Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Successful Smiles Blog Has Moved

I'm very happy to announce that my Successful Smiles blog is now residing on my Website at:

Please update your RSS reader and head on over!

This blog will remain "live" but this is the last post.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back from vacation and feeling good

I've been quiet of late. I attended an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry conference and then went on a much needed vacation.

Now I'm back and as always with vacations . . . the peaceful relaxed feeling you had wears off after a few days of work.

Because the dental conference was in Hawaii, I had a chance to meet Miss Hawaii. Isn't she beautiful?

On another note, I'm also busy moving this blog to WordPress . . . stay tuned for the new URL.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Love My Dentist Story Contest Winners

I have really enjoyed reading people's stories about why they love their dentists, so it was really hard to choose three winners -- because all of the stories were so good! However, after much consideration, Im please to announce the winners:

First place: Cindy Ludwig / Dr. Reid Clark -- "Patient Loses Fear of Visiting the Dentist"

Second place: Robin MacDonald / Dr. Eric Vanek -- "Dentist Helps Patient Out of 'Dark Cave' of Oral Health"

Third place: Tanya Kormeili, MD / Dr. Poneh Ghasri -- "California Dermatologist Explains Why She Loves her Dentist"

After reading the stories again, I understood the reasons why people love their dentists (and it has nothing to do with filling cavities):

1. Exceptional dentists eliminate all fear -- As a few of the contestants wrote, they were afraid to visit the dentist due to dental trauma from childhood. I understand this fear because many patients write to me telling me how they haven't visited the dentist in years because of fear.

Great dentists eliminate this fear through various methods: communicating with patients and using techniques and technologies to reduce pain. Dental procedures don't have to hurt -- and dentists should not be causing people trauma.

2. Exceptional dentists provide advanced procedures -- When it comes to dentistry, everything matters, from the office setting to the dentist's chairside manner. But most important, however, great dentists practice modern dentistry, whether it's one-visit crowns, dental implants or full mouth reconstruction. Dentists can no longer simply fill cavities.

3. Exceptional dentists provide exceptional care -- As many people pointed out in their stories, they loved their dentists because they had a personal one-on-one relationship with them. This relationship is what makes the difference between a good dentist and an exceptional dentist.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex! Mentioned in Boston Globe Article

The Boston Globe ran an article about social media in its Sunday, April 26 edition. In his article, "Increasingly, marketing isn't just one-way street," reporter Scott Kirsner talks about how advertising -- and reaching consumers -- is changing.

He uses examples from local area companies, including Dunkin' Donuts, BzzAgent, HubSpot -- and yes, my e-book, "Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex!" Woot!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Eight Year Old Boy Loves His Dentist

Today is the last "I Love My Dentist" story. I saved this one for last because it's written by Aidan Thomas Hornaday, age eight. According to Aidan's mother, Aidan talked about his dentist at a media event and even handed out some of his cards -- which he keeps in an harmonica case!

Writes Aidan:

"My dentist, Dr. Ashish Patel, is the happiest dentist on the earth. His office is full of happy people and I love to go there. I feel good about my teeth there. And I feel good about myself there.

"I get my teeth cleaned and then I see Dr. Patel smiling and so happy to be looking in my mouth. He is the best dentist and has cool things in his office like headsets to listen to my favorite DVDs.

"I can tell he cares about me and my family. Even with hard stuff, like my mom's new crowns he was sweet and his machines are awesome. So if someone got a mouth full of cavities, I would say to go to Dr. Patel because he cares and he loves his patients.
"Even in the waiting room I watch amazing nature shows on his big screen. So it's not bad going there, it's great. They have done everything great that you can think of. It's all there. I am his happy patient."

Aidan, I'm glad you've found a wonderful dentist who knows how to give you exceptional care -- and that you won't grow up fearing the dentist. Dr. Patel should be proud that he has a patient like you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Public Speaker Loves Both Dentists

When you need more extensive dental work, such full mouth reconstruction, you may have to see a cosmetic dentist who specializes in more advanced procedures. Celia Milton is one such person.

A New Jersey Wedding Ceremony Officiant and Minister, Celia writes that she was in need of extensive implants and reconstruction. Her regular dentist referred her to Dr. Robert Jaffin, DMD, a periodontist in Hackensack, NJ and Dr. Jorge Barrios, DDS, a prosthodontist in HoHoKus, NJ. Celia writes:

"When my regular dentist referred me to these dentists, I was terrified, and very depressed about the whole process. I am a public speaker; my appearance and my ability to speak (of course) is of primary importance to me.

"Every step of the way, Dr. Jaffin and Dr. Barrios made me feel comfortable, confident, and hopeful about my result. They worked together seamlessly, and the result is just amazing; my smile is beautiful and natural.

