Joseph A. Blaes, DDS, Editor
This is an exciting issue! The "How to Profit From. . ." articles share innovative ideas for improving your hygiene production and profitability. I believe that the hygiene department is the key element to a thriving dental practice. In my practice, my hygienist dragged me, kicking and screaming, into a tissue-management program. Wow! What a change in my practice. Hygiene was no longer a "loss leader." Instead it became an integrated part of our practice philosophy and mission: "To help people achieve the highest level of dentistry that is personally appropriate for them." These articles can help you achieve a healthier practice.
Dr. Tom McDougal addresses one of my favorite topics, the insurance-free practice. He will share with you a system to break the chains that third-party plans have placed on our practices. I can tell you that what he says is true; my practice has been insurance-free for almost 10 years now. This is not some pie-in-the-sky idea; it works!
I am sure that by now everyone has read and reread the infamous Reader`s Digest article, "How Honest is Your Dentist?" by special investigative editor William Ecenbarger. I knew we were in trouble after reading the first paragraph and seeing the promotional cover at the supermarket checkout lane, "How Dentists Rip Us Off." The article is irresponsible investigative journalism that utilized the tabloid style of sensationalism. This is a new low for Reader`s Digest. The author has twisted facts to suit his purposes and presented a totally untrue picture of his "journey to 50 dental offices." In the interest of fairness and presenting the complete picture, we will reveal in next month`s issue what Mr. Ecenbarger`s dentist really told him about his mouth. We also will have interviews with all the panel members and others.
The ADA response characterizes the article as a "gross misrepresentation" of what normally occurs in a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Gary Rainwater, ADA president, said, "All the author shows is that if you visit several dentists who have different backgrounds, practice in different areas of the country and probably have different treatment philosophies, you are likely to get a wide variety of treatment plans with associated costs." The complete ADA response is in the ADA News or it can be seen on the internet.
At the Reader`s Digest web site, http://www.readersdigest.com, you can see the entire article along with some of Mr. Ecenbarger`s x-rays. Also, there are a number of interesting responses to the article.
Before you get angry and frustrated and try to get even, think it out. Don`t try to take on Mom, apple pie, John Wayne and the Reader`s Digest! How can you turn this article to your advantage? I hope that, first, you will read Dr. Roger Levin`s article on page 30. Now is the time to dust off that practice philosophy and tell your patients why your practice is the best.
Finally, check your reception room and be sure that the February issue was not inadvertently placed there. I think one of the strongest messages we can send is monetary; cancel your subscription to Reader`s Digest.
Please let us know what you think of the magazine and some of the new things we are trying. There are new columns coming and new articles. I have an e-mail address now; you can reach me at the e-mail address below.