Friday, December 29, 2017

“I Wish You Bad Luck” Not Political But Enlightening

The Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed piece in today’s paper in which Chief Justice John Roberts elaborates on this spring’s ninth grade graduation speech.
What Justice Roberts said was:

“From time to time in the years to come, I hope that you will be treated unfairly,so that you will come to know the values of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. And when you lose, as you will from time to time,I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope that you will be ignored so that you know the importance of listening to other, and I hope you will have just enough pains to learn compassion. Whether I wish you these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.”

What an incredible message to our children. Forget children...every adult needs to read and understand the Chief Justice’s words.

Truly, this is what WISDOM sounds like. Do we as a nation need more of that as well as kindness, courtesy, compassion and intelligence?

Read and Learn

Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year for you, your family and everyone that is meaningful in your life.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

We Either Don't Know or We Don't Care (Not Political)

The Congress just passed the 'most sweeping' tax reform in a generation according to the #1 fan of the legislation. The Congress said that the economy would grow because corporation's tax rate would drop from the current 35% to 21%.

Liar Liar pants on fire.

So I Googled "What is the federal tax rate of a big corporation. So what do you think the answer is???

Some corporations pay 21% but a vast majority pay ~12% to 13%.

Don't believe me? Read the report yourself:

So let me understand this:
1. Corporations already pay less than the "New" tax law.
2. Citizens of NY, NJ, CT, MA and CA are going to pay more tax under the "most sweeping" tax reform in a generation.

The Congress must truly think that the American people, their bosses are fools.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy New Year

Every year at this time we need to reflect back upon the year that is about to end and assess what went well , not so well and to appreciate all that we have.

2017 was a tough year for our office.
Donna had breast cancer and her Mother passed away.
This one event meant that we were short handed for almost half a year. Fortunately, Donna has recovered and is healthy.

In early November, I developed significant weakness in my right leg accompanied by intermittent severe pain. Fortunately, after about 6 or 7 weeks, strength in my leg has improved and the pain has disappeared. I visited several physicians and took some tests but my gut feeling was to just wait out the problem and let it resolve.

Did our office have a 'good year?' Acceptable. Average.
(Aside: For all those who think that our office is expensive and make soooo much more than we did in Troy. Think again...I don’t earn any more than I did in Troy because overhead is 4-5 times expensive than the Troy office.)

We would like to continue to grow so that we can take care of all those  'teeth people' who need our help.

Hopefully, 2018 will be a great year for our nation, our families and our office. We wish everyone a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year.

We deserve it.

Fake (Not Political)

Our luxury watches are BACK, people!
Sold out in 12 hours last time, so move quick!
Order now

Many of you know that there are some very fine and expensive watches in the world. Patek, Rolex, A. Lange and Sohn are just a few that cost tens of thousands of dollars. To be sure no one needs a fine watch to tell time. However, when an ad on Facebook says,"Our luxury watches are BACK," I immediately went to their website to see more about the watch. So what do we know about the above pictured watch?

It cost $99.00.

Luxury?  $99.00?

The watch LOOKS like it is a nice watch. Why would anyone  say "Our Luxury watches" knowing that this is a throw away watch.

Because is today's world, the news is more likely to be real but the interpretation is not.

A great dentist does not offer free initial exam an x-rays and if you see these ads, think of the luxury watch that cost $99.00

Sunday, December 24, 2017

From Project Oriented to Goal Oriented: The Path to Fine Dentistry

My Father was a project oriented type person. What does that mean?  "We have 5 things we have to do today so we have to work fast so that we can get them all done" is what he would say as we would start our tasks on a Saturday. That may seem reasonable to a lot of folks. A GOAL ORIENTED type of person might say, "Listen, we have five things we have to do today but we have to do each of them as well as we can before we move to the next thing on our list."

BIG difference.

So I grew up  a project oriented kid. Let's get it done.

