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Different Opinions

By: Dr. Dan Grabeel

Are things a little slow in your practice?  I hear this a lot: dentists saying their patient load is not what it was.  I also notice more dental advertising.  I feel we have been in decline since 2008, feel we have finally reached a plateau, and hopefully will increase.     What is our answer?  More advertising? Maybe, but please stay within the Virginia guidelines. 

We hear some horror stories, like the patient who had been seeing a dentist for years and changed.  They were told they had a large number of cavities to be restored.  This was then followed by another dentist in the area telling them they did not need the restorations.  Let’s look at this from a different perspective. Did dentist Number One not give good treatment after following the patient for years?  Did dentist Number Two do work that was not necessary? How many times I have heard this same story and most of the time it happens like this:  dentist Number One was giving good care but only restored teeth that had active decay and listed others as incipient.  As the patient returned in six months everything was evaluated again and some of the incipient areas needed restorations and others did not.   When the patient went to dentist Number Two, who had been taught to restore all areas, he did so.  Ethically both were providing good treatment as they were taught if the patient was adequately informed and agreed to the treatment plan. 

I am also aware that more dentists are treating patients by restoring all carious or broken areas that should be restored.  I also heard this in a dental course this summer, and we are doing this in my practice. (Who said you cannot teach an old dog new tricks!)   So, we all should make a special effort to have a good history on all patients, and a treatment plan we have shared with the patient. Make sure they understand and agree to the work to be done. 

Above all, make sure your decision is ethical. Do not put anything in print that you have not checked on very closely and proven to be true.  If you advertise, please follow Virginia guidelines and we as a committee will have little to do. For this, we thank you! Let’s all keep Dentistry on a high plane both private and publicly.       



Virginia Dental Journal, Volume 90 Number 1 - January-March 2013