Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Oh Man is He Ticked

Hey all,

It is time for Orlando Magazine's "Best Dentist" issue.
In November, or something like that, we get a survey. I don't know if they actually look at this but I know I got at least one vote (You are dang right I voted for myself). But needless to say, one vote was not enough.
I don't think it is a big deal not to make the magazine, but it always stings to not make it.

Talk about stings...my friend was so ticked that he wanted to write a blog about it.
Well I will let him tell you.


Springtime in Orlando is a happy time. You can’t beat the weather. MLB has spring training, the azaleas bloom everywhere, and Orlando Magazine puts out its list of Orlando’s best dentists.

For years I’ve come to look forward to the issue where many of my colleagues are recognized for their excellence. Our local dental society frowns on the notion but according to the publication, it is based on surveys sent and filled out by local dentists. It has to be legit, right? I’ve filled out the survey myself many times. This brings me to last Saturday.

As I waited to get my haircut, I started flipping through the April issue of Orlando Magazine. The table of contents immediately led me to the section on the “best” dentists. Within seconds of reading this year’s list, I became physically ill and disgusted. Certain names were included that had NO business being mentioned among Orlando’s “best.”

As dentists, we see other dentist’s work. It is a small community. Sometimes we see firsthand if someone is good or not good. And in a small community there is a lot of talk. (John has always talking about his reputation and how dear it is to him, and this is why). Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. John’s ghost writer is a behaving like a little whining crybaby. Yes, it does sound like it, but allow me to give you a profile on one of Orlando’s “best.”

Here goes…One of the “best” works in my building. While he/she drives a $100,000 convertible Benz he/she doesn’t offer staff health insurance. In fact, this dentist shaved hours off their paychecks several times. I’ve seen staff members storm out of the building in a rage. The dentist hasn’t invested in any meaningful innovation to the practice since the 1990s, unless of course you believe a Zoom lamp is “state of the art”.

Laser dentistry? No way. He/she won’t even purchase an electrosurge unit. An office assistant comes over and borrows mine. And last time it came back broken—oh, they didn’t even follow through on repairing it properly. Instead he/she hoped an assistant’s husband could fix it. When the husband couldn’t, I wound up getting it fixed myself.

Digital camera? Doesn’t own one and actually has the audacity to fancy the office as a cosmetic dentist and a “smile maker” because they do PFMs. Wouldn’t want there to be evidence of the work, I guess.

Loupes? Heck no. I’ve been in the building 3 years, and there has been the same pair hanging from the same hook in the office collecting dust. You would think that seeing the other guy in the building using 3.5 powered loupes with an LED headlight would motivate someone to “up” their game. Not this dentist. Then again wearing loupes might open this dentist’s eyes to some of the poor dentistry he/she is doing.

Extractions? Forget it. I’ve heard the horror stories. I am not even going to touch that one. Implants? This dentist doesn’t know what a freaking analog is. The office constantly borrows my hex drivers and torque wrenches whenever they restore an implant. Did I already mention this dentist drives a 100K Mercedes. Buy your own hex drivers! Invest in a wrench!

iCat, Invialign, and IPR are foreign to this dentist. He/she doesn’t even own resin cement. I could go on forever. I don’t mean to imply that you need to have the most expensive, high-tech equipment and products to be the “best” dentist, but you should at least know of new innovations in the field.

You may be inclined to find a silver lining somewhere. You may be thinking this person is an older dentist who just does what he/she likes and is probably awesome at it. I know dentists like this who do just crown and bridge and yes, they are awesome. This isn’t one of those dentists.

This makes me wonder about the other dentists on this list. Obviously I have a problem with this particular dentist being on this list because I am very familiar with his/her work. But maybe there’s another dentists out there who flipped through the same pages of this magazine and found the name of a colleague that is not deserving of the distinction of the “best.”

You might have guessed, I’m not on that exclusive list. Jealous? Seems like it. But I really don’t believe I should be on there yet. You see, I feel I still have a lot to learn. That’s why I’m active in a couple study clubs. That’s why I’ve bothered to see Spear, Dawson, Strupp, Buchanon, Morin, and Misch. (Not to mention continuums and countless weekend courses.) My underachieving colleague doesn’t belong to a study club and doesn’t participate in CE unless it is mandated by the state. So I have to wonder, how does this magazine determine who is the “best”? From what I can tell it doesn’t seem to be based on CE hours, office innovations, or patient satisfaction. So what is it based on? I’d prefer not to dwell on it. Instead, I’d rather let the quality of my work be judged by my respected colleagues and patients rather than a magazine.