When I purchased my first camera in 1972, I had already met my neighbor Walt who happened to also be interested in photography. He was a goal oriented person. He had no problem telling me that when I printed my photos in our bedroom which doubled as my dark room that I had not focused the lens on the printer so that the  photograph was not as sharp as it should be. Oh and by the way, there are dust particles on the black and white print. Do it AGAIN.

I printed the SAME photograph 8 times until I learned to get it perfect. 8 hours in the dark room and all I had to show was ONE PRINT.

That's how I became a goal oriented person and how I learned that doing things RIGHT is far better than doing things quickly.

I am NOT a fan of either automatic cameras OR PHOTOSHOPPING my photographs....just like the old days..If you couldn't see the the photo in the camera, it was cheating to fix it after the fact. Even though my Mirrorless camera can be fully automatic, I took the above photo in the manual mode with my goal to only have the young girl's dreadlocks in focus. (ISO 200, F2, 1/210 speed pushed one stop.) It was taken on one of our visits to Charlotte while waiting for Susan to get us each a glass of Cabernet.

I had the same level of Passion for photography that I have for dentistry...Aren't you glad that I found photography before I went to dental school? I certainly am.

(You can double click on the photo to see it full screen.)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Politics Aside

If you visit the Upper East Side of Manhattan, you will enter the medical section of the City. Memorial  Sloan Kettering, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Hospital for Special Surgery and Cornell Weill Medical Center all come to mind as being located within blocks of each other. As you walk around the 'Hospital District' you will see many buildings associated with the hospitals have names associated with them. All of the 'named' buildings have been donated by very wealthy individuals  who whether we like them or not, play a very important role in our Society. The Koch Brothers are often criticized for their Conservative leaning views but they have a strong philanthropic side that we all must admire regardless of their or our political views.

Many wealthy individuals and families contribute a great deal to improve all of our lives and we need to put aside OUR political philosophies and say, "Thank you." None of us would refuse treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering because the building was donated by our political foe. Sometimes we just need to stop and think.

Friday, December 22, 2017


"(CNN)A Pennsylvania doctor was indicted Thursday on 19 counts, including charges related to the deaths of five patients to whom he had prescribed opioids, according to the Department of Justice. It alleges that Dr. Raymond Kraynak caused the deaths between 2013 and 2015 by "unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances" to the five.
Prosecutors also say Kraynak prescribed nearly 3 million doses of opioids from January 2016 through July.
Kraynak, 60, of Mount Carmel was arrested Thursday. Prosecutors say he made a first appearance before a federal magistrate Thursday and was scheduled to appear Friday morning for a bail hearing in federal court."

The State of New  York, namely the Governor, has made a big issue of writing for pain medicine. Physicians and dentists have to jump through hoops in order to give a patient 6 tablets of Acetaminophen with codeine which, by the  way is probably what the average dentist prescribes at one time.
What took the pharmacies so long to find Dr. Kraynak? What took the Government so long to indict this drug peddler? He started  writing significant numbers of prescriptions in 2013 and next week it is 2018.
The Government has to stop harassing caring physicians and dentists and shut down the pill pushers.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

An Interesting Article inToday's New York Times

Every day patients ask me how much longer I will be working and everyday I tell my patients that I have no interest in retirement.

Well I am not alone among professionals. On pg. 5 of the Business Section of Times there is a story about professionals like me who have no interest in retiring.

"Dr. Laura Popper, 71, a Manhattan pediatrician works because her professions central to her identity.  'I wanted to be  a doctor since I was 4---why would I give that up?"

There was also mention of a Federal District Court Judge, Jack B. Weinstein who is 96 and says that he has no intention of retiring.

Like Dr. Popper and Judge Weinstein, I have no intention of retiring any time soon. Let me assure you that I am doing the best work of my career at this time in my life. And just so that you know: I wanted to be a dentist since age 9 and I have the distinction of being rejected from almost all the American dental schools at least once 3 years in a row. Do you think that I was determined to become a dentist and driven to try to be among the best of my profession?

