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Let’s preach to the choir for a moment.

Jan 1st, 2019

Let’s preach to the choir for a moment.

As suited as our bodies are for adapting to the environment, the choir has always argued that the mouth has an uphill climb in regulating what enters the body - sort of like the Texas border. (The federal government should contract with Procter & Gamble and Colgate for gallons of a special toothpaste that helps matters along the border in an effective yet harmless way). Despite the irksome manner of researchers who carefully phrase every conclusion with “may have” and “could have,” it’s not too overwhelming for the choir to fathom the connections of systemic links.

The choir probably hums loudly in appreciation of Grand Rounds in Oral-Systemic Medicine, a publication launched by PennWell in early 2006. An article about the most recent issue appears on pages 16-17. Be sure to take a look at some of the patient education stuff you can download at the journal’s Web site (

Let’s listen to the sermon about the 80-20 rule. You talk 20 percent of the time and listen 80 percent of the time. Although the advice is offered with good intentions, we all know there’s a problem with it.

The problem is me. Or, rather, everyone like me. A calculator may come in handy when keeping up with the above percentages for most folks. You won’t need one with me, if you’re expecting me to do 80 percent of the talking. You’ll have to get creative with your 20 percent, maybe even use hand signals.

I have not reached that percentage of 80 since the day I hollered and screamed my way into the world.

I tend to be quiet.

Let’s make them bring the old folks to church.

Half of the people don’t care about dental care, unless something hurts. Among the half who do care about quality dentistry is this large group who put themselves last. They’re usually called parents. They will spend a small fortune on everyone but themselves. It’s just the way it is. It’s an endearing quality about parents, but it’s also maddening that they won’t do what’s right for them.

I don’t understand how you can talk to parents about expensive dental treatments.

Unless you get the grandparents involved.

“Mrs. Johnson, we’re sorry about dragging you out of the nursing home. We’ll get you back to the bingo game as soon as possible.”

“What’s wrong? Are the grandkids OK?”

“Actually, they’re in great shape. We just wanted to talk to you about your son here.”

“He’s 45 years old. He can take care of himself. Take me home now.”

“We understand. But your son needs about $2,000 worth of dental care so he can keep all of his teeth for when he reaches your age. He won’t spend the money, saying his kids need the money more.”

If you don’t believe elderly parents can’t whack their adult kids pretty good with a rolled up magazine, just sit back and watch.

Let’s keep the flock together by getting everyone involved.

An office manager who was a former dental assistant recently told me how hygiene was revamped in her dental office. The dental hygienist no longer has to do this or that. A dental assistant will do all of this and all of that. I almost got the impression that a dental assistant also gloved the dental hygienist.

“All the hygienist has to do is perio all day,” she said.

The conversation reminded me of my last visit to a convention for periodontists. I walked into the exhibit hall and was impressed by the towering, dazzling booths for implant companies.

The scenery made me wonder about our approach to periodontal disease. Isn’t this office manager’s definition of dental hygiene too restrictive? If a patient does not have periodontal disease, then a dental hygienist is not needed?

Let’s be kind to the guy who sells the Bibles to the church.

Even after 20 years, I still observe dental manufacturers being regarded in an unflattering light by dental professionals. Although slimy and subversive are not two words used by dental professionals to describe dental companies, the words are certainly my interpretation of what is often said.

During the vast majority of conversations I have with representatives of companies, I come away impressed with how well informed they are about dentistry and the services they provide.

With a sense of enlightenment, the sales pitch portion of the conversation can be filtered out. Maybe dental companies will even start heeding the 80-20 sermon.


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