The Painful Truth About Teeth (USA)

From The Washington Post

SALISBURY, Md. — Two hours before sunrise, Dee Matello joined the line outside the Wicomico Civic Center, where hundreds of people in hoodies, heavy coats and wool blankets braced against a bitter wind. Inside, reclining dental chairs were arrayed in neat rows across the arena’s vast floor. Days later, the venue would host Disney on Ice. On this Friday morning, dentists arriving from five states were getting ready to fix the teeth of the first 1,000 people in line. Matello was No. 503. The small-business owner who supports President Trump had a cracked molar, no dental insurance and a nagging soreness that had forced her to chew on the right side of her mouth for years. “It’s always bothering me,” she said. And although her toothache wasn’t why she voted for Trump, it was a constant reminder of one reason she did: the feeling that she had been abandoned, left struggling to meet basic needs in a country full of fantastically rich people.

As the distance between rich and poor grows in the United States, few consequences are so overlooked as the humiliating divide in dental care. High-end cosmetic dentistry is soaring, and better-off Americans spend well over $1 billion each year just to make their teeth a few shades whiter. Millions of others rely on charity clinics and hospital emergency rooms to treat painful and neglected teeth. Unable to afford expensive root canals and crowns, many simply have them pulled. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans older than 65 do not have a single real tooth left. Over two days at the civic center, volunteer dentists would pull 795 teeth. A remarkable number of patients held steady jobs — a forklift operator, a librarian, a postal worker — but said they had no dental insurance and not enough cash to pay for a dentist….

….Trump’s assurance that he would build a “beautiful” health-care system to serve every American, a system that would cost less and do more. But nearly four months into Trump’s presidency, Matello sees Trump backing a Republican health care plan that appears to leave low-income people and the elderly worse off…..

….“I am hearing about a number of people who will lose their coverage under the new plan,” Matello said. “Is Trump the wolf in grandma’s clothes? My husband and I are are now saying to each other: ‘Did we really vote for him?’ ”…..“Was he just out to get our votes?”

Full article here

Obsess Over Your Customers, Not Your Rivals

From HBR, worth a read and then asking yourself some questions….

The starting point of most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. But smart leaders and organizations go broader.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. And the answer is this: Your competition is any and every obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the human, high-level problems your company exists to solve…..

….Sure, someone in your company needs to understand the marketplace: who your competition is, what other products are on the market, and how they are doing, at a basic level. But there’s a point at which paying attention to other companies and what they’re doing interferes with your team’s ability to immerse itself in the world of your consumer. Focusing on competitive products and companies often leads to “me-too” products, which purport to compete with or iterate on something that customers might not have liked much in the first place.

Conclusion:

  • First, rethink what you sell.
  • Next, rethink your customers.
  • Now, focus on their problems.

Read full article HERE

 

 

In case you missed – TGBSL #29….Dentistry courses dominated by women in Scotland.

TGBSL explained: In the second book of the semi-autobiographical series describing the progress of an Edinburgh medical graduate, Colin Douglas describes his hero, David Campbell’s, involvement with medical research. The book’s title is “The Greatest Breakthrough Since Lunchtime“ and the cynic in me always remembers it when I read headlines like these. I insist that I have a huge regard for our researchers, having watched my brother persevere with his work for years and now my son wrestle with a PhD I know that it is something to which I am not suited at all.

1) New discovery could reduce the dental implant failure rate

Scientists have developed a new nanocoating that’s designed to reduce the risk of dental implant failure.

Dental implants are a common and effective tooth replacement option, which is why it’s no surprise that about 3 million Americans have dental implants. That number is rising by 500,000 people each year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

While dental implants are a great option for many patients, a major issue is the implant failure rate. According to a 2015 study, almost 8 percent of patients with dental implants experienced the loss of at least one implant over a 9-year period.

To combat the dental implant failure rate, scientists from the School of Biological Sciences, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth have developed a new nanocoating for dental implants that’s designed to reduce the risk of peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is a localized lesion involving bone loss around an osseointegrated implant. It has been identified as the main reason for dental implant failure.

Continues HERE

2) Those with dental phobia more likely to have cavities or missing teeth, study confirms

I’m afraid this falls into the category of, “specialist subject – the bleedin’ obvious”.

When I tried this on a few people in the pub the overwhelming response was, “1) Frightened to go, 2) allow problems to get worse until 3) you have to go, 4) get in, 5) get it over with, 6) get out, 7) fear remains. Return to 1).

People with dental phobia are more likely to have active caries or missing teeth, a new study from King’s College London has confirmed.

The latest study, published in the British Dental Journal, aimed to explore the social and demographic correlates of oral health and oral health related quality of life of people with dental phobia compared to those without dental phobia. The findings showed that people with dental phobia are more likely to have one or more decayed teeth, and missing teeth as well. In addition, the study showed that those with dental phobias’ reported that their oral health related quality of life is poor.

Full paper HERE

 

3) Medicine, dentistry and law courses dominated by women in Scotland

via BDA

Full Report HERE

GIRLS are continuing to dominate leading professions such as medicine, dentistry and the law, according to new analysis.

Figures collated by academics from Edinburgh University show more than 56 per cent of students studying medicine and dentistry in Scotland are women while the same is true of 63 per cent of those studying law….continues

She said: “Recent decades have seen a shift in the policy discussion of gender and education away from a focus on female disadvantage towards a concern with male underachievement. To a certain extent this is because of a culture of laddishness which means boys are more likely to act up, more likely to be the subject of punitive disciplinary measures and are therefore more likely to be disengaged. In contrast there is still a sense girls are more likely to be better behaved, to spend more time reading for pleasure and doing homework.” REALLY?