One of the most disheartening things that I heard yesterday was from a Canadian dentist practicing for only 18 years. He told me that he cannot wait to retire because he found running a practice and doing dentistry very hard and very stressful.  He was jealous when I told him that I LOVE being a dentist when we were chatting on Facebook Messenger. How sad it that?

If you would like to read the article yourself:

A New Marketing Campaign

I have read that some company is placing billboards and taking out ads that read:

"It is Easier to Find a Good Dentist Than You Think" or something to that effect.

The reality is that it is damn hard to find a top notch dentist or physician/surgeon than you think.

I have told my blog readers before the criteria that they should use to find a great dentist but I will provide that list again. This is MY OPINION and while there may be one or two additional criteria, this list is pretty complete.

1. The dentist should have 3,000+plus hours of continuing education and none of those courses should be vacation/courses.
2. The dentist should routinely use a rubber dam to restore posterior teeth.
3. The dentist should not participate with many insurance companies because fees are set low by the insurance company and the dentist cannot spend an appropriate amount of time per patient.
4. The dentist should photograph virtually every tooth that they restore for both educational and legal reasons.
5. Quality dentists usually see one patient at a time rather than 2-4 patients at the same time.
6. Quality dentists usually schedule ONE patient for 4-7 hours when treating large cases.
7. The dentist should have a fabulous website with many of their OWN cases on the website.
8. The dentist should not try to do all of the specialties of dentistry in their office and should refer to dental specialists. One dentist cannot be a master of all of the specialties  in dentistry.
9. The dentist should be on the faculty of a dental school

So how do I stack up against these criteria?

1. I have 7,000 quality hours of Continuing Education with much of it with the best dentists in the world.
2. I always use a rubber dam in the posterior region of the mouth when restoring teeth.
3. I participate with NO insurance companies because it is my job to be the best possible dentist that I am capable of being. I can only serve one master: my patient.
4. I do photograph virtually every tooth that I restore and show every patient the leakage and/or tooth decay that was under their old fillings.
5. My shortest appointment is ONE HOUR. My longest appointment this year was 9 hours 45 minutes to treat ONE PATIENT.
6. My large cases are almost always allotted one full day of my time.
7. My website is professionally done and only MY ACTUAL PATIENTS are shown on the website.
8. I am a general dentist that limits my practice to fixing teeth and restoring implants from very simple cases to cosmetic and full mouth rehabilitation. All other treatment is referred out to quality dental specialists so that you are always treated by fabulous specialists. I am not a jack of all trades and a master of none.
9. I am and have been an Clinical Associate Professor at SUNY/BUFFALO School of Dental Medicine with a  visiting status.

Finding a quality dentist is NOT as subjective as you would think. There are STANDARDS by which every dentist can and should be measured.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Some People ARE Getting It

Last week a successful person in Chicago sent me an email requesting a consult because she no longer will accept having her teeth cut down and (ultimately) destroyed by crowns.

Wait a second...How did a person in Chicago know 'enough to say enough is enough?'

She reads my blogs and she now KNOWS that crowns are used much too often especially when there are alternative materials and techniques that can DELAY and perhaps prevent the need for a crown.

It is my belief backed up by 25 YEARS of clinical experience with placing direct posterior resins using a rubber dam and strict attention to adhesive protocols, that the majority of crowns placed in patients mouths (NOT MY PATIENTS) can and should be avoided until the patient reaches middle age (50+ years old).

My inquiring email prospective patient asked me BLUNTLY, "Why do dentists want to do so many crowns?"

To digress a moment. Dr. James Andrews is the foremost sports medicine surgeon in the country. Six or so years ago he was interviewed by the New York Times and was asked why so many MRIs are done. His response to the reporter was, "There is nothing that I can learn from an MRI that I couldn't learn by talking to a patient, touching a patient or asking them to perform a task." The TIMES reporter probed further and asked again, 'Then why are so many MRIs done?" To his credit Dr. Andrews told the truth when he said, "It is the money."

