Quit Smoking, Get Cosmetic Dentistry?

UK Smoking Ban Leads to Increased Interest in Tooth Whitening

This summer, England introduced a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars, and other businesses. It would seem this smoking ban has been good for dentists. The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports a 12% increase in in cosmetic procedures such as tooth bleaching and veneers. Said president Christopher Orr: “It appears people are smoking less now due to the ban, so it is not a surprise that many would like an improved smile to go with their better health.”

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Do Women Have to Choose Between Kids and a Dental Career?

Why Some People Think Dental Schools Should Favor Male Applicants

This week I’m releasing the results of my highly controversial gender and dental school survey. I’m not taking an editorial stance on the topic, but I wanted to explore why (according to some people) a dental school might favor male applicants over female.

The primary argument is one of access to care. Evidence indicates that women with young children work fewer hours than their male colleagues. Women who attend dental school, then stop practicing once they have children, received the harshest criticism. Many would argue that her spot in dental school should have instead gone to someone who would provide more dental care to more people.

Dental school is expensive, but a dental education costs even more than the price of tuition. This is especially true at state-run schools, where much of a student’s education is provided at the public’s expense. “In light of the high taxpayer cost to train dentists and the impending shortage of dentists; if female dentists want to be home with their children and not practice at least 30 hours/week for at least four years, they should have to pay back to the state the amount it cost to train them,” opined a female dentist.

Moreover, female students are outpacing their male classmates. With more female applicants than male, many schools that want to maintain an even gender balance have had to raise the bar for female prospects while they lower it for males. Schools that practice gender-blind admissions are finding their ratio of female to male students highly skewed — more than two to one at some schools! Overall, women today make up 58% of US college students. (Read the New York Times article for more info.)

But there’s one more issue at play here, and I think it’s a lot more important than most people realize. Research has consistently shown that male alumni donate more. For this reason, dental schools will quite literally make larger profits from male graduates than female. It might not be an ideal decision-making criterion, but you can never underestimate the importance of the financial bottom line.

The most comprehensive analysis of alumni donations to graduate schools was published in 1996 by The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. The study found that a fundraiser’s best target is a man with an advanced degree from the institution. There is no magic formula, but certain factors seem to correlate with an alum’s giving. The following factors affect both the likelihood and size of a graduate’s donations:

  • Gender: Men typically donate more than women. It is not clear if this is simply because men tend to earn more, or if there are other factors at play.
  • Degree type: The most money comes from a graduate’s first doctoral degree, not the undergraduate education or any additional professional degrees.
  • Age: Alumni with graduate degrees do not typically donate much money early in their careers. However, as they accumulate more wealthy later in life, they are increasingly likely to send some back to their alma mater.
  • School ties: Having other family members who have attended the same institution (particularly a spouse) raises a graduate’s giving, as does participating in alumni events.
  • Income: Though schools rarely have direct income data on individual graduates, those with degrees in higher-paying fields tend to donate more money.
  • Business and tax cycles have been shown to influence giving.

This is a bit of a “chicken or the egg” conundrum: Given that schools have tended to target their fund-raising efforts to male alumni, is it any surprise that women donate less? There are significant financial and emotional difference between men and women when it comes to donating. (Check out an old New York Times article on the subject.)

To find out more about what today’s dentists think of gender profiling, check out our complete gender and dentistry survey results. And don’t hesitate to post your own comments below!

Dentists Say Lead Is Dentistry’s Biggest Health Threat

Other Dental Health Concerns Include Mercury and Bisphenol-A

In this survey, we asked dentists how concerned they are about various potential public health threats linked to dentistry. Dentists’ concerns, in order, are:

General dentists versus specialists

  1. Lead in dental lab work
  2. Mercury in amalgam
  3. Bisphenol-A in composite, and
  4. Fluoride in water supplies.

General dentists had higher levels of concern on all issues than specialists. However, specialists and generalists agreed on the relative dangers of the chemicals covered in this survey.

Dentists’ thoughts

  • “I’d like to be doing all gold restorations.” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “All four of these need to be totally nailed down as to their safety, or lack thereof.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Two things that will bite dentistry in the butt are fluoride and amalgam if we don’t stop forcing them on the public.” (Idaho dentist)

Mercury

  • “150 years have not proved Amalgam to be dangerous.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Amalgams have saved billions of teeth!” (Washington dentist)
  • “A known toxin, no safe levels, should be banned.” (Louisiana dentist)

Lead

  • “Lead in dental casting alloy? Outrageous!” (Colorado dentist)
  • “Recent articles have debunked the worry over the amount of lead in ‘farmed-out’ crowns. Still, we need to monitor that work.” (California dentist)

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

  • “This stuff is everywhere. Composites without BPA just don’t hold up well.” (Wisconsin dentist)
  • “It’s probably not too dangerous, but don’t cast stones, Mr. Composite: you live in a glass house!” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “It’s ironic that many patients are removing long tested amalgam and replacing them with bisphenol composites of unproven safety.” (California dentist)

Fluoride

  • “It’s been shown to be effective, but we shouldn’t be medicating the whole population.” (Colorado dentist)
  • “The best public health measure ever instituted in this country for caries prevention.” (Texas dentist)
  • “Known to be toxic.” (California dentist)

Post your thoughts or read the complete dental public health threats survey results

Dentist Boasts Patients Travel 4 Hours for His Dental Treatments (video)

dental patient travel distanceAn implantologist boasts that many of his dental patients travel up to four hours by car for their dental treatments at his practice. However, as surprising as it might seem, it is not unusual for dental patients to travel hundreds of miles to see their favorite dentist.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists how far some of their dental patients travel for an appointment at their practice.

Dentists responded that many of their patients travel five to ten miles, but others continue to see them after moving hundreds, or even thousands of miles away.

Click on Play to hear what dentists had to say about patients who travel for their dental appointments –

Not surprisingly, rural patients travel farther to see a dentist than do urban residents.

“Some patients will travel 30+ miles,” wrote a rural dentist, “and then there is the fellow who comes twice a year from the Netherlands…”

Oral Health: Dentists Disagree on Which Toothpastes Are Best (video)

Which Toothpastes Are BestIt is estimated that Americans spend more than 1.6 billion dollars on toothpaste a year.

But, does it really matter which toothpaste you use?

A Pennsylvania dentist reports that he has patients who see great results by brushing with Ivory soap. Most dentists, however, felt using the right toothpaste makes a difference in your oral health.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if it mattered which toothpaste dental patients use. Two out of three dentists say it matters!

Watch the following video to hear what dentists have to say about the best type of toothpaste for maintaining good oral health

What kind of toothpaste do you recommend?

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