Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fun to watch and well worth it

Hi again!  I return after a hiatus with something very interesting.  This short video is both entertainig and oh-so right on!  If you value your health, invest 9 minutes or so and maybe you'll find some inspiration (I did!):

Friday, July 15, 2011


I want to talk a little about community.  It certainly comes as a surprise to no one that in these challenging economic times there is a lot of divisiveness in our country.  That’s why it’s doubly pleasant to talk about times when we work together to make something really good happen.  To that end, I want to celebrate with you two venerable traditions that once again brought us together as a community, namely the Rotary Auction and the Grand Ol’ Fourth.

The auction and the Fourth set us apart from a lot of other Washington burgs and show that which makes us unique.  In spite of some particular obstacles this year, the Bainbridge Rotary … and all the many, many volunteers who manage to control the madness of running the world’s biggest garage sale … raised over $366K!  These monies go to make possible all the great philanthropic endeavors that Rotary funds.
And although the Fourth does indeed have some corporate sponsors, their numbers were way down this year due to the economy and the effect the Winslow Way construction has had on local merchants.  Still, through the determination of dozens of volunteers and in spite of a lot of obstacles like having to re-route the parade, the 44th Grand Ol’ Fourth went off without a hitch.  I was honored to be invited back to serve in my 25th year as parade announcer … great fun!
These events have survived for so many years because of the determination of this community to hold on to its traditions and our desire to come together to share our love for this place and its people.  I think during our present state of uncertainty globally, nationally, and locally, that we embrace each other and the unity that we have held dear.  And if you haven’t already, please make an effort to support local businesses, especially those so severely impacted by the street construction.  They’ll certainly appreciate it, and you’ll know you helped build a stronger community. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pacific Northwest Dental Conference

It's off to the annual pilgrimmage tomorrow ... the Pacific Northwest Dental Conference, where I, my staff, and several thousand of my closest friends convene to learn about all things dental.  It really is very cool.  Lectures are given in morning and afternoon sessions on myriad new techniques, materials, and equipment.  Immediately after hearing the lectures, we have the opportunity to go down to the exhibition hall and actually get to work with these materials and equipment in a hands-on environment.  It's a wonderful way to screen the wheat (really great advancements) from the chaff (well-marketed products of dubious utility and quality.)

In addition there are discussions and presentations on issues of ethics, politics, and economy. Like it or not these discussions are as much a part of the delivery of healthcare as the technology, especially in these trying economic times.  It is incumbent on a prudent and caring dentist to screen not only products of dubious value, but to find ways to make the delivery of excellent care as affordable and safe as possible.  Above all, the quality of care must remain our paramount focus.

I will be out of the office these few days but as always you can reach me for emergencies on the number given on our outgoing message at 206-842-7100.

I am thrilled to have this opportunity to learn in this positive environment, and to be able to bring that learning back to benefit you, my loyal patients!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Monthly "newsletter" to my patients for June 2011:  Thank you SO much for your enthusiastic response to our surveys.  If you missed it, we sent surveys out last month, soliciting your opinions and advice on how we’re doing and what we might do differently to create the best imaginable dental experience for you.  Most of you have been overwhelmingly complimentary, for which I’m both humbled and grateful.  By now I think most of you appreciate that for myself, Joy, Sheila, and even Kim, our “boutique” lab technician, this practice is so much more than a business to be “grown,”  a profit center, or whatever.  Daily our mailbox is filled with solicitations from marketers and manufacturers on how we can use their product or service to make our practice easier, more profitable, or just plain bigger. 
We want only to make it better.  As a cherished dental school professor told me over 30 years ago, “if you take care of your patients, they’ll take care of your business.”  We exist, and continue to provide quality care, ONLY because of your support … your referrals of friends and relatives are the lifeblood of this practice, and the highest form of compliment.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for this continued vote of confidence!
Lest you think all the survey comments were shining compliments, we also received some very constructive criticism, which we have taken to heart.  Expect to see some changes in the next several months in response to your requests, I think you’ll like what you see. 
If you didn’t receive a survey, or have additional input … complimentary or critical … please feel welcome to comment directly via  And please don’t hold back if you have a request or a complaint. I am most sincere when I say I want to make this practice a profoundly superior dental experience.  Let me know how I might do that for YOU.
One comment on a survey was that we haven’t made a statement on the WDS controversy.  As we remain WDS providers, we are contractually limited by them as to what we can say.  What you need to know for now is that nothing has changed.  I will have more to say soon as soon as the legalities of my comments become clear.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