Why are so many crowns done instead of direct posterior resins, (my restoration of choice)?
There are several reasons besides the money.

1. Dentists have been told over and over that resins aren't good materials for large posterior resins.
2. The literature shows that the average (and in my opinion, poorly done) resin filling lasts only 7 years. ) My resins are lasting 20+ years)
3. Many dentists have never been taught how to properly place a posterior direct resin and therefore the resins are not done correctly for long term service.
4. 95% of dentists do not use a RUBBER DAM for placing posterior resins despite all manufacturers demands that a DAM be used for complete isolation.
5. Insurance companies know how poorly done posterior resins are done and refuse to pay for them beyond what a mercury filling cost.

So why so many crowns: It IS the money.

Again in my practice a crown fee is $1750. Most of the time my patients are having posterior resins instead of crowns at a fee of $345-$400..

So you see. It is NOT ABOUT THE MONEY.

Hey it is YOUR tooth structure that is being ground down...Not in MY mouth, My staff's mouth, my friend's mouth or my patient's mouth.

Why are millions of implants done? Because, in my opinion and from my vast clinical experience, so many teeth are cut down for crowns and when the crowns fail, they take the tooth with it.

So the lady in Chicago got wind of a what an old dentist is doing in Saratoga Springs and is ready to make the trip.

It IS Official: Our Government Is Run By Idiots...DEFINITELY NOT POLITICAL

I really don't care whether you like our current government or whether you voted for or against our government.

The government is officially run by idiots. How and why do I say this? Read on:

(CNN)Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the very agency tasked with saving and protecting the lives of the most vulnerable, are now under order by the Trump administration to stop using words including "vulnerable" in 2018 budget documents, according to The Washington Post. For the full story read it here:

So what are these dangerous and forbidden words. Are they the 7 words banned by the FCC and made famous by the comedian George Carlin? You KNOW what they are and if you don't remember you can go to YOUTUBE.COM and search for the 7 Deadly Words.

So again WHAT ARE THE CENSORED WORDS that are not curse words?

"diversity," "fetus," "transgender," "vulnerable," "entitlement," "science-based" and "evidence-based."

Where will this end? What else will we not be able to say or read? In his classic novel, It Can't Happen Here , Sinclair Lewis wrote about the possibilities of a dictatorship in the United States.

How do you think dictatorships start?

Fake News
Banned words
The New York Times is a failed newspaper
We had bigger crowds than at any previous Inauguration
The CIA are Nazis
The FBI's behavior is disgraceful

Again, please do not think that this is a political post. When a government agency, the science driven CDC, is forbidden to use 7 words we all better sit up and take notice.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Physicians and insurance

If  you haven't been in our office during the last month, you won't know that  I am currently using a walker because my decrepit old right leg, injured 40 years ago is getting weaker. I have been taking tests and  x-rays to help determine the  problem.

How a patient is treated often is determined the type of insurance that they have. For instance, I called a doctor's office today and asked about having an MRI. The office person told me that because I have Medicare  (as well as a full private insurance policy just like the majority of people reading this blog) I do not need a prior approval to have an MRI if my physician believes that I need one.

There are Physiatrists in NYC that will offer better options than Physiatrists in the Capital District because their patient WANT treatment that is NOT covered by insurance.

Is that how we should be treated. Is THAT a standard of excellence?

In my office, our patients are provided with the best option to fix a tooth that preserves the most amount of natural tooth structure without regard to how much money that I earn from it. The vast majority of my patients do NOT receive the most expensive option of a crown because it the most DESTRUCTIVE way to fix a tooth. YES, I would earn the most money to place a crown on your tooth but YOU would pay a heavy price for that crown 25  years down the road.

