Provide a choice!

Aug. 1, 1999
I am writing to express my support for the views of Dr. Dickerson, which were recently published in Dental Economics. I do not feel that there should be agreement in all things or that everyone should strive to practice dentistry the same way. I do feel that Bill is one of those individuals who has done more than most to raise the standards of care that we, as dentists, are able to provide for our patients.

Wm. John Miner, DDS

Medford-Grants Pass, Ore.

I am writing to express my support for the views of Dr. Dickerson, which were recently published in Dental Economics. I do not feel that there should be agreement in all things or that everyone should strive to practice dentistry the same way. I do feel that Bill is one of those individuals who has done more than most to raise the standards of care that we, as dentists, are able to provide for our patients.

Bill was a leader who saw a vision for an improved standard of care and a market opportunity to deliver a service that was important to the public - improved appearance and an alternative to metal-based dental care. He further followed his vision by developing LVI, which was one of the initial forums for the sharing of knowledge and skills in this new field of dentistry. I believe our system is built on choices provided by those who are willing to take the risk to provide those choices. To say that Bill and those who follow his position to the limits of our skills are wrong is a narrow-minded and growth-limiting statement.

The reverse also is true. Some believe that they are serving the public interest in repairing millions of surfaces with amalgam. For some, this position may help justify their lack of growth in clinical skills. Others are excited by the results of the treatment we can provide to a public that wants metal-free dental care and a pleasing appearance. Many times, career growth is dependent upon how others perceive us.

Henry Ford said he made cars in any colors, as long as they were black. His company survived, but that philosophy opened up the door for others offering a choice of colors. Many dentists say, "I`ll do your filling in any color, as long as it`s black." There probably always will be room for them. Others choose to provide a choice ... for many reasons. Those of us who provide esthetic/adhesive dentistry also feel that we provide a technically superior service. I believe that everyone doesn`t desire this level of care, but why should that limit us in developing our skills? Growth is measured by expanding the possibilities, not in striving to achieve the average for the masses.

I believe that all levels of dental care will survive (note, I didn`t say thrive). I believe that fatigue and lack of professional development will destroy the careers of many who choose not to strive for a higher level of skills and rewards. But that is not my choice.