"They also went out of their way to involve everyone in their office in my journey. I can't say enough about their artistry, their professional expertise and their warm and concerned treatment of someone who was very obviously freaking out. I love them both."

Celia, thank you for your story! Your smile is beautiful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Comedian Nancy Lombardo Loves Her Dentist

I'm often asked by patients if getting their teeth fixed is "vain" -- even when their teeth present serious health issues and/or it's uncomfortable for them to eat.

Having your teeth whitened or straightened, replacing missing teeth with dental implants or bridges, and restoring health to teeth and the oral cavity is not "vain."

As I state in both my e-books, "Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex!" and "Keep Your Body Healthy . . . Brush Your Teeth!" your mouth is an important part of your body. Just as you need to exercise to keep your heart healthy, relieve stress, and maintain optimal weight, you need to care for your mouth through regular checkups and having dental work done when necessary.

Maintaining a healthy smile also pays dividends. You feel free to smile more, which makes the people around you feel good, and you don't hide your teeth behind "closed mouth smiles" (or close your eyes when you smile, the way one of my patients did).

This is why I loved reading Nancy Lombardo's story. A comedian, Nancy understands how image is an important part of her job -- and part of that image is flashing a beautiful smile.

Nancy writes:

"I love my dentist Dr. Reginald Moncrieff in New York. It's not often you meet professionals who take pride in their work and skills and concern in their patients. I am an actress and stand-up comedian, and Dr. Reginald understands the importance of my teeth in order to earn income.

"He has never performed unnecessary work and actually discourages it. On more than one occasion, he has come to my aid on his own time. One time he fixed a broken tooth so that I could perform.

"I have sent many of my friends to him and they all agree: he is the best. He is one dentist that goes the extra mile for a smile."

Thank you, Nancy, for your story!

West Roxbury Transcript Features I Love My Dentist Story Contest

As many patients have explained through their stories this month, going to the dentist is a postive act because you're taking care of your health.

And that is exactly the idea reporter Alexa Gural picked up on in this terrific West Roxbury Transcript article, "Contest Puts a Big Smile on Better Image for Parkway Dentists," going to the dentist is "disease arresting."

Thank you, Alexa, and the Transcript, for a wonderful write up!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today's Love My Dentist Story: Short and Sweet!

Kama Linden, vocalist in New York City, writes, "Dr. Maitreya Padukone is the best dentist. If you don't need a procedure he won't do it. He is fun, he is interesting to talk with, he doesn't hurt, and he gives great advice! He is at 272 West 72nd street in NYC."

Unfortunately, Dr. Padukone doesn't have a Website. However, a number of patients have given him positive reviews on Yelp, so if you're in Manhattan, be sure to check him out.

Kama, thank you!

Monday, April 20, 2009

California Dermatologist Explains Why She Loves Her Dentist

Dentists form relationships with many other medical professionals and because one is in the "trade," you carefully choose those professionals to whom you send clients.

I love the following story because it shows how two medical professionals are providing superior care to patients -- and how this care is transforming people's lives.

Tanya Kormeili, MD, a Board Certified Dermatologist, met her current dentist, Dr. Poneh Ghasri, at UCLA when she was a busy dental student and Tanya an over-worked medical student. Of course, as “nerdness” would have it, they met at the Biomedical library!

Tanya writes, "Despite her busy schedule, Dr. Ghasri took such a sincere interest in me as a patient even as a dental student. You see, after a long complicated experience with braces as a child, I used to have nightmares about 'my teeth falling out.'

"I was, and still am, obsessed with my teeth -– their health and appearance. But, I was paranoid to have anyone else working in my mouth. I had lost all trust and faith in dentists by the time my braces were taken off.

"After hours of careful cleaning, x-rays, examination and careful treatment planning, I realized that Dr. Ghasri was no ordinary dentist. Her calming, gentle feminine demeanor, combined with her knowledge and dedication to perfection, made her my extraordinary dentist.

"I not only have perfect, cavity-free teeth, but I began to feel comfortable to do Invisilign to clean up the mess from my previous dental disaster. I began to send her my family members and friends, and unanimously they all agreed: she is fantastic!"

Tanya goes on to say that she and Dr. Ghasri began to refer patients to each other. The patients who had beautiful skin and rejuvenated lips due to cosmetic surgery wanted a better healthier smile. Conversely, Dr. Ghasri's patients who had full mouth reconstruction, gummy-smiles or cosmetic concerns regarding their aging face, began to visit Tanya as their dermatologist.

Reports Tanya, "A whole new level of respect and admiration developed as I began to work with Dr. Ghasri as a colleague. Her patients all loved her; their results were all gorgeous, and above all, they all agreed she was 'so sweet.' Indeed, my patients began to thank me for this referral to see her as well. They felt so comfortable with her; the combination of her expertise and high ethics and kindness, makes her not just a wonderful colleague, but my fabulous family dentist.