We should treat our patients as if they are our family...Not by what an insurance company pays or how much money the doctor can earn.

But by doing what is best and right for the patient.

"The Old Guy Look"

I can look at a 60 year old person and immediately tell  that their teeth are all worn  down or that their denture is very old.

Why is that?

The movies portray a witch as a person with no teeth and the nose and the chin almost touch. What stops the nose and chin from getting close to each other are the teeth.When an older person's teeth are all worn down,  they develop an 'old guys look' with the corners of the mouth curved down, the lip is all caved in and the chin and nose are closer than they should be.

I just don't get it. One does not need to be a dentist to be able to see the old person's face is collapsing. Look at your family photos and you will see what I am talking about.

Yes, it is often about the finances of the person...but just as often, it has nothing to do with the wealth of the person. They don't care how they look and unfortunately the vast majority of dentists are not willing to discuss the visual appearance of their patient because they don't have an understanding about how to successfully fix the problem.

Look at your parents, grandparents and older friends and see if you see the 'old person's look.' Or just look in the mirror if you are older.

Fix the problem if you can so that you will no longer look grumpy all the time because  of your mouth being curved down.

Irresponsible (Not political)

It has been over 50 years since the Congress enacted major tax changes. I am not necessarily for or against the specific changes in the law. Do I think that the tax laws need to be changed? Absolutely!!!

 It is December 1, 2017 at 5:32 in the evening and supposedly the Senate is going to vote on the tax law.

There is only one problem.

No one in the Senate has read the law....NO ONE.

Not a single Senator has read the bill that they will vote on this evening and they have no clue what is in the proposed new law.

This is no way to run any government or any company no less the greatest, most powerful country in the world.

Maybe it is time to pass a law the dictates that  a Congressperson READ a bill before they vote.

If it was up to me....I would fire them regardless of which party was in control.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

It is ALL Corrupt

"Dear Dentist,
The Key Group, an independent market research firm, has been commissioned by a leading manufacturer of dental supplies to conduct a survey in order to test a new product concept of a system to aid in composite rebuilds.  For this project, our client is specifically targeting dentists under 50 years of age.  We would like to invite you to share your opinions!
Upon completion of the survey, you will be sent a $40 honorarium check for your time. This questionnaire should take about 15 minutes to complete.
This study is strictly for market research only; no sales will be involved and your responses will remain confidential.  If your answers to the pre-screening questions qualify you to participate, you will be launched into the questionnaire. "

This is from an email that I received today. If you notice, the survey is targeting dentists under 50 years of age.

Why under 50?

Why limit your research to dentists of a specific age group?

How can we call this a legitimate survey?

It is my belief that the BEST clinical dentists in the United States are above 60 years of age. 

The New America.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Draining The Swamp? (Not political)

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Response Department, wants Whitefish Energy's contract to restore power to Puerto Rico CANCELLED.


The Energy company has been in existence for TWO YEARS and has TWO EMPLOYEES. The contract is for $300 MILLION.

Wait a second!  So how does this tiny Energy company land such a large contract without any experience?

The facts and just the facts:

The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is from Whiteface, Montana.....Hmmm
Whiteface Energy is financed by Joe Colonnetta who founded HBC Investments
Joe Colonnetta is a contributor  of the President.

I smell a swamp here.

I really don't care who is running the government but the one thing is for sure: The American people will continue to lose.

Shame on us.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

I Don't Get It

The Kennedy assassination papers were supposed to be completely  released this year during October. Over 3800 files have been kept from the American public since Nov 22, 1963 when I was a freshman in high school. In 1992 an independent board ruled that ALL FILES must be release unless the President holding office on October 27, 2017 believed that there was SOMETHING in the files that could harm our country.

FIFTY THREE YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What could possibly still harm the United States after 53 years? Everybody involved is DEAD.

The President's claim to fame is that he is a great negotiator, by his own admission and 9 months ago the government knew that Oct. 27 would arrive and the Kennedy papers would be released. Why couldn't the President have negotiated with the CIA and other agencies prior to October 27?

