Molar City – Poster Child for the Political Narrative

Los Algodones, Mexico…. a tiny town with 600 dentists known as “Molar City,” has become the poster child for what some believe “ails” our “dental care system.”  Molar City is the Mecca of “cheap dentistry.”  Pardon all the quotation marks.  😉   Americans are reportedly flocking to Molar City because dentistry in the U.S. is just “too expensive.”  By golly, something should be done about that!

NBC Nightly News ran a segment about it last night.  It’s not the first time I’ve seen a story about Molar City.  But, being on the Nightly News certainly gives it more prominence in the minds of Americans.  Video below:

First, I’d like to point out that I believe any grown adult should be able to go anywhere he or she wants to obtain whichever services he or she desires.  It’s a free country.

A crown is a crown, right?

I know that many of us (dentists) have seen some rather alarming “work” come from across the border.  In many cases, the patients are worse off than if they had never been treated in the first place.  Many of us have had to “clean up” these dental disasters from Mexico.  And, it ends up costing patients way more than it would have if they had first sought treatment in the U.S.  But, hey… a dentist is a dentist is a dentist, right?   And, some of the dentists in Molar City were trained in the U.S.  So, that’s good, right?   Read on.

Don’t drink the water!

Now, before any of you virtue-signalling social justice warriors reflexively blurt out, “there are good and bad dentists everywhere,” consider indulging in scratching more than the surface.  Let’s THINK a little about this.  Yes… good and bad dentists are everywhere.  Thank you, Captain Obvious.  But, there is a CRITICAL difference.  If a patient receives substandard care in the U.S., that patient has RECOURSE.  We have state dental boards and malpractice attorneys in the U.S.  An American patient has ZERO recourse in a foreign country, if the treatment turns out to be substandard, or worse, causes harm.  That’s a VERY important difference.  It could be argued that the “incentive” to deliver standard of care is higher here.  Patients should understand that if something goes wrong down there, they have no recourse.  The rights they have here do not exist across the border.

The snarky side of me can’t help but raise the question, “You won’t drink the water there, but you’ll let them operate on you?”  😯 

The ADA eunuchs chime in…

At the very end of the NBC News segment, they asked the American Dental Association for a statement.  “Patients should do their research.  There are good and bad dentists everywhere.”

Holy shit!  That’s what the ADA came up with???  More virtue signaling!  What about the obvious difference in standards and accountability between here and there, as I mentioned two paragraphs back?  Really?  THAT’S the ADA statement?  This is EXACTLY why I terminated my membership years ago.

The ADA is more concerned about being politically correct than about standing up for its member dentists and representing American dentistry.  At the very least, the ADA could have suggested, “buyer beware.”  Once again, the ADA has thrown us under the bus.  The ADA is complicit with this “access to care” narrative.  The fox is in the hen house.

We don’t need no steenkin’ insurance!

Of course, there is an agenda afoot.  There is a narrative being promulgated by the media and politicians.  The first is that people “need” so-called “dental insurance” in order to obtain dental care.  It’s mentioned at the beginning of the NBC video.  We know this could not be more untrue.  Preventive care, on an annual basis costs less than a couple of months worth of cable or satellite subscriptions.  And, the BEST “dental insurance” maxes out, annually, at less than what people pay for their smart phone data plan.  But, they don’t need “insurance” for their data plans.  With today’s dental plans maxing out at $1,000 – $1,500 (the same as it was in 1965!), we call it the “tooth of the year club.

Furthermore, it’s been argued that Americans have a RIGHT to healthcare (presumably including dental care).  It would be equally logical to argue that Americans have a right to food and shelter.  We have the Right to SEEK happiness.  But, we don’t have a right to happiness nor to the services or skills of others.

I invite my fellow Dental Warrior colleagues to post comments about their experiences (good or bad) with patients who have crossed the border.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2017 The Dental Warrior®
This entry was posted in Editorial and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Molar City – Poster Child for the Political Narrative

  1. michael zuk says:

    I could write a book on the subject of dentistry in Mexico…oh gosh…I already did ( http://www.blurb.com/b/4455789-dental-treatment-in-mexico). The cost of repairing a full mouth of dental treatment done in an average office south of the border is more than doing it more ideally the first time. Poorly done root canals and ill-fitting crowns tend to be the most common things we see.