"Thank you Dr. Ghasri!"

Dr. Ghasri is located at 6200 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1508, Los Angeles, California.

Tanya, thank you for your story. Dr. Ghasri sounds fabulous. I'm glad you were able to form a such a rewarding relationship with her.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thank You for the Wonderful Dental Love Stories!

I have had a few people ask me, "Why are you posting stories about other dentists on your blog? Why do you want to give press to your competitors?"

As I said in my original post that announced the I Love My Dentist Contest, you can find lots of "dental horror" stories online. People Tweet about how they dislike visiting the dentist and how uncomfortable it makes them.

But many wonderful dentists do exist -- and they work day in and day out to change their patients' lives for the better, often with little recognition.

The I Love My Dentist contest is my way of spreading good will within the dental community and to introduce you to dentists who do provide exceptional care.

If you're currently seeing a dentist who makes you feel uncomfortable, causes pain, or has failed to keep up with technological advances in dental care, then find a new one. I've featured seven of them already -- and have lots more for next week!

I'll be wrapping up the campaign Friday, April 24, so if you haven't already, send in your story!

(The photo is of me and my patient, Frank, whose story you can read on my Website.)

Patient Loses Fear of Visiting the Dentist

Millions of people across the U.S. are terrified to visit the dentist -- I know, because I often receive email from prospective patients telling me about their trauma.

So it's nice to hear Cindy Ludwig's story about her dentist, Dr. Reid Clark in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dr. Clark gave her a beautiful smile and made her feel much more comfortable visiting the dentist. Here is Cindy's story:

"I knew my teeth were making me look old and it made me feel self-conscious, but due to a traumatic experience I had as a child, I was afraid to visit the dentist. Over the years I've had to force myself to go to other dentists.

"From the minute I walked into Dr. Clark’s, however, everything felt different. He
really changed my life. Now I get compliments all the time on my smile. It gives me a lot of confidence and I love seeing people smile back at me.

"Dr. Clark’s entire staff is so kind and thoughtful as well as being very professional. They tell me what’s going on every step of the way. At first I was the biggest baby but they helped me feel comfortable.

"The staff seems to be having such a good time doing their work. One time I asked, 'Do you guys really like your job so much?' and they said 'Yeah, we do!' You can tell Dr. Clark is very selective about his staff because they show the same sincerity and dedication he does. The team goes with him to advanced courses and the office has the latest technology.

"I feel like a new woman, a happier person. The quality of work and the experience was beyond my expectations. I think Dr. Clark is an artist and a genius -- and a total sweetheart!"

Like all of the dentists featured this week, Dr. Clark is a modern dentist. In addition to family dentistry, he also offers advanced cosmetic procedures. Go check out his fresh and welcoming Website -- very well done!

Thanks for sharing your story, Cindy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Canada Has Wonderful Dentists, Too

Wilf Seymour, Executive Chef for Canada's Wonderland, lives in Toronto, Canada, and writes to say that you "won't find a better dentist in the world," than Dr. Jay McKenzie, of Whistler Dental.

Says Wilf, "I use to live in Whistler BC Canada and when I first moved to Whistler I was afraid of going to the dentist. It took me two years before I would walk into Jay's office and now that I live in Toronto (across the country), any chance I have to visit Whistler, I also visit Jay.

"His office is located in Whistler Village and overlooks the beautiful Rainbow Mountain; that means almost any day is a beautiful day to go into the office for a check up or even a root canal!"

Wilf also explains why Dr. McKenzie is a thoroughly modern dentist: "The first time I got a cap (crown) on a tooth it took 2 weeks to get everything done. The next time I needed one, Dr. McKenzie and his team were able to do everything in the office and I could watch the (Cerac) machine making my new tooth -- very cool!

"I imagine a lot of people know great dentists, but not many of them are like Jay. I did try to find a new dentist in Toronto, but have not had much luck. Plus, it's well worth the trip across country to see a guy like Jay. I know he would be hard for any other dentist to beat."

Dr. McKenzie has a great Website -- including video of him skiing! In addition to general dentistry, Dr. McKenzie provides cosmetic dentistry including Cerac crowns, veneers, and implants.

He also has a great sense of humor, as seen by his winning "window dressing" entry for the Whistler Chamber of Commerce. If you're in the Whistler area, check him out. Thank you for sharing your story, Wilf. (Photos (c) Dr. Jay McKenzie.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Patient Receives Spa Treatments at the Dentist Office

You can find lots of articles about dental practices that also offer day-spa type treatments such as massage or aromatherapy. (My Boston-based practice is dental spa, for example.)

Dental patient Ali Hammer, of Borakas Public Relations, loves her dentists, Dr. Brandon and Dr. Aaron Cooley, of Cooley Smiles in Bellevue, Washington for this very reason. Not only does she receive great dental care, but she also gets paraffin hand dips!

