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Letters: In defense of dentists

February 16, 2015 My letter is in response to Dr. Joshua Davidson ("Promote Prevention," Letters, Jan. 5). In the very first paragraph, Dr. Davidson chastises us as a profession because of our lack of adequate preventive care, reasoning that the only rationale for this bad behavior is that we don't want to work ourselves out of a job.

I could not disagree more with that premise. We as a profession can be very proud of what we do for prevention, including dietary counseling, promotion of fluoridation, smoking cessation programs, oral hygiene education, screening for blood pressure, oral cancer checks and on and on. We do this because we care and most of us do it at no charge for people. And yes, we fix dental problems. The editor's response to this letter was an insult to every practitioner out there helping people every day.  

I congratulate Dr. Davidson on his efforts to help people and wish him well in his endeavor. However, I do not appreciate his deprecating those of us who help patients by repairing dental problems that develop despite our best efforts at preventive care. Sometimes patients don't brush their teeth; patients smoke; patients eat sweet foods; patients don't floss, and, some patients beyond all controls of their own, have high decay rates or susceptibility to periodontal disease that no amount of counseling, preventive care or direction will help. We manage their care as best we can.

As to being paid for our work, most dentists I know have donated a lot of time and effort and their own money to help people in need. We recommend the more expensive toothbrushes not to sell them a Mercedes but because many times the $25 models break after only minimal use. I highly doubt, that given an unlimited budget and power to do as he sees fit, that Dr. Davidson would be able to prevent all the dental problems people have. He could, however, restrict our personal freedoms enough to make us all regret giving them away in the first place.

As to the soda manufacturers, hamburger makers, candy makers, etc., haven't we beat these people up enough? These companies provide products that give people some of the great pleasures in life. When do we place the responsibility of overeating where it belongs: on the patient? Imagine a world without all these great companies. Better yet, go to an overpopulated country with no medical or dental care where babies starve and people die for lack of medical care. They have no employment and no hope. We have both because of the world these companies helped create and sustain. We should appreciate what they do rather than destroy them.

I am proud to be a dentist. I am proud of what we do for people. I am happy to make a profit that allows me and my partner to employ over 20 staff, provide them with time off for their families, retirement dollars, some help with medical insurance, and gives them a sense of worth. Together with our staff, we also pay all the tax dollars that allows Dr. Davidson to have a job in public health. I would think he would be thankful. Now excuse me while I go out for a burger and 16-ounce Coke before it is against the law.

Martin L Kolinski, D.D.S.
St. Charles, Illinois