Grow healthy, wealthy, and wise

I have just finished a series of four meetings with dental manufacturers over the last five weeks. I am always amazed at the amount of research and development dollars that dental manufacturers spend.

I have just finished a series of four meetings with dental manufacturers over the last five weeks. I am always amazed at the amount of research and development dollars that dental manufacturers spend. They are constantly looking for new, breakthrough products that will make dentistry not only easier to produce for the dentist, but also better quality for the patient. They are genuinely looking for ways to help the dentist and the dental team.

In the August issue of Dental Economics, I published a "Viewpoint" by Dr. Daniel Sweet. The commentary by Dr. Sweet has produced more reaction (most of it negative; see the "Letters From Readers" section) than any article in recent memory. I thought that the author made some good points, so I overlooked some of his other points that seemed to sting a number of our readers. It usually is my intention to do that with the "Viewpoints" I publish.

One of the points that Dr. Sweet made was about the research done by dental manufacturers. Remember that this is his opinion. That's what a "Viewpoint" is! Dental manufacturers have not been selling us untested products. The manufacturers I know do a tremendous amount of research before they bring products to market — that includes not only the research done in their own laboratories, but also research done in dental school research departments. The companies that I deal with on a regular basis have large staffs of PhD biomaterial chemists who work daily to make dentistry better.

I have chosen not to use amalgam in my practice, but I am definitely not leading an anti-amalgam crusade. If you choose to use amalgam, you are not a sloppy dentist, and it is not my intention to make you feel that way or to put you down in any way. Dr. Joe Stevens showed me a long time ago that there is a silent group of dentists out there who resent the implication that amalgam use makes them lesser dentists. This is simply not true. By the way, amalgam sales have not declined.

The cover this month is a group of friends, all of whom have served as president of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. They have volunteered many hours to help dentists better manage the business side of their practices. Please read the accompanying story on page 24 to learn more about this organization and the work that it does. The annual meeting of the AADPA has a great lineup of motivational, practice management, and clinical speakers. The next meeting will be held at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, Ariz., March 5-9, 2003.

I received a newsletter last week from one of my favorite Italian restaurants in St. Louis. It's called Michael's Ristorante — www.michaels-ristorante.com, (314) 576-0049. If you have never eaten Italian food in St. Louis, you have a treat coming! In the newsletter, I came across an article (reproduced below) that embodies what I try to convey to you each month. If we all could follow this outline, I am sure we would grow to be healthy, wealthy, and wise!

Nine tips to success

  • It can happen if you have confidence in your beliefs.
  • Performance depends on your preparation.
  • Sometimes you must be flexible on the road you will take to win.
  • Your inability to forgive can lead to guilt, anger, and unhappiness.
  • Taking action on your dreams depends on you.
  • Dealing with people is always negotiable.
  • Your most valuable asset is your earning ability and the time to act.
  • Spend the time to investigate your investments.
  • Always save at least 10 percent of your income. Pay yourself first.

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