Ali writes, "Before finding Cooley Smiles, I had the same dentist since childhood, but when I moved away for college and work, I started going to Cooley Smiles and was amazed by their service.

"The brothers, Dr. Brandon and Dr. Aaron, are very skilled dentists. I've gone to them for three years and they have filled a few cavities for me. I was nervous as I had never had a filling or for that matter, a cavity, but they put me at ease and provided a nearly painless procedure.

"I like their mix of cosmetic and general family dentistry because I feel like the doctors are very knowledgeable in both the scientific and artistry sides of the profession. And, there's nothing like a paraffin hand dip while having your teeth cleaned!

"I love these guys and rave about them to all my friends and coworkers!"

Regularly voted Seattle's best dentists, Cooley Smiles offers Invisalign, full mouth reconstruction, and dental implants. Ali, thank you for your story!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dentist in Indiana is "Better than Dentists in NY"!

Sheryl Matthys, Founder of Leashes and Lovers (an online networking/friendship/dating site for dog lovers!) "loves, loves, loves" her dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Mader in South Bend Indiana -- even though Sheryl lives in New York!

"Dr. Mader is more than 700 miles away but whenever I visit my parents, it usually includes getting my teeth cleaned. I live in NYC and believe me -- the dentists here do not compare -- I've tried them and went back to Dr. Mader.

"Why? Because he is THE BEST. He has all the tools in his office so there is no waiting or coming back to get a porcelain overlay, he has goggles that play videos so while you get your teeth cleaned, you're watching a movie. He's always up to date on the latest technology and knows how to implement it. And, he numbs your gums so you never feel any pain . . . in short, he always makes me smile."

Sheryl, thank you for sharing your story. For those of you in South Bend, Indiana, be sure to check out Dr. Mader's Website. A modern dentist, Dr. Mader offers Cerac one-visit crowns, digital X-rays, implants, and general dentistry.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Patient Drives 200 Miles to See His Dentist

Finding good service providers, such as doctors, plumbers, and even auto technicians, can take some work. When you find a good person, you want to hang on to them -- forever.

One woman I know used to drive 50+ miles every four weeks just to get her hair cut -- that is how much she loved her hair stylist.

Easan Katir, an investment advisor who also runs a news Website, is no different in that he loves his dentist -- and is willing to drive 200 miles to see him.

Easan writes, "My dentist, Dr. Paramjit Singh Everest, does very competent work, has a great chairside manner, explains all the options for a problem, then explains them over again when I need the information. He doesn't pressure me for high-priced treatments.

"He's also very skillful with pain management. Example: a few years ago I wanted a tooth extracted. I was sitting in the chair, and he was bustling about, preparing for the procedure. I asked him, 'So when are you going to pull the tooth?' and he replied, 'I did it already.' Now that's a good dentist."

Dr. Everest practices in Yuba City, California. His family was voted Family of the Year in 2005 -- in part for the free medical care Everest provides to those in need at the Sikh Temple in Yuba City.

Thank you, Easan, for your wonderful story!

Do you have a story about why you love your dentist? Send it to me, Dr. Helaine Smith, at

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dentist Helps Patient Out of "Dark Cave" of Oral Health

Randi, front office coordinator for Dr. Eric Vanek, sent in this patient testimonial from Robin MacDonald in Santa Ana, California:

"Dr. Vanek helped me emerge from a dark cave into the sunlight of oral health. No one is more frightened of "the dentist" than I, and now after a remarkable transformation, I actually look forward to my dental appointments...Words can never adequately express my gratitude to all!"

Robin was so thrilled with her treatment, she sent Dr. Vanek a handwritten testimonial!

Dr. Vanek is a true modern dentist or mouth physician who believes in educating his patients as well as providing optimal care. On his Website you'll find free reports about various dental procedures and a newsletter plus podcasts and a YouTube video.

If you're in Orange County, be sure to give him a call.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tell Me Why You Love Your Dentist -- And Get Featured on This Blog!

I noticed awhile ago that many people post on Twitter that they're either afraid to visit the dentist . . . or even worse, that they hate their dentists. (You can read my earlier post, "Why Do Consumers Consider Dentists Satan . . . or Worse?")

All this got me to thinking . . . why not celebrate those dentists who do provide optimal care to their patients -- and the patients who love them?

For the month of April, I'm running a contest: send me your story about why you love your dentist. You can write about your dentist on your blog, record a brief video (in either case, send me the link!) or simply send me your story via email.

Even better, send me a picture of yourself with your dentist plus a link to his or her Website.

I'll be featuring your stories through the month of April. At the end of April, I'll post the top three winning stories -- with photos of patients and their dentists -- as well as a report on the top reasons why people love visiting and remain loyal to their dentists.

In addition to being featured on the blog, you'll also receive an "I Love My Dentist" badge which you can add to your Facebook page or blog.