  2. Michael Nugent says:

    SPOT ON!!!!!!

  3. Frank A. Finazzo, DDS says:

    One thing you didn’t touch on that I think is important is what happens when a patient has an acute emergency (infection)when they are back home? It is unreasonable to think they would travel 2000 miles back to Mexico for this.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Emergencies are one thing. Substandard or failing treatment is quite another. An emergency can be taken care of locally. But, patients aren’t going to be happy when they find out their recent Mexican full mouth rehab is grossly substandard and will cost $50,000 to fix (on top of the money they spent in Mexico). What are they going to do THEN? Fly / drive back? Get a Mexican lawyer? Ha! No malpractice suits down there. Call the Mexican dental licensing board and file a complaint? Olvidalo! (Spanish for “fuggedaboudit!”)

  4. “Caveat emptor!” Buyer beware!

    Is it possible to get good dental work in Mexico? Yes. It is.

    Then again, is it much more likely than not that you will get good dentistry done in Mexico? Not from what I have seen, no. I have seen much more bad dentistry than good from there.

    And let’s face it: Most people who seek care down there are seeking major work I.e. A significant amount of dentistry. If you go for ONE procedure, and it’s done poorly, you have lost, but not too much. Lesson learned. But if you have a whole bunch of things done, and it’s done poorly, that is catastrophic! I have seen it, time and again. The more desperate the patient it seems, the greater the likelihood that I take X-rays and just shake my head at what I see.

    So each person has to decide whether their livelihood is worth the risk. I would never choose to go there for any significant dentistry. Period. Risk of failure is just too high. Not 100%, mind you. But too high for the risk of savings.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Good points, David. Sadly, when we (American dentists) diagnose the disaster full mouth rehab that was just done in Mexico, we are STILL the “bad guys.” Accountability is now delegated to anyone but the person who is actually responsible. So it goes.

  5. Ken says:

    Once again a spot on analysis, especially the last part about the REAL agenda of the ADA. (But that’s another subject I guess) Being in the midwest I don’t see a lot of patients that have done this although I have seen some. One case was was a young man who elected to have all his teeth removed and mini-implants placed to support a full denture prosthesis on maxilla and mandible. He came in to see me immediately after his initial surgery and it was a mess. Denuded bone and what appeared to be infected and inflamed periosteum. I saw this and right away said we need you to see an oral surgeon as this was beyond my scope of care. Here’s the kicker; he had seen an oral surgeon already who had suggested a course of treatment but wanted me to refer him to another as this oral surgeon had made comments about getting what you pay for in going to a country like Mexico. Go figure. The draw for him was that this Mexican dentist “studied and graduated” from a dental school here in the USA! Ultimately I don’t know where this patient ended up but it was a mess. I fixed his temporary teeth a few times as the teeth just fell out and were very fragile in my opinion. The oral surgeon here had to remove a several of the mini implants as they were hopeless. Despite all this… he was heading back to Mexico to the same dentist to get his permanent dentures and have more mini implants placed? I kid you not. That was over a year ago and I have not heard from him ever since?

    K

    PS…with your permission, I would like to share this particular blog post on my office Facebook page if you don’t mind?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks for your comments and story, Ken. Absolutely share on Facebook. That’s why I put the “Share” links at the end of the article. Makes it easy. 🙂

  6. Brian K. Van Netta, DDS says:

    Hola Miguel! I had a patient once, long ago, who had an almost completely intact virginal dentition. He was missing 3,14, and 30. Class I occlusion, no hypereruption, no drifting at all. He functioned quite well. Somewhat grumpy all the time and never really liked any treatment recommendations. I advised him to consider single tooth implants if he desired to fill in the missing areas.

