News From The Wealthy Dentist #36: March 14, 2007
by Jim Du Molin
A Glossary of Dental Controversy
Obviously you’ve heard of the recent controversy over whether general dentists should be permitted to offer conscious sedation to their patients. But do you know the ins and outs of the whole drama? Well, here’s a boiled-down version of all the warring acronyms!
ADA: You should know this acronym! The ADA is considering proposed new guidelines that would limit oral conscious sedation. Voting will take place in September. Many specialists support the new guidelines, and many general dentists oppose them. A recent Wealthy Dentist survey suggests that most general dentists don’t feel represented by the ADA; specialists, on the other hand, tend to support the ADA.
DOCS: The Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation is one of the leaders in the fight against the ADA’s proposed regulations. DOCS is the largest educator in the field of oral conscious sedation. The organization boasts over 3,000 members who have treated over one million patients through conscious sedation without incident.
CDEL: The ADA’s Council on Dental Education and Licensure, along with its Committee on Anesthesiology, is pressing the ADA to change its existing anesthesia guidelines. The organization is chaired by Dr. Stephen Young, Dean of
the College of Dentistry at the University of Oklahoma.
AAOMS: The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons has been campaigning to convince state dental boards to adopt the ADA’s proposed new guidelines even before the ADA formally adopts the new guidelines. There’s even some suggestion that the organization has been misrepresenting the proposed guidelines to the states as “official” guidelines they are already required to follow.
Team1500: Even this one is an acronym – Trust for Equal Access in Medicine, a non-profit coalition funded by member dentists. Team1500 has become a major player in the conscious sedation debate. They have already submitted over 1,000 letters of protest to the ADA and Dr. Young of CDEL. The organization has also published a letter to the US Surgeon General, calling on him to intercede with the ADA.
Everyone seems to have a passionate opinion on this hot-button issue. Well, your opinion counts too! An issue like this could change the face of general dentistry in the US. Do you really want a group of self-serving specialist to decide the future of general dentistry while you stand by and watch politely?
So what can you do? Well, if you’re opposed to the new limitations, Team1500 wants your help – and, not surprisingly, they’d love some of your money too. The organization has quite a to-do list:
- Educate state dental boards, and counter the influence of AAOMS
- Reach out to ADA delegates who will be voting on the proposal in September
- Show local and national news media that the proposed regulations would raise consumer prices and reduce access to care
- Inform general dentists of threats to their practices
- Continue working to ensure all segments of the population have access to quality dental care.
The Wealthy Dentist discovered in a recent survey that four out of five general dentists feel that the ADA represents special interests, not the interests of the general dentist. The ADA’s proposed limitations on oral conscious sedation have clearly alienated
general dentists. The ADA is supposed to represent all dentists – and if you don’t feel they’re doing their job, it’s time to make your voice be heard. Visit the Team15000 website to learn more about what you can do.
What do you think about the ADA’s proposed guidelines? Are specialists just jealously guarding their high-value sedation patients? Or is the ADA truly working to ensure top-quality care for dental patients?
Jim Du Molin
Survey: Dentists Favor Universal Licensure
Our latest poll question brought in a record number of responses! We asked: Once a dentist is licensed in one state, should he or she be permitted to practice anywhere in the US?
The answer was an overwhelming “Yes!” Over four out of five dentists responded, “Yes – I support universal licensure across the US.” A minority replied, “No – I support the current system of state-by-state and/or regional licensing.”
I guess dentists want to be able to move! What’s more, a number of you are undoubtedly hoping for a semi-working retirement where the warm breezes blow. Over half of the dentists who oppose universal licensure are from the warm and
sunny states of Florida, Hawaii, California and Texas. Coincidence? No way!
Our readers had volumes to say on this issue… here are just a few comments:
- “Don’t you know that teeth are different from one state to the next?”
- “This is THE reason why I am not a member of the ADA and will never rejoin.”
- “The purpose of credentialing is to prevent dentists who are inept, addicted to drugs, or just plain dumb from going to state to state leaving a wake of disaster behind them.” “The current system is illogical.”
Dental Grill Malfunction Nearly Ruins Rapper’s Budding Career
During the recent finale of VH1’s The White Rapper Show, two Caucasian finalists battled to win the hip-hop reality show’s final prize. One of their last challenges was an impromptu rap in a public park.
An audience. Camera crews everywhere. National TV exposure. A record contract on the line. But it wasn’t the stress that got to contestant Shamrock – it was problems with his dental grill. Though the removable metal plate over his teeth may have given him “hip-hop street cred,” it nearly cost him the prize (and maybe even his life!) when his grill became dislodged during his rap and he nearly inhaled it.
Though Shamrock went on to win the contest, the incident only further highlighted the problems that can accompany grills. In fact, a Tennessee senator is trying to legislatively restrict the installation of grills.
UK’s Chancellor Brown Skips NHS, Goes Straight to Private Dentist
Chancellor Gordon Brown is widely regarded as the second most powerful
politician in the UK, and he’s Tony Blair’s heir apparent. He’s made the news
recently for visiting a private dentist rather than an NHS one for a root canal
treatment. This is particularly awkward given his vocal criticism of those
British citizens who opt out of NHS treatment and seek private doctors instead –
a tendency that’s doing no favors to the already-struggling public health
Last week, Chancellor Brown visited the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry to
see leading private dentist Dr. Mervyn Druian. (Pictures were even snapped of
him leaving the center – see right.) Though embarrassed by the publicity, Brown
has defended his choice of dentist for a number of reasons:
- He’s seen Dr. Druian for dental work during the past 11 years
- Dr. Druian is a friend of Chancellor Brown’s wife
- Since the Chancellor rarely visits a dentist, he does not have an NHS dentist
- The emergency nature of the dental work requires finding a private dentist
- Seeing a private dentist is not the same slap to NHS as seeing a private GP.
Other senior Cabinet members have rushed to champion their own use of NHS dentists. Tony Blair entrusts his teeth to the NHS, as do a number of other political heavyweights and hopefuls. (At least, that’s what their representatives claim.)
One thing has come out in the Chancellor’s favor – news reports indicate that he opted to be treated without anesthetic because he wanted full control of his mouth for a speech he was delivering later that day. And so his dentist drilled
through deep nerve tissue, and Brown felt every moment of the procedure. Perhaps having the strength to undergo root canal work without anesthetic suggests the strength to lead a nation? I think we should seriously consider making this a standard protocol for all American politicians.
Dentists Face More Stress Than Other Retailers (Wait, “Retailers”?)
Do you think your job is stressful? Well, according to a recent UK poll, you’re exactly right. The survey found that medical retailers (a category that includes dentists) face more stress than retailers in any other sector. In fact, 63% of
medical retailers consider their jobs stressful, 22% more than other retailers. And the outlook isn’t getting any brighter, with 44% of medical retailers saying they’re more stressed than they were last year.
The British study is conducted every year, looking for insight into the challenges faced by the country’s small business owners. So before you get indignant at being considered a “retailer” – putting your dental practice in the same category as your local corner market – remember that they really mean “small business owner.” And also keep in mind that your job is officially more stressful than that of a grocer or travel agent.