Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor
e-mail: [email protected]
The baseball season has ended in St. Louis. Mark McGwire has returned to the California beaches, and the people of St. Louis are wondering what`s left to talk about. Somehow, the NFL`s Rams just don`t seem very exciting after the great home run race between McGwire and Sosa. When you tell the tale of Mark McGwire, you should linger over each detail of the season`s end. In St. Louis, we all expected "Big Mac" to win, but not like this. In his last 19 swings, he hit a total of five home runs - two coming on his last two swings for a total of 70. The baseball hero has returned!
Most of you must be aware by now that Mark McGwire`s father is a dentist. Mark Hartley interviewed Dr. John McGwire, who lives in Southern California, for a great article in this issue. Mark is editor of RDH and a great baseball fan.
Now is the time to plan for next year`s continuing education. Sit down and establish your learning goals for next year. Put your plan into your financial budget for next year. This advance planning can pay great dividends, because most programs offer early sign-up bonuses. Booking airfare early also can result in big savings.
Take a look at the Cosmetic Dentistry `99 program being offered in San Diego in February. This program has been designed for the dentist who wants to get into the wonderful world of cosmetic dentistry. If you have wanted to get started, or find that you cannot do as much as you would like, this program is for you. Speakers have been chosen to cover topics that will show you the steps necessary for expanding this area of your practice. This is one program that you cannot afford to miss! Sign up early and take advantage of the "early bird" special.
As I write this, I am returning home from a meeting of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration. I was privileged to sit on a panel that discussed, "The Future of Dentistry."
I was speaking on behalf of fee-for-service practices. It was a lively four-hour discussion that also presented the views of a high-volume, managed-care dentist and a Wall Street analyst talking about DMSOs. After the initial presentations, the audience became very involved in the discussion. It became very clear that there are a number of ways to practice dentistry today. It was also evident that there is not one way that is better than any other. One point that all parties agreed upon was the importance of communication in the dental office and the need to train the dentist and staff in the behavioral aspects of dealing with people.
The analyst made it very clear that we need to be very careful when joining a DMSO. Many dentists are being swayed by the hype and the promise of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. With the exception of OCA, all publicly traded DMSOs are trading below their IPO. Be certain that you know what you are getting into and how you can get out of it, if you need to.
The AADPA is dedicated to bringing the best information on dental practice management to the dentist. Its annual meeting is held the first weekend in March.
Be sure to check out the great articles in this issue, including one by Dr. Cliff Ruddle on the steps to integrating endodontics into your practice, as well as implant articles by Dr. Gordon Christensen and members of the International Congress of Oral Implantology.
I think that one of the great opportunities facing the general dentist today is in the area of implants. Less than 2 percent of people who need implants have been treated. I believe that part of the problem is that, initially, the general dentists were told that implants (and particularly implant surgery) should be left to the specialists.
The problem with that is that most specialists don`t know where to put the implants, and the restoring dentists have to deal with the poor placement. As Dr. Christensen points out, if you can do third molar surgery, you can do simple implant surgery. Some great courses are available in centers all over the country.