    He sort of floated away for awhile, but called one day needing to “have his bridge re cemented.” Crap. Sure enough, someone in Mexico cut down 2,4,13,15,29, and 31 to place 3 3-unit fixed bridges. The upper right bridge had come out. Both abutments were unrestorable and grossly decayed. The abutment teeth under the other bridges were decaying as well. Of course he didn’t like the diagnosis – I let him leave with bridge in hand.

    What struck me most was all he could talk about was how much he saved having the work done in Mexico and how my fees were ridiculous. It’s always about the money. As long as people perceive they are justified in “beating our unjust system”, the end result is of little importance to them. As an odd aside, this gentleman was of Mexican origin and has relatives living there. If that is how Mexicans are treated there, then God help the gringos.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Brian! Yeah… it’s amazing…. they don’t care if the treatment was poor or even negligent. It was CHEAP! And, they see it as some twisted sort of “revenge” against “expensive dentists.” Cutting off your tooth to spite your (American) dentist, so to speak! Stunning.

  7. Mike, This is so spot on. Every one thinks in equivalencies. The news media, the insurance companies, and the ADA. Much like you I stopped being a member years ago, after being very involved, straight out of dental school. Keep up the good work. And just remember there is, no equivalence to rational thought.

  8. Sheila Brush says:

    I can only echo what other commenters have already said. This article is sad but true.

  9. Sorry, buy you guys just don’t get it. You don’t seem to appreciate the desperation US patients feel when faced with 50-60 Grand worth of dental work.
    Some people even spout the Insurance buzzwords. We don’t have insurance. We didn’t before, we don’t now. Insurance will not cover most of the preexisting conditions. No insurance will cover Implants. Periodontal disease is not covered as well. It’s preexisting.
    All dental work in the US is paid for in cash if you can’t get insured for the procedure you need. Parting with my 50,000$ is unacceptable.
    Now what to do?
    I truly believe if one more person tells me what I “Should have” done, they will need their own “Dental Plan”…

    • Corey says:

      Should have brushed your teeth

    • Doctor J says:

      Very few people “need” 50 – 60 THOUSAND dollars in dental care. The only treatment that I can think of that approaches that amount, would be both arches all-on-4 fixed dentures, with the oral surgeon doing the surgery, and even this treatment is closer to $45k, in full. Although we have restored several of these cases, working with our OS, I don’t recommend it generally, unless the pt really wants it. If finances are an issue, overdentures with a couple of implants to support attachments work great, and we do many of these cases, completely in office, for under$10k.

      Your post makes it sound as though you had no other options, and that simply is not true. You also fail to realize or consider the facts, as stated in this blog, that MUCH of the dentistry done for cheap, south of the border, is substandard and actually harms the patient long term, and ends up costing them more.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      This blog’s audience and commenters are dentists. I don’t normally entertain comments from the “other side,” as there are plenty of blogs and forums for consumers. But, comments from the other side sometimes do offer value to the discussion.

      We absolutely get it. No dental “insurance” will cover a $50,000 dental rehab. The BEST dental “insurance” (I use quotes, because it’s not really insurance) maxes out at $1,000 – $1,500. In 1965, that $1000 got you a lot of dentistry. Today, it’s the “tooth of the year club.” The max “insurance” benefit has not changed AT ALL in FIFTY years. That’s OUR (dentists) fault, exactly how? Whose names are on the tallest buildings in every major metro area in the U.S.?? Insurance companies! I have not seen a dentist’s name at the top of those buildings. There’s a reason insurance companies can afford that real estate. They make their money by NOT paying out benefits.

      Here’s the thing… nobody NEEDS a $50k reconstruction. People can live without teeth. Dentures are far less costly. And, we have electricity and blenders now. That said, most dental disease is preventable.

      In the end, medical and dental tourism has its pitfalls… pointed out in the article and in the comments by experienced dentists. You can choose to plug your ears and shake your head, saying “you don’t get it.” Yeah. We do. It’s our business and life-long profession to “get it.” Most of us are very passionate about what we do. Most of us care about helping our patients as much as possible. Top of the line care costs top of the line money. That’s reality with anything in life. The great thing about dentistry is that we can often offer lower cost options (like dentures).

