Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor
Be sure to read about the Dental Practice of the Year. The 1998 winner is Dr. Steve Niergarth from Traverse City, Mich. Steve has done a wonderful job with his practice, and you certainly could learn a lot about systems from him. Our site-visit team had a wonderful visit to his office to present the trophy. Dr. Roger Levin and his Levin Group team have done a wonderful job of selecting the winner again this year. There were many really great applicants and the selection process was very difficult.
The Dental Economics High Tech editor, Dr. Larry Emmott, will be the keynote speaker at the ADA Annual Session High Tech day. This is another reason to attend the ADA meeting in Hawaii. This is the second year for this all-day session and the lineup of speakers is absolutely staggering. If you are considering any kind of "high tech" purchase, this is the place to go for the latest information from all the experts gathered in one place. I hope you will take advantage of this great opportunity to get out on the cutting edge.
I was telling Dr. Howard Farran about my decision to run "The Great White Hype" and he asked if he could comment on the story. I told him that it would have to be a short comment. A couple of weeks later, I received this very long article that read like a Ph.D. economic thesis. He promised to edit it but I never received it. He called to say he had e-mailed it, but somehow it was lost in cyberspace and the deadline for the June issue had passed. Howard felt sure that this was just another conspiracy against him. I tried to assure him that it wasn`t, but I don`t think he believed me. The only space left in the magazine was this column so here are Howard`s comments on the amalgam controversy.
"Dr. Joe Steven`s article, `The Great White Hype,` and Dr. Bill Dickerson`s counterpoint on composites has been as entertaining as watching the Titanic! It`s very hard for me to get in the middle of this one. I love and respect them both. In fact, I think they are both right, but only half right.
"Both amalgams and composites are as necessary in the American marketplace as GM`s Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac. I doubt the engineers at Cadillac and Buick would call the engineers at Chevrolet stupid, unethical, uneducated, and nonquality-orientated. Market stratification is the only variable to this equation. Here`s a formula to remember: Satisfaction = Perception - Expectations. You must find out what people in your village want or can afford. If you don`t agree with their preference, move your business someplace else.
"The solution to the Great White Hype debate is for each dentist to identify what their consumer needs, wants and desires are - and then to provide them. If they are less concerned with esthetics and more focused on pricing, then you should be offering amalgams in your office. If they value appearance more than price, composites are definitely for them. Let your patients decide and you will reap the rewards of a highly successful practice."
Thanks for your comments, Howard!
Well, this amalgam controversy certainly has stirred up everyone. We have had a tremendous response by way of letters to the editor, e-mails, and phone calls. It seems as if everyone has an opinion on this one! An easy way to respond is to mark and send in the reader- response card located in the back of the magazine. We will publish the results of our reader survey in a later issue, as well as a number of the reader comments in the Letters section in each issue.
I would hope that most of you have formed a relationship with those people who come to you for care and that you have learned to be a good listener. In a trusting relationship, your patients will tell you the type of care they want.
Communication is the key!