I am sorry, either  there was a conspiracy to kill the President or you gotta show me the papers.

Fifty three years and OUR GOVERNMENT  doesn't want our citizens to know the truth.

I am the only one who doesn't quite get it?

Dr. Benjamin is Expensive

I have discussed this subject many times but it is a topic that is always perplexing for me.

When something that you use every single day of your life lasts 20 or more years, can it really be expensive. Yes, on the day that you use your credit card. Does anyone even remember what something costs after 20 years.

Time for some math: if I charge you $365 for a filling and you use it everyday of the year that means that you paid me about $1 a day for your filling. Now if you use it for 20 years you will pay about 5 cents a day for my direct bonded filling.

So now that we have that out of the way, why do people think that I am expensive?

The answer is that there are two types of people: teeth people and non teeth people. What is the difference?

Teeth people place a high value on their teeth and are willing to pay money to keep their teeth in good repair and 'real' teeth  people will pay thousands of dollars for a stunning smile.

Non teeth people are willing to pay the least amount of money to keep their teeth because it is just not important to them.

This is NOT about good people or bad people or smart people and ignorant people. It is really how each of us sees the world.

As you can see, 5 cents a day is not expensive so it really is NOT about the money. In my 40 years of practice people have told me that I was expensive.

I don't get it.

$369, $299 or $199

Smart, dumb and dumber

The handpiece  also commonly called the drill has only one part, the air turbine,  that needs to be repaired/replaced about once a year of so. This week we received a call from the handpiece  repair center saying that they could fix our drills for $199 with no warranty, $299 with a 6 month warranty or $369 for the manufacturer supplied turbine with a 3 year warranty.

A dentist would have to be cheap or ignorant not to select THE BEST turbine that they can buy with the longest warranty but obviously there are cheap and ignorant dentists who go that route.

What is the rational for selecting a turbine for $199?  A dentist can buy a brand new Chinese dental hand piece for $60-$80 so why would they pay more than $199?

Stupidity is the answer.

My handpiece  is about $1500 and last 3-4 years and probably sterilized twice a day.

Don't you wonder where else the dentist is cutting corners? The resins that they use for filling your teeth or perhaps they buy Chinese bonding agents? Or the lead containing crown that they can buy from China for $50.

Aren't you glad that you don't go to one of these kinds of dentists?

The only word that comes to mind is "PATHETIC."

I promise you that we use the best materials for your dental treatment. Perhaps that is a contributing factor for my direct posterior resins lasting 20+ years.

Monday, October 16, 2017

"The Facts, Just the Facts, Ma'am" (NOT POLITICAL)

The facts, just the facts ma'am comes from a 1960s police show on TV called Dragnet.

In the year 2017 virtually everyone should know the facts when they present them on a social forum for discussion.

One of my high school classmates and a college graduate made the following statement on a Facebook post:

Maybe the Democrats should have gone after them, after all, David Duke is a staunch Democrat and friend of Hillary.

Now I don't care how or who you voted for but if you paid any attention to the 2016 election or the confrontation in "Charlottesville" in which white supremacists and Nazis marched ,you know that David Duke, the former KKK (Klu Klux Klan) Grand Dragon was well known to be a supporter of the President.

To keep things apolitical, and not quote either CNN or Fox News, here is a headline from a British Newspaper, the Independence.

Former KKK leader David Duke: 'We won it for Donald Trump.'
So how can someone post 'information' on an international forum that is a total lie and sooooo easy to factcheck? How is this possible? 
The big question is, "Do the facts....the REAL  facts matter?" Or does everyone have a right to think and believe anything even if it is a verifiable lie. Can we survive as a nation and a people?
Each of us has to answer this for themselves. This is NOT political. When we get right down to it, we have to ask ourselves whether America can survive or after 250 years, we break apart.