      If you go to Mexico, be aware of the potential pitfalls. We’ve SEEN the outcomes of those pitfalls. And, the patient is out of even more money. Furthermore, the patient has NO RECOURSE in Mexico, when things go awry. Again, you can ignore the voice of logic and experience and form your own prejudicial opinions. If a friend or family member asked me about going to Mexico to “save money” on dental care, I would not hesitate for a moment in strongly advising them against it. I would also advise them to not drink the water. 🙂

  10. Chris Haag says:

    We ran into a retired couple last year down in Arizona. They were from Canada. The subject of the “dental buses” came up and of course I said what a shame it was that people were going to Mexico to get substandard work. The women told me she was a retired nurse and that the problem in the US is that dentists make way too much and that in fact a dentist should make less than a nurse. I just walked away.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Jonathan Swift famously said, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man (or woman) out of something he was not reasoned into.”

      I think walking away was a perfect answer. Alternatively, it might have been fun to ask her, “OK… How much SHOULD a dentist make in your estimation? Please be precise and show your work (or provide support for your answer).” 😀

    • Doctor J says:

      Lol at the nurse’s attitude.

      Having practiced for 20 years, the first 4 in the military, I have seen this attitude from nurses all too many times.

      Lack of self-esteem on the nurses part perhaps? Nurses fill a vital role in the health care spectrum, but quite simply, their level of training, and the academic rigors needed to enter their profession, is NOT anywhere near as demanding as earning a Doctorate degree in dentistry (DDS/DMD). To put it in terms that they might understand, after dental school, one can earn an MD degree in 2 years (as many do, as part of a 6-year OMFS program). For someone with an RN to earn an MD (or DDS/DMD)? try 5-6 years, as they will need to spend 1-2 years full time in order to get the prerequisites to apply (RN programs do not require the higher level science courses that entry into medical or dental school does), and then 4 years of medical or dental school.

      If they think dentists “make too much”, they should become one, lol.

  11. Brian K. Van Netta, DDS says:

    Stephen Lambden’s comment typifies the current American mindset about dentistry today. It’s basically fraught with inaccuracies, but there is just enough truth to almost make it believable. I feel most folks think we do these 40K types of procedures daily. I would guess, in reality, the vast majority of us are caring and conservative, really looking out for our patient’s best interests. The general public forgets this is how our practices grow – through referral of satisfied patients over the long-haul.

    What we lack today are relationships. I continually tell people to find a provider they feel comfortable seeing. And, maintain this relationship as long as possible. This way, consistency is created, along with two-way respect that will certainly improve treatment outcomes. Work can be phased over time in smaller bite-sized chunks. It really is doable. But in today’s fast-paced “Mc-give-it-to-me-now” society, less people invest their time in this. Both patients and doctors alike.

    Most dental problems can be dealt with relatively easily provided they are caught early. And this is the start of the problem. We are all familiar with the eye-rolling syndrome where early recommendations are blown off because it doesn’t hurt yet and a few hundred bucks is “too much.” Fast-forward 15 years, and now we have Stephen Lambden’s desperate patient in our chair. Now the cost is much higher, compounded by denial and neglect. Added to which the patient has no insurance, no funds, completely fubar-ed credit making loans or credit card funding impossible, and lastly, a misdirected sense of entitlement complicating this whole mess

    Let the bitching begin. That’s perfect for insurance companies and the ADA. They are “faceless”. We are right where they want us: on the front line of battle arguing with the person we are trying to help. No harm to them. We take the beating. Then these other problems spawn due to this supposed “access to care” issue: dead children, dental tourism, and general neglect and avoidance of the dentist, creating even bigger problems.

    Personal responsibility is never reinforced. Public education is never addressed. Backing by the ADA or other influential organizations is never achieved. I really don’t think we can solve it 1-on-1 chair side. The thinking is cultural, widespread, and quite ubiquitous in the minds of most Americans, just like Stephen Lambden. I wish the system could be changed over-night to suit everyone’s concerns, but it’s complicated. Until that time, society will have to come to terms with the reality that they are responsible for their own choices and the quality of their lives will be directly influenced by the choices they make. Choose wisely.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Excellent comments, Brian… right on point. We have become a society of entitled finger-pointers.