It's time dentists received some recognition for the great work they do -- and the fact that many patients do indeed love their dentists. Please send me your stories to

Be sure to connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter -- I'll be publishing updates all month.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Get to Meet David Meerman Scott

I've been a fan of David Meerman Scott since I first read his book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

So imagine my thrill when I finally got to meet him last week at the MassNetComms meeting on social media marketing!

David gave a great presentation about his new book, World Wide Rave -- and even though he had been traveling all over Europe just days before, patiently signed copies of his book and posed for photos -- including the one below.

Thank you, David!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Write a poem about your colonoscopy -- win $500

Next month (April) is oral health month, but so far, I haven't seen much in the local media about the importance of one's oral health.

HOWEVER!! The state of one's colon is big news -- especially given the fact that March is national colorectal month.

I watched the Today show the other day and Kathie Lee reported that a group of 46 gastroenterologists from Florida are giving away $500 dollars to the person who writes the best poem about their colonoscopy.

The GI docs are calling this the "Bottom Line Poetry Contest." Clever!

Apparently, colonoscopy poetry is a hot topic -- you can find over 69,000 entries in Google for the search phrase "colonoscopy poem."

Personally, I think the GI doctors could have awarded a larger prize.

Another physician group is flying a contest winner to New York for a stay in a luxury hotel before he/she has the colonoscopy procedure done.

A luxurious colonoscopy. Clearly, oral health has nothing on rectal health!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Here's a New Dental Marketing Idea: Social Media (duh)

The writer at the Dental Services Blog recently asked, "Are There Any New Dental Marketing Ideas Left?"

The blogger writes: "Finding new dental marketing ideas is a hot topic in the dental industry today. In fact, 'new dental marketing ideas' is one of the top dental searches done on the Internet. But is any idea really new?"

The writer touched on some things but he didn't go all the way. First of all, most ideas in business are not "new" -- they're an evolution of existing products or means of communicating.

For example, take Welch's 'Squeeze' jelly. For years, jelly came in a glass jar, then Welch's had the idea to put it in a plastic squeeze container. Neither product nor the concept (squeezable food products) is new; the company simply combined what was already available. Yet the idea was a huge financial win for Welch's.

The Dental Services blogger stated that you could put the Yellow Pages inside a newspaper. Take your message, he wrote, and your mission statement, and put it into a form of media that the public is now reading.

Unfortunately, the writer neglected to comment that newspapers are dying due to declining readership, so this isn't exactly a great idea.

The blogger also left out all forms of social media -- including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.

And finally, the blogger touched on dental Websites. I would state that if a dentist has a site and wants to generate business from it, he or she needs to hire a professional marketing person to optimize it, write it, and manage it. Simply having a site, which many dentists do, means nothing if people can't find it in the search engines or if it's poorly designed / written.

Once the optimized and professionally design / written Website is in place, the dentist should then use all forms of social media to reach prospective patients -- in other words, use media the public is actually using.

Based on what I see dental marketing companies telling dentists on how to market their businesses using old tactics that don't work, this indeed would be a new idea.

Monday, March 2, 2009

NY Times Article Makes Dentist Grind Her Teeth

In a recent NY Times article, Best Treatment for TMJ May Be Nothing, reporter Jane Brody relied "on narrow and outdated perspectives supplied by a small group of dentist/academicians" -- an opinion expessed by one of my Las Vegas Institute (LVI) colleagues.

In a Letter to the Editor -- which of course was never published by the Times (but did run on the LVI email forum) -- my colleage wrote:

The information you were provided would lead one to believe that TMD (or "TMJ" as it is inaccurately called by so many colleagues) is easy to treat and self-manage or that it may all be in your mind. Your sources stated that, "TMJ problems were originally thought to stem from dental malocclusion," and go on to say that this was an infrequent cause of the problem.

The American Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of some 40,000 of the nation’s leading general dentists, recognizes the relationship between malocclusion and headache. . . . A simple Google search for TMD on keywords such as headaches, TMD, TMJ, etc., would have taken you to many other informative sources of information regarding the subject of your article.

As one who treats patients with severe TMD symptoms, I can assure you that my patients are unable to manage the pain associated with these conditions by simply receiving counseling on their habits. Further, I find that dental malocclusion is frequently one of the principle causes of TMD. Your informant’s comments that MRI and CAT scans are among the biggest advances in diagnosis of TMD is ludicrous. Those modalities are valuable and will tell you about the status of the jaw joint, but tell you little to nothing about the causes of joint misalignment, which I frequently find to be malocclusion.

Yet another incredulous statement is that "80-90 percent of the needed information can be obtained just by talking to the patient." Certainly a complete history is a vital part of the diagnostic process, but when modern objective evaluation tools such as electromyography to study muscle condition, computerized jaw tracking to document functional abnormalities, X-ray and MRI to study structure are ignored, it is much like saying, "Let’s do away with electrocardiograms, we can just ask the patient if he has chest pain."

