Letters to the Editor
Readers of Northwest Dentistry are invited to submit Letters to the Editor on topics related to articles or columns previously published in the journal. Letters written to express viewpoints about current policies or actions of the MDA or other agencies will be referred to an appropriate individual, department, or committee to directly respond to the author. The views expressed are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or official policies of the Minnesota Dental Association, the Publications Committee, or Northwest Dentistry editorial staff. Letters will be accepted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 7, 2011
To the Editors,
[To Northwest Dentistry Executive Editor Bill Stein]: Bill, I loved your editorial (“Dragged Kicking and Screaming into the Ether”, May-June 2011) as I do most, and I assure you that you are no Luddite. I have seen you with your dive gear and cameras, and can attest to your ability with technology.
I, like you, have always been concerned with the inability to catch and accurately diagnose oral pathology changes in my patients. The healthiest of individuals can show up with deadly changes. The rapid increase of oral sex in our youth has brought the human papilloma virus (HPV) to a whole new level of concern for the dental industry in both genders. The rapid rise in males has now indicated the need for us to present the need for vaccination to all our youth. The oral environment is the environment of dentistry, and in many cases we will be the first line of defense in early observation.
One of my concerns with our industry is that the introduction of technology has been progressive with materials involved with restorative procedures and slow with technology used for screening and prevention.
I have always lived by the philosophy that in the United States of America “value” is established when cash crosses the counter. We can argue the ethics and morality of this, but my observation is that it is correct.
In dentistry, we have established our examination to be one that is “global” in nature, with an all-inclusive base unless described otherwise. As the technology increases and the time required to include this technology increases, the fees can no longer support what is required to accomplish this examination. As a result, the examination becomes inadequate.
As I work with the issues of the Board of Dentistry and watch practitioners attempt to accomplish the impossible as the Department of Health, insurance companies, and the public shrink that part of the funding associated with the examination fees, I become even more concerned with the use of a global concept and the inclusion of each new technology in that one fee.
The American Dental Association creates the CDT codes, and we all use these codes for communication. This being said, it is the individual dental health care provider who needs to understand and embrace the concept that individual billing is required to establish the value in the mind of the consumer, government agency, or insurance carrier.
It begins with us.
I have looked in my community and have noticed that there are no Luddites in my area. Perhaps their philosophy and behavior lead to their elimination.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Keep creating those great editorials.
Neal Benjamin, D.D.S.
Master, Academy of General Dentistry
Fellow, American College of Dentists
Member, Minnesota Board of Dentistry