The amalgam/composite debate continues

July 1, 1999
I`ve read DE for many years and found it to contain much thought-provoking and informative material pertaining to the financial side of a dental practice. However, for useful clinical information, referred journals based on science offer the most reliable, if not the latest, information. If the controversy over amalgam vs. composite is going to continue (and it appears this is the case), then the dental profession needs reliable information from sources firmly based on both science and clinical

Tom Colquitt, DDS

Shreveport, La.

I`ve read DE for many years and found it to contain much thought-provoking and informative material pertaining to the financial side of a dental practice. However, for useful clinical information, referred journals based on science offer the most reliable, if not the latest, information. If the controversy over amalgam vs. composite is going to continue (and it appears this is the case), then the dental profession needs reliable information from sources firmly based on both science and clinical experience. Further, if there is to be a "debate," the debate should be conducted in a professional manner.

When the April issue arrived with the first installment of "The Great Amalgam Debate," complete with scorecard to be mailed back to you, I hoped this might be a thoughtful exploration of both sides of the issue.

After reading the text, I was appalled by the attitudes of Drs. Steven and Dickerson. I don`t know anything about either of these gentlemen, but it is obvious that each has a personal axe to grind with the other. While both of them occasionally raise valid points to prove their point-of-view or to disprove the points of the other, the tone of the entire endeavor is sophomoric in the extreme.

After reading both the April and May issues, I feel like I have been listening to two spoiled children hurling insults at each other. Only vague reference to scientific support for their feelings is made and never cited. The name-calling and personal attacks on each other outnumber the valid clinical and scientific points.

It is impossible for me to fill out your Reader Service Card to agree with the argument of either of these men, as whatever valid points they made are overshadowed by their unprofessional attacks on each other and their general lack of scientific thinking. I think it would be a great embarrassment if either our patients or anyone outside of dentistry should read this series and take it as a valid representation of the way dentists think and act.

While your motives were pure and the concept valid, my feeling is that the result is in keeping with most things that are called "great." Greatness speaks for itself. I`d suggest you make it up to your readers by publishing a real debate, in which facts and thoughts are the weapons, not emotions, between opposite sides who have clinical experience, can cite the actual scientific support for their beliefs, and who don`t wear their egos pinned to their foreheads.

Dentistry needs to settle this debate, if possible, but this initial effort has had, in my opinion, disastrous results.

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