We are now in the 21st-century. It is time for the profession to recognize that occlusion and jaw function are governed by a physiological process and diagnose and treat accordingly. I am hopeful that you will do further research and publish on this topic again, this time avoiding a slanted perspective by a small self-serving group of "experts."

All I can say is "AMEN SISTER."

Having tried for years to get the attention of the press in the Boston area regarding oral health, I can state that the NY Times and other media simply do not care that dentists are no longer the "tooth plumbers" of years past but are today's modern "mouth physicians."

(In fact, healthcare IT blogger Neil Versel posted that he was told by the Boston Globe that there is no market for Healthcare IT -- a $2.5 billion dollar industry. Amazing.)

No one would say that a dermatologist or opthalomolgist weren't medical professionals.

Why then do people -- and the press -- have blinders on when it comes to modern dentistry?

Monday, February 23, 2009

A World Wide Rave Video for the WWR Book!

Today David Meerman Scott released a new video relating to his upcoming book, World Wide Rave.

According to David, over 100 people and groups sent him photos and videos of themselves holding a World Wide Rave poster -- from Boston to Antarctica!

It's very cool.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

David Meerman Scott Talks About World Wide Rave at HubSpot

HubSpot is an Internet marketing company based in Cambridge, MA (I met a few of the people in November when I gave a presentation to the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, Boston chapter).

They host Webinars and HubSpot TV and last week their guest was David Meerman Scott, author of the best selling book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR, and the upcoming book, World Wide Rave.

As David explains, a World Wide Rave is when lots of people are talking and spreading your ideas. He gives lots of great examples of World Wide Raves and how they work (this means you don't use traditional (expensive) marketing like the Yellow Pages and magazine ads).

(Full disclosure: Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex! is a featured World Wide Rave.)

You can view the full screen Webinar here: (I had a hard time trying to make it fit into this blog.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Children's Dental Expert Gives His Thoughts on "David After Dentist" Video

As a dentist, I was mildly distuburbed after watching the David After Dentist YouTube video that's making the rounds of Twitter and the blogosphere. As of this writing, the video has over 9 million views.

My friend, Dr. Lance Kisby, director of Pediatric Dentistry at Geisinger Hospital in Pennsylvania, however, was more than mildly disturbed -- he was downright mad.

Here are his comments about why this video is so bad with regard to children's dentistry -- and why it gives completely inaccurate information about the role of pediactric dentists (or pedodontists, as they are known).

The 2006-2007 Pedodontic Sedation Guidelines are REALLY clear regarding sedating children. The guidelines state that before the patient is dismissed from the office he/she must be:
1. verbal
2. alert
3. awake
4. able to walk under their own power
5. given verbal tests (say the alphabet or count to 20) to determine level of recovery.

The guidelines are crystal clear on this: if the patient is none of the above (you really need all five to send the patient home), the patient must stay in office until FULLY recovered.

And, according to Sedation Guidelines, parents are not allowed to premedicate kids at home before dental appointments. Once you premedicate a child and put him or her in the back seat of a car, you run the risk of the child falling asleep, having his head fall forward and dying due to:
a)Seat belt on the neck
b)The anatomical variation in kids'airway anatomy . . . it is conical, narrow at the cricoid cartilage (adults are wide and parallel).

In addition, sedating young children is not as simple as giving a kid nitrous. When doing sedation on children using nitrous, the tragus of the ear HAS to be parallel to the sternum. If not, the airway gets blocked due to anatomy.

And, most important when it comes to sedation -- kids are not adults!

Here is an equation:

Cardiac output = Heart rate X stroke volume



Children, unlike adults, cannot vary their stroke volume. Thus, in the equation, stroke volume is a constant. Thus,


That means, blood pressure is heart rate dependant.

Decreased O2 causes bradycardia (in adults it causes tachycardia). Bradycardia (decreased heart rate) causes decreased blood pressure.

Decreased blood pressure in a child is dangerous. This is because children go FAST -- as in, they die.

In the 4-day simulation course I took last year on Sedation, we found out all too well that decreased PG means decreased 02 and then it spirals out of control. Big time. In our course on the $1 million dollar dummies we worked on, and which are true to live, the "child" was dead in 30 seconds.

Adults have 02 levels that go like this: 100-99-98-96-93 . . . etc.

A child's 02 levels go like this: 100-92-88-70. Yup, that fast.

Now, here is the kicker. Since children's heart rates are higher, here is the rule: if a child's HR is 80, you must start CPR immediately.

Let me put it in real life terms for you. You're a dentist with a child in the chair. You are talking and he is talking about your good looks, your dress, the Patriots, and the weather. His heart rate is 80. He is lucid. He is talking. No problems noted. You immediately level your chair, insitute CPR with chest compressions and breathing and call 911. I am not kidding!