 

Playing the “What If” game.

I delivered my presentation, “Is Dentistry Making You Sick?” in Gloucestershire a couple of days ago and introduced a game that I suggest participants play with their teams and partners. It’s called “What If” and the rules are simple in the extreme, you come up with the most unlikely thing that you can imagine and make plans on how you will deal with it on a personal and business level. Then move on to the second most unlikely and so on – I think you get the drift.

Visualise scenarios, research, plan and rehearse.

The example I used was of the owner of a 95% NHS dental practice who had been planning for the new NHS contract to replace the shameful 2006 edition, it has been promised over and over by successive governments. The contract will emphasise prevention and have a level of capitation payments. It will have been trialled and tested and approved by the BDA.

The What If game when played on Monday at 9am would have had them wake up one day and discover that the government had called a general election in order to concentrate on Brexit. The side effects of the likely victory would be to railroad their austerity programme through until 2022 and also enable them to kick any positive change in the dental contract into the the longest of long grass until who knows when.

Now what would you do if that happened – apart from ringing Lily Head?

What If – what’s next?

The Periodontist, deep pockets in LA.

from the Lefsetz Letter…

“I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news.”

Huh?

I thought the hygienist cleaned and the dentist evaluated.

But not at this joint.

My old dentist had a love affair with Alaska. For three months every summer he took his boat up north and regaled me with incredible tales thereafter. The only problem was if you had a crisis during those three months.

I did.

So I went to see his old associate, the one who bailed when the seaman wouldn’t cough up his practice as promised. This young man said the tooth in question was unsavable and would have to be extracted and replaced with an implant.

But then I called Irving. Medical consigliere to the stars.

Irving had been imploring me to see his guy for years. And Irving’s track record is impeccable. He always hooks me up with the top guys, with an appointment right away, oftentimes outside scheduled business hours, with no wait. And if you don’t think that’s important, if you don’t think that’s an asset…

You just haven’t been broke down and busted on the side of the road, with no direction home, wondering how you’re going to escape this pain.

So I got an appointment.

But just before I went, Irving said he’d forgotten to tell me this was the most expensive dentist in the world.

And he is. He’s 50% more expensive than any dentist I’ve ever seen. Assuming you need serious work. Cleanings? Routine stuff? That’s all reasonable. But if you need a crown…

You’re gonna pay $1500 more than anywhere else, but this dentist has his own lab and there’s no waiting, from drilling to replacement it’s two, maybe three days.

And he saved the tooth.

So, ultimately I saved money. Instead of paying for an implant, for half the price I continued to use my own tooth, which is always preferable.

The next time the crack was below the gum line. I had to go for an emergency root canal, on my birthday no less. The endodontist, another Beverly Hills bigwig, told me there was no way the dentist could save the tooth, that an implant would be necessary. But this guy, my guy, Irving’s guy, said “I’m gonna work my magic.” And he did, he put on a crown.

And it’s been an endless series of crowns. Is it my age? My affinity for trail mix stirred up in Dannon coffee yogurt? I don’t know, but I’ve given up the trail mix, it’s just too expensive and aggravating in the long run.

Worth reading to the end HERE

The second life begins…when the drill is hung up.

 

I encountered this quote from Confucius in the FT, coincidentally in the week where I was reading The Path an interesting book on Chinese Philosophy and whilst still coming to terms with the fact that since March 18th I can no longer sing the Beatles’ song which starts, “When I get older losing my hair” in the future tense.

“A man has two lives. The second life begins when he realises he only has one.”

The article in the FT was about Charles Eugster who forsook his ” middle aged, self satisfied lump of lard” and took up competitive rowing at 63. Dissatisfied with falling muscle tone and wanting a beach body he started body building aged 87.  The next challenge was competition needing coordination and performance, this led to an interest in sprinting and long jumping and his setting world records for his age group at 97.

Read the whole piece HERE it’s fascinating and inspiring if one retired dentist can do it why not others? I wonder when he’ll consider golf?

 

Now that’s one way to ask for feedback

 

I love reading reviews on Amazon, the 4 & 5 stars tell me something but the 1 star reviews sometimes make me fear for the survival of the human species, “couldn’t get the lid off, “arrived without batteries”, etc. I often wonder where the gap between expectations and reality started as they are so far apart and how there can be such diverse opinions on the same things.

The coffee shop on the ground floor of the House of Fraser store in Princes Street, Edinburgh is a regular stop for a pot of green tea. During a recent visit I was forced to think about why so many of us are happy to give feedback either via Trip Adviser, Amazon, Goodreads, or the dreadful NHS “Friends & Family” or less formally, but more usefully, by sharing opinions with friends, family, colleagues and so on and how much use that feedback really is.

The one thing that we rarely do is to make our case directly with the person, business or system with which we have dealt. That may well be due to our reluctance to face up to another human being and deliver both positive and  negative feedback, and to both commend and recommend. More likely is that very few of us welcome feedback, interpreting it as direct criticism, nor do we have systems in our business where we encourage direct, honest but non-confrontational, sharing of how someone’s experience was for them. 

In most face to face professional situations – especially dentistry – we ought to be able feel how the experience is for someone so that it can modified and dealt with as you are progressing so that the right support can be given. Whilst that is true, or sadly, not true for clinicians are our support staff wired in the same way, are they taught to seek and expect responses? Do we take the time to fine tune their antennae? Do we select for empathy or efficiency? Or both? Or as I all too often find, neither?

Just thinking.