Dental Headlines Sometimes Make Dentists Look Bad

Dentists Make the News with Tax Evasion, Prostitution Rings, and More

Perhaps you don’t have time to search Google News every day for the latest dental headlines. Not to worry! That’s what I’m here for.

You’ll find press releases (Dentist completes veneer training), local news (Local dentist rebuilds after fire), consumer information articles (Conscious sedation eases dental fear), and business updates (3M buys dental products maker Imtec). Most of this information will be of little value to you.

However, if you look carefully, you’ll find some fascinating bits of dental news. The news is always filled with scandalous tales of people doing shocking things. If anyone involved in the story was a dentist, you can be sure Google News will let you know.

So, without further ado, here are this week’s most scandalous headlines!

No Diplomatic Immunity for Tax-Evading “Ambassador of Heaven”

A Louisiana dentist found guilty of tax evasion has been sentenced to two and a half years and ordered to pay $155k in restitution. And with the verdict, I’ve lost two of my favorite tax-avoidance strategies!

Dr. Louis Genard has not filed a tax return in 12 years. In 1997, he filed an affidavit declaring himself a “sovereign citizen of the Republic of Louisiana,” renouncing his US citizenship, and declaring that the IRS had no authority over him.

The IRS, however, disagreed with the doctor’s assessment and filed suit against him. He tried to have the charges dismissed due to his diplomatic immunity as an “Ambassador and Citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven under its King Jesus the Christ,” but the court was unsympathetic.

Unfortunately for Dr. Genard, the US justice system doesn’t give points for creativity.

Prostitution Ring Funds Dentist’s Retirement

Chicago dentist Dr. Gary Kimmel allegedly pocketed at least $372,000 in cash for his role in a prostitution ring. The doctor’s saga began several years ago, when a man who turned out to be a pimp responded to his apartment rental ad. The doctor leased cars for and rented apartments to at least three pimps. He also performed dental work for cash on the pimps and prostitutes, but never reported this income.

Dr. Kimmel is pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. The plea agreement will require the dentist to pay $400,000 and serve several years of jail time.

X-Rated Soundtrack Courtesy of Dentist’s Sexy Girlfriend

Dr. Victor Patacchiola  has a steady stream of patients in and out of his London dental practice. UK’s The Sun began investigating his practice after multiple patients claimed to have heard groans and other raunchy noises. “It sounded like someone having sex. It was really off-putting,” The Sun quoted a patient as saying.

It turns out that the dentist’s girlfriend (a blonde who goes by the name of “Tiny”) works upstairs from the dental practice, performing strip teases and sexual performances. The doctor defends the setup, claiming that Tiny is a therapist and everything is completely legal.

Legal? Maybe. Distasteful? Definitely.

Variations on Classic Themes

Every week, dental stories pop up in a few common areas…

Unlicensed Dentist Gets Busted
This week: Ottawa Man Pleads Guilty to Unlicensed Dentistry

Dentist Accused of Shoddy Work
This week: Bungling Dentist Left Woman Looking like ‘Bride of Dracula’

Dentist Accused of Misconduct
This week: CA Dentist Accused of Sex Assault on 19 Male Patients

Dentists Face Stress
This week: Dental Surgeon Takes Suicide Leap, Blames “Tremendous Stress”

Somewhere, A Dentist Does Something Stupid
This week: Dentist and New Wife Face Charges for Wedding Night Brawl

Dentists: Do You Treat Kids? (video)

pediatric dentistry The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists if they treat pediatric patients.

Pediatric dentistry isn’t as profitable as cosmetic dentistry, but it’s rarely about the money.

Pediatric dentistry is a good thing to do for your community, but only if you like doing it.

“If you treat children like gold, you’ll see their mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents as well!” said a Virginia dentist.

Pediatric dental patients can provide a whole new set of family patients. But not all doctors are cut out to be a children’s dentist.

“I break out in hives when I treat anyone under 18!” said an Indiana dentist.