Here at the hospital, we have a sedation team and they sedate kids for me in the PICU rather than me worry about all this stuff. Last Thursday, a child's O2 went: 100-99-82 . . . that fast. I had to stop and the sedation team did their thing.

I get aggrevated when dentists and parents say 'Aw, just sedate the kid.' I have been doing children's dentistry forever, and I don't sedate.

Now you know why I find this David After Dentist video highly aggraviating.

Well, I guess that sums up why dentists are truly health care professionals, why modern dentists keep up to date with technology and advanced techniques, and why really good dentists leave advanced procedures, such as sedating children, to real experts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex!" Featured in World Wide Rave

I had wanted to talk about the connection betweeen oral health and sexual health -- something no one was talking about -- for a long time, but didn't know how to address the topic.

It wasn't until I stumbled upon David Meerman Scott and his ideas about viral e-books that I knew an e-book format would be the perfect vehicle for my idea.

And while I thought it was a good idea, when I published my e-book, "Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex!" in March 2008, I was a little nervous about what people's reactions would be. My fears were for naught.

Since publishing it, I've had countless colleagues call to tell me what a great book it is.

I've had a couple of colleges call to ask if they could hand it out to freshman at orientation.

A number of bloggers, including Cory Silverberg at, Paul Levy in his popular "Running a Hospital" blog, and the team from Reva Health on their Consumer Health Blog, have written about it.

Over 5,000 people have downloaded it.

The reporters at featured it in an article about innovative marketing techniques.

And, it's appearing in a book, World Wide Rave, by David Meerman Scott. The book is due out early March 2009.

I am absolutely thrilled -- to say the least!

Social media is the new way of communicating with your customers. For years I relied on traditional (read: expensive) marketing, none of which worked.

This blog, my Website, YouTube videos, and the e-books have done more to build my practice than the expensive yellow pages advertising I purchased month after month ever did.

Be sure to pre-order David's book on Amazon today -- and take a look at his World Wide Rave blog for additional info about him and the book.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Congress Introduces Bill to Include Dentists in Emergency Response

The American Dental Association issued a press release Thursday, Feb. 5 that commends, "Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.) for introducing the 'Dental Emergency Responder Act' (H.R. 903), a bill that would bolster America's capacity to respond to natural disasters or terrorist attacks by taking advantage of the extensive education, training and professionalism of the nation's dentists."

According to the release, the bill will not require additional federal spending. The thinking behind it is that because dentists receive a "sound general medical background . . . their knowledge and experience can make them valuable assets in the community response to man-made and natural disasters."

As a dentist, I'm very glad that this piece of legislation has been introduced to Congress. It makes complete sense, as dentists are very well educated and can help during emergencies.

Why Do Consumers Consider Dentists as "Satan" or Worse?

I've been using social media tools, such as Twitter, more, and am surprised at the number of "Tweets" from people who post that they are visiting the dentist.

Few people write that they enjoy visiting the dentist. Quite a number of people write that visiting the dentist is like being in hell and their dentist is Satan (or worse).

I know many people have fear and anxiety when visiting the dentist. Sharp pointy needles and tools look scary and can cause pain. People have had bad experiences with inept dentists -- I see these patients all the time and get angry that they received such poor dental care.

This fear and anxiety is one reason why I educate my patients about procedures before we begin. I also provide a soothing environment where they can relax, and I offer various sedation techniques -- ranging from topical gels to Valium -- in order to ease people's anxiety.

I've also learned how to do "little" things that help ease pain. For example, when giving multiple injections into a patient's mouth, I will use a needle for a maximum of three injections and then use a new one. Why? Dull needles can cause more pain. (I also buy high-quality needles.)

I've learned where to give injections in the areas of the gum that are less sensitive, and if a needle hits the jaw bone, I throw it away immediately. This is because hitting the bone can create a "burr" on the needle -- again, causing more pain.

But more important, like many modern dentists today, I continually take classes in order to learn how to best use advanced technologies and techniques. My mission is to give patients the ultimate in dental care, preserve teeth wherever possible, and give back to patients the ability to eat, smile, kiss, and laugh with freedom.

I'm passionate about educating my patients about the benefits for taking care of their oral health. For example, one patient came in recently and while checking her mouth I said, "Wow, your teeth and gums look beautiful. What have you been doing?" and she replied, "I followed your advice and started brushing and flossing every day."

Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can go far in helping you to have a pleasant -- and stress-free -- visit. You'll have less plaque (and less scraping), your gums won't bleed, and you'll spend less time in the chair.

But more imporant, you'll leave the dentist's office feeling happy about your visit and your dentist -- someone who is your partner in maintaining good oral health, not Satan.

You can learn more about dental health by downloading my e-book, "Keep Your Body Healthy . . . Brush Your Teeth."