      That $3000 root canal, post, and crown was once just a $250 filling… and before that an intact virgin tooth exposed to acidic soft drinks and excessive distance from the fuzzy side of the toothbrush.

    • Matt McGee says:

      Did you drop a mic after posting this. If you didn’t, you should have. Well said

    • Doctor J says:

      Brian – best post on this specific blog/topic. Exceptionally well stated.

  12. Susan says:

    Mike, I have not yet read all comments so if this was discussed, I apologize in advance. You are very critical of the ADA for not supporting its members and mention being thrown under the bus. You are not a member of the ADA, but many of the dentists practicing “across the border” are members of the ADA. So it stands to reason that the ADA is actually sticking up for it’s members. I cannot post a link, but just search ADA members, Mexico.

    Do you expect the ADA to stick up for nonmembers?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Sue,

      I was VERY involved with “organized dentistry.” I went all the way to President of our local affiliate association. I spent many years on the board. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt AND the plaque with a little gavel on it. I know a bit about it. 🙂 I also know what is going on behind and in front of the scenes. I am hardly alone. The ADA’s membership numbers are dropping off a cliff. I even recently met with the Florida Dental Association’s Executive Director and Membership Director. To their credit, they were willing to meet me, a non-member. But, that’s who they SHOULD be talking to! Dentists like myself (especially KOLs like myself) who have dropped out. They are BLEEDING membership! But, they are mostly plugging their ears to the problem.

      Hey…. maybe they can recruit more members from Mexico. LOL! See how far that gets them.

      • Susan says:

        Mike,
        Dentists practicing in Mexico realize the advantages of their ADA membership in regard to marketing their services to dental tourists. Gives the patient a higher level of confidence in their services.

        Patients considering dental tourism may assume that US dentists are all “good enough” and basically equal in quality to one another (so in this regard, price of service is the discriminating factor when evaluating care here). I would guess the dental tourist does much more research when it comes to selecting a dentist across the border, placing more emphasis on evaluating credentials, quality and outcomes over seeking the lowest price among the pool of dentists located there.

        You argue that patients have recourse here in the US for crappy work done by US dentists, but not so for work done in Mexico. This is true for catastrophic failures.

        Yet in America, often a patient cannot discern the difference between good dentistry and mediocre dentistry. Although we have a dental board, how much is it really used when a dentists sees “crap” work done by another dentist? My guess is that rarely does a American dentist throw another American dentist under the bus. They simply pick up the pieces without pointing fingers and charge the patient. Usually the patient is lectured on how to brush, floss and seek regular dental care.

        My question would be, would an American dentist be more likely to throw a foreign dentist under the bus (by pointing out “subpar” work to a patient) than than pointing out “subpar work” done by an American colleague?

        I know I am treading on thin ice as this is meant for a discussion between dental professionals, but maybe it is something for dentists to think about, too.

        Thanks.

        • The Dental Warrior says:

          I agree about recourse involving “catastrophic” cases being the most dramatic, but I have friends who work in peer review locally and at the state level. MOST of the cases are small potatoes… not “catastrophic.” Single tooth stuff. Same goes for malpractice. Ask me how I know! The vast majority of recourse being sought is small cases, which makes sense because most dentistry is “small case” dentistry. The “big cases” are few and far between.

          • Susan says:

            Maybe the small stuff costs a lot of money (from the patient’s perspective) and as such, they expect perfection. In Mexico, since it is “cheap” they are more forgiving. I know: I half expect the “Thank you Captain Obvious” remark.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            Even “small cases” can be “catastrophically” screwed up. A hypochlorite accident in the course of a root canal, for example, can cause devastating damage.

            The bottom line is this: Dental and medical tourists should consider whether the savings is worth the GAMBLE. Nevertheless, there will be a propensity to cast blame to the “expensive American dentists” when the shit hits the fan with Mexican treatment. They’ll complain that it’s OUR fault that it’s going to be even MORE expensive to fix what they got “cheap” in Mexico. This isn’t speculation or hyperbole. Many of us have EXPERIENCED that very thing.