Click on play to watch the survey video and hear the full survey results –

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

Invisalign Cost: Invisalign Braces Fee Analysis

According to the Invisalign website, the national average cost for Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the national average at about $5,000.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey to determine what dentists and orthodontists are charging for Invisalign.

The results from the survey revealed that Invisalign treatment costs an average of $4,622 when provided by a dentist and $6.945 when treated by a specialist.

“We adjust our cost according to how long treatment takes. Times can range from 5 – 18 months (rarely more). We are willing to “deal” on Invisalign because the actual Dr. time is so minimal,” reported a Minnesota dentist.

The cost of Invisalign treatment is on average $500 higher than the cost for regular braces treatment. The dentists who responded to this survey noted that the higher cost reflects the lab fee that they pay for the Invisalign trays.

Here’s a sample of what dentists had to say about the cost of Invisalign treatment:

“I take into consideration material cost of impressions for both initial and refinement, the lab cost and shipping. We charge $5,000 for a full treatment.” (Georgia dentist)

“I have wrestled with the most appropriate fee levels for Invisalign for a long time. We have historically kept the cost of a ‘full’ treatment a bit higher than traditional orthodontia. Although the ‘full’ treatment cost is $5800 — I charge $3200 for express.” (Washington orthodontist)

“Specialists usually get ‘tougher’ cases, so they charge more. We have three fee structures for simple, medium, and complex.” (California dentist)

“My Invisalign rep suggests that I should lower my fees or offer financing that takes a bite out of my profit due to the economy, but I don’t see them lowering their lab fees to me!” (Illinois dentist)

“I hate how high the lab fee is!” (General dentist)

“Invisalign pre-treatment of prosthetic cases greatly reduces the complexity and cost of many restorative challenges. Talk about a revenue enhancer! Invisalign is the best thing this GP has added to the bag of tricks in the last 4 years!” (Florida dentist)

“I am thinking of lowering my fees to compete with the general dentists in the area …” (Oregon orthodontist)

“Clear Choice is much lower in cost to the dentist (and the cost savings can be passed along to the patient). Clear Choice appears to be just as good, if not better than Invisalign. I’m so fed up with Invisalign and our local rep is not very helpful either.” (Ohio prosthodontist)

“Our cost includes whitening and first set of retainers, which we make in house.” (Connecticut dentist)

“There is no free lunch!” (Ohio dentist)

For more on this survey see: Fees for Invisalign Treatment Average $4,622 – $6.945

FDA Finally Takes a Stand on Mercury… Sort Of

Agency Promises to Make a Decision Next Year

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long avoided taking a public stand on the safety or danger of mercury in silver dental fillings. However, with a recent settlement in a lawsuit brought by the organization Moms Against Mercury, the governmental health agency has finally agreed to take a stand on the issue. Eventually.

The agreement calls for the FDA to complete its reclassification of dental amalgam by July of 2009. (The agency began that process in 2002.)

Some news articles have heralded this as a major change in the FDA’s attitude toward amalgam, with headlines making grand proclamations about a new post-amalgam era.

Can you guess which of the following is not a genuine headline?

These are attention-grabbing headlines, to be sure! The problem is, they’re not necessarily true per se. (And okay, I made the last one up.)

In the ADA’s response to news of the decision, the dental organization disputes these suggestions. “As far as the ADA is aware, the FDA has in no way changed its approach to, or position on, dental amalgam,” reads the statement.

As part of the agreement, the FDA has updated the consumer information provided by its website on the subject of mercury and dental amalgam.

“Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses. When amalgam fillings are placed in teeth or removed from teeth, they release mercury vapor. Mercury vapor is also released during chewing. FDA’s rulemaking will examine evidence concerning whether release of mercury vapor can cause health problems, including neurological disorders, in children and fetuses.”
Questions and Answers on Dental Amalgam (FDA Consumer Information)

What do you think? Is this a new era, or just more of the same?

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