Keep the good stuff coming!

Iremember the days when it was Dental Boot Kamp and Amway that were just about the only ones getting people involved in books about personal growth and goals.

I remember the days when it was Dental Boot Kamp and Amway that were just about the only ones getting people involved in books about personal growth and goals. I have a library full of books and tape programs from people such as Zig Ziglar, Steven Covey, Napoleon Hill, Anthony Robbins, and John Maxwell. I believe in personal growth and stretching.

It has been said that in games such as tennis or pool, you should play with opponents who are better than you to strengthen your game. When Dental Economics® profiles a dental office such as Dr. Fred Abeles’ and others, I guess that is what you are doing for us readers - placing the bar a little higher. Some dental writers state that the dental patient of this decade will not typically be the “smile design” or full-mouth rehabilitation case, but rather the patient who comes to the office every six months and needs a filling now and then. They call it bread-and-butter dentistry. Do any of the dentists you have profiled on the cover do that type of dentistry? I have been to the “Institutes,” taken all of the cosmetic courses, and do that type of [advanced] therapy. But, the majority of our patients are still the bread-and-butter types.

Gerald L. Maize, DDS
Franklin, N.C.

More good stuff

I was very touched by the article by Dr. Harvey Passes regarding his delegation’s visit to the Vatican to see Pope John Paul II (June Dental Economics, page 26). I found it fascinating, and I am a Roman Catholic.

I congratulate you for publishing the article in an unlikely place - Dental Economics. Please convey my message to Dr. Passes. Thank you.

Raoul C. Vanden Bosche, DDS
BelAir, Md.

Staying plugged in

After reading the June 2005 issue of Dental Economics, I felt it was time I sat down and wrote to tell you how much information and insight I get from your journal. I have been retired from dentistry for nine years and would have lost touch with clinical changes and advancements in dentistry had it not been for Dental Economics. My entire career was in teaching oral pathology at Tufts University, and through my colleagues in the clinical specialties I was able to keep abreast of the clinical innovations. When I retired, although I was able to keep informed in oral pathology through our specialty journals, I was afraid I would lose contact with clinical dentistry. Your journal has filled that void.

It is fun to learn about the new ideas, practice innovations, new procedures and products, financial advice, etc. I even enjoy learning by reading the advertisements. You have a very informative and interesting journal and I thank you for letting us retirees receive Dental Economics.

On a personal note, I must admit I have been very remiss in not writing sooner regarding your editorial comments upon the death of my Loyola Dental School classmates, Jim Smith and Jim Pride. They were good men and made a significant contribution to family, friends, and dentistry. Your fine tribute to each of them surely was a validation of their achievements.

Dr. Ed Cataldo
Boothbay, Maine

Keeping bonuses plugged in

In contrast to Amy Morgan’s article, “Pulling the Plug on Bonuses” (April Dental Economics, page 42), I would like to write in favor of bonuses and other forms of production-based pay. I have worked as an employee with wages based on hours worked, as an employee with hours plus production-based commission, and as a self-employed business owner with income based only on productive business activity.

While many employees prefer the regular paycheck with a known income, ultimately they must recognize that their income can continue only if their work continues to create a valuable product or service at least equal to the cost of employing them. By accepting the risk associated with occasional slow times, employees take more responsibility for the work they perform, make more effort to acquire the work, and take an ownership stake in the business, elevating themselves to associates within the business and a more mature, equal, collegial relationship with the coworkers and employer.

Similarly, employers should recognize that employees are capitalists at heart, looking to get a fair share of the receipts for the work they perform. Remuneration that is proportionate to accomplishments leads to higher quality and professionalism seen by clients, less down time, higher income for all members of the dental health care team, and a more enjoyable work experience.

Howard M. Notgarnie, RDH, MA
Aurora, Colo.

Some things take longer than a week

I’m writing this in response to Dr. Matt Bynum’s article, “Breeding mediocrity” (June Dental Economics, The Soapbox, page 88), in which he discusses mediocrity that he believes plagues our profession. Dr. Bynum praises LVI and AACD for raising “standards above and beyond what most will ever do in a lifetime.”

Unlike Dr. Bynum, I have no financial benefit or business relationships with any teaching institutions. If attending these commercial education programs has been beneficial to him or any other person, that is fine. We should all attend continuing education which will improve our skills as we continue to learn during our professional careers. No one will likely disagree with that.

My concern is not in questioning the teaching of LVI or AACD, however, I feel it is unacceptable and offensive when he states, “I believe the restorative work performed by those at LVI or in AACD is far beyond what the average prosthodontist does!” Who is Dr. Bynum to make such a judgement? There is no substitute for the time and hard work involved to complete a prosthodontic residency. There is far more value in the ADA-recognized specialty of prosthodontics, or any other specialty for that matter, than learning one occlusal philosophy and attending any institution for a week at a time. By attending a three-year residency program, reading the literature, and learning about many philosophies, one can make a more educated decision about his or her own personal philosophy with respect to many types of treatment.

Based on my personal experiences, the standard set by my instructors, mentors, and fellow residents was to always strive for perfection and to achieve excellence. Does Dr. Bynum understand the amount of commitment involved with challenging the American Board of Prosthodontics to acquire Board certification? Perhaps he should visit one of these prosthodontic programs.

The reason there is concern within our profession about advertisement with various non-recognized titles given by commercial educators such as LVI or AACD is because it is both misleading and confusing to the public. There has to be standards for titles that are acceptable, earned, and recognized within any profession. At this time, the ADA recognizes nine dental specialities, and these other titles, in my opinion, should not be among them.

Patrick L. Ousborne, DDS
Prosthodontist
Towson, Md.

Transcendentistry

As I read Dr. Barry Polansky’s “Letters from readers” in June 2005 Dental Economics (page 18), I was struck by the personal nature of his criticism and his condescension. The first column I read in any issue of DE is Dr. Matt Bynum’s Soapbox. Dr. Bynum has a fresh and no-nonsense perspective on dentistry and its future. He has inspired many young dentists to pursue excellence in technical skills, team-building, and of course, patient care. Matt is a skilled dentist with passion and integrity.

Speaking of clarity, what is the relevance of Polansky’s comments about IACA (International Academy of Comprehensive Aesthetics)? He says that “comprehensive aesthetics” is an oxymoron. There is no contradiction between “comprehensive” and “aesthetics.” As a board member of IACA, I participated in developing our mission and vision along with the name. We are not just another “cosmetic group.” Our vision for this unique organization transcends dentistry. Beyond beautiful teeth, it is the aesthetics of the face and overall human body and the inter-relationship of beauty, function, and health. We are proud to have Dr. Matt Bynum speaking at our inaugural meeting.

Prabu Raman, DDS, FICCMO
Kansas City, Mo.

Prabu Raman, DDS, FICCMO
Kansas City, Mo.

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