar that was causing heart disease but rather fat. This just came to light in the most recent issue of JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE. (JAMA is the Journal of the American Medical Associate and one of the most influential medical journals.)

This means that for the last 50 years we have been told that we must reduce our intake of FATS if we want to keep our hearts healthy.

Once again, we get misinformation because honest people were willing to sell their integrity for money.

Is this any different than the employees of Wells Fargo opening fake credit card accounts and loans in our name so that they could earn more money?

We tend to see the corruption around us as something new but the reality is that unethical behavior by business has been around for quite some time.

May patients must be sick of me saying that I am not interested in your money if I do not give you value. On Tuesday morning a staff member's relative came into our office with a toothache and after examining the patient and taking an x-ray I informed the patient that he could ask Dr. Banchs, the root canal expert and I to save his tooth BUT the reality was that despite the fact that we could save the tooth for a year or two, it might be better for him to remove the tooth and not waste his money because the the tooth was so badly destroyed by tooth decay.

Am I crazy??? I could have made $1700 for doing a crown after the root canal was completed and instead I made $125 for the consult. How could I do this?



Do the right thing.

I do not hurt patients for money. I will not take your money unless you benefit from my treatment.
I took an oath to do no harm and after 40 years.....I still believe in that oath.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

'Her Passion Was Taking Care of Her Patients'

As many of you know, I love reading the obituaries in the daily New York Times because I get to read about the accomplishments of many people that most of us have never heard of.  Since most of us never brag about what we have done in our lives or the other people that we have gone out of our way to help, it is nice to know that someone will learn what our lives were about.

Today, I read of the passing of Dr. Jody Ross Birns, a pediatrician  who practiced in White Plains, NY and who succumbed to breast cancer at age 60. In the obituary we read:

"She loved family and friends. Her passion was taking care of her patients with who she developed a very strong bond. This was attested by the large number of second generation patients who brought to her by parents that she took care of when they were children."

There is no greater appreciation shown to a doctor than having multiple generations of patients to treat at the same time. In our office, we have seen THREE GENERATIONS of patients which is something that may never happen again because the oldest generation is passing on and the younger generations often do not return to their parents geographic location after college.

I am most honored to have taken care of my patients for a very long time...many for almost 40 years.
As I have said many times..... The doctor/patient relationship is one of the most special of human relationships. It is not husband and wife or parent and child but it is right up there when a patient asks you to take care of them and TRUSTS that you will do so.

Sadly, for most patients this relationship  is coming to an end with my generation of physicians and dentists. Patients move around between dental offices to 'find the best deal' which is often not the same as 'find the best care.'

This ,like many things in American life, saddens me a great deal because taking care of you has been my life's work and not just a job.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Game That Our Congressman Play (non political)

I have tried to email both of our Congressmen (Tonko and Gibson) many times and every time I attempt to send them an email, an error message appears.

"You have an invalid email address"

Don't you think that I know each of my email addresses?

This what the Representatives of both Parties do when they don't want to hear our complaints or suggestions. This has happened to me many times when I have tried to contact their offices.

Perhaps you can answer the questions that I wanted to ask our Representatives:

1. Why do I have to begin taking Social Security payments  at 70 years old when I will still be working full time? What difference does it make to Government and aren't I saving the taxpayers money?

2. Why do I have to begin to start spending my retirement savings at age 70 when I will still be working full time? Why does the Government care?  Why doesn't Government leave us alone to make decisions that benefit both the individual AND the Government.

Ask the ole cheer goes: Time to throw the bums out.