  13. Brian K. Van Netta, DDS says:

    I usually don’t get worked up about these types of things and really don’t wish to use this post and forum to hang dirty laundry. However, Susan’s reply illusrtates another cock-eyed view which is simply infuriating. It’s not about the ADA “sticking up” for it’s members. It’s all about a central organization educating the public, lawmakers, insurance executives, lawyers, and all other related individuals and organizations about what we do, why it’s important, and how the system works. If we perceive this central organization working to improve these core issues, individual dentists will then become attracted and join, feeling there is congruency between our actions and what is supported centrally.

    The ADA can’t really do anything for us or fight our battles in any way, whether we belong or not. But I feel they do have a duty to society in general and this is where the ball is dropped. Like Mike and other posters, I was involved locally as well. What a complete waste of time. And I don’t believe it gets an better at the top. Just a lot of self-serving individuals – one big psychological “photo-op”.

    But a large part of the problem is lack of central backbone. And because there is so much unchecked fragmentation, everyone is running about like chickens with their heads cut off. But every time the ADA witnesses grossly negligent practices and conditions, wherever they may occur, and don’t make a stand or state a position, they throw ALL DENTISTS, and the practice of dentistry under the bus.

    So it’s not about being a member, not being a member, or which way the wind is blowing. It’s about education and support for society and practitioners alike. Got that, Sue? End of rant.

    • Susan says:

      Hi Brian. I was going by Mike’s words: ” The ADA is more concerned about being politically correct than about standing up for it’s member dentists and representing American dentistry.”

      That is where I got my cock-eyed view.

      I guess Mike meant to say that the ADA is more concerned about being politically correct than about standing up for educating the public, lawmakers, insurance executives, lawyers, and all other related individuals and organizations about what we do, why its important and how the system works.

      #1 What would it take to establish this? #2 If the ADA did provide this, what impact would this have on American dentistry? #3 What impact would this have on patient care?

      Thanks.

      • The Dental Warrior says:

        No. I meant what I meant. Members pay DUES to the ADA for their REPRESENTATION. Yes… public health advocacy is PART of the ADA mission. But, believe me… members aren’t paying $1200++ / year just so the ADA can educate the public about flossing and fluoride. The ADA also exists to advocate for the profession (and its members) at large. For example, lobbying is a significant part of the equation.

        • Susan says:

          Thanks. Maybe Brian can chill out then.

          • Susan says:

            By the way Brian, if it was my question: “Do you expect the ADA to sick up for nonmembers?” that set you off… that was just a cheeky, rhetorical question directed to Mike to challenge him.

            My underlying point is that boycotting the ADA may not help the larger picture.

            I do understand (not on an experiential, but on an intellectual level) your frustrations. Believe me, I learned the hard way about this subject…not in the smartest way, mind you! I have already been lectured ad nauseam about the ADA by MANY dentists that are unhappy with “them” as an organization.

            We may not always agree on everything, but Mike and I are friends. 🙂

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            The interests of dentists are the same regardless of membership status. And, it’s why the ADA is losing membership in droves. If the ADA was acting in their interest, they wouldn’t be terminating membership. If the ADA started acting in our interest, dentists would be staying and non-members would join. I would certainly rejoin AND get involved, if I saw tangible actions by the ADA on behalf of dentistry.

          • Susan says:

            I get that Mike. We’ll see how ADA action (and the dental profession at large) are influenced by the decreasing numbers of general dentist & specialist membership. For as long as I’ve known you (10+ years?), experienced dentists have become increasingly fraught with displeasure in regard to where the profession is heading—> private practice opportunities are becoming unattainable, school tuition has become outrageous, “access to care issue” is misguided , dental therapists in the US outrages many general dentists. I’m still waiting for the boycott to effect a positive change for dentists, patients and the profession at large. Well at the very least, it saves you $1200 a year and makes a clear statement as to what you think of the ADA.

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            It should be clear / obvious that the ADA does not exist to service only its members. The ADA is supposed to represent the interests of DENTISTRY. Again…. the interests of non-members and members are largely aligned. They are dentists.

