Monday, March 28, 2011

Crabs in a pot!

Well, things have been going very well at the office. We have had some of our best production and collection months lately. The staff made bonus so they are happy – oops, I did not mean to say that, now I am doomed, one of the girls will come walking through the door any minute, mad and upset.

Have you ever heard that old saying about how putting down others to make yourself look better is like crabs in a pot? One crab attempts to get out of the pot and the other crabs grab on to pull out and everyone falls back in the hot water! A national orthodontic association is sure looking like a pot of crabs right now. Many of you might have gotten the AGD alert concerning this issue.

I was totally unaware until that notice. It details an advertising campaign by this group. On their website, they have "Myths and Facts" about orthodontics. Some of the statements are accurate and legitimate; others, not so much. One supposed myth is that "My family dentist says he can straighten my teeth." Another statement says that “a dentist may see a handful of cases a year amid drilling and filling." Well, needless to say, this has gotten the attention of many people as being a broad-based statement that is inaccurate and degrading to what general dentists do.

I personally feel that general dentistry is the hardest position to do in the dentistry field due to the amount of broad-based knowledge you must have. I had the opportunity to go into endodontics, but felt I would miss the variety of work that I can tackle in general dentistry. We are all general dentists first, then specialize to meet our personal and/or professional needs. I like having specialists that want to do the cases I do not want to touch, but when one group feels they must put general dentists down to elevate their position, that is just wrong.

I forwarded the AGD email to some of my ortho friends. The response was unanimous: they were embarrassed and upset by the statements that this organization made. Many of them were totally unaware that this even existed. They stated they have been paying an extra $500.00 a year in dues to support a special assessment to fund an advertising campaign to educate the public on orthodontics. However, they did not know other dentists would be degraded to accomplish their goals.

Some were apologizing to me. I told them I did not want an apology, but to inform them of the issue and hear their thoughts on the topic. I know there are some dentists that possibly perform treatment beyond their training and skill set and should not, but others perform minor tooth movements or even more advanced cases and have the proper training and experience to do so with great results.

I am fortunate that I have received advanced training in all specialties via the Navy, and it has helped me understand when to punt a case to a specialist and when to tackle it. (All the football references have me thinking of Gator football already!). I have very good relationships with specialists that promote me doing cases and they will help out if need be. I understand that they have the special training, education and time that is required for complex cases. For this orthodontic organization to label general dentists as just there to fill holes and nothing more is unnecessary and untrue. The real myth here is that this campaign is helping the orthodontists' cause.

I believe that there have been enough complaints to this organization that they are going to remove these statements from their website. As of the writing of this post, it was still posted on the website. We all need to stick together as dentists and promote our special skill sets without trying to tear down another.

Have a great week!


Edward Logan said...

I agree that the smear campaigns should desist. This type of marketing never results in success long-term.

Elizabeth said...

How strange that they would take this stance. I refer so many cases to ortho, I don't do any at all in my office. Where do these people's patients come from?
And just to preach to the choir, general dentistry is hard. Switching gears from crown and bridge and removable and endo... and "drilling and filling" can be incredibly difficult. Today I was doing a PFM prep on #15 on a pt. with a big tongue and cheek... oh lord. I just matched to go back into pedo,(and I'm going,) and I burned the memory of trying to get that distal margin into my head, for when I'm complaining about how hard it is to fit SSCs.

DentalImplantsGreenBay said...

It is said that a General Dentist is licensed to practice all areas of Dentistry.

It is also a very popular thought that General Dentist is the Captain of the dental team and he is the creator, manager of the dental treatment plan.

So I totally agree with you on the fact that General Dentistry is the hardest position to do in the dentistry field due to the vast knowledge it requires.


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