But I just wanted my teeth cleaned!

Are you unemployed?  Underemployed?  You sure can't get a good job with bad teeth, So, prudently, you go to see a dentist to get your teeth cleaned.  But once in the dentist's office, you find they have different ideas. You hear things like, "ooh, you'll need at least 6 crowns" or "have you considered a brighter smile?" or "let me show you your damaged teeth on our big screen monitor!"

These things may have their legitimacy, in fact one of the main benefits of regular care is that we can catch problems while they're small, saving you time, money, and pain.  What I want you to know is it's perfectly ok just to get your teeth cleaned and examined.  You may not be in a position to go forward with treatment that's been diagnosed, but at least you'll KNOW.  Ignorance of decay, gum disease, or oral cancer is the most costly choice of all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The balance

"Caring without science is well-intentioned kindness, but not medicine.  On the other hand, science without caring empties medicine of healing and negates the great potential of an ancient profession.  The two complement and are essential to the art of doctoring"  -  Lown

Tough choices

Some people that come to see me for the first time are a wreck. They're in pain and they're fearful. They know they waited too long to have their teeth cared for.

So I ask them, "why DID you wait so long?" The answers are always one of three: 1.) I was afraid it would hurt 2.) I was afraid it would be expensive, and 3.) I don't have insurance.

Sadly these concerns ALWAYS turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. Most big problems start out as something small. A cracked filling probably doesn't hurt (most people don't even realize they're cracked) and might cost $200 to replace. Untreated, bacteria will enter the crack and over a few months encroach on the nerve. NOW it hurts! But now a simple filling is no longer an adequate solution. At the very least, the inflamed nerve has to be removed (root canal) to stop the pain, and the now weakened tooth will need a crown. Our fearful patient has made his concerns a reality … his $200 replacement filling has become a $3000 reconstruction. Oh, and did I mention the pain?

The only way to know if you have little problems that need to be caught early is by regular dental examinations. TEETH GENERALLY DON’T HURT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE! I can’t overstate that. The mouth has a very poor "early warning system." But exams and radiographs are pretty affordable, maybe $150 – 200 for complete screening. And it’s not just the teeth we examine, but also the health of the gums, the ligaments that hold teeth in place, bone health, PLUS we screen for oral cancer and oral manifestations of systemic issues, such as diabetes.

We, and by this I’m speaking for quality oriented, patient-centered dentists, are trained to protect your health, keep you comfortable, and ultimately reduce your costs. Let us help you! We love keeping our patients happy.

As a final thought, which would you think more prudent, changing your oil every 3000 miles, or replacing the engine every couple years?


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Ask a friend.

I was just watching a TV ad for 1-800-dentist, a dental marketer.  In it a woman suggests to another that asking a friend for a recommendationn isn't a good idea.  Says she, "1-800-dentist has been referring some dentists for 10 years, some even 15 ..." or words to that effect. 

I feel so blessed to have had patients in my practice for 25 years and more.  My favorite part ... the toddlers brought by their parents to see me for their first dental visit are now bringing their toddlers ... how cool, how very rewarding.  Now THAT'S a patient referral.

So go ahead, ask a friend.  They may not know hours of operation or where I went to school, but they know what they like, who they trust.

Btw, very early in my career I participated with a dental marketing service.  I seem to remember that their "screening" process was little more than to check if I could pay their bill!