In my career I’ve had the honor of treating several dentists, employees, hygienists and their families and even an ex-employee of mine who now works for other dentists, etc. I’m particularly proud of the work that I do for them and their satisfaction with my services. I don’t need to be told that I’m the best; I just need to know that I am doing my best for my patients.

So you may wonder why I’m so upset about this “best dentist” list if I don’t care that I’m not on it. Well I think it is a disservice to the public who may take this list too literally. I personally feel that my neighboring dentist is a pretender. This dentist isn’t someone who sees any value in continuing education. Never has. It’s downright embarrassing that someone has a license to treat people but doesn’t take personal responsibility to treat someone well. It disgusts me….obviously. So that fact that a patient may see this dentist’s name in the publication and visit this office based solely on this recommendation is upsetting, and not because I want the patient to come to me. I just want the patient to go to another dentist—any dentist—that takes pride in their work and treats patients with respect.

I’ll finish with a few thoughts. There are many excellent clinicians and people on that list, individuals who I would go to and send my family to. But the inclusion of this particular dentists and the omission of some marvelous colleagues is a shame. The list used to mean something. Now it doesn’t.

I guess as a profession we have to decide for ourselves what makes a person the “best” dentist or what puts a person on the road to becoming the “best” dentist.

I told you he was ticked.
I talked about how it stings. Well if the dentist down the road gets all these accolades and you see his/her work all the time and you are cleaning up after them, it stings even worse.

I think in our town the dental society tried to get a cease and desist against the magazine from doing this. Saying that it against ethics and stuff like that. But it appears the magazine won that battle.

Any thoughts? Do you have this in your town?

Have a great Wednesday.

john

8 comments:

japton said...

We are a dental tourism facilitator (www.panamdentaltours.com). We work with highly qualified dentists in Panama (many trained here) and occasionally get bashed by unimaginative dentsist in the States who say,"You can't be sure that the dentists you work with are "qualified."
Your amusing piece shows that there are good and bad dentists everywhere In fact, the first time I saw a digital x-ray machine was not sitting in the avacado colored office of my dentist here, but in Portugal.

Anonymous said...

Well on the other side of the coin I made the "LIST". All that really happens is you get a bunch of solicitations to buy a plaque to hang on the wall or advertisement in the magazine for that issue. I n my area the list doesn't have anyone on it that does not belong on it to my knowledge(which isn't much). I have resisted the temptation to buy the $250 plaque the last 2yrs. I did buy the magazine though.LOL Our magazine has the Specialist rate te GPs and the GPs rate the Specialist.

On a serious note people do read it and take notice. I have had comments by patients. " Good to see my dentist on the list." "Guess I am coming to the right place." "I would have to change dentist if you were not the the list" I think they were joking about the last one but you never know for sure.

Anonymous said...

This glossy bound paper BS is alive and well in Denver,CO. 5280 Magazine has had the same old song and dance routine for years. I share your sentiments equally! Cheers, Tom

gatordmd said...

For me, it is exactly what anonymous says. Not being on the list makes my patients question their dentist.
That is why this magazine pisses me off. Partly that I am not on it and partly because of the negative that it brings to the people not on it.

john

kaz said...

we got one out here in the pacific NW as well. the magazine actually calls you to see if you'd like a do a self-promo editorial, one-page blah blah about yourself. for a cool $5000.

somehow i made it on the list one year, and never since. haven't gotten a "ballot" for the past 5 years either. but like anonymous said and john reflected, patients point blank ask you why you're not on there, and what were THESE OTHER dentists' superior qualification to make it..

whatever. i have a $100K convertible Mercedes to drive..;)

gatordmd said...

Damn you Kaz,
I am not on the list and I don't have a $100,000 car.
I suck.
And now, thanks to the magazine, my patients think so too.

john

Cosmetic Dentists Chandler said...

John:

Don't be concerned about it, looks like you wouldn't be in the best company anyway if you made the list :)

Nickname unavailable said...

I'm a periodontist. Our area has a similar magazine w/ Best Docs issues. I think it's a bunch of BS. My "ballot" didn't list all dentists. My feeling is that it's an infomercial.

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