            The NRA has only about 5 million members out of an estimated 100 million gun owners. But, the NRA advances the interests of gun owners at large. The NRA advocates for the Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment. As such, all gun owners are represented, regardless of membership status. As gun owners become aware of the NRA’s advocacy, non-members may be enticed into joining as members. And, they have! In the MONTH following the Sandy Hook murders, and the politicians were threatening the Rights of law-abiding citizens, the NRA gained 250,000 new members.

            The same true is for the ADA. The NRA has GAINED members in recent years. The ADA is LOSING members STEADILY and PRECIPITOUSLY. That speaks for itself.

            When the ADA acts on behalf of DENTISTRY, I will be writing that check and rejoin the team.

          • Susan says:

            Hi Mike, I just saw your comment. You wrote: “It should be clear/obvious that the ADA does not exist to service only its members. ….” While I understand your point that the goals of non-member and member dentists’ are common to all, it only stands to reason that member dentists come first in the eyes of the ADA. I see no problem with that. Why would non-members expect otherwise?
            For example Dr. Gary Roberts was elected president of the ADA in October, 2016. In his address to the ADA: “This is your association and this is mine. It represents new dentists, career dentists and retired dentists. My commitment to you this year is to do my very best to help each and every one of our 159,000 MEMBERS succeed and to stand with them through thick and thin….” You may see this as a hollow rhetoric, but never-the-less, the point remains, the ADA’s commitment is first and foremost to ADA members. Non-members can eat cake, I guess. It seems apparent to me that communications between members and others that influence dentistry (administrators, educators, lawyers, lobbyists, insurance executives, etc. occurs more readily within and through members of the ADA. Am I wrong?

          • The Dental Warrior says:

            Point missed… entirely. The ADA also exists to serve the PUBLIC, or so it claims. It also serves to represent the PROFESSION of Dentistry as a public figurehead, of sorts. Much like the AMA represents the medical profession (and is looked to by the media and politicians as such), even though they can “boast” of about 15% membership rates.

            Yes, of course, members get BENEFITS that are reserved for members. File that under, “Duh!” 🙂 But, I also think it’s safe to say that my INTERESTS as a non-member are identical to the INTERESTS of the majority of members. We care about the same things.

            But, yeah… you missed my point. It’s OK. 😀

  14. Mimi says:

    I can feel for any privet practice medical professional. I understand any professional’s need to vent frustration at the system. Private dentists support themselves and their office employees. I prefer private medicine in all specialties. But there really is no recourse for an average person anywhere. The US is certainly safer.
    It’s hard to find a medical professional you can be confident is committed to good practice. After the damage is done there is no fixing it. (Psychiatry may be desperately needed. A good psychiatrist is so valuable. There ARE good ones. Find them…? Cardiologists who do more than blood pressure checks?)
    It may not be worth any mysterious price even though my teeth and my children’s teeth (mental health ect) are valuable to me. Just because my circumstances may be precarious.
    Medicine can be criticized for their pay any price we tell you after appointment and return for your next appointment at an unknown cost system.
    But we are all health care consumers.

  15. Susan says:

    Hi Mike,

    (Print is getting cramped with all of the replies. I am not sure where this one will go).

    I well understand that the ADA serves the public (we have already addressed that!) as well as it’s member dentists. In doing so, the ADA represents the entire profession. I get that.

    I dare say you missed my point too (but that’s ok). My main point (which was my own assumption & posed as a QUESTION to you, albeit in an obscure manner) was that non-member dentists generally cannot carry as much influence upon the direction of the profession as the ADA can/does as an organization.

    The ADA is influenced more by its members than non-members (is it not?) The ADA is the voice of dentistry (is it not?) By dropping out, it’s like giving up your input/voice (as a profession & influence upon the profession).

    Your blog of course offers a voice… but can/does it rival the ADA?

    No disrespect intended. Just wondering.

    Thank you for letting me speak.

  16. Susan says:

    And I guess that it the point that I missed. duh.

Leave a Reply to michael zuk Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *