Archive for July 2nd, 2012

Montreal Dentist Educates a Community Using Interactive Website by Providing State-of-the-Art Dental Videos

MONTREAL–(Marketwire -07/02/12)-
Montreal cosmetic dentist, Taras Konanec, DDS, of Drummond Dental Group has announced a launch of a new, patient-focused website. The use recently launched a new website combined by dental web design leader, ProSites, Inc. The website contains many interactive facilities including studious preparation videos and a giveaway Smile Analysis underline that helps patients make improved sensitive decisions about their verbal health. The website also utilizes endless hunt engine optimization techniques to strech patients and internal consumers who are acid for applicable information about Montreal dental implants and other cosmetic dentistry services they

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Dental Offices No Comments

WeCare Dental Announces New Coon Rapids Location

COON RAPIDS, Minn., Jul 1, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WeCare Dental announced that a use will be opening a new dental plcae in Coon Rapids, MN called WeCare Dental Northdale. This will be a third plcae for a WeCare Dental family of dental practices. WeCare Dental now has dual locations portion a Brooklyn Park and Big Lake communities. The Coon Rapids plcae will offer WeCare Dental’s extensive dental services during a new location. These services embody dental surgery, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, dental implants, dentures and veneers, and slight check-ups.

WeCare Dental will open a third dental office, WeCare

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Dental Offices No Comments

If we consider Muse's Olympic strain 'Survival' is bad . . .

Music and entertainment are infrequently not a healthy fit. Yes, basketball stars hang with hip-hop stars, and X-Games riders hang out with punk rockers, though a worlds of jocks and musicians don’t accurately intersect. When they do, it customarily formula in extremes. In one corner, there’s finish stay — “The Super Bowl Shuffle” — and in a other, there’s finish schmaltz –R. Kelly’s “Space Jam”-affiliated “I Believe we Can Fly.”

Muse had maybe one of a some-more rude tasks in crafting a strain for a 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It contingency write a strain that represents a horde nation and doesn’t

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Los Angeles Dentists No Comments

Independence Day Special! Visit Dr. Kanani's Dental Spa for Oral Exam and X-Ray For $26.99, and Get Regular Cleaning …

The National Cancer Institute estimated new cases and deaths from oral cancer in 2012 are: “one genocide any hour of any day” in a United States alone. Signs and symptoms of verbal cancer are mostly painless and go undiagnosed until a cancer progresses, that is because it is intensely critical for people to have unchanging dental checkups and ask their dental veteran about verbal cancer screenings.

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) Jul 02, 2012

Dr. Kanani’s Dental Spa Offers an Oral Exam and X-Ray for $26.99 and a giveaway Regular Cleaning.With a statistics

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Los Angeles Dentists No Comments

$2,540 for 2 fillings? Poor strike by high fees during chain

“A standard studious is substantially 45 to 65 and struggling only to make ends meet,” pronounced Fontana, Aspen’s CEO. “They’re holding this week’s paycheck to compensate final month’s mortgage, creation their automobile payment, perplexing to put their kids by propagandize and unfortunately, dentistry can turn discretionary.”

Donna Kelce of Des Moines, Iowa, fits a profile. At age 55, she hadn’t been to a dentist in 15 years. She didn’t have dental word and didn’t consider she could means it. Besides, her teeth never worried her until a opening starting combining between dual front teeth. Embarrassed, she finally went to an

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Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Salary Of A Dentist No Comments

$2,540 for 2 fillings? Poor hit by high fees at chain

“A typical patient is probably 45 to 65 and struggling just to make ends meet,” said Fontana, Aspen’s CEO. “They’re taking this week’s paycheck to pay last month’s mortgage, making their car payment, trying to put their kids through school and unfortunately, dentistry can become discretionary.”

Donna Kelce of Des Moines, Iowa, fits the profile. At age 55, she hadn’t been to a dentist in 15 years. She didn’t have dental insurance and didn’t think she could afford it. Besides, her teeth never bothered her until a gap starting forming between two front teeth. Embarrassed, she finally went to an Aspen Dental office after seeing one of its commercials.

Kelce was X-rayed and sent to a consultation room, where a dental assistant handed her a treatment plan. Kelce’s gaze stopped on a particular word.

“I could feel the kind of blood run from my face, thinking, “Oh my God. Dentures,” Kelce said.

Kelce recalls the dentist saying she had no real option but to get dentures because she had lost too much bone for implants. She wasn’t sure how she could afford Aspen Dental’s $3,700 bill. But then the office manager signed her up for a “no-interest” credit card through Chase. Relieved, Kelce thought she was getting a bargain.

She came back in late November 2009 to have 13 teeth pulled. But she said the dentist pulled and pulled and couldn’t get all the teeth out, breaking one at the root. Kelce wondered if so much bone was gone, why the teeth weren’t coming out easily. After three hours, the dentist still had six teeth to pull but said she could do no more because she had already given Kelce the maximum dose of Novocain.

Aspen Dental sent Kelce to one of its former dentists who could see her that evening. Dr. Jessica Lawson looked at Kelce’s teeth and concluded that they didn’t all need to be pulled. But she finished the work so Kelce could wear her dentures. Kelce said Lawson suggested that Kelce report the incident to the Iowa Dental Board. Lawson herself wrote a letter to the board.

“Having worked at Aspen Dental myself for a short period of time, I am well aware of the type of care that can potentiate, especially if the doctor isn’t firm with the office manager and regional managers in providing the standard of care that he/she is use to, instead of producing the numbers that Aspen requests and expects,” Lawson wrote.

The dentist at Aspen Dental, did not return phone calls for comment. But she gave a different account of Kelce’s treatment in her notes. She said she suggested alternatives but that Kelce “insisted on dentures and full upper extractions even though (six upper teeth) can be saved.” She added that four of those teeth might not last forever.

Kelce, who is now suing for malpractice, said the dentist never told her any of her teeth could be saved.

“Who in their right mind would let them pull my teeth if they didn’t need to?” she asked.

Dr. Gerald Marlin, a Washington DC prosthodontist who specializes in replacing teeth, looked at Kelce’s X-rays at the request of CPI and FRONTLINE. He drew a red line along the bone and said Kelce had plenty of bone to save seven of her upper teeth.

Marlin came up with seven treatment options for Kelce, in most cases replacing her teeth with a bridge or partial denture. He said dentures should only be a last resort. They don’t adhere well and affect a person’s ability to speak and eat. Partial dentures are not only cheaper but they fit securely, anchored by the remaining teeth.

The dental board dropped the case and won’t discuss it, citing confidentiality laws. Coincidentally, that same month the dental board issued a press release, saying, “The Board has seen an increase in complaints in connection with corporate dental practices. The types of complaints include both continuity of care issues and issues related to the business aspects of the practice.”

Little regulation

Corporate dental chains are barely regulated in most states, especially if they don’t accept Medicaid patients. State dental boards typically don’t have any power over corporations.

Lili Reitz, executive director of the Ohio State Dental Board, said last year a quarter of her complaints — or 140 — were against dentists at corporate chains. Yet she has little authority to take action against the companies. Instead, her power comes from having control over the licenses of individual dentists.

It’s common for Reitz to get complaints that private dentists are trying to do unnecessary care, such as putting fillings on cavities that other dentists don’t see. Still, Reitz says the pressures on dentists at corporate dental practices seem more intense.

“I think quotas and how many patients need to be seen a day definitely have an adverse effect on the quality of care,” Reitz said. “What’s frustrating for us is to go dentist by dentist by dentist. By the time we get there, they’re not there anymore” because corporate chains have high turnover rates.

Reitz says dentists tend to stop doing needless treatments after leaving a corporate dental chain, so she considers the problem solved and takes no formal action.

State attorneys general can take action under consumer laws if a dental chain deceives patients. The Pennsylvania Attorney General sued Aspen Dental in 2010, alleging that Aspen Dental advertised “free” exams but still charges patients with insurance. The state also alleged that Aspen Dental failed to reveal that the “no-interest” credit cards it pushes have steep penalties — 29.9 percent interest on the entire amount of the original loan — if a patient misses payments. Aspen Dental settled, paying $175,000 in restitution without admitting wrongdoing.

Dental malpractice cases are relatively rare, attorneys say, because they are expensive to pursue and usually don’t offer big payouts.

Consumer sites on the Internet are full of complaints about Aspen Dental. Fontana acknowledges that the company counted 1,000 complaints posted from 2006 to 2010. But he said Aspen Dental treats 12,000 patients a day, so the number of complaints is relatively small. Aspen Dental has an employee who now responds to the complaints.

Two former dentists at Aspen Dental said Donna Kelce’s story is not surprising. Neither would allow their names to be used because they’d signed confidentiality agreements and feared being sued. But one admitted that he himself pulled teeth that he didn’t think needed to be pulled. It would happen when another Aspen dentist had written the treatment plan and said the patient had insisted on dentures.

‘I couldn’t do it anymore’

He recently left Aspen Dental, saying, “I couldn’t do it anymore … They spend most of their time trying to talk people out of their teeth.”

Fontana dismissed complaints by former employees, saying all companies have disgruntled workers.

Aspen Dental is a pioneer among corporate dental chains. Fontana considered becoming a dentist when he graduated business school in 1991, but decided instead to apply his business knowledge from working in a group dental practice, imagining ways of tapping into the market of people who never go to a dentist.

In 1998, he founded Aspen Dental Management. After five years, the company had opened 50 offices and had drawn the interest of private-equity firms. Capital Resources Partners of Boston invested $18.7 million in Aspen Dental in 2004. The Los Angeles firm Leonard Green Associates bought the company in 2010 for just under $550 million.

Fontana says private-equity firms want out of a business after about five years, and the key to a big payoff is growth. Aspen Dental opens a new office nearly every week, creating a drag on profits, according to a recent report by Moody’s. Last year, the company made more than $500 million in revenue but had a pretax profit of only $12 million.

The company meticulously tracks revenue targets for each office. Yet Fontana said those targets don’t apply to dentists.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind again, that the dentists don’t have these goals,” he said. “They just don’t have them. They don’t exist.”

But even an Aspen Dental video on the company’s Web site recruits dentists by saying, “Compensation for associate dentists includes an annual salary plus bonus opportunity that increases as key targets are met.”

The video even gives a glimpse of the revenue targets for an office in Springfield, Mass. A multicolored spreadsheet titled “My Practice Metrics” shows that “dentistry” billings for November 2009 were 243 percent above “budget.” The image shows there are also revenue targets for cleanings and dentures.

The scrutiny dentists are under at Aspen Dental is clear in a report that Fontana called the “game tape.” It’s a monthly performance measure sent to office managers. CPI and FRONTLINE obtained one of these confidential reports for an office in Owensboro, Ky. It shows that in February, the office had billed $270,000 so far this year, $35,000 above its target.

The document shows that Aspen Dental also scrutinizes the billings of its dentists. The lead dentist in Owensboro was billing an average of $5,206 a day, earning him praise from the regional director, who wrote “Showing great trends for this month.” But the tape also compared the dentist to top producing dentists, and in that regard, he fell nearly $1,000 short each day.

Heather Haynes, who managed an Aspen Dental office in Joliet, Illinois, said that office managers who didn’t hit their targets consistently were likely to be fired. She said that’s in fact what happened to her. Haynes said dentists and hygienists, the office’s revenue makers, faced the same pressures.

Aspen Dental invited CPI and FRONTLINE to a new office in Warsaw, Ind., to show how badly needed its services are. Warsaw, a town of about 13,500, has only six private dentists. Aspen Dental opened an office there after a dentist noticed how many people from Warsaw were driving an hour to Fort Wayne for dental appointments.

Ted Collins, a 47-year-old truck driver, walked into the office that day with an excruciating toothache.“I have to use ice packs at times to keep it frozen so I can get some sleep,” Collins said.

He hadn’t been to a dentist in 10 years and came in because of the free X-rays. Two of his teeth were abscessed, an infection that can spread and in rare cases even become fatal. The office gave him a comprehensive exam and found he needed dentures.

Dr. Kurt Losier, the owner of the practice, wiggled several of Collins teeth and showed on the X-ray that his bone had receded dramatically. Losier suggested Collins get the dentures with the longest warranty, which are also the most expensive dentures. Collins couldn’t afford the treatment plan, which came to $7,000. So the office manager tried to sign him up for a credit card. He was rejected.

Patients at Aspen Dental are turned away every day because they cannot afford the treatment, Losier said. To avoid that, the office will trim the treatment plan down. But even that often doesn’t work.

Losier vowed no matter what, he would take care of Collins’ abscessed teeth. Ultimately Collins said a friend gave him the money for the dentures.

Haynes, the former office manager, said she lost sleep at night worried about whether the sales tactics Aspen Dental taught her were ethical. She said she trusted the dentists she worked with. But she was so skeptical of the expensive deep-cleanings sold to so many patients that she herself refused to get one after she was examined in her own office.

Lance Dykes, who managed an office in in Tennessee, said he felt like he was being forced to take advantage of people by selling them treatments he suspected they didn’t really need. He finally quit one day when he says he had to sell a $12,000 treatment plan to an elderly couple who seemed confused.

Dykes said the man looked him in the eye and asked if he had to decide right then. Dykes said no. Go home and think about it. This broke the rules taught in training for closing the deal, which he says, include getting the patient to commit before they walk out.

In December 2008, Sarah Keckler went to an Aspen Dental in Mechanicsburg, Penn., just to get her teeth cleaned. After a long wait, the dentist said the 20-year-old had three cavities and also needed to have her wisdom teeth pulled. She also said Keckler might have oral cancer.

Keckler, who now lives near Washington D.C., recalls the woman talking so loudly that it seemed the whole office could hear. “She was giving this massive disaster scenario. I didn’t believe a thing that she said.” 

Keckler went to her dentist regularly, the last time just six months earlier. But a change in her insurance forced her to switch dentists. As she was wondering how she was going to get out of this, the office manager handed her an estimated bill for a little more than $600. Keckler said the manager encouraged her to sign and even to enroll for a special credit card to pay for it all up front.

Angered by what she considered a hard sell, Keckler got up and left and went back to her family dentist. He found no cavities, no need to pull her wisdom teeth and no oral cancer.

Aspen Dental reviewed Keckler’s files and says she was appropriately diagnosed and that other dentists would agree. However, in an interview, Aspen Dental’s Arwinder Judge, the vice president of clinical support, acknowledged that the surface cavities don’t show up in Keckler’s X-rays. The company is relying on the dentist’s notes to support its diagnosis.

Last February, Dr. David Schneider, a dentist in Chevy Chase, Md., examined Keckler and her X-rays at the request of CPI and FRONTLINE. He said there were no cavities, no need to pull her wisdom teeth and no signs of oral cancer.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.


Monday, July 2nd, 2012 Salary Of A Dentist No Comments


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