On June 26, Frontline, the popular PBS newsmagazine program, will air a story that focuses on access to care disparities and the “business of dentistry.” A preview is available here.

According to the producers, the show will examine all aspects of oral health disparities in America.

I will comment after the episode airs but we wanted to give notice to the dental community.

Using photography and reviewing esthetics, structure, function and biology, as well as, the benefits of treatment and the consequences of going without, will help your patients to make their own decisions about whether to accept or deny treatment. This is important to remember if this program follows others from the past, which painted dentistry in a poor light.

Let us hope this is not the case because it would be a disservice to our patients as well as to the profession.

Comments

Commenter's Profile Image Lilya Horowitz
June 13th, 2012
I hope that this does not badmouth us dentists or dentistry itself but shed light on the real lack of oral health education in America. Unlike an uncontrollable disease, people do not just wake up with periodontal disease or a mouth full of rotting teeth overnight. Neglect and lack of education is a big factor. What if at a very young age, children had oral health education in school on a regular basis? I cannot tell you how many patients I have seen who flat out tell me they are scared of the dentist and yet do not like to regularly brush their teeth, and then bring their child in who has a mouth full of cavities and coincidently is afraid of the dentist also.
Commenter's Profile Image Martin
June 14th, 2012
Lilya, I could not agree more. Access to care is one thing and lack of value for oral health is another. I get upset when I look at the assistance programs are set up only for emergent care and not preventive care. It is a sad commentary
Commenter's Profile Image Darien Hakimian
June 15th, 2012
I'm fairly confident this will not show the dental profession in a favorable light. The argument they will likely use is probably a recurring and recycled one, that there aren't enough dentists, that there isn't enough access to care. The argument will be made that mid-level providers can fill the void in doing irreversible procedures and they'll likely use Alaska as the example. It really does come down to education, education, education.
Commenter's Profile Image Gary W. Vollan L.D.
June 18th, 2012
We are in need of more community dental clinics across our nation Corporate ADA has power and money to change the current dental care delivery system for the better if Americans would speak out against the American Dental Associations deceiving and pacifying public relations campaign for a better public image. The American Dental Association’s lack of leadership, mismanagement, and decades of irreversible trends, some being history while others continue today; is the leading factor for unmet dental needs in our nation. These trends and policies include racial and gender discrimination, unnecessary extractions and placement of dentures as a treatment plan, mandated and excessive use of fluoride, the use of mercury in restorations and ADA policies which prevent Americans from receiving oral healthcare by suppressing qualified competitors that provide oral health services to those with disparities. The American Dental Association works against its own vision and mission statement by suppressing competition that has been trained and educated in providing oral health care services to those that are unable to pay the high prices charged by dentist, leaving Americans without needed dental care. The American Dental Association’s waste of time and money, spent on lobbying along with ADA’s strong arm tactics against competitors such as denturists, dental health aide therapists, and independent practices of dental hygienists needs to change for better production in meeting the oral health needs of Americans. This wasted money could be used in further educating the professions ADA fights against in alleviating ADA’s bogus public safety concerns. Corporate ADA could take portions of the millions of dollars it uses for lobbying and fighting against its competitors and instead send each state, grants to compensate dentists who except Medicaid recipients. The American Dental Association could provide grants for dental programs in community healthcare centers across America. This would greatly improve our Nations oral healthcare concerns and unmet dental needs. Gary W. Vollan L.D. State Coordinator, Wyoming State Denturist Association www.wysda.org http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00000729