You can also email me your dental health questions -- send your questions to

Monday, February 2, 2009

Technology HUGE at Yankee Dental Conference

As a consumer, you don't see how technology has advanced dentistry -- especially since dentists phase technology (which is pricey) into the dental office over time. Some of the advances you may have witnessed with your own dentist include:

** Moving from film and lightbox x-rays to digital images that dentists can now view on a computer screen.

** Eliminating paper-based records in favor of using software that houses our patients' records (plus the digial imaging files associated with the patient).

** Making crowns chair-side using a CERAC machine versus sending goopy impressions to a lab and then waiting two weeks for the crown to come back.

But one thing you haven't seen is how dentistry has truly moved into the 21st-century due to technology -- and no where was this more evident than at this year's Yankee Dental conference.

As I stood on the exhibit floor, I was awed by the sheer number of companies presenting imaging software and hardware -- digital impressions, CAD/CAM systems and CBCT units dominated the exhibition floor. Every where you looked technology was on display. (To see a good example, view this Sirona GALILEOS video -- GALILEOS is Sirona's new 3D imaging machine.)

All of this technology has revolutionized dentisty -- and has raised the standard of care. Using CBCT scans, for example, a dentist or periodontist can see a patient's facial structure and precisely locate the jaw bone, nasal passageways and airways, and most important, facial nerves. We can see how the jaw opens and shuts and how the jaw fits in relation to cranium and facial structure.

(image (c) Sirona)

Dentists no longer have to "guess" where to place an implant or whether a patient is a viable candidate for the procedure. A simple scan can tell the dentist instantly what is feasible -- and new treatment plans being taught at advanced dental training facilities mean patients can walk away with not just a beautiful smile, but a smile that's been designed precisely for him or her using the latest techniques.

While at Yankee I gave my first course, "Full-Arch, All-Porcelain Rehabilitation." (This was a course other dentists could take and then receive continuing education credits. I'm very happy to report that both morning and afternoon sessons were sold out -- and on a Saturday, too!)

While talking about my work as a dentist over the years I realized that dentists and their patients are on the cusp of truly extraordinary times.

Health technology will allow dentists and doctors to finally integrate patient health information into one place. At a point in the future, patients will come to me and I'll know instantly which medications they take, if they have sinus troubles or migranes and the treatment they've had, any injuries or surgeries to the head or jaw, and any diseases.

Having this information literally on my computer screen chairside means that I'll be able to give patients an unprecidented level of care.

Modern dentistry and the technology that supports it mean that dentists can no longer view themselves as "tooth plumbers." Instead, we are truly "mouth physicians."

As I stood in the Yankee Dental exhibit hall surrounded by this new technology, I realized how just how exciting it all is. As a modern dentist myself, I embrace this new technology -- and am glad I'm able to provide my patients with the utmost in care.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Research from Japan: Coffee Might Protect Against Oral Cancers

According to an AOL Health News article, a study conducted in Japan indicates that coffee may help lower the risk of developing cancer in the mouth and throat.

According the study, "among more than 38,000 study participants aged 40 to 64 years with no prior history of cancer, 157 cases of cancer of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus occurred during 13 years of follow up."

The article notes that "compared with people who did not drink coffee, those who drank one or more cups per day had half the risk of developing these cancers."

The Japanese researchers were quite surprised by the results. While their study indicates that fewer high-risk participants (those who smoked and drank alcohol) developed cancers, the researchers pointed out that not smoking and drinking is the best way to lower your risk -- but if you do continue these behaviors, drinking coffee may help.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ensure Your Cosmetic Dentist Has Advanced, Live Person Training

A Bridgeport, CT woman was awarded $198,000 because a cosmetic dentist promised her a "celebrity" smile but what she got instead was "horse teeth."

I won't comment on whether or not the dentist in question was competent.

What really matters is that as a consumer, you must ensure your dentist (and any medical professional) is licensed and has undergone rigorous live-person training in all procedures.

Any dentist can say he or she specializes in veneers, but what does this mean?

Does the dentist have live-patient training in advanced procedures from institutions such as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies or the Rosenthal Institute?

Has he or she been trained to fully evaluate the patient, including the patient's facial structure and teeth shape?

Does he or she perform procedures with exacting detail? Sure, any dentist can perform a simple veneer procedure, but is the dentist measuring gums and teeth down to the exact millimeter?

Does he or she work with a trained ceramist in order to ensure natural looking teeth color? (And, when dentists are pressed to make their production number, do they even find it worthwhile to take this extra time?)

As a consumer, you must, must, must research your dental professional and his/her training and experience BEFORE you lay thousands of dollars on the table.

It's very easy to believe in dentists' radio and TV ads . . . but the results -- a poorly designed smile that looks unnatural and lasts only a few years -- speak for themselves.